June 13, 2006

A Class-Action Suit with the Potential to End US IPOs

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:48 pm

In a subscription-only op-ed in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, Paul Atkins, an SEC Commissioner, points to the grave threat posed by a case that, if the Supreme Court does not choose to consider it, has the potential to end the way initial public offerings (IPOs) have been done in this country.

How can that be, and why does that matter? I’ll let Atkins explain:

The lawsuit is Billing v. Credit Suisse First Boston, et al. The et al. among the defendants is virtually the entire investment banking industry.

Billing alleges violations arising from the underwriters’ efforts while taking public hundreds of technology companies in the late 1990s. The plaintiffs bought stock primarily in the IPO aftermarket; they blame the losses that they suffered when the technology bubble burst in 2000 on the underwriters’ allegedly anticompetitive practices in marketing the IPOs.

If securities claims can be restructured as antitrust claims, as the plaintiffs seek to do in this case and other similar ones, Congress’s clear intent to block abusive suits will once again be thwarted. Syndicate underwriting of public offerings inherently involves agreements and joint actions among potential competitors, including agreements about price; but the underwriting process is extensively regulated by the SEC as well as by the NASD under SEC supervision. The practices in question are governed by regulations crafted through a public process of notice-and-comment, with an appreciation for the effects on both capital formation and competition. An awkward antitrust overlay could disable the resulting finely tuned regulatory framework. For this reason, the SEC supported the underwriters’ calls for dismissal of the suit on the basis of antitrust immunity.

….. The federal district court decided that there was antitrust immunity and dismissed the case, but the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision. Now the Supreme Court is being asked to take up the question. For the sake of stability in our capital markets, I hope that it will do so. The principles that the Supreme Court laid out in its recent Verizon v. Trinko decision are directly on point. In that case, the Supreme Court explained that, when a detailed regulatory scheme exists, antitrust intervention offers only slight benefits and high potential costs.

But if the decision of the Court of Appeals is permitted to stand, the reverberations will be widespread. Class action suits based in antitrust law could be used to dismantle the system that has been developed over the years for getting IPOs efficiently and effectively to the market. And as a practical matter, if the Supreme Court declines to hear the appeal, it may well be deciding the future of this and all cases like it.

Okay, I understand that a lot of people in the mid- and late-1990s got sucked into believing that the only direction stocks could go is up — even stocks of companies without anything resembling a track record. A lot of companies of very little substance went public, and it’s safe to say that many of the lead underwriters knew that a lot of these companies were nothing more than the founders’ vague hopes that something might work. They were really venture capital deals that should have stayed venture capital deals.

That said, the only people who could reasonably have known that any given company was a collection of vapors were the lead underwriters, and certainly not the rest of the outfits to whom they syndicated IPO distribution. The plaintiffs in question are, as plaintiffs often do, trying to use the law, in this case antitrust law, to avoid the hard work of prosecuting (if there is anything criminal involved) or suing those who actually did something wrong.

Antitrust law isn’t a rubber hose to be used to mow down the innocent along with the guilty. If the Second Circuit’s decision stands, it may be that syndication won’t be possible any more, and all but the smallest IPOs will take place overseas.

The Supremes must take this case and put a stop to this nonense.

Kelo New London Update: Day Editorial — Follow the Law, Make Terms Public

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:22 pm

An editorial this morning in The New London Day makes what would be obvious points to people interested in following the law.

But New London’s City Council and The New London Development Corporation (NLDC) have spent nearly a decade stretching the law to its limits, culminating in conning a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court into buying their “public purpose vs. public use” eminent domain argument (despite sparing ONLY the high-powered, politically-connected Italian Dramatic Club from eminent domain). So it’s hard to imagine that Council and the NLDC give a rip about complying with state disclosure laws by revealing the terms of the four settlements entered into with Kelo holdouts during the week leading up to the June 5 eviction meeting.

Nevertheless, The Day makes its points well (requires registration after one day and a paid subscription after one week):

The city, the City Council and the New London Development Corp. have chosen to flout the state Freedom of Information law by keeping secret the settlement terms with four Fort Trumbull tenants. So, apparently, has Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s office.

The reason is obvious. The city doesn’t want other tenants who have not settled to know the exact details of the agreements with those who have come to terms. So, to justify its ends, it has given a creative interpretation to the state FOI law.

City Attorney Thomas J. Londregan argues that the terms should be kept secret because they amount to “pending litigation,” an exemption from the FOI law under the state statute. He bases that opinion on the fact that the four plaintiffs have not yet withdrawn their legal appeals of the assessments of their properties.

But Colleen Murphy, executive director of the state Freedom of Information Commission, disagrees. The facts suggest she’s right.

