GUILTY PLEA: An L.A. man accused of leaking Walt Disney Co.’s earnings information obtained by his employee girlfriend has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and wire fraud in a Manhattan federal court. Yonni Sebbag and Bonnie Hoxie, former assistant to the Burbank entertainment giant’s corporate communications chief, were accused of offering confidential information about the entertainment company’s earnings as stock tips to investment companies. Charges are pending against Hoxie.
COUNTRYWIDE PROBE: The Securities and Exchange Commission has alleged that Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide Financial Corp.’s ex-chief executive, personally approved loans for favored borrowers that contradicted the company’s standards. Mortgage loans by the company, since acquired by Bank of America, are the subject of a congressional ethics probe because two senators received them. The SEC also has accused Mozilo of civil fraud and illegal insider trading.
NEW MUSEUM: Eli Broad has announced he will build a museum at a downtown L.A. site for his contemporary art collection after the Grand Avenue Authority agreed to lease him 2.5 acres of Los Angeles County-owned land. The Broad Collection, a museum of contemporary art, will be built next to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Work on the site is set to begin in October and be completed by late 2012.
JOBLESS RATE: L.A. County’s unemployment rate edged up two-tenths of a point in July to 12.4 percent as the county was hit by seasonal job losses in education, the winding down of the federal census, and cutbacks in state and local government.
WARNING: American Apparel Inc. said it has received a delisting warning from the NYSE Amex exchange and added that it is still unsure when it will file its quarterly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The L.A. clothing manufacturer and retailer, which warned earlier this month that it may not have enough liquidity to continue to operate for the next year, said it submitted a compliance plan to the exchange in June, and has since provided supplemental information on how it could regain compliance by Nov. 15.
PAYBACK: American International Group Inc. has announced it is paying back nearly $4 billion in taxpayer aid with proceeds from a recent debt sale by its L.A. aircraft leasing company, International Lease Finance Corp. ILFC leases one of the world’s biggest commercial jet fleets. The repayment will release about $10 billion of collateral that ILFC had pledged to the Fed under the credit agreement.
RATE HIKE: The California Department of Insurance has approved slightly smaller rate hikes on individual Anthem Blue Cross health insurance policies after public outrage and government scrutiny halted a larger increase. The rate increase averages about 14 percent for customers of Anthem Blue Cross, the Westlake Village unit of Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc. The smaller increase is expected to save consumers $184 million. The department also approved a nearly 19 percent increase for Blue Shield of California.
PROPERTY ASSESSMENT: The assessed values of properties in Los Angeles County dropped for the second year in a row, falling about $19 billion to just over $1 trillion, according to the County Assessor’s Office. The reduction should give additional property tax breaks to many homeowners, especially those who bought at the peak of the real estate market in 2007. The overall decline in assessed valuation, which impacts the amount of revenue schools and other government agencies receive, means most areas of the county will receive less revenue. Communities like Pasadena and San Gabriel will see an increase in revenue based on the increased assessments there.
COUNTERFEIT DENIM: Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Los Angeles Police Department have seized $6.2 million in counterfeit True Religion jeans. The counterfeit goods were found Aug. 17 in a shipping container inspected at the customs office that serves the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. A 39-year-old man was arrested as part of the investigation. True Religion, based in Vernon, makes premium denim and other sportswear.
ASIAN EXPANSION: Robeks Corp. has signed a franchise agreement with a Japanese company to open 500 smoothie cafes in Japan and 12 other Asian countries. The deal is the largest in the history of the Manhattan Beach premium smoothie company and is the first phase of an international expansion plan. Masahiro Koh, president of Tokyo-based Clarence Corp., an importer of health foods, said the partnership comes in response to renewed interest from Asian consumers in developing better eating habits.
EUROPEAN DEAL: Cereplast Inc. in El Segundo has signed a multimillion-dollar agreement with an Italian company that will make products using Cereplast’s bioplastic resins. Rime Masterbatch Srl, which is based in Mozzate, will use the resins to make colored plastic items such as carryout bags and compostable trash bags.
WATERWORKS: Engineering and construction firm Aecom Technology Corp. in downtown Los Angeles has won a $101 million contract to build a water treatment system for the Town of Davie, Fla. The project includes a 6 million-gallon-per-day treatment plant and a 3.5 million-gallon water reclamation facility. Davie, east of Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, has a population of about 90,000.
EARNINGS: Guess Inc. reported net income of $66.8 million, up 12 percent from the previous year. Revenue rose 10.5 percent to $577 million. … Semtech Corp. reported net income of $19.7 million, up 166 percent from a year earlier. Revenue rose 71 percent to more than $113 million.
CORRECTION: In the Aug. 23 article headlined “One-Size Copyright Bill Doesn’t Fit All,” Susan Scafidi’s title was incorrect. Scafidi is academic director of Fordham Law School’s Fashion Law Institute.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.