Tag Archive | "city"

New Zealand To Rip Off The Hollywood Sign, And Hollywood Isn’t Happy

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It’s no secret that New Zealand’s always harbored a little bit of a “baby brother” complex. First, to their trans-Tasman (I looked it up) neighbors, Australia, who apparently have a reputation for taking credit for Kiwi singers and desserts, amongst other things. But now that they’ve shot a ridiculously successful trilogy of films about some magic Hobbits who are deeply in love with each other, it seems that they’re ready to fire a few shots in our direction as well. And they’re getting started by aping our most famous landmark. Read the full story

Warren Buffett’s Head Of Security Makes Roughly Three Times More Than His Boss

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And other things you may not have known about the guy who will be all over your ass should you so much as look at WB the wrong way (such as his name: Dan Clark).

* Clark got the gig protecting Buffett after meeting his daughter buying bagels.

[Seventeen years ago] Dan Clark was a young Weed and Seed officer patrolling Omaha’s north side. He happened to lunch in the same spot as Buffett’s daughter, Susie, who was bothered by breaking news that Wisconsin bank robbers had plotted to kidnap her father. Susie Buffett asked the uniformed Clark why police wouldn’t have informed her family earlier. Clark recalled telling her that he was not privy to details, but that the Buffetts should have been contacted. Before he left, Clark offered his private security services — and shortly afterward, he was hired to protect the famed CEO of Omaha’s Berkshire Hathaway.

* He’s “a buff martial arts practitioner”

* The early days on the job were rough.

“The first year it was me, with a protein bar in my pocket, with Mr. Buffett,” Clark recalled. “I didn’t take a meal break, and I didn’t sit down. By the end of the weekend, I was dog-tired.”

* He’s a great defensive driver

Another time Clark swerved to avoid a car running a red light. “It was one of those reaffirming moments,” he said, “that you can never let your guard down.”

* His biggest threat? The animals in the press.

“The reality is I have protected him more from the press and crowds than from assaults.” He recalled a backpedaling photojournalist who, in his persistence to get a good shot, rammed into and broke off the side mirror of the CEO’s car. “Mr. Buffett just shook his head.”

* He’ll do anything for a job.

In 2008, Clark was named Crime Stoppers Officer of the Year for his role in taking apart two large narcotics operations. Road Trip II had him in deep disguise, gaining the trust of drug lords. He once engaged in a semi-friendly coin toss to settle a negotiation over the price of an assault weapon. (Clark won the flip, reducing the cost by $100.) Clark had so changed his appearance for that bust — his red, short-cropped hair was dyed dark, and he had a beard and extra weight — that his own daughter backed away when he showed up to drive her home from dance class.

* He made $349,946 last year, versus Buffett’s $100,000

* He can’t get over Buffett’s reflexes (like a cat) and speed (of a mongoose)

This week’s Berkshire meeting, however, presents Clark with his largest annual task. His associates are busy climbing through ductwork, examining catwalks, sweeping meeting rooms. Security guards will be dispatched throughout the city. Clark also coordinates with area law enforcement agencies. The pre-planning phase grows each year with the crowd. But one thing hasn’t changed, Clark said. Buffett, now 80, still walks quickly, “can change directions on a dime” and keeps Clark’s guys hopping.

He Follows Buffett’s Every Move [Omaha via Dealbook]

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

5 Ways L.A. Out-L.A.’ed Itself At The T-Mobile Sidekick 4G Launch

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The Strokes[Photo via] Last night the city of Los Angeles was on fuego with setting a new precedent for just how “L.A.” this town can get at the T-Mobile Sidekick 4G Launch event. We have seen it all, heard it all, done it all, and more often times than not we wish we hadn’t. Wait, no we don’t, we’re really indifferent about everything. So let’s discuss the five major ways L.A. took it to a new level and became a caricature of itself last night. Read the full story

Opening Bell: 04.20.11

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US Weighs Summer Sale Of GM Stock (WSJ)
To break even, the U.S. Treasury would need to sell its remaining stake—about 500 million shares—at $53 apiece. GM closed off 27 cents a share at $29.97 in 4 p.m. trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, hitting a new low since its $33-a-share November initial public offering. “Planning for the sale of our remaining GM stock is still at an early stage, and the IPO lock-up does not expire until late May,” a Treasury spokesperson said. “At that point, we will consider all of our options, based on our twin goals of protecting taxpayers’ interests and exiting as soon as practicable.”

