Stories for November 2002

Monday, November 25

LABJ FORUM: Holiday Thoughts

As Americans sit down for their Thanksgiving feasts this week, many will take some time to reflect on the past year and what they are grateful for. So the Business Journal asks: What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

LETTERS

Letters to the editor

SEC Notice Supports Farmer Bros. Investors Who Seek Company Split

The Securities and Exchange Commission has told Farmer Bros. Co., the secretive coffee company run by 86-year-old Roy F. Farmer, that it cannot deny dissident shareholders the right to vote on a proposal that could split the company in two.

Lender Bankruptcy Prompts Two Local Hospitals to Seek Chapter 11

Two local hospitals were dragged into bankruptcy and another was considering its options last week after a key lender, National Century Financial Enterprises Inc., filed for bankruptcy protection itself amid questions over potential financial irregulariti

Magic Mountain Ruling Paves Way For Class Action

Danny Everett was in line for his last ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain when a family outing in the fall of 1998 turned nasty.

Real Estate Focus Helps Homestore Turn the Corner

Homestore Inc. may yet make it. With a lot of fence mending and a bit of luck, the troubled online real estate services provider is on the cusp of survival.

NBC Adding "Reality" to Christmas Parade

The annual Hollywood Christmas Parade will take place on the Sunday night after Thanksgiving per usual. Everything else about this year's event will be anything but.

Casden Decision Considered Rare

Last week's $184 million decision against real estate developer Alan Casden is one not likely to be repeated.

Infinity Seeks to Put KFWB in Trust as it Tries to Keep Stations

In an 11th hour attempt to keep the company in compliance with federal ownership rules, Infinity Broadcasting Corp. has petitioned to place KFWB-AM (980) in a trust that would transfer management but not ownership of the all-news radio station.

Fremont Finds Success in Move to Subprime Lending

Fremont General Corp.'s headlong jump into subprime lending appears to be paying off.

NEWSMAKERS

Businesspeople in the news, on the move.

Monday, November 18

Minimal Surplus Leaves HMO Vulnerable to Seizure by State

Universal Care Inc., the second largest Medi-Cal HMO in Los Angeles County, has been downgraded by the A.M. Best Co. insurance rating service over concerns that company losses have drained its capital and put it in a position to be taken over by state r

Union May Deal in Face Of GOP-Led Congress

Last week's Justice Department ruling that West Coast dockworkers were not intentionally slowing down the flow of cargo did little to placate the concerns of union officials, who fear that the Republican-controlled Congress might soon introduce anti-union

State, Region Fret Over Lack of Pull In GOP Congress

A survey of politicians, lobbyists and consultants confirms the obvious: that heavily Democratic California will be losing considerable clout in Washington, and that the loss will be reflected in how federal funds get divvied out.

Contractors Gird for School Building Rush

It's bonanza time for building contractors who specialize in school facilities.

Contrition From Ryder Would Smooth Forgiving

OPINION by Leonard Pitts, columnist for the Miami Herald.

Fox Family Chiefs Sue News Corp.

Two former senior executives of Fox Family Worldwide Inc. are alleging that News Corp. foisted a losing Major League Baseball contract onto its Fox Family unit, devaluing it just before its sale to Walt Disney Co. last year.

LABJ FORUM: Cell Phones v Let the Driver Beware

New York passed a law last year requiring drivers to use hands-free cell phones and California might be next. State legislators are expected to consider a bill next month to ban hand-held cell phones that the California Highway Patrol supports, based on

LETTERS

Letters to the editor

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Weekly Columns; More news and talk from around the town, behind the scenes...

Hahn Aims to Get Up Close and Personal With Asian Hosts

During the last L.A. tourism and trade mission to Asia in 1998, Richard Riordan was mayor, the economy was still solid and Japanese visitors and others were flocking here by the planeload.

Tenet Healthcare Facing Billions in Potential Liabilities

The worst may be yet to come for Tenet Healthcare Corp. The Santa Barbara-based hospital company, hit by dual scandals involving its Medicare billing practices and possible unnecessary cardiac procedures at a hospital, is potentially facing $3 billion or

NEWSMAKERS

Consultant to Helm Pharmaceutical Firm

Oakley Gets in Touch With Feminine Side in Growing Apparel Line

The macho maker of sunglasses, apparel and shoes is stepping up its focus on women's wear a move that Colin Baden, the Foothill Ranch-based company's president and head of design, said should have been made sooner.