If the plaintiffs have agreed to the city’s terms for settling the property disputes, it’s clear they will withdraw the litigation, whether a fait accompli or not. The city isn’t going to meet the terms of the settlements until the four do exactly that.

So attorney Londregan is stretching a point to try to get his arms around an FOI exemption that is made moot by the fact that the parties have agreed to settle.

Gov. Rell’s office, which is anxious to move the Fort Trumbull project along and make political points with both sides — the city and the plaintiffs who settle and their supporters — takes a cop-out by saying the legal documents regarding the settlement are not yet in the hands of mediator Robert Albright.

The governor, should she want to follow state law, could be telling New London to make the settlement terms public.

….. The city is trying to be practical to protect its negotiating options, but it is also disobeying state law. A push from Gov. Rell’s office would be in order, but, unfortunately, that does not seem to be forthcoming.

Perhaps Rell is holding back on the Freedom of Information issue as a negotiating club, i.e., “Given Kelo and Cristofaro their titles, or I’ll force you to reveal the terms first.” Since Council and the NLDC still think they will either get settlements or take the properties, they might give in if the details of the past week’s settlements make them look like goons. If so, that would compromise their negotiating position with Kelo and Cristofaro irretrievably, and give them an even blacker public-relations eye than they already have. Sure, the previous settlement info would still be released if they gave back the titles, but the news would be so totally focused on the titles that the settlements would be virtually ignored.

If the Governor is indeed thinking this way, it might ordinarily be seen as a questionable tactic — except for the fact that she’s dealing with very questionable people.

The “No WMD” Lie: An Addendum

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:43 am

In an e-mail “S.O.B.er” Porkopolis pointed me to a post at Captain Ed’s place about documents translated by one Joseph Shahda relating to chemical materials hidden in Iraq near Fallujah by Saddam Hussein in 2002.

This led me (HT FreeRepublic) to this piece at American Thinker about four other sites that may have chemical and biological weapons.

There’s lots of good material at the links, and I would encourage you to read them, but here’s the detailed point: All of what is discussed is over and above what Richard Miniter reported in his book “Disinformation” in October, all of which I sourced to actual media reports at this BizzyBlog post in early November when I was challenged. What has been documented there has, with one possible exception out of five, not been refuted.

To the bigger point: Please don’t bother me with claims that there were no WMDs in Iraq. That is so 2003 (and of course contrary to claims made by everyone, his brother, his sister, and John Kerry [see Return of the Conservatives] from 1998 through 2002; go to the updates and comments at the BizzyBlog post for more details).

Remember, the core leftist argument has been “NO WMDs,” not a few, not some, but absolutely none — which is obviously, absolutely wrong. I’m noticing an attempt at historical revisionism that the Left’s claim was really “no stockpiles” of WMDs. Nice try, people; no sale. You made your “No WMDs” bed, and you get to sleep in it.

Memo to Media Jerks: Dream On, This “Rove Exit” Photo Probably Won’t Work until January 20, 2009

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:55 am


RoveExit

AP: Rove Won’t Be Indicted (HT Drudge)

Missing Story (per Drudge Flash): Truthout.org Formally Retracts
_________________________

UPDATE: Oh, this is funny (HT Chucko) — “Top Ten (Themed!) ‘Progressive’ Reactions To The End of Fitzmas”
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UPDATE 2: This is too easy — A Kerry spokesman called Rove a “porcine political operative” (HT Michelle Malkin). I guess the Kerry spokesman forgot what the senior senator from his boss’s state looks like (there are worse pics out there, but I thought I would spare my readers).
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UPDATE 3: Truthout DID talk about the Rove situation just yesterday, and how the indictment had been sealed now for almost a month. Still waiting for the “oops” on this one.
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UPDATE 4: Atlas Shrugs headline — “Shrinks Extend Hours Across USA”

Kelo News London Post-Eviction Vote Update, Part 3 — Blog Reax Sampler

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:10 am

A REMINDER OF WHERE THINGS STAND

KeloSituation061206

Kelo and Cristofaro remain in their homes, pending eviction and demolition. The high-powered, politically-connected Italian Dramatic Club (IDC) also remains, but will stay right where it is. That’s because the high-powered, politically-connected IDC was arbitrarily exempted from eminent domain by the City of New London and The New London Development Corporation (NLDC) in the late 1990s. The Supreme Court rendered its outrageous Kelo v. New London decision last year in full knowledge of the exception made for the high-powered, politically-connected IDC by the powers that be. (I am emphasizing the treatment of the high-powered, politically-connected Italian Dramatic Club because I believe it remains the dirtiest and most inexcusably underreported aspect of this entire corrupt enterprise.)