Obama administration officials tried to keep S&P rating at ‘stable’ (WP)
Treasury officials told S&P analysts that they were underestimating the ability of politicians in Washington to fashion a compromise to curb deficits, a Treasury official said. They argued a change in ratings was not needed at this time because the debt was manageable and the administration had a viable plan in the works, the official said.

IMF’s Blanchard Says US Lacks Deficit Plan (Reuters)
“There are reasons to be worried. The United States lacks a credible plan, for the medium term, to reduce its budget deficit,” Blanchard said.

Justice Department Seeks Data In Nasdaq-NYSE Anti-Trust Review (Bloomberg)
Antitrust review is emerging as a key test in the battle for the 219-year-old market, which Nasdaq OMX Chief Executive Officer Robert Greifeld tried to snatch away from Deutsche Boerse with an $11.3 billion offer on April 1. Giving Nasdaq control would create a monopoly in listings, a prospect that may create undue risk the takeover will be blocked, according to NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer.

Congress Mulls Budget Deal Forcing More Taxes, Spending Cuts (Bloomberg)
Proposals being circulated among the bipartisan “Gang of Six” Senate negotiators, and about 20 other lawmakers in both chambers, would set deficit-cutting targets, according to people familiar with the plan. They would impose automatic, across-the- board spending reductions and higher taxes if Congress failed to meet the goals.

Freshman Republican’s bind: Vote convictions or help economy by rising debt limit? (WaPo)
“I desperately want to vote ‘no,’ ” Rep. David Schweikert said at the town hall. “I also desperately don’t want [the economy] to crash.”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch to Exit Private Equity Business (CNBC)
The unit, BAML Capital, has not been particularly active in recent months, having made its last investment in the fall of 2010. Bank of America, under pressure to conserve capital, has apparently decided it could no longer provide capital to the unit, which has roughly 35 professionals. A Bank of America spokesperson said BAML Capital is being spun off, and will be run by the current management team. The team will continue to manage the $5 billion in assets owned by BofA. Those assets will remain on the bank’s books, with expecations they will be monetized.

London Skyscraper Boom Ends as City Goes ‘From Vanity to Sanity’ (Bloomberg)
“The age of bling is over,” said Shuttleworth, who led the team at Norman Foster’s firm that designed the seven-year- old tower in the City of London financial district. He said it would never get off the ground today. “Money now drives everything, so if you can build something for half the price, you will,” he said.

Mubarak clinically depressed in hospital, officials say (NYP)
Doctors said the ousted leader spends all day in bed and is eating very little with his wife Suzanne by his side, the official added.

Facebook Seeks Friends In Beltway (WSJ)
Until lately, Facebook has spent very little money in Washington, even by Silicon Valley’s frugal standards. The company’s outlays on lobbying totaled $351,000 last year, federal records show. That’s a fraction of the amount spent by other technology giants, including Google Inc.’s $5.2 million and Microsoft Corp.’s $6.9 million. Facebook’s new Washington office, designed to look like a hacker’s lair, with walls of faux construction rubble, is a work in progress. People familiar with the company’s plans said talks to hire former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs to guide the company’s communications strategy, including with Washington, have fallen apart in the wake of a leak to the media that made a deal for him to join the company sound imminent.

China Speed Yuan Push (WSJ)
A senior Hong Kong monetary official told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that China’s central bank is “actively considering” new rules that would make it easier to bring yuan funds raised offshore back onto the Chinese mainland.

