STAYING PUT: 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. Elected to a second four-year term in March, Villaraigosa said in a national TV interview that he wanted to devote his full attention to Los Angeles, which is facing its worst fiscal crisis in decades. Polls indicated that voters had become less enthusiastic about Villaraigosa's performance as mayor, and many were concerned he would be distracted from city business if he entered a statewide race.
JOBLESS RATE: In a sign that the recession still has a firm hold on Los Angeles County, the jobless rate climbed to 11.6 percent in May compared with 10.9 percent in April and 7.1 percent a year ago. More than 200,000 county residents have lost their jobs over the past year. Losses were across the board, with the manufacturing sector alone shedding 37,000 payroll jobs. Private education and health services continue to be the county's only bright spots. A separate study by the Los Angeles Economic Roundtable argued that the county's numbers looked worse than other areas of the country in part because of the high percentage of "informal employment" that includes independent contractors and workers who are paid in cash and kept off company books.
SELL & BUY: Rentech Inc. announced that it agreed to sell $6.4 million in stock to some current institutional shareholders. The L.A. developer of synthetic fuels and chemicals technologies plans to use net proceeds for general corporate purposes, including paying some development costs at a renewable synthetic fuel and power project in Rialto. Separately, the company said it plans to acquire an Atlanta company that's developing technology to convert urban waste feedstocks into synthetic gas. Also, Rentech said it acquired a 25 percent stake in a renewable biofuels company in Hawaii.
CHAIS CHARGED: The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil fraud charges against L.A. investment adviser Stanley Chais and three other people related to their involvement in the Bernard Madoff case. The SEC accused Chais, who oversaw three Madoff funds, of funneling as much as $1 billion to what has been alleged as the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. Chais, regulators allege, misled investors by failing to disclose Madoff's involvement and knowingly filed false accounting statements for years.
INSURERS SETTLE: MGA Entertainment Inc. 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. The dispute between MGA and its insurers Hartford Insurance Co. of the Midwest, Hartford Fire Insurance Co. and Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. centered on who would pay damages and legal bills for MGA's fight with Mattel over the line of Bratz dolls. MGA filed a federal lawsuit in 2008 against the insurers, saying they had breached their agreement to pay for MGA's defense.
NOT WELCOME: Real estate industry Web site operator Move Inc. said Wednesday that it had sold the assets and certain liabilities of its Welcome Wagon property to South Florida Media Group. The Westlake Village company, which operates the online sites Move.com and Realtor.com, did not disclose terms of the sale. Welcome Wagon is the modern version of the tradition of providing introductions to people who had recently moved into a community.
INVOLUNTARY BANKRUPTCY: Three limited liability companies managed by controversial businessman Ezri Namvar have been put into involuntary bankruptcy. The trustee in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Namvar's main company, Namco Capital Group Inc. of Los Angeles, filed the petitions with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court that put the companies into Chapter 7 bankruptcies June 19. The three entities hold real estate investments and in total owe $79.4 million in unsecured loans to Namco, according to court filings. After his real estate investments soured, Namvar was accused by creditors of running a Ponzi scheme.
CHAPTER 11: Sea Launch Co., a Long Beach rocket venture that is 40 percent owned by Boeing Co., has filed for bankruptcy protection, citing recurring losses from operations. The company, which launches rockets at sea from a floating platform, said it intends to maintain business operations during the Chapter 11 reorganization. Sea Launch, which listed assets of up to $500 million and liabilities of more than $1 billion, said lower demand for lifting commercial satellites into space and inability to secure financing to pay a $52 million arbitration ruling against it had prompted the filing.
MORE LAYOFFS: Beverly Hills social networking MySpace.com said it plans to close at least four international offices and reduce overseas staff by two-thirds. The cuts came a week after MySpace axed one-third of its U.S. staff in a companywide restructuring. Those cuts left MySpace with about 1,000 domestic employees. The company, which is owned by News Corp., plans to reduce international staff from about 450 employees to 150. Offices that could be shut down include those in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden and Spain. Even so, MySpace would not cut off service in countries where the company decided to close operation, a spokeswoman said.
EARNINGS: Ameron International Corp. reported second quarter net income of $9.4 million, 42 percent lower than a year ago. Revenue fell 17 percent to $133 million. CKE Restaurants Inc. reported first quarter net income of $14.4 million, 13 percent lower than a year ago. Revenue fell 4 percent to $447 million. Aerovironment Inc. reported fourth quarter net income of $5.8 million, 9 percent lower than a year ago. Revenue rose 18 percent to $76 million. (See Page 7.) Image Entertainment Inc. reported a fourth quarter net loss of $3.33 million, 77 percent lower than a year ago. Revenues rose 2.3 percent to nearly $27 million.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.
Stories You May Also Be Interested In
- Chais Estate Faces Claims in Madoff Case
- Spotlight Shifts to Bankruptcies in Namvar Case
- Update: AG Sues Investment Advisor Linked to Madoff
- Update: AG Sues Investment Advisor Linked to Madoff
- MGA Settles With Insurers
- SEC Charges Chais With Fraud
- More Namvar Entities Put Into Bankruptcy
- Another Namvar Business Pushed Into Bankruptcy