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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 16, 2011 | By Anthony York and Jack Dolan, Los Angeles Times
Tens of thousands of California state workers are taking advantage of a perk that pays them pension benefits for years they don't actually work, and reformers looking for places to cut have put it at the top of the list. State law allows the employees to increase their retirement benefits by tacking up to five fictitious years ? known as "air time" ? onto their public service. Although they pay a fee for the privilege and officials say it is high enough to cover the eventual payouts, critics of air time note that the boost can cost taxpayers millions when the state pension system's investment income falls short, as it has in recent years.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 8, 2011 | By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles city officials have long used the "broken windows" theory to justify the $7 million spent each year on graffiti removal. The logic goes like this: Safe and prosperous communities start with clean streets. But this week the fate of the effort was called into question when the top financial advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recommended that the city slash the graffiti-removal budget in half as part of a round of short-term cuts. The graffiti-removal cut would last through the rest of the fiscal year and would save the city $1.5 million ?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 6, 2011 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
The top financial advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Wednesday that the city would need to stop hiring police officers if the City Council abandons plans to lease nine public parking garages to a private operator. City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana issued his warning as he recommended that council members press ahead with plans to find a company to run the garages, including three in Hollywood, for the next 50 years. Officials had hoped to secure up to $300 million from the deal.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 16, 2010 | By Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb, Los Angeles Times
The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a wide-ranging investigation of Bell's sale of more than $70 million in bond issues, the latest agency to probe the scandal-plagued city. The investigation comes after state auditors last month were highly critical over how the bond money was being used in Bell, including funds involving a sports park that has yet to be built. Among the documents the federal agency has requested are those involving nine current and former Bell leaders, the firm that audited the city's financial statements and underwriters and financial advisors in the bond sales, according to the subpoena, a copy of which was obtained by The Times.
BUSINESS
October 5, 2010 | By Alejandro Lazo
Lenny Dykstra paced his Westwood apartment, fidgeting with a butterfly knife and mumbling profanities to an attorney. A succession of visitors, including a hulking bodyguard and a personal assistant named Destiny, streamed through the 12th-story penthouse. One wall held a framed poster from Dykstra's days with the Philadelphia Phillies, his cheeks characteristically bulging with tobacco chaw. Against another wall leaned a Sotheby's real estate sign, sullied with specks of fresh dirt.
BUSINESS
September 29, 2010 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Sherman Oaks financial advisor Bruce Fred Friedman, who fled the country while under investigation for allegedly defrauding investors of hundreds of millions of dollars, has been arrested in France, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office said Tuesday. Friedman, 60, ran a $228-million Ponzi scheme in which he promised to invest in rental properties but instead diverted millions of dollars to himself, family and friends, FBI Special Agent Perry Woo said in an affidavit. The U.S. attorney's office charged Friedman on Sept.
BUSINESS
September 16, 2010 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Beverly Hills financial advisor Stanley Chais made a fortune serving as Bernard L. Madoff's connection to Southern California's rich and powerful. He hobnobbed with Hollywood elite, won praise as a generous philanthropist and kept homes on both coasts. These days, though, the 84-year-old Chais spends the bulk of his time shuttling from one medical appointment to the next, weighed down by an ongoing federal criminal investigation and myriad lawsuits that could ruin him financially.
BUSINESS
September 16, 2010 | By Claudia Eller, Los Angeles Times
During the 23 years that Clark Hallren worked at JPMorgan Chase & Co., the investment bank went through so many incarnations that the former managing director of the institution's Los Angeles entertainment group jokes that it earned him a reputation of being a "vagabond. " JPMorgan isn't the only thing that underwent tectonic shifts during Hallren's time at the bank, which for years has been a leader in arranging financing for such Hollywood studios as DreamWorks, MGM, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros.
BUSINESS
August 1, 2010 | Liz Pulliam Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: It looks like my mother is going to win a lawsuit that could bring her more than $2 million. Can you advise us what steps to take once she receives her money? She wants me to play a major part in her finances as she is not a native English speaker, but I do not know much about finance, either. I can probably look for a financial advisor, but how do I know we are not going to bump into another Bernie Madoff? Answer: Your mom needs at least three advisors to handle such a big windfall: a financial planner, an accountant and an estate-planning attorney.
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