Leader of Big Mortgage Lender Guilty of $2.9 Billion Fraud (NYT)
After more than a day of deliberations, a federal jury in Virginia found Lee B. Farkas, the former chairman of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, guilty on 14 counts of securities, bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. Mr. Farkas, 58, faces decades in prison for his role in the $2.9 billion plot, which prosecutors say was one of the largest and longest bank fraud schemes in American history and led to the 2009 collapse of Colonial Bank.

Goldman Luster Fades On Revenue Worries (NYP)
“There’s a possibility that at least over the next six months the bank will have weak earnings,” said Rochdale Securities bank analyst Dick Bove, who cut the firm’s shares to “neutral” from “buy.”

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Ex-SAC Capital Trader Who Destroyed His Flash Drive With Two Pairs Of Pliers Request Insider Trading Case Be Thrown Out Due To Lack Of Evidence

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Remember Donald Longueuil? He’s the former SAC Capital trader who was accused of insider trading back in February. The feds were able to bring charges against Donny thanks to his ex-best friend, Noah “Judas” Freeman, who also worked at SAC for a time (and took part in the alleged ill-gotten gains made off of tips from expert network analyst Winifred Jiau) and agreed to record conversations with Don in exchange for a lesser sentence and permission to go to Puerto Rico with his wife. As a refresher, here’s what they’ve got Donald on tape saying re: his USB flash drive:

“The night that Wall Street Journal article came out…I pressed the eject button and everything’s fucking gone…destroyed….everything. Fuckin’, I, uh…I chopped it up, chopped up everything. It was easy. You take two pairs of pliers and then you rip it open and then, it just a piece of NAND…So I just fucking ripped it apart right there…I had two external drives that had like wafer numbers on ‘em. Fuckin’ pulled the external drives apart. Destroyed the platter…put ‘em into four separate little baggies and then at 2am…2 am on a Friday night, I put this stuff inside by black North Face jacket and leave the apartment and I go on like a 20 block walk around the city…and try to find a garbage truck…and threw away the shit in the back of like random garbage trucks, different garbage trucks…4 garbage trucks. The Feds can try and find it but it’s all fuckin’ ripped apart…everything’s gone.”

According to Donald, the Feds have got NOTHING. Nothing!

First off, how was he supposed to know that the information coming from Winifred Jiau was material non-public and second, he was like the third guy to hear about it. Hardly anything to make a stink about.

In court papers, Longueuil and Jiau argue there isn’t any evidence that information Longueuil allegedly received was from an insider at Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (MRVL) or Nvidia Corp. (NVDA), or that the original insiders then provided that information to Jiau…“The indictment fails to allege Mr. Longueuil knew or should have known that material nonpublic information he received from non-inside sources was originally obtained from an inside tipper that fraudulently breached a duty,” Craig Carpenito, a lawyer for Longueuil, wrote in court papers filed April 8. “Mr. Longueuil was a third tier recipient of the information at best,” he wrote.

As for why Donny felt the need to take a sledge hammer to his flash drive, if he thought everything was cool, don’t even go there. Every does that. Flash drive, phones, Bloomberg terminals. Standard business practice. You don’t? That’s kind of weird.

Ex-SAC Manager Seeks To End Insider Trading Case [Bloomerg]

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Business School Professor Didn’t Know You Couldn’t Bring Exotic Dancers To Class

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Not okay?

Jack Rappaport is a business professor at Lasalle University. Last month he gave students an opportunity to earn extra credit by taking a “symposium” on business ethics, for which he charged attendees $150. Their admission fee apparently went toward the hiring of three strippers, if you can even call them that, according to some attendees who were not impressed. “They were just dancing around the room,” said junior Louis Halegoua. “I mean, they had clothes on and stuff.” One, however, was apparently was doing a special kind of dance.

“I don’t know, just kind of laying on top of him. Not laying on top of him but straddling him. It was like a lap dance you could say,” said sophomore Brad Bernardino.

It was during the “like a lap dance” portion of the class that the business school’s dean happened to walk by the room and threw a wrench in the professor’s plans.

“We didn’t see him. He was, like, at the door. And he was like, ‘It’s over,’” said Halegoua.