New Economy or Old, Rapid Growth Has No Favorites

New Economy or Old, Rapid Growth Has No Favorites

Monday, November 11

NEWSMAKERS

Businesspeople in the news, on the move

Univision Radio Deal Facing New Static in Washington

Under stepped-up pressure from opponents of the merger of Univision Communications Inc. and Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., the Department of Justice is exploring a novel antitrust interpretation that could block the deal, according to several parties in the

LABJ Forum: It's Budget Preparing Season - Gulp

Businesses are trying to sort out what they will and will not be able to do next year and the signs are anything but clear. Stock market volatility continues, interest rates have been cut again and productivity appeared to be on the way up. So the Busin

Detection Technology Firm Acquires Competitor in Bid to Expand Offerings

OSI Systems Inc., the Hawthorne-based manufacturer of airport X-ray scanners whose fortunes skyrocketed after the Sept. 11 attacks, has agreed to acquire a firm developing technology to detect dangerous substances in large cargo containers.

Scaled-Down Parties to Return as Uncertainty Hovers Over Economy

It's shaping up to be a frugal holiday party season this year for L.A. companies as an uncertain economy is spawning plans for smaller, less elaborate functions.

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

Summaries of this week's List - Residential real estate brokerages, Ranked by dollar volume of L.A. County sales

State Court Narrows Employers' Harassment Liability

It happens at Q's Billiard Club in Brentwood almost every night. At some point, a male customer makes obscene or sexual comments to a female cocktail waitress.

Firms Shy From Income Estimates In Poor Economy

With the economy on shaky ground, analysts are having a harder time projecting earnings for next year.

Income, Business Tax Increases Looming as Budget Deficit Widens

Businesses, taxpayers and local governments could be in line for some painful financial hits as the deficit mounts in a state budget deep in the red.

Microsoft Settlement Means Little to Area's Software Companies

When a federal judge affirmed the settlement in the government's anti-trust case against Microsoft Corp., the company's share price rose and local software firms yawned.

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Weekly Columns; More news and talk from around the town, behind the scenes...

Beyond the Blank Stare, a Teenager Gets the Message

Opinion by LEONARD PITTS, columnist for the Miami Herald.

Prosecutor Nears End to Inquiry of Credit Lyonnais

Federal prosecutors, nearing the end of the investigation of Credit Lyonnais and others involved in the 1992 purchase of defunct Executive Life Insurance Co., will propose a deal within weeks that could result in criminal fraud charges or cash settlements

Cash Is Crucial for Business in Latino Areas, Study Says

Roughly 40 percent of the county's Hispanics bypass banks and rely instead on cash for just about everything spending $2.4 billion a year, according to a report by California State University

SAG Wants New Round of Talks to Halt Solo Dealing

Alarmed that its members are agreeing to representation deals that lack protections contained in a lapsed franchise agreement, the Screen Actors Guild is trying to restart stalled talks with the Association of Talent Agents.

Review & Preview

Review of this week's other top news; Preview of upcoming stories and events

Monday, November 4

Review & Preview

Review of this week's other top news; Preview of upcoming stories and events

NEWSMAKERS

Business people in the news, on the move.

Breakaway From LACVB Urged in Westside Proposal

In a sign of growing frustration with the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau, the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce is considering a separate convention and visitors bureau for the Westside.

Orange County Maker Of Hip Apparel Ready To Launch L.A. Store

Volcom, one of Orange County's hottest apparel companies, is opening its first U.S. retail store in Los Angeles this month.

Report Finds Anti-Business Bias of L.A. Juries Overstated

Forget the $28 billion an L.A. jury awarded a smoker last month against Philip Morris Cos. Inc., the largest punitive damages award ever issued in a single action.

Executive Summary / The Pacesetter

Summaries of this week's List - SBA lenders, Ranked by value of loans awarded in L.A. District

Anderson Upping Westwood Stake

Billionaire investor John Anderson is in escrow to purchase 10 Westwood buildings totaling 160,000 square feet of mostly retail property.

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Weekly Columns; More news and talk from around the town, behind the scenes...

Financer of "Greek Wedding" Sold to San Diego Outfit

Lewis Horwitz Organization, the venerable lender specializing in financing motion pictures, has been sold again, this time to San Diego-based ITLA Capital Corp. for $100 million in cash.

Orange County Faces Possible Net Job Loss In Reversal of Trend

Orange County is flirting with its first annual employment decline in nearly a decade.

LABJ Forum: Spending Habits in a Challenged Economy

Concerns about job security, terrorism and the sputtering economy have all taken a toll on shoppers' enthusiasm to hit the mall, at least according to the latest consumer confidence figures, which sank last month to their lowest level in nine years. Econo

Tenet Inks Deal for University Hospital

Tenet Healthcare Corp. has cut a deal to acquire another Los Angeles hospital, even as it copes with the fallout from its last local acquisition.