In-N-Out Power Struggle Heats Up

In-N-Out Burgers' in-house power struggle heated up this week when it accused a top executive of fraud and embezzlement. Richard Boyd, who was in charge of building In-N-Out restaurants and is still on the payroll, diverted construction materials and crews to his own property and charged the work to the company, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The restaurant chain also said that Boyd, who is a company director and one of two trustees in charge of the founding Snyder family's trusts, gave business to a favored contractor without competitive bidding and overpaid for construction services. Boyd's attorney called the allegations "totally baseless," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Homeless Problem Is Countywide
Homelessness is pervasive in L.A. County, and communities from Brentwood to East L.A. have men, women and children living on the streets, according to a new report, the Los Angeles Times reported. In Glendale, Pasadena and Long Beach, the report found more than 88,000 people living countywide on streets and in shelters and vehicles, with about 35,000 of them chronically homeless. The largest concentration of homeless people , at 20,000 , was found in metropolitan Los Angeles, which includes downtown and stretches from Mount Washington to West Hollywood. The findings are from a January 2005 street count and survey of homeless people and are included in a report to be released today by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

L.A. Council Rejects Review of LAX Runway Contract
The City Council cleared the way Wednesday for the $328 million realignment and reconstruction of the south runway at Los Angeles International Airport, rebuffing a request for a more extensive review of the bidding process, Copley News Service reported. The council rejected an effort by Councilman Tony Cardenas to review the airport commission's decision to hire Tutor Saliba, which received a $242 million contract to manage the project. Cardenas said Tutor Saliba's problems on an airport project in Van Nuys merited further study by the council. Lydia Kennard, general manager of Los Angeles World Airports, opposed further council review, saying the city has no choice but to provide the contract to Tutor Saliba since it was the lowest bidder.

Boeing Satellite Contract Worth About $1 Billion
Boeing Co. won a satellite contract worth up to $1 billion, the biggest commercial contract for the company's El Segundo-based Satellite Development Center in nine years, the defense firm said Wednesday. Boeing will build three of its 702 satellites, and associated ground systems for Renton, Va.-based Mobile Satellite Ventures. Mobile Satellite's chairman and CEO Alexander Good said the contract is worth between $500 million and $1 billion. But the new contract won't lead to additional jobs in El Segundo, the Daily Breeze reported. Mobile Satellite plans to use the satellites to create the world's first commercial mobile satellite service based on both space and terrestrial elements.

LAUSD Construction Boss Out After 5 Years
A Navy veteran brought in to head up LAUSD's $19.2 billion school construction and repair program said Wednesday he will resign when his contract expires June 30. Jim McConnell took the helm of the construction program in 2001, after overwhelming problems with the Belmont project eroded public confidence in the district's ability to build schools. He is credited with turning around a beleaguered school construction program, putting together a professional team and helping pass three construction bonds, including a $4 billion bond passed by voters in November. McConnell plans to look for a job in the private sector after 31 years of public service, which included a 26-year career as a naval officer, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported.

PWP Accused of Overbilling in 2000-01
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has accused Pasadena Water and Power and more than a dozen other municipal utilities of systematically overcharging for electricity sold during the energy crisis of 2000-2001. Lockyer filed claims against 17 city-owned power companies alleging they overbilled the state more than $500 million and demanding a refund, the Pasadena Star News reported. Lockyer filed the claims on behalf of the California Department of Water Resources last month. The cities have 45 days to respond, at which point the state can begin bringing lawsuits. The single largest claim is for $260 million, directed at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Pasadena Water and Power is said to owe $8.2 million in refunds. The claims cover electricity sales made between May 1, 2000, and June 20, 2001.

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