Stories for June 2009

Tuesday, June 30

TicketsNow to Pay $50,000 Fine

A subsidiary of West Hollywood's Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc. has reached a settlement with the Illinois Attorney General's Office concerning complaints it deceptively sold overly priced tickets to events that included Bruce Springsteen and Hannah Mont

Employers Direct Pulls Back from California Workers' Comp Market

Employers Direct Insurance Co. said that it will stop writing new or renewal workers' compensation policies in California as of August 1, and is cutting staff by 18 percent.

Tetra Tech Buys Fourth Engineering Firm

Pasadena engineering firm Tetra Tech Inc. said it acquired an engineering firm based in Diamond Bar, Bryan A. Stirrat & Associates, for an undisclosed amount. It's the company's fourth acquisition this month.

Colony Financial Files for IPO

Colony Financial Inc., a newly formed subsidiary of Century City investment firm Colony Capital LLC. said it had filed for an initial public offering of its common stock .

More Torres Convictions in Question

Attorneys for George Torres, whose conviction on charges of murder-for-hire and racketeering were overturned in June, are now seeking to have additional convictions against him dismissed.

Probe Fingers 1,800 American Apparel Workers

A U.S. federal probe has found that about a third of American Apparel's factory workers in the Los Angeles area had supplied suspect or invalid records and were not authorized to work in the United States.

Judge Drops Final Charge in Campaign Finance Case

In a contentious case reaching back to the 2004 presidential campaign, a federal judge agreed to dismiss a final charge of illegal campaign finance violations against prominent Los Angeles attorney Pierce O'Donnell.

Disney to Boost Hong Kong Park

The Walt Disney Co. and Hong Kong have reached a deal to expand the territory's Disneyland at a cost of about $465 million in hopes of boosting the theme park's fortunes.

Monday, June 29

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that he would not be running for California governor in 2010, ending months of speculation that he would make bid for higher office.

REGIONAL REPORT

Grupo Gallegos, a Long Beach ad firm focused on the U.S. Hispanic market, has won a 2009 Radio Mercury Award in the Hispanic category for a radio spot from its "Subtitles" campaign for cable TV operator Comcast.

Concerro Acquires PortBlue's Main Product

L.A.'s PortBlue Corp. said it has agreed to sell its main product, the CommandAware hospital incident management system, for an undisclosed amount.

Mapped Out

Engineer Timothy Psomas, handy at numbers in the days before calculators, now flexes a green thumb on the family farm.

West Hollywood PR Firm Believes in Virtual Growth

Weber Shandwick's West Hollywood office has launched a new division called Social Studio to help the PR agency's clients build their online presence.

CALENDAR & EVENTS

Events of interest to Los Angeles' business community.

Updated: Jackson's Mother Seeks Control of Children, Estate

Michael Jackson's mother, Katherine Jackson, was granted temporary custody of his three children by a Los Angeles court as she and her husband sought interim control over the late singer's estate.

Something to Aim For

LAPD Chief William J. Bratton salutes retail chain Target's anti-crime pursuits.

Northrop Partnership Wins $2.4 Billion Army Contract

Northrop Grumman Corp. and British partner Cobham said that their joint venture had been awarded a major contract to provide battlefield communications equipment to the U.S. Army.

Hollywood Hotel on Schedule for Fall Premiere

The W Hollywood Hotel & Residences at Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street is still on target for its Dec. 3 opening.

Is Anybody Willing To Take the 'Fifth'?

The dream of a more dynamic downtown L.A. took a blow with the Park Fifth project going up for sale.

Grim Picture Develops for Local Medical Imaging

A shortage of radioactive material necessary for medical imaging is giving headaches to L.A. doctors who use the scans to better diagnose ailments such as bone cancer and heart disorders.

Banking Exec Has Designs on Returning to College Life

Taking a seat recently on the board of Otis College of Art and Design is allowing City National Corp.'s Thomas R. Miller to relive some of the best moments of his younger days.

Sucking Up To Local Customers

Flavored tobacco and water pipes were once uncommon sights at L.A. eateries. Now they're everywhere.

L.A. Jumping Through Hoops to Save Cirque

The city of L.A. may step in with a loan to keep a Cirque du Soleil project airborne.

Fictional Defense on Film

Charles Crumpley writes that the hypocritical director of sloppy documentary "Bananas!" has lost his appeal.

BreitBurn Energy Reduces Debt

BreitBurn Energy Partners LP said that it had sold some of its natural gas contracts to reduce debt under its credit facility.

Trustee of Busted Business Faults Former Attorney

The trustee for a bankrupt payroll firm alleges the owners' former attorney helped them loot the business.

Footprint

Business has heated up for ad shop 72andSunny since its successful campaign for a Nike jogging shoe with an embedded computer chip.

Say What?

The station formerly known as KLSX has something to talk about in the ratings race after now that it's switched to Top 40.

Last One Standing

Under the weight of a portfolio full of shaky loans, FirstFed is working to stabilize its standing.

Soaring Aerospace Firm May Run Into Turbulence

Concern about future earnings is all that's slowing Aerovironment.

OpenGate Capital Acquires Autoparts Maker

Beverly Hills-based equity firm OpenGate Capital said that it is acquiring auto-parts manufacturer Gabriel North America from ArvinMeritor Inc. for an undisclosed price.

Shamrock Fund Wants Board Seats at Cement Company

Roy Disney's Shamrock Activist Value Fund L.P. said that it plans to nominate three candidates for election to the board of Dallas cement giant Texas Industries Inc., a company Shamrock believes could be better run.

Renovation Plan Founders for Queen Mary Hotel

Operators of the Queen Mary have fallen behind in payments to keep the hotel shipshape.

NEWSMAKERS

Baroda Ventures LLC, a Beverly Hills venture capital firm with a focus on the technology sector, has named Peter Lee partner

State Cuts Spare Workers' Comp Investigations

While many programs in state government face steep budget cuts, funds for fighting workers' compensation fraud have remained mostly intact.

Online Auction Failing to Click

Online auctioneer Bidz.com has seen shares decline in the wake of a series of shareholder suits.

Personal Bankruptcies Surge in SoCal

Going legally broke has made a big comeback -- especially in the Los Angeles area -- despite a mid-decade revision to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code intended to curb filings.

