REDEVELOPMENT: The Los Angeles City Council voted 9-3 against taking over redevelopment responsibilities once the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency ceases to exist Feb. 1. Council members said they were concerned about estimates of more than $109 million in additional costs plus potential liabilities. The state Supreme Court last month upheld Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to dissolve redevelopment agencies, and redirect the tax dollars to school districts and local governments.
UNIT SOLD: Health Net Inc. plans to sell its Medicare Part D prescription drug plan business to a subsidiary of retail drugstore operator CVS Caremark Corp. for $160 million. The Woodland Hills managed care provider’s drug plan has about 400,000 members in 49 states and the District of Columbia, and produces roughly $490 million in annual revenue. The deal must be reviewed by antitrust regulators.
OBITUARY: Former Beverly Hills defense contractor and Nixon administration official Roy Ash died last month at age 93 at his L.A. home. The co-founder and former president of Litton Industries served as director of the federal Office of Management and Budget during the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations in the 1970s. In 1953, he co-founded a company that acquired inventor Charles Litton’s microwave tube firm. Litton Industries developed products ranging from microwave ovens to aircraft guidance systems and was acquired by Northrup Grumman Corp. in 2001. Ash is survived by his wife of 68 years, Lila.
NEW ECONOMIST: The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. has hired Robert Kleinhenz as its new chief economist. Kleinhenz, 53, had been deputy economist with the California Association of Realtors for several years. As chief economist at LAEDC’s Kyser Center for Economic Research, will be in charge of economic forecasts for the L.A. Angeles area. He replaces Nancy Sidhu, who retired last month to deal with a family health situation.
CANADIAN EXPANSION: VCA Antech Inc. has acquired Associate Veterinary Clinics, operator of the largest network of animal hospitals in Canada. AVC operates 44 hospitals in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario that generate annual revenue of about $95 million. VCA made its first investment in the Calgary, Alberta, company in 2008. The combined companies will operate about 585 animal hospitals in 41 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. AVC’s managers will continue in their current roles.
INVESTIGATION ENDED: American Apparel Inc. has announced that an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into its financial reporting practices has ended without enforcement action. The trendy L.A. clothing manufacturer and retailer attracted the regulator’s attention after Deloitte & Touche resigned as the company’s accountant in 2010, and warned the retailer that its previous audit reports and 2009 financial statements may not be reliable.
NO CARB GAS: Cool Planet BioFuels has received approval from the California Air Resources Board to begin fleet-testing trials of its experimental “negative carbon” gasoline, which can be made from corn cobs, woodchips or other low-grade biomass. The Camarillo company said the tests will involve combining its product with standard gasoline in an effort to meet the state’s goal of a 10 percent reduction in “carbon intensity” in standard pump gas by 2020. Cool Planet’s fuel is billed as chemically identical to traditional gasoline and usable in any recent gasoline-fueled automobile.
JOINT VENTURE: L.A. architectural firm CO Architects launched a joint venture with New York’s Fxfowle to extend the geographic reach and expertise of each company. The firms will maintain individual identities and operations while pursuing new projects together under the name Co/Fxfowle. Fxfowle’s has experience in urban planning, infrastructure, commercial, cultural and education projects. CO Architects has experience in health care, science, technology and medical education projects.
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