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Howard Fine

Stories by Howard

Long Beach Airport Passenger Traffic Soared 11 Percent in February

Passenger traffic at Long Beach Airport jumped 10.9 percent in February from last year to more than 306,000, airport officials reported March 28

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OP Bancorp Sets Price for IPO

OP Bancorp, parent of Open Bank, set a price of $11 per share for its initial public offering of 2 million shares, which would yield a total offering size of $22 million, the downtown bank holding company announced March 27.

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Paramount Refinery Sold as Part of $72 Million Deal

A renewable diesel and jet fuel refinery in Paramount has been sold to Boston-based biofuel producer World Energy as part of a deal reportedly worth $72 million.

American Airlines Will Fly Non-Stop to Buenos Aires from LAX

First carrier to offer non-stop service from L.A.

American Airlines announced March 27 that it will launch in December the first-ever non-stop service between LAX and Buenos Aires.

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Linda Oubré Named President of Whittier College

L.A. native and San Francisco State University business school dean Linda Oubré has been named president of Whittier College, starting in July.

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All About Strategy: How Aecom’s Michael Burke Built a Behemoth

Business Hall of Fame 2018

Michael Burke got off to a bold start within days of taking over as chief executive of Century City-based engineering firm Aecom in March 2014 by approaching a larger rival about buying it out.

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SoftBank’s Service Station

Long Beach-based chain has Tokyo powerhouse in corner, big ambitions

Long Beach’s United Pacific is the largest independent gas station/convenience store chain in the Western U.S. with annual revenue topping $3 billion.

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La Brea Bakery Parent Closing Vernon Plant, Laying Off 109

The parent company of La Brea Bakery Café is closing a distribution plant in Vernon in late April and laying off 109 employees, according to a notice the company filed with the state.

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LA County Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 4.5 Percent

L.A. County’s unemployment rate in February was 4.5 percent, unchanged from January amid broad-based job gains for the month, according to state figures released March 23.

East Los Angeles College, OmniWorks to Launch Business Incubator

The East Los Angeles College Foundation and start-up support company OmniWorks are launching a business incubator and accelerator at East L.A. College in Monterey Park, the two entities announced on March 23.

Aecom Invests in Denver Project

Two local real estate investment entities – Aecom Capital of Century City and Santa Monica-based private equity firm Mass Equities Inc. – have formed a partnership to finance and develop a mixed-use project in Denver’s art district, the companies announced March 22.

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Leslie Gonda, Aircraft Leasing Firm Co-Founder, Philanthropist, 98


Leslie Gonda, a Hungarian Jew who escaped the Nazis under an assumed identity and went on to co-found an aircraft leasing firm with Steven Udvar-Hazy and then become a philanthropist, died March 16 at age 98, his family announced in an obituary notice.

La Brea Bakery Parent Closing Vernon Plant, Laying Off 109

The parent company of La Brea Bakery Café is closing a distribution plant in Vernon in late April and laying off 109 employees, according to a notice the company filed with the state.

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Catalina’s Taxing Challenge

Avalon proposes levy to finance $60M hospital

Catalina proposes fee to fund the local hospital.

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Firms See Business Spike on Harassment Fallout

Boost in demand for training sessions driven by fears of big verdicts

Sexual harassment claims are on the rise, and the demand for legal services goes well beyond litigation.

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Breitburn May Lower Tax Pain

Breitburn Energy Partners submitted an amended recovery plan last week that boosts cash payouts to holdout creditors.

Breitburn Looks to Exit Bankruptcy With New Plan, Agreement With Creditors

Days after a judge rejected its bankruptcy exit plan, Breitburn Energy Partners on March 13 submitted an amended recovery plan that boosts cash payouts to holdout creditors. A tentative agreement was also reached to limit tax liabilities for shareholders.

Aecom Unit's Contract for Unmanned Airforce Training Aircraft Could Reach $961M

Aecom’s URS Federal Technical Services unit was awarded a contract of up to $961 million by the U.S. Air Force for training services for three types of unmanned aircraft, the Defense Department announced on March 9.

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Cost of High Speed Rail Route from LA to SF Soars to $77 Billion

The estimated cost to build a high speed rail line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco has soared 20 percent to a minimum of $77 billion, according to the latest draft business plan from the California High Speed Rail Authority released on March 9.

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Judge Rejects Breitburn’s Bankruptcy Restructuring Plan

A bankruptcy court judge on March 9 rejected the restructuring plan submitted by bankrupt Los Angeles oil firm Breitburn Energy Partners, sending the company, its creditors and its shareholders back to the negotiating table.

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L.A. River Project to Include Gehry Partners

Frank Gehry part of team tackling L.A. River redevelopment plan.

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L.A. Unemployment Rate Up to 4.5 Percent in January Amid Seasonal Job Loss

L.A. County’s unemployment rate edged back up to 4.5 percent in January from 4.4 percent in December as local employers shed holiday season workers, state figures released March 7 show.

L.A. Area Wages Up 0.9 Percent in January

Wages in the Los Angeles area rose a modest 0.9 percent to a median of $60,420 in February from a year ago, according to a survey released March 6 from online job site Glassdoor.

L.A. River Project to Include Gehry Partners

L.A. County officials on March 5 announced that county staff has selected a team that includes the firm of internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry to update the county’s 22-year-old master plan for the Los Angeles River.

