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September 27, 2013 | By David Lazarus
It seemed like a serious phone call. Coco said her husband was informed that he owed the state more than $800 and that he risked time in jail if he didn't pony up some cash. Finally giving in to the hard sell, Coco's husband agreed to pay $300 to buy himself some breathing room. It wasn't until after he hung up that he and his wife wondered, "Was that a legitimate call?" It's a common scam: A caller who sounds official makes a strong case for money being owed and severe consequences if you don't offer at least a little something.
September 22, 2013 | By Sam Farmer
Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller tried to cheat the NFL's drug-testing program with the help of the person assigned to collect his urine sample, according to an ESPN report. Miller, who was second in the league with 18 1/2 sacks last season, had been suspended for the first six games -- inexplicably, two more games than the typical NFL penalty for that transgression. According to the report, Miller's representatives and the players union were prepared to fight his initial four-game suspension but backed off when they became aware Miller and the collector worked together to help the player avoid a failed choice.
September 14, 2013 | By Deborah Vankin
Here's Eli and Edythe Broad's advice to budding, young art collectors: take your time, do the research, don't rush to buy. “You got to invest time, it's not just about money,” Eli Broad said this week at a talk for the Los Angeles Public Library's ALOUD series . “It's about meeting new artists -- at MFA shows, at universities -- and it's about getting all the publications and going to museums.” “Spend time looking, go to galleries,...
September 4, 2013 | By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic
When Charles A. Loeser died in 1928, he was 64, nearly a decade older than the average American was expected to live. He had led a comfortable life of privilege, spent abroad in Italy. Loeser was prepared for the inevitable. Two years earlier, he wrote a detailed will. In it he lavished special care on the dispersal of his art collection, assembled over four decades. He died secure in the knowledge that his legacy was protected. But Loeser turned out to be wrong. His legacy was not secure.
August 29, 2013 | By Gerrick D. Kennedy
Murray Gershenz, the record collector turned character actor, has died. The 91-year-old died of a heart attack Wednesday, a source close to Gershenz confirmed . Better known as “Music Man Murray,” Gershenz spent nearly three-quarters of a century collecting the more than 300,000 records that filled the dusty wooden shelves of his two-story West Adams record shop. From opera classics to big band, country western, jazz, R&B and rock and original Edison cylinder recordings, Gershenz always lived up to his business credo, “You name it, we find it.” The massive collection, and Gershenz's years-long plight to sell it, was the subject of a documentary film, “Music Man Murray,” which premiered last year.
August 10, 2013 | David Undercoffler
Blasting toward the notorious Corkscrew at the Laguna Seca raceway in his Shelby Cobra, Lynn Park took a stab at the brakes -- and came up short. The front-brake failure left him hurtling through one of the nation's most daunting stretches of asphalt -- a one-two punch of tight turns, compounded by a steep drop-off -- with little to slow the 400-horsepower two-seat convertible. Park yanked the wheel. Momentum took over. "And there I was, going backwards down the Corkscrew," Park recalled.
July 17, 2013 | By Bob Pool
The search for a Los Angeles woman who 53 years ago was a Sports Illustrated cover girl has ended sadly for a collector of autographs from cover subjects. Model Dolores Greer, 81, died last month on the same day that cover autograph collector Scott Smith was being interviewed by The Times for a story that was published Tuesday . Greer's obituary appeared in Sunday's Times. The saga of Smith's search for the model who illustrated the magazine's Oct. 17, 1960, cover story on the "new look in sports clothes" has spanned more than three decades.
July 12, 2013 | By Lisa Girion
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.
July 10, 2013 | By Robin Abcarian
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 | David Lazarus
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.
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