Making Cases

TV Judge Joseph Wapner and his nephew are courting root beer lovers with a new beverage.

Riding Recession's Waves

A growing desire for business guidance has fueled an Internet radio advice show's jump to broadcast.

It Didn't Say Anything About Socks

Gerald Alcantar, vice president of diversity development at Fox Entertainment Group, left his shoes on during the recent Barefoot Thursday event at the Los Angeles Midnight Mission in downtown's Skid Row.

Saturday, June 27

Koreatown Bank Shuttered

Federal and state regulators seized Koreatown's Mirae Bank and sold its most of its assets to rival Wilshire State Bank, marking the third bank failure in Los Angeles County this year.

MySpace Seeks Return to 'Startup Culture'

Wrenching job cuts at News Corp's MySpace are only the first steps the Beverly Hills-based online hangout must take to regain its cool, analysts and former employees say.

Friday, June 26

KB Home's Quarter Disappoints

KB Home reported a lower loss in the second quarter but it was worse than expected. Shares fell 9 percent on the news.

Nestl & #233; Unit Denied FDA Requests

Inspection reports from a Nestle USA cookie dough factory show the company refused several times in the past five years to provide Food and Drug Administration inspectors with complaint logs, pest-control records and other information.

Jackson Lived Like King But Died Awash in Debt

Despite Michael Jackson's well-earned reputation for eccentricity and free-spending ways, he made several savvy business moves that kept him financially afloat far longer than his lavish and bizarre lifestyle might otherwise have allowed.

This Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed up sharply for the week ended June 26, despite mixed overall markets that were reacting to a rise in the nation's savings rate and fall in crude oil prices.

Ryland Closes Credit Line

Homebuilder Ryland Group Inc. said in a regulatory filing that it terminated a $200 million credit line it said it no longer needed, and plans to fund operations with its cash.

Delphi Defends Proposed Sale to Platinum

Bankrupt auto parts maker Delphi Corp. is defending its proposed sale to Beverly Hills-based private equity firm Platinum Equity, saying claims that the transaction was a sweetheart deal were unfounded.

Update: Jackson Lived Like King But Died Awash in Debt

Despite Michael Jackson's well-earned reputation for eccentricity and free-spending ways, he made several savvy business moves that kept him financially afloat far longer than his lavish and bizarre lifestyle might otherwise have allowed.

21st Century Insurance Sale Approved

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that he has approved the sale of Woodland Hills-based 21st Century Insurance to Farmers Group Inc.

Thursday, June 25

Lawmakers Tussle Over Mozilo Probe

Lawmakers on a congressional oversight panel are struggling with whether to ramp up a probe into a controversial home-loan program at Countrywide Financial Corp. that involved former Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo.

Ameron Earnings Fall

Ameron International Corp. said that the continued slow economy contributed to a 42 percent drop in fiscal second quarter profit, but the results beat Wall Street expectations and its stock gushed.

California's Untapped Oil Beckons Occidental's Irani

Occidental Petroleum Corp. is drilling exploratory wells in California in a bet that deposits there hold hundreds of millions of barrels of crude.

Image Entertainment Narrows Loss

Image Entertainment Inc. reported a fiscal fourth quarter loss that was 77 percent lower than a year ago. But shares plunged 18 percent in after-hours trading after the DVD distributor warned that its auditor likely would issue a warning about the company

Plan to Sell Part of State Fund Faces Opposition

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to raise $1 billion by selling part of the state's workers' compensation insurance company is running into strong flak from small-business advocates, the insurance industry and the state's elected insurance commissioner.

Wednesday, June 24

Move Sells Welcome Wagon

Real estate industry Web site operator Move Inc. said it had sold the assets and certain liabilities of its Welcome Wagon property to South Florida Media Group.

Lower CKE Profits Still Beat Wall Street Expectations

CKE Restaurants Inc. has reported better-than-expected fiscal first quarter earnings. The operator of the Carl's Jr and Hardee's fast-food chains said cost cutting helped minimize the decrease in net income despite declining sales in the poor economy.

Update: Hollywood Blogger Nikki Finke Gets Her Payday

Blooger Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily has been acquired by the Mail.com Media Corp., reportedly for up to $10 million.

Rocket Launch Venture Files for Bankruptcy

Sea Launch Co. has filed for Chapter 11 protection, citing recurring losses from operations.

Northrop Grumman Wins Air Force Drone Contract

The Pentagon said that a unit of Northrop Grumman Corp. won a contract to provide a communications network to be used on Air Force military drones. The deal is valued at $276 million.

Update: THQ to Focus on Making 'Core Games'

Videogame publisher THQ plans to refocus its efforts on making franchisable properties that it can also exploit as movies, TV shows and comicbooks.

Dole Hopes to Undo $2 Billion Awards

Dole Food Co. is using a California judge's recent finding to fend off $2 billion in verdicts for pesticide poisoning.

Rentech Gets Cash Infusion, Makes Strategic Investments

Rentech Inc. said it agreed to sell $6.4 million worth of stock to some current institutional shareholders. The Los Angeles developer of synthetic fuels and chemicals technologies also announced an acquisition and investments in two other companies.

Tuesday, June 23

MySpace Cuts International Staff

MySpace.com said it planned to close at least four of its international offices and reduce its overseas staff by two-thirds.

Ixia Completes Tender Offer for Silicon Valley Company

Internet test systems provider Ixia said it successfully completed its tender offer for Catapult Communications Corp., which offers similar products for the telecom industry, in a deal valued at $105 million.

AeroVironment's Quarter Exceeds Expectations

AeroVironment Inc. reported fiscal fourth quarter results above Wall Street expectations. The results were driven by strong sales at both its unmanned aircraft and energy systems businesses.

Jacobs Wins Three Contracts

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. said it received a follow-on contract worth up to $200 million to provide aerospace testing and facilities operations and maintenance for NASA at the Ames Research Center in the San Francisco Bay Area.

MGA Settles With Insurers

MGA Entertainment Inc. has reached a confidential settlement with its insurers over payment of the damages and court costs in the company's legal tussle with rival toymaker Mattel Inc.