The university has declined to comment, as has Professor Lap Dance, who said he wanted to tell his side of the story but can’t until the school has wrapped up its investigation. While we wait, it seem pretty obvious that if the Dean had simply pulled the instructor out of class and asked what was going on, he would’ve heard that the girls were about to play a serious part in helping the students role play real life situations in which the lessons learned in their biz ethics class could be applied. Situations like:

* “You’re with a client at a strip club and he’s just poured coke on a stripper’s ass [professor pours coke on a stripper's ass] and demands you snort it. Brad, what do you do? Do you refuse and make the client, in this case me, do it?”

* “Louis, your stripper friend mentions she’s bought up shares of a company called Lubrizol that she suggests your boss at Berkshire Hathaway take a look at.** She also says you should consider buying yourself a bunch before pitching it to the head honcho. What do you do?”

* “Brad, you and the stripper are best friends who’ve known each other for years and worked at a hedge fund together called SMACK Capital. During that time you profited off of insider information together. The Feds come to you and say you can get a better deal for yourself and compete in triathlons if you get the stripper on tape talking about how she destroyed evidence with two pair of pliers and the discarded the pieces around the city. the stripper was the the maid of honor at your wedding and helped you get over being dumped by your former fiance. What do you do?”

* “Louis, Brad is your direct report. He’s just killed this stripper and wants you to help him dump the body. You haven’t yet found out your bonus number. What do you do?”
he would’ve poured coke in the strippers’ ass and asked a student to snort it out and said

Lasalle Professor Investigated For Stripper Class [ABC]

**This is actually how David Sokol got the idea.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Amsterdam Residents Propose Bankers Get Paid Nada For A Few Years

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On the streets of Amsterdam, there is little sympathy for the bankers. Emma Rohl, who works at an English bookshop in the city centre, says: “They shouldn’t get bonuses at all. Why should people be paid vast sums for going into work and doing their jobs? It’s utterly ridiculous.” Erick Koenig at a nearby restaurant says: “We rescued the banks from their own follies, and now they expect to be paid extra. I think they should work for free for at least five years.” [Guardian]

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker

Taco Madness 2011: Vote NOW For L.A.’s Best Taco

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Are you a self-respecting Angeleno? Then you must have a special appreciation for tacos, since along with basketball, weed, and supporting a comfortably unemployed demographic of “freelancers”, Mexican food is among the things we do best here in L.A. So put your taco love to good use for our friends at LA Taco in their quest to find L.A.’s favorite taco with Taco Madness 2011. Read the full story

Remembering Elizabeth Taylor: Her L.A. Destinations

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[Vanity Fair cover 2010 via] The world lost one of its most famous and prolific leading ladies this morning with the passing of Elizabeth Taylor at age 79. The face of the Hollywood’s Golden Age and an icon of American cinema, Taylor personified Hollywood glamor as much in her career as a screen siren as her personal life, with eight marriages (to seven different men), most outrageous jewelry collection, famous friends including a very special bond with Michael Jackson, charity work, early association with Kabbalah (before Madonna and Demi), and legendary purple eyes. She was a longtime resident of L.A. and fixture of Hollywood society who frequented at all the best spots around the city. Here’s a look at the places around town where Taylor spent her time over the years. Read the full story

Opening Bell: 03.16.11

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Japan Nuclear Crisis Deepens on Suspected Reactor Breach (Bloomberg)
“If you get enough cold water inside you may stop the generation of steam and then life will get easier. Until then it is a bitch,” said Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer based in Vienna. “As long as there is steam coming out it will carry radioactive particles and gases with it.”

BREAKING: Citigroup Tops List of Banks That Received Federal Aid (CNBC)
Now it can be told: The bank that exposed the federal government to the greatest potential loss during the government bailout was Citigroup, which received a grand total of $476.2 billion in cash and guarantees, according to a new report of the Congressional Oversight Panel which oversees the TARP program.

