VIDIOTS SAVED: Many were heartbroken when Santa Monica video rental store Vidiots, home to many out-of-print and obscure films, announced it was closing. Among the brokenhearted was Academy Award-nominated producer Megan Ellison, daughter of billionaire Oracle Corp. founder Larry Ellison, who donated enough money to keep the movie rental store’s lights on. The size of Ellison’s donation was not disclosed, but the store revealed last month that it needed $150,000 annually, and co-owner Cathy Tauber said that Ellison’s donation should keep the shop open “for many years.” In response to the gift, the store created a new shelf, “Megan’s Pix,” for the films Ellison has produced, which include Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” and Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” Leonard Lipman, a physician and longtime Vidiots customer, also donated an undisclosed sum.
STRIKE NINE: Gasoline traders reacted quickly to labor stoppages at nine oil refineries, including one in Carson, raising wholesale prices to their highest level in more than a month. Roughly 3,800 workers went on strike at nine plants in California, Texas, Kentucky and Washington state, representing 10 percent of U.S. refining capacity. The strike was called by the United Steelworkers after the union said oil giant Shell Oil Co. did not meet its demands regarding safety and health insurance issues.
DECEPTIVE ADS: A federal appeals court has upheld the Federal Trade Commission’s ban on deceptive advertising by pomegranate juice division POM Wonderful, a unit of West L.A. agriculture giant Roll Global. Roll and POM, owned by local billionaires Stewart Resnick and Lynda Resnick, have been fighting with the FTC for years over claims about the health benefits of pomegranate juice. The couple funded studies at multiple universities, including UCLA, that resulted in findings praising the pomegranate’s high concentration of antioxidants. The Resnicks then launched an ad campaign purporting that their juice can help fight heart disease and erectile dysfunction, among other ailments. The FTC was skeptical, and in January 2013 upheld the findings of an administrative law judge that POM’s advertising was deceptive and ordered the company to stop claiming that its products are effective in treating, curing or preventing any disease “unless the claim is supported by two randomized, well-controlled, human clinical trials.” The appeals court ruling reduced the FTC’s study requirement for POM to one clinical trial.
RETIRING: Gina Marie Lindsey, who has led Los Angeles World Airports for nearly eight years as executive director, said she will retire this spring “to move on to other adventures.” During her tenure, Lindsey oversaw an expansive and ongoing multibillion-dollar renovation program championed by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The project has brought improvements and a new international terminal to LAWA’s marquee property, Los Angeles International Airport. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Board of Airport Commissioners will use executive search firm Spencer Stuart to find Lindsey’s replacement.
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