Losses of Factory Jobs Blamed on Regulation

A new Milken Institute report attributes the departure of 79,000 manufacturing jobs from California between 2003 and 2007 to onerous regulations and high taxes.

Movie Mogul May Not Face Contempt Hearing

Vittorio Cecchi Gori may have gotten a legal reprieve when a Los Angeles judge canceled a contempt hearing aimed at deciding whether the Oscar-winning producer ignored court orders as part of a lawsuit brought by an ex-employee.

Monday, June 22

Satellite Operator Sky High on Targeted Advertising

Satellite service DirecTV is beaming over its planned targeted-advertising program.

L.A.'s Lots Still Wheelin', Dealin'

L.A.'s car dealerships are motoring along despite earlier fears of catastrophe.

New Firm Looks to Capitalize on Private Equity

A new investment banking firm has started up in Century City, with its founders hoping to take advantage of the abundant capital being thrown around by private equity firms.

SEC Charges Chais With Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday filed civil fraud charges against Los Angeles investment adviser Stanley Chais related to his involvement in the Bernard Madoff case.

Queen Mary Operator Behind on Repairs

The Long Beach City Council will have a chance to weigh in Tuesday on last week's revelation that the operator of the Queen Mary is behind on its required renovations.

REGIONAL REPORT

Home improvement company Lowe's Cos. Inc. has opened a 117,000-square-foot location in Pacoima.

Social Networking Site Gets Some Unwelcome Signs

Social networking site MySpace hopes to click again with Web users it has lost to rivals.

Villaraigosa Bows Out of Governor's Race

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that he would not be running for California governor in 2010 after flirting with a bid for higher office for months.

FDA to Review Amgen's Denosumab

Amgen Inc. has moved to a key stage for its potential blockbuster drug denosumab with the Food and Drug Administration announcing that a panel would review the drug, which is an experimental treatment for osteoporosis, in August.

Shipshape

FantaSea uses yachts and a club in Marina del Rey to stage events like parties and weddings with a focus on serving gay and ethnic clientele.

Virtually Bleeding Money

MySpace's recent staff reduction is another reminder of Web 2.0's virtual shortcomings.

Century City Firm Grows With Eight New Attorneys

Venable LLP continued its expansion into Southern California with the addition of eight tax and estate planning attorneys to the firm's Century City outpost.

One Crisis, Two Plans

This is usually the time when state legislators begin sparring in earnest over the adoption of a new state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. But not this year.

Some Banks Stand Tall By Resisting Shaky Loans

Some institutions curbed risk by adhering to stricter lending practices.

Salem Partners Launches New Practice

Salem Partners LLC said aerospace and defense finance veterans Trevor Bohn and Sean Walker have joined the Los Angeles boutique investment bank to lead a new aerospace and defense industry group.

Company Hopes Air Filtration System Stacks Up

SHIPPING: Long Beach port to test device's ability to reduce air pollution.

Won Over

Koreatown banks have boosted their customer bases with a currency exchange service for the Korean won.

Leaving Boyhood Behind

Tim Mann's seminars help prepare boys for manhood.

Commercial Loans Weigh Down Koreatown Banks

Risky commercial real estate loans a drag on Koreatown banks.

Electric Car Maker Generates Some Positive Buzz

Tesla and Coda have the similar goal of developing an all-electric sedan for the mass market. But the two companies have completely different styles.

Open for Booking

Recent graduates of rabbinical schools are finding today's job market a tough go.

CALENDAR & EVENTS

Events of interest to the Los Angeles business community.

Developers Brace For Housing Fight

As Los Angeles mulls a citywide affordable housing ordinance, developers gear up to knock it down.

Long-Distance Writing on the Wall

In the annals of graffiti artistry, Sean Percival's feat has to stand out: The local tech blogger managed to graffiti a wall 7,500 miles away.

Banker Sticks to Strict Standards in Down Market

City National's Mark Forbes talks past, present and future of the local banking industry.

Dodgers Package Lands Big Hitter From Boston

The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed a four-year sponsorship deal with financial services firm John Hancock Financial Services Inc.

A Virtual Necessity

Sunne Wright McPeak urges business and political leaders to help all Californians get a line on broadband Internet access.

Medical Office Space Still Healthy Investment Option

The local medical office market remains healthy as commercial and residential sectors struggle.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

Beverly Hills investment fund Platinum Equity may face competition in its bid to purchase bankrupt auto parts maker Delphi Corp.

Industrial Designer Takes a 'Zen' Approach to Products

Design has been on Andy Logan's mind since his early years growing up in Ojai.

NEWSMAKERS

The West L.A. office of Moss Adams, a national accounting firm, has named Mindy McLees senior manager of property tax.

Flat Stanley Pumps Up Hollywood

Hollywood Property Owners Alliance adapted kids' character Flat Stanley to tout area's economic resilience.

Moody's Downgrades KB Home

Moody's Investors Service has downgraded all its ratings of KB Home, on the expectation that the Los Angeles homebuilder will continue to post operating losses and its pace of cash generation will slow as inventory reduction becomes more challenging.

Construction Firm Plugs Into Video Game Space

Construction company Kiewit Pacific Co. recently signed a big sublease at the Howard Hughes Center after getting a piece of a $950 million government contract.

The Next Big Whump?

Local banks already limping from residential mortgages fear being tripped up by their commercial loan portfolios.

Hustling on Home Front

Local concierge business has homed in on wealthy customers who need a hand.

Still Spot On

Car salesman and SoCal TV icon Cal Worthington channels his inner Texan when running his dealerships.

More Namvar Entities Put Into Bankruptcy

Three limited liability companies managed by controversial businessman Ezri Namvar have been put into involuntary bankruptcy.

Friday, June 19

This Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of 200 largest local public companies moved lower during the week ended June 19.

CB Richard Ellis Raises $450 Million in Bond Sale

The world's largest commercial property brokerage borrowed $450 million Thursday at a steep interest rate as part of the firm's effort to stay solvent.

L.A. Unemployment Continues Climb

In a sign the recession still has a firm hold on Los Angeles County, the jobless rate climbed to 11.6 percent in May, according to new state figures.

Sony Shareholders Approve Management Reshuffle

New structure puts more power in the hands of Chairman and Chief Executive Howard Stringer.

