OC salesman indicted: James Halstead is accused of bilking investors out of tens of millions of dollars and spending it on exotic sports cars and Vegas real estate. The 16-count indictment comes a week after a federal judge ordered him to pay investors more than $66 million in damages in civil lawsuits. From the LAT:
In lawsuits and criminal proceedings, Halstead, 61, is accused of conspiring with Irvine securities lawyer Jeanne M. Rowzee to solicit millions of dollars from individual investors who ran the gamut from wealthy developers to retirees on fixed incomes. The pair had pledged to invest the money in securities known as private investment in public equity, or PIPEs, which they said would return up to 40% in as little as three months, according to prosecutors and lawsuits.
Live Nation deal: The L.A.-based concert promoter signed a seven-year agreement to sell tickets at stadiums and theaters managed by SMG. That includes the Forum, Chicago's Soldier Field, the New Orleans Superdome and a bunch of other venues. It's a big blow to locally based Ticketmaster, which is losing the business. Live Nation has gotten into the ticket-selling business in a big way, and it's expected to eat into Ticketmaster revenues. (Reuters)
Council approves signs: So much for the opposition to Staples owner AEG plastering the outside of the convention hall with electronic billboards youíll be able to see from Pasadena. The L.A. City Council voted overwhelmingly to sell signage rights in a deal that will give the city a whopping $2 million a year, yet one more giveaway to Anschutz Entertainment Group. Only Councilman Bill Rosendahl voted against the plan. From the LAT:
Rosendahl said he was worried that the deal was a taxpayer giveaway to AEG and said the city could possibly bring in more money if other companies were allowed to bid on a convention center signage contract. Rosendahl also expressed concern that AEG already has benefited from a "sweetheart deal" with the city that granted the company $27 million in tax breaks to build LA Live. "I don't think it's a great business deal for the city at all," Rosendahl said. "I think it's a great business deal for this private vendor."
Chipmaker goes hostile: Vishay Intertechnology bumped its offer for El Segundo-based International Rectifier (that name!!!) by about $100 million and said it would go directly to shareholders. The new $1.7 billion bid is a 9 percent premium over International Rectifier's closing price on Tuesday (IR said the earlier bid was too low). Vishay intends to nominate three of its own candidates for the International Rectifier board. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Court OKs port plan: A federal judge upheld her original ruling on Monday that gives the go-ahead on the Clean Trucks Program adopted by the ports of L.A. and Long Beach. Beginning Oct. 1, all trucks built before 1989 will be banned from port property. The American Trucking Association had tried to block enforcement portions of the plan. (Press-Telegram)
Mood picks up: A survey by Chapman University finds that consumer sentiment in California had risen to 65.1 in the third quarter from 57.6 in the second. Thatís still well below the 94.4 reading in the third quarter of 2007 (not sure what they consider the "third quarter" to be since it doesn't end until Sept. 30). Driving the increase were expectations that the economy will be better a year from now. (LABJ)