O.J. fallout: Still some question on whether Simpson will be paid in full for the book and TV interview that were cancelled yesterday by News Corp. Simpson's lawyer told the WSJ that "all of his contractural obligations have been fulfilled," but book contracts typically have provisions about potential legal liabilities that would arise from publication. Apparently, there was a lot of internal debate within News Corp. about the project. And outside News Corp., most everybody, including Fox affiliates, hated the idea. From the LAT:
One News Corp. executive, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, said that scheduling the program represented "a severe underestimating of the American public" by company executives Peter Chernin and Peter Liguori.
Sumner saga: This time it's his nephew, Michael Redstone, who is suing both Sumner Redstone and his own father, Edward Redstone. He says they cheated him and his sister out of their rightful interest in National Amusements, the movie theater company that owns controlling shares in Viacom, CBS and Midway Games. Sumner Redstone’s son, Brent filed a suit against his father earlier this year, arguing that he was entitled to a one-sixth interest in National Amusements. The NYT reports that Redstone is also at odds with his daughter Shari, who at one time was considered Sumner's heir apparent.
In a recent interview on CNBC’s “Conversations With Michael Eisner,” Mr. Redstone said, “My wife is closer to me these days than my daughter.” He made clear that he, not his daughter, was still in charge, saying that he had no plans to turn over power to her and that he disagreed with her on the outlook for the movie theater business. He argued it had no growth potential; she said it did. And in a recent Vanity Fair profile, when asked if his daughter was his heir apparent, Mr. Redstone said: “Now you are putting me on the spot,” indicating for the first time in several years that she was not his assured heir apparent.
Polly Pocket recall: El Segundo-based Mattel is recalling 2.4 million Polly Pocket dolls and accessories after three children were injured when they swallowed tiny magnets that had fallen off the sets. Consumers should take the recalled toys away from children and contact Mattel to arrange for the return of the sets.
Comcast-Disney deal?: Not that it will matter to local cable subscribers, but the big cable company and the Mouse House are near a deal in which ABC shows, including "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" will be offered on Comcast's video-on-demand service. A little irony: it was Comcast that made an unsuccessful $66 billion bid to take over Disney. Time Warner has taken over Comcast's coverage in L.A.
Eli's folly: The $2 billion Grand Avenue project was unanimously approved by a joint city-county authority, although no one has figured out how to deal with the $40 million in tax rebates that the developer is seeking. The rebates cover the city's hotel bed and parking taxes. At least folks are speaking up about the Grand Avenue boondoggle. From the LAT:
"This project is larger in size, subsidy and government involvement than any other project in Los Angeles, and yet it is smaller in terms of community benefits," said Benjamin Torres, who represents a group of community and labor organizations called the Grand Avenue Coalition for Community Benefits. The debate centers on how public money is being spent on the project. Related Cos. is making a $50-million payment to the city and county, representing the prepaid, 99-year lease of the property in the project's first phase and a deposit on the land to be used for the second phase. That $50 million would be poured back into the development, to fund a 16-acre park that would be part of the project's first phase.
Port traffic: With very little notice, more than 800,000 cargo containers flowed through the Port of Los Angeles in October, the most ever for any U.S. harbor. Laid end to end, they would stretch 3,030 miles — about the distance from Los Angeles to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. During the same month, the Port of Long Beach handled 650,726 containers. Glad to see the LAT gave it a splash this morning. Other port news: A $2 billion plan to reduce air pollution was approved by commissions for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, although area residents and environmental groups aren't thrilled about the plan because the amount of goods passing through the ports continues to grow (see previous item). From the LAT:
"As a body, you are an atrocious, abominable neighbor … and you will continue to be. It's not personal, but try to put yourself in my shoes," said Elise Trujillo, 57, a longtime Long Beach resident. "I'm not concerned about growth…. The only measurement that matters to me is less people dying."
L.A. least affordable: Only 1.8 percent of new and existing homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to those earning the area's median family income of $56,200. That's according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, which found L.A. to be the nation's least affordable area to buy a house.
Socal Edison signs clean deals: They cover seven long-term contracts with independent renewable energy producers. Collectively, they have the potential to provide another 324 megawatts of clean power, enough to serve 190,000 average homes. The contracts cover wind, geothermal and biomass.
Lacter on radio: This morning's business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian (6:55 and 9:55) covers L.A.'s low unemployment rate, the fastest growing businesses in Los Angeles County and Mattel's travails with Bratz dolls and Elmos.