Judge OKs Suit Over Grocer Pact

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a controversial mutual-aid pact between the three grocery chains involved in Southern California's bitter supermarket labor dispute could be challenged on federal antitrust grounds. The decision was a partial victory for California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer, who filed the lawsuit alleging that the agreement , in which the chains shared nearly $150 million to help each other weather the dispute , violated U.S. antitrust laws. The chains , Safeway Inc., which owns Vons and Pavilions; Kroger Co., the parent of Ralphs; and Albertsons Inc. , sought to have the suit thrown out, arguing that the pact was protected under labor laws, the Los Angeles Times reported.

LAX Prepares for Busy Summer Season
LAX Airport and air carrier officials are predicting that 5.1 million international travelers will pass through LAX this summer, 10 percent more than last year and surpassing the record 4.9 million that used the airport in the summer of 2001. Overall, the airport expects 18.5 million travelers this summer, about 500,000 fewer than four years ago. The summer travel season officially kicks off Friday and runs through Labor Day. LAX directors expect 800,000 passengers to flow through the airport's nine terminals this weekend, a 6 percent climb over last year's numbers, the Daily Breeze reported. Airport officials attributed the leap in international travel to the weak dollar and low air fares

Olvera Street Leases in Question
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has raised serious legal and public safety concerns about a pending master lease agreement that gives Olvera Street merchants below-market rents, warning it might be an illegal gift of public funds, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. According to a copy of an April 6 letter to interim Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry F. Miller, Delgadillo called for new appraisals before the proposed 55-year leases are finalized for merchants at the historic El Pueblo de Los Angeles Monument. Villaraigosa, who worked with merchants and city officials toward the master lease agreement, pledged to address the issues.

Hahn Fundraiser Abrams Faces Felony Counts
A major fundraiser for Mayor James Hahn's anti-secession and other campaigns was charged Wednesday with conspiracy and laundering political contributions, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Real estate developer Mark Alan Abrams of Beverly Hills surrendered at the downtown Criminal Courts Building just hours after District Attorney Steve Cooley filed two felony counts of conspiracy and 10 misdemeanor counts. The charges involve making political contributions under false names to Hahn and two of his allies, Councilman Tony Cardenas and ex-Councilman Nick Pacheco. Abramspleaded not guilty, but his attorney, Nathan Hochman, said he will plead guilty in the near future as part of a proposed plea bargain.


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