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In Search of CEOs

Managing partner of Deloitte’s L.A. office on role as chair of chamber

Deloitte’s Michelle Kerrick, the new chair of the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, is the second woman to hold the post in 130 years.

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Platinum Picks Up Four More

Beverly Hills private equity giant Platinum Equity continued its acquisition tear, announcing four deals last week on top of four others earlier in the young year.

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Ancient Exchange

Hawala's roots trace back to Silk Road, recently cropped up in federal court

Breaking down a low-tech alterative banking system used by some local merchants.

710 Freeway Proposal Decision Delayed By MTA Board

The board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on March 1 voted unanimously to delay by several years a decision on two multibillion dollar alternative proposals to widen the 710 Freeway until after interchange and ramp improvements are completed, according to information posted on the agency's website

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Caltech, USC Move Up in World University Ranking; UCLA Slips

The California Institute of Technology and USC moved up in an annual ranking of universities around the world released Feb. 28, while UCLA fell a couple notches.

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LAX Passenger Traffic Up Nearly 4 Percent in January

Passenger counts at Los Angeles International Airport rose 3.8 percent in January to nearly 6.7 million, airport officials announced Feb. 28.

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Platinum Equity to Pay $520M for Pennsylvania Power Plant

Los Angeles private equity firm Platinum Equity announced Feb. 27 that it has agreed to pay $520 million to buy a Gettysburg, Penn. power plant and related assets out of bankruptcy.

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Gov. Brown Appoints Seven Judges to L.A. County Superior Court

Gov. Jerry Brown on Feb. 27 named seven judges to the Los Angeles County Superior Court, including two attorneys from local law firms.

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CVB Financial to Buy Pasadena’s Community Bank for $878M

Ontario-based CVB Financial Corp. has agreed to buy Pasadena-based Community Bank for $878 million in cash and stock, the two bank institutions announced Feb. 26.

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Area Airports Double National Growth Rate

Four combine for 98M passengers; Long Beach Airport up 33 percent.

L.A. County’s four commercial airports are poised to exceed the 100 million-traveler mark.

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Wages Up Amid Slower Job Growth

Economists say modest job growth expected this year and next

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Ontario Airport Passenger Traffic Jumped 11 Percent in January

Passenger traffic at Ontario International Airport rose 10.6 percent in January, while air cargo volume jumped 22 percent, airport officials reported Feb. 22

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Tom Gilmore Named New Board Chair for CCA

Downtown developer Tom Gilmore has been named new board chair for the Central City Association, the downtown business group announced Feb. 21.

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Modest Local Job Growth Trend to Continue This Year and Next: Forecast

Los Angeles County is expected to add about 48,000 jobs this year and 34,000 next year, making for a modest growth rate of around 1 percent, according to a forecast to be released Feb. 21 by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

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Sole Source Capital Buys Stake in Oil Equipment Supply Co.

Santa Monica private equity firm Sole Source Capital announced Feb. 16 it has purchased a majority interest in Premier Flow Control, an Odessa, Texas-based oil equipment supply company.

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LB’s ‘Bridge to Everywhere’

The nation’s tallest cable-stayed bridge moves past funding delays, design changes and surprises

Building a $1.3 billion bridge in Long Beach.

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Long Beach Airport Passenger Traffic Up Nearly 7 Percent in January

Airline passenger traffic at Long Beach Airport increased nearly 7 percent in January 2018 compared with the same period in 2017, airport officials announced on Feb. 16.

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Hot Market Brings Solid Job Growth at Brokerages

Number of Registered Brokers at Top 25 Up Nearly 5 Percent

Last year was great for stocks – and a solid year of overall employment growth for Los Angeles County’s securities brokerages.

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LAX’s $4.5 Billion People Mover Project Begins Approval Process

The Los Angeles World Airports Board of Commissioners on Feb. 15 voted to take the first step toward awarding a $4.5 billion contract to a contractor consortium to design, construct and operate the planned people mover at Los Angeles International Airport.

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Universal Business Registration Moves Ahead

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 13 voted to create a universal business registration program for all of the estimated 15,000 businesses in unincorporated areas.

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Mayor Names First Procurement Officer to Work with Business Vendors

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Feb. 13 tapped New York’s top contracting official Michael Owh to become L.A.’s first chief procurement officer and tasked him with encouraging more small and minority businesses to seek city contracts.

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Pepperdine, Venture Alliance Take Aim at Startup Funding

The Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business, in partnership with the Venture Alliance, is launching an initiative to better prepare startups for investment funding.

Accounting Firms Tally 5.5% Hike in Jobs

SERVICES: Big 4 hold places; moves in middle ranks

Accounting firms bulk up, thanks to a growing economy, M&A activity, technology consulting and the new tax law.

L.A. Tops Once Again in Global Traffic Congestion Survey

For the sixth year in a row, Los Angeles has topped a list of the world’s most gridlocked cities, according to a survey released Feb. 6.

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UPDATE: Bankrupt Breitburn Energy Partners Rejects $1.8B Offer

Breitburn Energy Partners has rejected a $1.8 billion cash offer from a Houston energy fund.

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Ontario Hits Hot Spot on Asia Flights

Ontario International Airport, now on its own, prepares to take off as an economic driver.

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