Recession Hits Los Angeles Hard Because of 'Informal Employment'

Los Angeles County is getting whacked harder by the current recession than other areas of the state and country, according to a Los Angeles Economic Roundtable study.

Edison Gets OK for Rooftop Solar Panels

State regulators have approved a proposal from Southern California Edison to install, own and operate rooftop solar panels capable of generating 250 megawatts of power within its service territory.

Thursday, June 18

Fed Regulators Botched Oversight of Downey Savings

Government report also found officials from the Office of Thrift Supervision made mistakes with Pomona-based PFF Bank & Trust.

East West Bank Rises on Analyst Upgrade

Shares of East West Bancorp Inc., the Pasadena holding company for East West Bank, jumped after an analyst raised his rating on the stock.

Disney Completes TV Merger

Walt Disney Co.'s ABC television network has completed the merger of its TV programming and production divisions and named veteran executives to run the operation.

Health Net Settles with NY State

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that Health Net Inc. has agreed to stop using data from Ingenix to set its insurance rates and instead will contribute $1.6 million toward the creation of a new data source.

Tix Shares Rise on Announcement of Repurchase Program

A stock repurchase program announced by Tix Corp. sent shares in the company up as much as 11 percent in early trading Thursday.

Schwarzenegger: Higher Taxes will be Vetoed

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday fired off a warning to Democratic lawmakers who are considering raising taxes.

New Suitors Could Challenge Platinum Equity's Bid for Delphi

A day after Platinum Equity issued a statement saying it wants an "open and competitive process" for its planned purchase of bankrupt auto parts maker Delphi Corp., reports suggest that other suitors could make bids.

Wednesday, June 17

Suddenly Shoppers Love Lakers Gear

Lakers fans aren't letting the recession rein in their parade.

Icahn Ups His Share in Lionsgate

Billionaire investor increases his holdings in the film company to 15.9 percent.

Dole's Day in Court Postponed

A judge on Wednesday postponed the contempt hearing of an L.A. attorney accused of defrauding Dole Food Co. by training Nicaraguan men to make false claims.

Wealthiest Angelenos Crowd List of Parade Donors

The Los Angeles Lakers championship celebration and parade today is being financed by several members of the Los Angeles Business Journal's annual directory of Wealthiest Angelenos.

Cash Deal Sends Youbet.com Shares Up 12 Percent

Shares of Internet horse-race gambling company Youbet climbed 12 percent after the company announced an agreement that will allow customers to place bets online with electronic cash.

Korean Finance Company May Acquire Hanmi Bank

Shares of Hanmi Bank continued a three-day climb on Wednesday after an online newspaper reported that the bank could be acquired by Woori Finance Holdings Co.

DirecTV to Enter Local Advertising Sector

Satellite broadcaster DirecTV Group has announced a new service that can channel ads to specific viewers based on their location, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 16

State Fiscal Crisis Could Prolong Recovery, UCLA Forecast Says

The state's budget crisis could short circuit the recovery that was expected to start the second half of this year, according to latest quarterly economic forecast issued Tuesday morning by the UCLA Anderson Forecast.

Maguire Stock Slips on News of Missed Mortgage Payment

Shares of Maguire Properties Inc. declined 11 percent in mid-morning trading after an article in the Wall Street Journal online said the company had failed to make the June mortgage payment for an office building.

Citigroup Sees THQ as Potential Takeover Target

A note from a Citigroup analyst predicts that a coming round of consolidation in the software sector could result in Calabasas-based game developer THQ Inc. getting swallowed.

MySpace Cuts Staff by About 30 Percent

Social networking site MySpace announced Tuesday that it will reduce its staff by nearly 30 percent, or about 400 employees.

Lakers, AEG, Private Donors to Pay for Parade

In midst of financial crisis, city asks for help with $2 million celebration.

Avery Dennison Unveils Internet Mailing Service

Avery Dennison Office Products on Tuesday announced a new page of its Web site that provides "a one-stop shop" for labels and postage.

Los Angeles Fashion Designers Dominate Awards Show

Designers from Los Angeles won designer of the year statuettes for both womenswear and menswear.

Monday, June 15

Council Looking To Trade Up

Business council looks to heat up relations between L.A. and Canadian companies.

No Relief in Sight for State Contractors

Contractors should expect the bleeding from California budget cuts to linger.

REGIONAL REPORT

Cook Family Trust has purchased a Commerce industrial building for $3 million from Chang Triangle LLC.

Motown Should Look Up

Matt Welch believes Long Beach can offer a road map to Detroit on how to diversify the local economy.

Hanmi Stock Soars on Capital Infusion

Hanmi Bank shares soared on news that a Korean investment firm will take a 14.9 percent stake in the company in exchange for $11 million in capital.

Drug Maker in Pink After Plug Pulled on Plant Plan

Sometimes you can't always get what you want and that's probably just as well.

Control Issues

Special controllers let video game makers get their hands on bigger pool of players.

New Managers Find MySpace in Trouble

New Chief Executive Owen Van Natta and News Corp. digital head Jon Miller are beginning to realize they have taken on a much bigger challenge than they initially thought,

Comic Books Drew London Boy Into Movie Business

As a child in South London, Neil Huxley said that he constantly had his face in a comic book.

Staar's Stock Price Surging On OK of Medical Devices

Staar Surgical is shining bright with investors after government approval for two of its medical products.

Valencia Firm Not Guarded About its Growth

The acquisition of a Canadian peer makes Andrews International the largest private security guard company in the U.S.

NEWSMAKERS

John Di Carlo has been named managing partner in the Long Beach headquarters of Windes & McClaughry Accountancy Corp.

Lead Penalties Play Rough With L.A. Toymakers

Mattel's recent fine over lead contamination has cast a pall over the local toymaking industry.

CALENDAR & EVENTS

Events of interest to Los Angeles' business community.

Maguire Stock Rallies on Orange County Sale

Shares of Maguire Properties Inc. jumped nearly 50 percent Monday after the company announced it had sold an Orange County office building for a reported $160 million.

Gas Price Tops $3 Per Gallon

The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in Los Angeles County surpassed $3 for the first time since Oct. 30 today,

California May Sweat Employers Over Heat Illness

More regulations are on the way to protect construction workers, landscapers, road crews and other outdoor workers from heat illness.

