Los Angeles Business Journal

Oversight Panel Rejects LAUSD Computer Request

Los Angeles Unified School District’s bond oversight panel rejected a proposal Thursday by officials to spend an additional $42 million on new computers, including purchases under a controversial and recently suspended contract to put iPads in the hands of every student. The independent School Construction Bond Citizens’ Oversight Committee said the district had not proved it urgently needed the device, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Gov. Brown Vetoes Bill Limiting Estate Recovery

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill on Thursday that would have limited the state's seizure of assets from the estates of Californians enrolled in Medi-Cal after they die, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Viewers Flock to KDOCT-TV for Dodgers

A late-season arrangement with Time Warner cable has been a ratings boon for TV station KDOC-TV, best known for its reruns of popular shows like “Seinfeld,” as it carries the final Dodgers games of the regular season, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Former Mattel Chief Joins PE Firm

Former Mattel chief Robert A. Eckert has joined the middle-market private equity firm Friedman Fleischer & Lowe, which is headquartered in San Francisco, as an operating partner, the New York Times reports. Eckert will remain in Los Angeles.

Haunted Houses Get a High Tech Upgrade

The technology used at Halloween Horror Night, an annual fright fest at Universal Studios Hollywood, has advanced dramatically in the past decade, from rubber masks to 30-channel audio mixers, animatronics, computer-controlled lights and video monitors, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Rise

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 85 points in Friday morning trading to 17,031. The S&P 500 was up seven points to 1,973. The Nasdaq rose 20 points to 4,487.

Insurer Sues L.A. Brothers Behind 1-800-GET-THIN

UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation's largest health insurance company, is suing Michael and Julian Omidi, the brothers who ran Los Angeles weight-loss surgery centers behind the 1-800-GET-THIN advertising campaign. UnitedHealth alleges the Omidis defrauded the insurer of more than $40 million by billing for surgeries that never happened or weren’t necessary, the Los Angeles Times reports.

New Hollywood Studio Backed with Chinese Cash

Fosun Group, one of China’s largest conglomerates, is investing about $200 million in Studio 8, a startup run by former Warner Bros. film chief Jeff Robinov, according to people with knowledge of the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports. The studio's movies will be distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

One Santa Fe in Arts District Welcomes Residents

The 438-unit, 1,500-foot-long One Santa Fe apartment and retail development in downtown L.A.’s Arts District has begun welcoming its first residents, the Los Angeles Times reports. Check out earlier coverage in the Business Journal. (This has been corrected from an earlier version.)

Smart & Final Prices IPO

Commerce warehouse retailer Smart & Final Stores Inc. raised about $161 million Wednesday through the public sale of nearly 13.5 million shares, the Los Angeles Times reports. Shares priced at $12, the low end of the company’s target range, and closed their first day of trading at $12.01. In midday trading Thursday, shares had risen 4 percent to $12.51.

Through JOBS Act, Struggling L.A. Chain Looks for Investors

Giggles N Hugs Inc., a struggling L.A. penny-stock company, says it plans to solicit new investors using rules in the JOBS Act - a law intended to help startups, not older companies, the Wall Street Journal reports. Giggles N Hugs, which runs a three-location chain of kid-friendly restaurants, had big expansion plans that didn’t pan out after it went public in 2011, the Business Journal reported.

Passport Scanners Speed Up Customs at LAX

Automated kiosks that scan passports and customs information were unveiled at Los Angeles International Airport today, the Los Angeles Times reports. The devices are expected to streamline the process of entering the United States and reduce wait times by an estimated 30 percent.

Engine Shut-Off Systems Keep Payments Coming

Auto lenders are increasingly using remotely activated devices to prevent late-paying borrowers from starting their cars. These starter interrupt devices are now a common requirement for borrowers with bad credit, the New York Times reports.

Council Pays Official for Allegations Deemed False

The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments has agreed to pay a $250,000 settlement to Nicholas Conway, the body’s former executive director who last year was cleared of conflict of interest charges, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Cal State to Test Google Glass

Cal State Dominguez Hills agreed to become the first university in the nation to test Google Glass in a large-scale pilot program, the Los Angeles Times reports.