Warren Buffett Cancels Trip To Japan (CNBC)
Buffett had been scheduled to attend a Tungaloy Corp. plant opening in Fukushima prefecture on Tuesday, March 22. Tungaloy is owned by Berkshire subsidiary Iscar, a toolmaker headquartered in Israel. He had hoped to make the trip, but canceled after authorities in Japan suggested it would not be the best time to visit.

AIG Takeover of Fuji Fire Offers 204% Arbitrage Gain After Quake (Bloomberg)
AIG on Feb. 10 agreed to purchase the 45 percent of the Osaka, Japan-based casualty insurer it didn’t own through AIG’s Chartis Inc. unit for 146 yen a share. The $565 million offer, which closes March 24, would hand traders an annualized profit of 204 percent based on Fuji Fire’s share price yesterday, the largest of any pending deal in Japan above $500 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

KKR Seeks New Capital Sources for Next Buyout Fund (Reuters)
KKR, which raised an $18 billion global buyout fund in 2006, is just starting to raise a new North American-focused fund with a target size of $8 billion to $10 billion.

£1 million for ‘world’s most expensive dog’ (Telegraph)
Big Splash, or “Hong Dong” in Chinese, is 11-months-old but already stands nearly three-feet-high at the shoulder and weighs more than 180lbs, according to his breeder, Lu Liang. “He is a perfect specimen,” said Mr Lu, who runs the Tibetan Mastiff Garden in Laoshan, near the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao. “He has excellent genes and will be a good breeding dog. When I started in this business, ten years ago, I never thought we would see such a price.” Mr Lu said the details of the sale were confidential, but revealed that the buyer, who payed 10 million yuan (£945,000), was a multi-millionaire coal baron from the north of China. “I could see he loved the puppy, or I would not have sold him,” he added. “The buyer told me he thought he was a good investment. As a male dog, he can be hired out to other breeders for as much as 100,000 yuan a shot. He could recoup his money in just a couple of years.”

RAB Capital Slums To ‘Unsatisfactory’ Losses (Reuters)
The group, which warned in September that full-year results would miss expectations, posted a pretax loss for the year to end-December of 20.2 million pounds, compared with a loss of 6.9 million pounds a year ago. “Our results for the year are not satisfactory,” Chief Executive Charles Kirwan-Taylor said in the results statement.

Treasury Website Redesign Breaks Bailout Links, Watchdog Says (Bloomberg)
A redesign of the U.S. Treasury Department’s website broke hyperlinks and moved documents that detail the department’s work on U.S. taxpayer bailouts, the chairman of a congressional watchdog said. The redesigned site has “relocated thousands of documents critical to oversight, rendering it difficult — and in some cases even impossible — for oversight bodies, outside experts or the public to review Treasury’s work,” Ted Kaufman, chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, wrote in a March 7 letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner.

Foreign Bankers Flee Tokyo As Crisis Deepens (Reuters)
BNP, Standard Chartered, and Morgan Stanley were among the banks whose staff have left since Friday’s earthquake and tsunami, and now a nuclear plant disaster, according to industry sources with direct knowledge of the matter. Expatriate staff at most foreign banks in Tokyo make up a small portion of the total, by some estimates less than 10 percent. But many are often in senior positions so their departure can have a significant impact.

Fed Sees Gains Gains, Keeps Eyes On Inflation (WSJ)
The economy is on a “firmer footing,” while the labor market is “improving gradually” and household spending and business investment are expanding, the policy-making Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement following its one-day meeting. Cautionary words about the economy from previous statements were pared back. Meanwhile, energy-price increases have put upward pressure on inflation, the FOMC said. It expects this to be transitory but “will pay close attention,” it said.

Wall Street’s Biggest Bargain May Be Wall Street Office Space (Bloomberg)
Asking rents for buildings at the one-time mecca of global finance have fallen to among the lowest in Manhattan after ranking as some of the priciest as recently as 2008. Wall Street landlords are seeking rates about 18 percent less than the city average, hurt by years of exodus by financial firms looking for bigger, more modern offices, according to brokerage Studley Inc.

Article courtesy of Dealbreaker