Losing Interest in Homebuying

The recent interest rate hike may have spiked the dreams of homeowner hopefuls, writes Charles Crumpley.

Direct-Response Business Looks for Shot in the Arm

Mercury Media, the largest private direct-response media buyer in the country, went outside the advertising industry to hire its new chief executive.

New-Media Distribution Giving Hollywood a Makeover

Los Angeles is losing ground in its battle with Silicon Valley over content distribution, according to Jonathan Handel.

Magic Mountain Owner Six Flags Inc. Files Bankruptcy

Six Flags Inc., one of the world's largest amusement-park chains, will be mostly owned by its lenders if a bankruptcy judge approves a deal negotiated between the company and its debt holders.

Chasing Mirage?

An L.A. company has high hopes for a watered-down plan to store and transport H2O in the Mojave Desert.

Slow May at Port of Los Angeles

The slowdown at the Port of Los Angeles continued in May as container traffic fell 16 percent compared to last year, according to statistics released Monday.

Northrup Faces Boeing 777 Challenge

Boeing Co. will offer a tanker version of its 777 plane as it seeks to beat Northrop Grumman Corp. in a rematch of the U.S. aerial-refueling competition.

Bank Sees Wealth of Opportunity in Acquisition

City National Bank has extended its pickup game with the purchase of Lee Munder Capital Group.

Steady Hand

Jerry West, the former player and exec synonymous with the Lakers, is now putting his stamp on the Northern Trust Open golf tournament.

Maguire Properties Cuts Portfolio to Narrow Debt

Maguire Properties continues to sell off buildings to narrow its massive debt.

Point.360 Buys Hollywood Building

Point.360 has purchased an 18,000 square foot building in Hollywood where the multimedia services company will consolidate two existing operations.

Covina Car Dealer Sold Kia on Opening New Lot

Opening a car dealership amid the auto industry crisis might not be the most auspicious start for a business, but that's not how Greg Bozzani sees it.

Can Ex-Grocery Owner Claim Damages for Sale?

Former grocery chain owner would face difficulties seeking financial damages after several criminal convictions were tossed.

Overseas 'Action!'

Burbank-based Matthews Studio Equipment's movie-set products travel well overseas.

Investment Firm Moves Into Koreatown Condos

Kennedy Wilson Inc., a Beverly Hills real estate investment firm, has purchased the 149 remaining condos at the Mercury high-rise in Koreatown.

Designers' Discount Duds a Hit

Rock & Republic hopes its discount apparel line fits consumers' budgets.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

A U.S. appeals court denied MGA Entertainment Inc.'s request to halt the transfer of its Bratz fashion doll business to rival Mattel Inc.

Tall Order for Local Sign Maker

Local sign maker jumped through hoops to get Staples Center dressed for

Lawyers Show Cannes-Do Attitude

Gary Concoff, has traveled to the Cannes Film Festival more than a couple of dozen times, but he isn't an actor.

Motorcar Parts Reports Dismal Quarter

The slowdown in the auto industry took its toll on Motorcar Parts of America Inc. as the Torrance remanufacturer of alternators and starters reported slower quarterly sales.

Friday, June 12

Insurance Suits Settled for $37 Million

State insurance regulators have settled four lawsuits worth $37 million stemming from the 2003 failure of Glendale workers' compensation insurer Fremont Indemnity Co.

Resnicks Give $20 Million to Caltech Sustainability Center

At graduation ceremonies on Friday, Caltech President Jean-Lou Chameau announced that Stewart and Lynda Resnick had donated $20 million toward a new sustainability center.

Computer 'Raid' in Vernon Leaves Factory Workers Devastated

It wasn't a hot tip or an undercover informant that helped seal their fates, but a computer check of Social Security numbers.

Terranea Resort Opens in Rancho Palos Verdes

Occupying 102 acres of irreplaceable coastline just 20 miles south of Los Angeles International Airport, the luxurious Terranea Resort opened to the public on June 12.

Long Beach Cargo Shipments Up in May

Cargo shipments through the Port of Long Beach grew for the third straight month in May, but the total was still down more than 20 percent from a year ago, according to figures released by the port.

99 Cents Stock Enjoys Uptick on Q4 Results

99 Cents Only Stores Inc. finished out a strong week with its shares rising nearly 5 percent Friday after a research firm upped its target price for the stock on expected strong earnings.

Business Leaders Strike Out in Sacramento

Los Angeles area business leaders traveled to Sacramento Thursday to push for more business-friendly legislation, but came away mostly empty handed as lawmakers' attention was consumed by the state's budget crisis.

This Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies barely moved during the week ended June 12, even though several companies on the list saw dramatic swings in their stock prices.

Thursday, June 11

Long Beach Port Traffic Improves Slightly

The number of cargo containers shipped through the Port of Long Beach in May grew for the third straight month, according to new figures, but the total was still down more than 20 percent from the same month a year ago.

Shipyard Plan Doesn't Jibe with Port's Vision

Yacht builder Gambol Industries wants to build a modern ship-building facility while the port, dockworkers and businesses prefer the site to be a dump for toxic material dredged from the harbor.

MGA Dealt Blow in Bratz Battle

A U.S. appeals court has denied MGA Entertainment Inc.'s request to halt the transfer of its Bratz fashion doll to rival Mattel Inc.

Honda Drives South Bay on Successful Ride

Japanese automaker Honda is marking its 50th year in the United States. The company is a big economic engine for Torrance, where the American operations are based.

Staar Gets U.S. Approval for Ophthalmic System

Staar Surgical Co.'s share price early Thursday more than doubled for a second time this week after the medical device maker said it received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market an insertion device to be used with its implantabl

SAG Eyes Guild Ties

Now that the Screen Actors Guild contract crisis has finally ended, interim national exec director David White is turning his attention to improving SAG's relations with other showbiz unions, particularly the American Federation of Television and Radio Ar

Potential Setback for Platinum's Delphi Plans

Platinum Equity, which announced this month a $3.6 billion acquisition of bankrupt Delphi Corp., may not end up with the auto parts supplier after all.

