Another light posting day.
Home price setback: L.A. took a 2.6 percent hit in the October Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index from the previous month. That was pretty mild compared with some of the other cities surveyed. SF, for example, was down 4.2 percent, Minneapolis down 3.4 percent, Detroit down 4.5 percent and so on. None of the 20 cities saw annual price gains in October -- for the seventh consecutive month. (S&P)
Little consumer confidence: December's numbers from the Conference Board are at an all-time low. Well, what would you expect? (AP)
Gas up a penny: That's for the L.A. area, but nationally pump prices fell. What gives? The group Consumer Watchdog blames refiners for sending more of their output to other states and keeping stockpiles too low in California. The refiners say the state's supplies matches up with demand. The average price in the L.A. area is $1.78. (EIA, LAT)
American Apparel update: Holiday, schmoliday - there's always something cooking at the house that Dov Charney built. Latest news is the promotion of Adrian Kowalewski to CFO - on the same day that the stock hit an all-time low. The previous CFO, Ken Cieply, resigned after Charney called him a "complete loser." Last week, the former head of European operations, Bernhard-Axel Ingo Brake, filed suit, alleging he was fired after complaining about employment practices.
American Apparel countersued, charging that he embezzled funds. From WWD:
He said he became concerned about alleged employment practices encouraged by Charney, such as paying employees under the table to avoid taxes. He also alleges female employees favored by Charney misappropriated company funds and wasted company resources, to the detriment of American Apparel’s shareholders. In its own suit, American Apparel charges that Brake hired his mistress, Irene Cuppone, for a high-level job managing the company’s Switzerland business, although she did not fulfill the duties of that position. In addition, the company alleges Brake hired his daughter, Annina Brake, to work in a company store, violating American Apparel nepotism rules, and paid her unwarranted bonuses, in an effort to enrich himself.
*An AA spokesman says that the company did not countersue. The company sued him in early October, the spokesman says, and Brake filed a countersuit in response to his dismissal for embezzlement and for hiring his daughter and mistress.
Tribune's legal bills: You're looking at $3 million - and that was before the bankruptcy filing. Court documents show that Tribune was considering the Chapter 11 option as early as November. From the Chicago Tribune:
Tribune Co. hired the Edelman public relations firm to assist with communications in connection with a possible Chapter 11 petition, Edelman said in court documents. Tribune Co. provided Edelman with two retainers totaling $110,000. As of Dec. 14, Edelman had applied $98,000 for incurred fees and expenses. Tribune Co. also set up a retainer for Sidley Austin, the company's longtime outside counsel. On Nov. 24, Tribune Co. gave the Chicago law firm an advance of $3.5 million, and 10 days later increased the retainer by $1 million. Sidley's work intensified beginning in October and through Dec. 4, when it billed the company more than $2.2 million.
Eisner ends CNBC show: The former Mouse House CEO will wrap up his monthly "Conversations With Michael Eisner" in March. He wants to focus on running his various businesses that include the online production company Vuguru. Ratings had been very low, about 100,000 viewers per episode. (THR)
Lacter on radio: Today's business chat with KPCC's Kari Moran (subbing for Steve Julian) looks at the signposts for an economic recovery. Also on kpcc.org and on podcast.