CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 12, 2013 |
The force is no longer with an Elk Grove man who bought a 3-foot-tall rubber Yoda figurine and other "Star Wars" memorabilia worth $10,000 with money he defrauded from the California Department of Transportation. In exchange for reduced charges, Eric Hodgson, 43, pleaded guilty to a scheme to bilk Caltrans out of nearly $2 million, Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris said Friday. Hodgson agreed to a nine-year prison sentence and to forfeit two homes, two cars, retirement savings and the "Star Wars" loot.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 10, 2013 |
Last month, as they ate lunch outside a fancy London restaurant, world famous art collector Charles Saatchi physically roughed up his wife, the TV chef Nigella Lawson. Unaware that a paparazzo was snapping away , Saatchi squeezed Lawson's windpipe four times and shoved his finger up her nostril. Lawson, teary and fearful, dabbed at her eyes. Saatchi stalked out and got in their car, as she followed, sobbing. Tabloids on both sides of the Atlantic went crazy. "Arti Choke," blared the inimitable New York Post.
July 8, 2013 |
The business world is fond of presenting consumers with Catch-22s. Richard Leza received a real beauty from a debt collector. "They basically told me I had to prove something that doesn't even exist," he said. Here's the crux of the problem: Is it the debt collector's responsibility to prove that money is owed, or the consumer's responsibility to prove that it isn't? State and federal officials are increasingly focusing on such issues as debt collectors turn up the heat after the prolonged economic downturn.
July 6, 2013 |
This post has been updated. See note below for details. Bassist and singer Bobby Hackney Sr. gawked wide-eyed at the framed photos of Buster Keaton, Lillian Gish, Fatty Arbuckle and other stars from the early days of Hollywood, which lined the walls of the theater where he and his bandmates were going to be performing in a few hours. "I wish my wife could be here," Hackney, 57, said last Friday as he snapped iPhone photos of the vintage pictures for her. "She loves silent movies.
June 22, 2013 |
More than a year after regulators cracked down on Wall Street's flawed home foreclosure procedures, authorities are stepping up pressure on debt collectors over a flood of lawsuits rife with unsupported allegations against delinquent credit card holders. State and federal regulators are increasingly alarmed that banks and debt collectors appear to be using faulty records in litigation against borrowers having trouble paying what they owe on their credit cards. In some cases, authorities said, the paperwork and the procedures have been so defective that borrowers weren't even given notice of lawsuits against them until judges rendered default judgments for their failure to appear in court to defend themselves.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 18, 2013 |
When hundreds of federal agents raided four Southern California museums early one January morning in 2008, it set the art world ablaze, suggesting that even amid an international looting scandal, museums had continued to do business with the black market in stolen antiquities. Acting on evidence gathered during a five-year undercover probe, investigators seized more than 10,000 artifacts at the museums and more than half a dozen other locations in California and Illinois. The objects had allegedly been illegally excavated from sites across Southeast Asia, smuggled into Los Angeles and donated to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, the Mingei Museum in San Diego and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, according to search warrant affidavits.
April 15, 2013 |
The L.A. County Museum of Art has signaled its commitment to African art by paying $1 million for a 3-foot-high "Gwan" sculpture of a mother and infant, believed to help ensure healthy childbirth by the Bamana peoples of Mali. "It's one of the oldest surviving wood sculptures of Africa and probably the oldest Gwan figure in existence," said Polly Nooter Roberts, a curator of African art at LACMA and professor at UCLA. According to carbon dating, the piece was made between 1432 and 1644, earlier than Gwan figures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
April 10, 2013 |
Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art has appointed three new trustees, including Bruce Karatz, the former chief executive of KB Homes who was convicted three years ago on four felony counts of failing to disclose the backdating of stock options. Also joining the board are prominent investor Stanley Gold and Beverly Hills attorney and art collector Orna Amir Wolens, who has been a member of the Hammer Museum's Hammer Circle support group. MOCA's announcement Wednesday that Karatz, Gold and Wolens had been elected to the board follows museum leaders' recent decision to remain independent rather than accept an offer from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to absorb MOCA.
April 9, 2013 |
Health insurers don't exactly enjoy a reputation for timely payouts when people submit claims. They've been known to make policyholders jump through all sorts of hoops before coming across with a little cash. But when you owe them money, that's another story. Karen Fairbank, 60, of Pacific Palisades discovered this recently when Blue Shield of California sent her a letter demanding that she return a payment of more than $2,400, and that she do it pronto. Plus $4.70 in interest.
March 21, 2013 |
The Teddy Bear Museum of the Sierra opens Friday with more than 250 antique and modern-day bears on display in Oakhurst, Calif., at the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park , where the real bears live. The museum's bear count comes from private collectors who also are card-carrying members of the Mountain Bear Fan Club . "Four of us became radical collectors," museum founder and club creator Toni Lagunoff said Wednesday. She said the group often talked about opening a museum for the 5,000 bears they have between them, but it wasn't until Jean Eaton, one of their own, died in December that they made it a reality to honor her. The current display features English-made bears, miniature bears, patriotic bears and an explanation of how teddy bears got started (yes, you'll learn about the Teddy Roosevelt link)