Wednesday, June 10

Aecom Wins Cleveland Clinic Project in Abu Dhabi

Aecom Technology Corp. said it has been awarded a $16 million contract to provide a variety of engineering and specialist services for a new Cleveland Clinic Hospital in Abu Dhabi.

SAG Votes for Moderation

The Screen Actors Guild's overwhelming 78 percent contract approval marks a clear move toward moderation within the long-feuding union , setting the stage for this fall's election and the contract negotiations in 2011.

L.A. Closes Loophole for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Stunned by the spread of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, the City Council has moved to close a loophole that had encouraged their rapid growth.

Hedge Fund to Invest in CB Richard Ellis

CB Richard Ellis Inc. said that hedge fund operator Paulson & Co., will buy $100 million in stock as part of a $550 million capital-raising effort by the real estate services provider.

Ixia Announces Corporate Restructuring

Internet technology company Ixia said it will cut up to 10 percent of its employees and implement other cost savings as part of a restructuring initiative.

Cherokee Profit Down 18 Percent

Cherokee Inc. said its first-quarter net income fell 18 percent due both to a stronger dollar and weaker demand for its licensed apparel.

Tuesday, June 9

Bank of America Paying Mozilo's Legal Fees

Bank of America Corp., already on the hook to the U.S. government for $45 billion, has another bill to worry about: Angelo Mozilo's legal fees.

99-Cent Only Stores Report Profit

99-Cent Only Stores said that it swung to a profit in its fourth quarter as recession weary consumers continued to flock to its discount stores.

City National Buys Boston Investment Firm

City National Corp. said it has agreed to acquire a majority interest in Lee Munder Capital Group, a Boston investment firm that manages assets for corporations, pension funds, endowments and affluent households.

Texas Competitor Settles with Pom Wonderful

Pomegranate juice maker Pom Wonderful has reached a confidential settlement with Fresherized Foods Inc. over allegations that the Texas food supplier falsely advertised its juice as being 100 percent pomegranate.

Staar Cataract Device Approved in EU

Staar Surgical Co.'s share price more than doubled Tuesday on news that the medical device company received European Union approval for its system designed to more easily implant lenses in the eyes of cataracts patients.

Mogul Ascends With Old Hollywood Clout

The superagent Ariel Z. Emanuel, brother of President Obama's chief of staff, has emerged in the last six weeks as the pre-eminent power player in Hollywood.

Lions Gate's Biggest Shareholder Likely to Join Board

Mark Rachesky, who backs the beleaguered studio's management, could replace Mark Amin, who has sold three-quarters of his stake.

Update: Judge Throws Out Two Torres Convictions

A Los Angeles federal judge has tossed out two of the most serious convictions in the racketeering case against Hispanic supermarket mogul George Torres, who had been facing a potential life sentence on charges that included solicitation of murder.

Monday, June 8

Accounting Skills Prove a Big Plus for Veteran Executive

With more than 30 years of accounting and executive experience, Michael A. DiGregorio knows how to connect the financial dots.

Lenders May Get Control of Tribune Co.

Los Angeles Times' parent Tribune Co. and its creditors are in the early stages of negotiating a plan that sources said likely would transfer control of the troubled media conglomerate from Sam Zell to a group of large banks and investors.

What Was That Laker Doing Here?

Usually all Balwinder Samra sees inside the electric truck manufacturing facility he oversees as chief executive of Balqon Corp. are truck parts and employees.

Editor's Note

Technical problems have delayed posting of the online edition of Business Journal's June 8 issue. We appreciate your patience.

The Small Print

Proposed size limits on signs could put the squeeze on new L.A. businesses.

Northrop on Defense

Defense cuts have grounded Northrop shares, writes Charles Crumpley.

GM Flop Opens

Turnaround specialist Platinum Equity may have its mettle tested with auto parts supplier Delphi.

North County Real Estate Firm Puts Down Roots

A local residential brokerage is doubling down on the Santa Clarita Valley, even though the area has been decimated by the subprime meltdown and recession.

Not Exactly The Highest Expectations

The down market may leave owners of a new penthouse office property high and dry.

Video Game Expo Scores a Hit With Version 3.0

Organizers of the E3 video game expo feel they have hit the right balance of business and fun.

L.A. Base Fuels Honda's Drive Into U.S.

Honda set foot in L.A. 50 years ago, helping the Japanese car maker establish a firm toe hold in the U.S.

CALENDAR & EVENTS

Events of interest to Los Angeles' business community.

Still in Business

Former L.A. Daily News Publisher Tracy Rafter now speaks up for business as BizFed CEO.

Consumed by State's Conservation Plan

Conservation programs throughout the state will cut into groundwater replenishment, according to Wayne Lusvardi and David Powell.

REGIONAL REPORT

RCMI has purchased a Sherman Oaks apartment complex for $16.5 million.

Home Prices Finally Go Up

The median price of Los Angeles County homes rose in May after nearly two years of declines.

Swimsuit Maker Smells Something Fishy at Pool

Michael Phelps' success at last year's Beijing Olympics came with the help of better swimsuit technology.

Burbank Radio Station Will Give Spanish a Spin

Burbank radio station turns to Spanish music after axing funnyman Rick Dees.

Stormy Economy Rains On CEO Paydays

The slow economy in 2008 took a healthy bite out of chief executive paychecks in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Looks to Clean Up With New Center

City redevelopment officials are looking to bring manufacturing back in a big way to downtown Los Angeles with a green twist.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

DirecTV Group Inc. Chief Executive Chase Carey will leave the El Segundo satellite TV provider July 1 to become vice chairman and chief operating officer at News Corp.

'Positive' Bounce

Coaching icon John Wooden believes optimism is key to coping with today's economy.

Spouses Who Love To Nitpick

An Echo Park couple gets hands on when it comes to picking head lice.

Univision: Keep Televisa Telenovelas Off the Web

A Los Angeles judge must decide whether the programming exclusivity that Televisa promised Univision when the two Spanish-language media companies became partners in 1992 extends to the Internet.

MannKind Shares Jump on Partnership Talks

MannKind Corp.'s chief executive officer said the small biotech is getting increased interest from larger drug makers to partner on its new Afresa inhaled insulin product, which U.S. regulators are reviewing.

