Tuesday morning headlines

SAG delays vote: Just too much internal heat - and dimming chances of getting the required 75 percent of voters to approve a strike authorization. A meeting of the guild's national board is now scheduled for Jan. 12 and the vote, which had been scheduled for next week, will be delayed two weeks. (Variety)

Madoff lieutenant questioned: It turns out that Frank DiPascali really ran the place - and investigators want to know more. (He has not been charged.) They also have questions for Madoff's auditors. From the WSJ:

After Mr. Madoff's arrest on Dec. 11, investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission showed up at the Madoff firm's headquarters in Manhattan and questioned Mr. DiPascali. He told the SEC he didn't know who was responsible for clearing and settling trades in the investment-advisory side of the firm, according to an SEC memorandum reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. He "responded evasively," the SEC memo said.

MOCA accepts deal: Director Jeremy Strick has resigned, and the board signed off on a bailout from Eli Broad. As part of the agreement, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation will match contributions to MOCA’s endowment up to $15 million - and provide $3 million a year for exhibition support for five years. From the LAT:

MOCA board co-chairmen Tom Unterman and David G. Johnson said that museum trustees had pledged or promised more than $20 million in new gifts since the museum’s financial troubles became public in November. The executives declined to name specific board members who were planning donations. Broad’s agreement calls for MOCA to “continue operating as an independent world-class contemporary art museum” and to maintain both its headquarters on Grand Avenue and the Geffen Contemporary space in Little Tokyo. The plan requires MOCA to “keep its collection intact and not sell any works of art.”

Stranded at LAX: Look for more delays this morning on the Seattle and Portland runs, though the logjam from the weekend snowstorm appears to be loosening up. Alaska Airlines reported 14 cancellations out of LAX on Monday. (LAX, Daily Breeze)

Fry's executive held: Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, who has been the chain’s vice president of merchandising and operations, is accused of defrauding the San Jose-based company out of $65 million, much of which he used to pay off gambling debts in Vegas. Fry's other executives were apparently in the dark, according to the feds. From the Mercury News:

According to the complaint, which was unsealed Monday, Siddiqui convinced Fry's that the company should eliminate sales representatives on his accounts, and instead, he'd act as a middleman between vendors and Fry's. He promised that he'd save Fry's a lot of money that way. But instead, the complaint alleges, he ended up charging exorbitant commissions — up to 31 percent, or 10 times the normal amount — to the vendors, which he funneled to his own "straw'' company PC International.
Redefault dilemma?: Some homeowners should just not be homeowners. Of the mortgage loans that were modified in the first quarter, 37 percent became delinquent again in three months, and 55 percent were delinquent again in six months, according to a report from the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. The numbers were even worse in the second quarter. (OC Register)

Valley home prices edge higher: Maybe the downward pressure is easing a little in some places - the median price of a single-family house in the SFV rose $5,000 in both October and November and now stands at $410,000 (still 30 percent below the year-ago price of $580,000). Foreclosures jumped 67 percent from a year earlier, but were down 19 percent from October. (Daily News)

Sebastiani winery sold: Buyer is Foley Wine Group of Los Olivos. No purchase price disclosed. The deal apparently was opposed by some members of the Sebastiani family (one insider likened the sibling differences to something out of an Italian opera). From the SF Chronicle:

Having been on a winery-buying binge for more than a year - he owns Firestone Vineyards in Santa Barbara County, Merus in Napa, and Three Rivers Winery in Washington, to name a few - founder Bill Foley also sought more leverage with distributors. Sebastiani produces 280,000 cases a year. He said he has not met with Sebastiani's winemaker, Mark Lyon, but hopes he will stay on. Foley believes the sale was prompted by good, old-fashioned sibling differences. "I think the three kids - the grandkids of the founder - got to a point where they said this isn't going to work," said [Foley, who is chairman of the national insurance company Fidelity National and got into the wine business as a sort of second career]. "There was no solid plan of succession. They decided it was time to move on."

Disney Expansion planned: The Mouse House and the Hong Kong government are looking to expand the Asia theme park (attendance has been disappointing). Disney is also negotiating to build a new theme park in Shanghai. (WSJ)

Lacter on radio: This morning's business chat with KPCC's Steve Julian updates the local employment situation and examines the latest problems at Calpers. Also available at kpcc.org and on podcast.

More by Mark Lacter:
American-US Air settlement with DOJ includes small tweak at LAX
Socal housing market going nowhere fast
Amazon keeps pushing for faster L.A. delivery
Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
How does Stanford compete with the big boys?
Those awful infographics that promise to explain and only distort
Best to low-ball today's employment report
Further fallout from airport shootings
Crazy opening for Twitter*
Should Twitter be valued at $18 billion?
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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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