STEPPING DOWN? Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Ray Irani is expected to set a date for retiring in 2011, although he’ll continue as chairman. The report comes after two of Occidental’s institutional shareholders, angry at high executive compensation at the company, launched a proxy fight for board seats. Irani, 75, has topped the Business Journal’s list of highest-paid chief executives in the L.A. area for five straight years, with a $31.4 million compensation package in 2009. Stephen Chazen, who was promoted to chief operating officer in August, is Irani’s likely successor.

CASE CLOSED: The Securities and Exchange Commission has informed KB Home that it has completed its investigation into potential accounting and disclosure violations by the company and would not recommend any enforcement action. The SEC began the investigation of the L.A. homebuilder in 2009. A year earlier, Bruce Karatz, former chairman and chief executive, paid nearly $7.2 million to settle SEC charges of backdating stock options. A Los Angeles federal jury in April found Karatz guilty of two counts of mail fraud in connection with the case. He has appealed.

DIVORCE TRIAL: The high-profile divorce trial of Frank and Jamie McCourt began last week, with Frank McCourt denying that he had tampered with documents regarding ownership rights to the Los Angeles Dodgers. His divorce attorneys contend that a hired lawyer may have corrected a mistake, but made no material change in a version of the document. The couple drew up the agreement in 2004 to list their homes in Jamie McCourt’s name, and the Dodgers and other assets in Frank McCourt’s in order to protect their homes from business creditors.

BETTER BID: Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has raised his bid for control of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. to $7.50 per share, up from $6.50. Icahn, the largest single investor after an earlier tender offer, said his new offer will only be valid if shares recently issued in an effort to dilute his stake are rescinded or converted into nonvoting stock. The company, with corporate headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia, and studio operations in Santa Monica, said that it will consider whether to recommend shareholders accept Icahn’s latest bid.

MIRAMAX WRINKLE: Morgan Creek founder James Robinson, who reportedly had been prepared to contribute as much as $100 million toward Ron Tutor's $660 million purchase of Walt Disney Co.'s boutique studio Miramax, has pulled out over terms of his role in the company. Another potential investor, retired engineer and philanthropist Jerome Swartz, reportedly also has pulled out of the deal. But Tutor's Filmyard Holdings LLC said sufficient money has been committed to do the deal.


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