Smooth Ride

Car magazine Dub has fueled the parent company's diverse branding activities.

NEWSMAKERS

Manhattan Beach-headquartered Kinecta Federal Credit Union has appointed Mary Yasui-Yamabe chairwoman.

Getting Soaked

Paul Little fears a plan to raise water prices in Pasadena will swamp commercial users.

Firm Feeds Bankruptcy Unit With Rival's Departures

A group of attorneys has left Kirkland & Ellis LLP and jumped to Jones Day LLP, giving the latter firm a bankruptcy practice in downtown Los Angeles.

The Big Slip-Up

A new documentary celebrates a lawyer's battle with Dole despite a judge saying the case against the food giant is fraudulent.

Fraud Case Takes Serious Turn for National Lampoon's Ex-CEO

National Lampoon's former CEO is the last man standing as a stock fraud case heads to court.

Lawmaker Says It's Prime Time to Curb Subprime

The few local mortgage lenders that remain soon won't have the same business freedoms they once enjoyed if a Torrance politician has his way.

OpenGate Capital to Buy French Magazines

OpenGate Capital, the Los Angeles private equity firm that bought TV Guide magazine last fall, said it planned to acquire two youth publication divisions from French media giant Groupe Le Monde.

Icahn Increases Stake in Lions Gate

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has increased his stake in Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. to 15.6 percent after buying more than 1.3 million shares in recent weeks.

Saturday, June 6

Fox Interactive Abandons New Playa Vista Office

A year after making one of the largest office leasing deals in more than a decade, Fox Interactive Media is abandoning plans to move into nearly a half-million square feet of office space in Playa Vista.

Will Warner Grow Tired of New Line, Its Pet Indie?

Toby Emmerich and Richard Brener are trying to maintain New Line Cinema's indie spirit after the studio was swallowed by Warner Brothers.

Friday, June 5

Cadiz Announces Major Water Storage Project

Cadiz Inc. said it had reached agreements with five Southern California water providers to partner on a potentially controversial $200 million underground water storage project.

$1.3 Billion Tax-Shelter Scam Alleged

Two principals of the defunct Quellos Group in Seattle and a Los Angeles lawyer were indicted in a tax shelter scheme that allegedly created more than $1.3 billion in fraudulent losses for prominent clients, including media mogul and billionaire investor

Northrop Report Sees Savings From Split Tanker Buy

Buying aerial refueling tankers from both Northrop Grumman Corp and Boeing Co., on a competitive basis, could offer significant long-term savings, according to a report prepared by Northrop.

Teledyne Gets Defense Contract Potentially Worth $19 Million

Teledyne Technologies Inc. said that a subsidiary was awarded a contract to develop electronic devices and circuits for the Defense Department.

Insurance Giant Signs L.A. Sports Sponsorship Deal

Farmers Insurance Group has signed a multi-year agreement to put its corporate logo on the jerseys of the Los Angeles Sparks women's professional basketball team.

This Week's Big Movers

The Los Angeles Business Journal's index of the 200 largest local public companies closed up for the week ended June 5, despite mixed economic data that slowed the overall markets late in the week.

Mattel to Pay $2.3 Million Penalty for Toy Hazard

Mattel Inc. and its Fisher-Price subsidiary will pay a $2.3 million civil penalty in an agreement with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for selling Chinese-made toys with hazardous levels of lead.

Thursday, June 4

Pinching Pennies in Hollywood

Thanks to airline and hotel deals, vacationers are still coming to see the stars, but they're spending less on dining and attractions.

UTi Delivers Worse-Than-Expected Quarter

Long Beach logistics company UTi Worldwide Inc. said its fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 27 percent as freight and logistic volumes continued to be weak in the slow economy. The results were worse than Wall Street expected.

County Delays Plan to Borrow $1.1 Billion

California's financial crisis has prompted Los Angeles County to delay plans to borrow $1.1 billion by selling short-term notes, saying it wanted to give investors more information about the potential effects that state budget cuts would have on county fi

Disney, Hearst, NBC Consider Joint Venture

The Walt Disney Co., Hearst Corp and NBC Universal are in talks to create a new corporate entity comprising the 10 cable channels the three companies own jointly, including A & E;, Lifetime and History.

Radio & Records Closed; More Laid Off at Reporter

Nielson has closed the trade publication Radio & Records, leaving about 30 staffers out of work, and laid off another 10 people at the venerable Hollywood Reporter.

Slow May for Apparel Companies

May sales for trendy retailers Hot Topic Inc. and American Apparel Inc. were slower that analysts had predicted as shoppers focused on sales and bargains.

Wednesday, June 3

DirecTV's CEO Heading to News Corp.

DirecTV Group Inc. Chief Executive Chase Carey will return to News Corp., as Rupert Murdoch's right-hand man, both companies said.

TV Guide Ex-CEO Blasts New Owners

Scott Crystal, the TV Guide chief executive who resigned over the weekend, has fired off an e-mail to former colleagues claiming the new owners are engaged in a "self-enrichment" scheme that will siphon away millions from the money-losing magazine.

Miscikowski Named to Port Board

Former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski has been appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, which governs the Port of Los Angeles.

Miles Announces New Electric Car

Miles Electric Vehicles Inc., a Santa Monica start-up that imports electric vehicles from China, on Wednesday unveiled an all-electric sedan that it hopes to start selling in United States next year.

Progress Made in Bratz Talks

A settlement now appears likely in the legal dispute between rivals Mattel Inc. and MGA Entertainment Inc. over the Bratz fashion doll line.

XCast Labs Closes $2.7 Million Financing

Digital voice and video provider XCast Labs Inc. said it had closed a $2.7 million financing round, which was led by Santa Monica boutique investment banker Siemer & Associates LLC.

Center Financial Names New Chairman, Vice Chairman

Center Financial Corp., which largely targets Los Angeles?Korean-American community, said that its directors had named Jin Chul Jhung as its chairman and appointed Kevin Sung Kim to the new position of vice-chairman.

Proposal Would Combat Rescissions

Steve Poizner, California's insurance chief, is unveiling rules that would deter health insurers from dropping policyholders who develop costly ailments.

K-Swiss to Acquire Rest of Palladium SAS

K-Swiss Inc. said it will acquire the remaining equity interest in French shoemaker Palladium SAS that it doesn't already own for about $7.1 million.

Tuesday, June 2

Platinum Equity Buys GM Supplier

Los Angeles private equity firm Platinum Equity is buying most of Delphi Corp., which will enable General Motors Corp.'s largest supplier to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after more than three years.

Health Beverage Company Relocates to L.A. County

Zico Coconut Water said that it has relocated its headquarters from Oradell, N.J. to Hermosa Beach.

TCW Group's CEO To Step Down

Los Angeles-based money manager TCW Group said Chief Executive Robert D. Beyer would step down at the end of June as the company prepares to separate from its French parent.

State's Unemployment Fund Short by Billions

California is paying out so much for jobless benefits and collecting so little in payroll taxes that its unemployment insurance fund could be $17.8 billion in debt by the end of 2010, according to a new state report.

State Labor Commissioner Sues Carwashes

California Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet has filed lawsuits to shut down nine carwashes ?six of them in Los Angeles ?for failing to register with the state.

Youbet.com COO Becomes CEO

Youbet.com Inc. said Chief Operating Officer David Goldberg has been named chief executive, effective immediately. Goldberg succeeds Michael Brodsky, who will become executive chairman.

Other States Give Hollywood a Fortune in Tax Breaks

Many states that are cutting spending on schools, roads and other basics have been lavishing hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives on Hollywood studios to lure TV and movie productions -- despite scant evidence that taxpayers come out ahead on suc

Monday, June 1

UCLA Medical Building Draws Healthy Price

In one of the year's biggest commercial real estate deals in Los Angeles, a medical office building on the UCLA campus is trading hands for $42.3 million.

Reporting To Head Of Class

Ex-L.A. Times reporter has enlisted other unemployed journalists to conduct after-school programs.

Edison Sees Difficulties Boosting Renewable Energy

Edison International said it will be difficult to keep increasing its use of renewable energy as the latest goal set by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stretches limits on the ability to manage such power sources.

Vitesse Announces Tentative SEC Settlement

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. said that staff of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will recommend approval of a proposed $3 million settlement, ending a long-running investigation of the chipmaker's stock option practices under previous management

Namvar Draws FBI's Attention

Federal authorities are conducting a criminal investigation of businessman Ezri Namvar.

Case of Half and Have Not for Port Truck Funding

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, along with truckers in desperate need of financing to buy new trucks, got some good news last week when state officials said some of the millions promised to them to help out will finally roll in.

CALENDAR & EVENTS

Eventts of interest to L.A.'s business community.

Electric Car Maker's Shifting Factory Plans a Real Buzz Kill

Tesla's plan for a SoCal electric-car plant seems to have short-circuited.

Report: DirecTV's Carey May Become News Corp. Vice Chair

DirecTV Chief Executive Chase Carey is being tapped to become the second in command at News Corp , replacing Peter Chernin when he steps down after the end of his contract in June, according to executives familiar with the conversations.

Cab Companies Hope Hybrids Can Hack It in L.A.

L.A. cab companies are abuzz about adding hybrid fuel vehicles to their fleets.

Brew Crew

Power Brands serves up the how-to for celebrities and others looking to get into the beverage business.

Non-Profit Exec at Peace Giving Back to Community

For Mandy Nelson, making a difference in the community is all that matters. So when it came time to choose a profession, she went into teaching. Let's just say it didn't work out.

Big Blue Wrecked Crew

Ron Shinkman would begin to fix the Dodgers by sending Manny Ramirez home for good.

REGIONAL REPORT

Earth Island, the manufacturing arm of Follow Your Heart vegetarian foods, is expanding its presence in Chatsworth with the purchase of a building for shipping and receiving food products.

Online Business Directory Changes Path

Citysearch, having lost ground to rival Yelp as the Web's leading business search site, is fighting back.

Ailing State Too Much for Medical Clinic Operator

Kidney dialysis clinic operator DaVita sees a healthier future by leaving L.A. County for Denver.

Inspiration Straight From Lab

Boy's science project blossoms into root beer business.

Local Government Should Be More Plugged In to Web

Rob Carpenter believes government agencies should be more plugged into connecting online with the public.

Clouds Gather Over State's Storm Water Proposal

A showdown is looming between developers and environmentalists in L.A. County over reducing water runoff.

Businesses Move In on Twitter's Mobile Messages

Businesses are dialing in to micro-message service Twitter to connect them to customers.

Sonic Boomer

"My Three Sons" actor hopes baby boomers boost his rock band's profile.

For Jim Wiatt, Hardly a Hollywood Ending

William Morris' merger with Endeavor came with a heavy cost for the chairman: It alienated several close colleagues, triggered layoffs and ultimately accelerated his own exit.

NEWS OF THE WEEK

L.A. billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian has gained tighter control over Delta Petroleum Corp.

Refashioned

Guess co-founder Georges Marciano says his gubernatorial campaign is about empowering the people.

Calabasas Company to Brave Markets With IPO

Controversial PennyMac is banking on distressed mortgages to fuel interest in its IPO.

Good News for Ex-Journalists

Charles Crumpley thinks the good news about some laid-off journalists is their entrepreneurial spirit.

Newsmakers

David Ridini has joined Canyon Capital Realty Advisors, a Century City money management firm, as managing director.

Impact on Influence

Business leaders fear new city lobbying rules will do nothing to diminish union influence in Los Angeles.

Subway Campaign Goes Deep for Japanese Chain

Dentsu America Los Angeles has driven its client Famima underground.

Potential Suitors on Prowl for Cougar Chief Exec

What do you do after selling your company to Johnson & Johnson for nearly a billion dollars?

Reality Checks

Owners say their businesses have grown thanks to reality TV's spotlight.

Job Creation Needs Work

Patricia Palleschi fears governmental focus on job training has trumped the need for job creation.

Lions Gate's Loss Widens

Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. reported a larger-than-expected loss for fiscal 2009 largely due to a slower box office earlier in the year.

Loud, Proud and Geeky

Some people are embarrassed to admit that they're geeks. Then there are those who not only embrace their geekiness, but throw parties to celebrate it.