BLOG REAX

In no particular order after the first item, which contains a bit of new info:

  • Tim Cavanaugh at Reason Hit and Run investigated the status of the NLDC projects and reports that “there is no funding for the hotel, the condos, or the stores, but there is apparently a parcel leased to a private developer that is currently being taxed and developed. Everything else is coming from the state or the feds. “ Natch.
  • The Passionate Center“New London Run By a Bunch of Jerks”
  • Neil Boortz“Yet, do we read much about the Kelo decision in the mainstream media? Certainly not enough. We have headlines about gay marriage and abortion instead. Just ask yourself….what has more potential impact on your life: a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that will never be passed, or the ability of your local government to take your property, hand it over to a private developer with good political connections, and put you on the street?”
  • Killer Is Me“I keep telling myself this is America. In the ultimate show of Collectivism strength and buffoonery, the citizens of New London are facing ejection from their homes because the “group” wants it. Once you start doing things for the good of the many this is the kind of pathetic end you meet.”
  • Bright and Early“Every time I read about this story I struggle to understand how this makes any sense at all. It’s just wrong in so many ways. I was shocked by the SCOTUS decision, outraged by the actions of the council, and scared by the number of people who don’t see this as a problem.”
  • The Phalanx“It can be argued that America, as we know it, ceased to exist when this decision was handed down on June 23, 2005, from that point forward this country ceased to be a constitutional republic and became a fascist dictatorship, where the rule of law is merely a suggestion to be brushed aside when it is convenient to do so.”
  • Politically Inclined Heretic“With rights like those given to Mr. Christofaro and Mrs. Kelo you might as well rent.”

Kelo News London Post-Eviction Vote Update, Part 2 — Commentary Roundup

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:05 am

A fair amount of commentary has come in during the week following New London City Council’s 5-2 vote to evict Susette Kelo and the Cristofaros, the two remaining Fort Trumbull holdouts. Here is a sampling of some of the best columns, some of which contain facts about the situation that should not be forgotten. Go to the links in question to read the entire offerings. Bolds are mine in all pieces excerpted.

“Not Blighted”

John Hall of Washington Dateline had an important reminder his June 11 column (“Evict Homeowners or Politicians?”) that the New London situation doesn’t even carry the one traditional eminent-domain excuse that has some public sympathy:

What made the New London case different was that the area in question was not blighted. The whole region was economically stressed because of the closing of the naval base. But the Supreme Court said there was no showing that the people whose homes were slated for seizure had failed to keep up their property.

“Fixation on a Tarnished Trophy”

A passionate June 8 editorial in Investors Business Daily (“Kicked To The Curb”) sees the city’s obsession with “victory” for what it is:

Is this really happening in America?

It is. New London’s City Council voted 5-2 Monday to begin evicting the two remaining homeowners in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood who have refused to give in to the city’s abusive exercise of the power of eminent domain.

….. And did we mention that New London also tried to squeeze $1 million in back rent from the homeowners? City hall asserts that it has actually owned the houses since 2000. While it might hold the deeds, it does not have the moral authority to take what it wants simply because it follows a “legal” process.

But acting morally is not on the council’s agenda. The city’s fixation with throwing out residents for a tarnished trophy that it thinks will save the town has blinded its judgment.

….. Not everyone in New London government believes in plunder. Charles Frink, one of two council members who oppose the city’s plan to take the properties, refuses to act like a Third World dictator by seizing citizens’ private property.

“I can’t accept a possible reduction in taxes by having neighbors thrown out of their property,” he said. “This is morally abhorrent to me. I refuse to profit from my neighbor’s pain.”

Would that Frink’s colleagues had held themselves to that same standard instead of taking the shameful course they have.

Reason Online: Time Has Passed the City’s Plans By

Tim Cavanaugh’s June 8 piece at Reason Online (“Endgame In New London”) sees the New London situation as a case study in the futility of government involvement in development:

To understand why the last two homeowners in the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London, CT are now in the process of being evicted from their homes, consider this: More than half the property in New London generates no tax revenue for the city because it’s owned by several colleges (including Connecticut College, the Coast Guard Academy, and Mitchell College), by churches, hospitals, or by the city itself.

….. And the only project the New London Development Corporation is currently working on is a National Coast Guard Museum — a public building that will pay no taxes to the city.

….. If you want another example (beyond the intrusion on individual rights) of why eminent domain abuse needs to be stopped, New London is in the process of providing it. The city is in the final stages of removing private property owners in the name of a development plan that is nearly ten years old, drafted in an era of post-cold-war base closings, soaring profits for pharmaceutical companies, and a depressed real estate market.

….. economic circumstances can change radically in a relatively brief period of time, and while private companies are capable of adapting, governments (and in particular “private-public partnerships”) are not. Governments can react, however, as the NLDC is also finding out. The brutality with which the Fort Trumbull residents were removed has shocked the nation, and Connecticut Gov. Jodi M. Rell, a wavering supporter of the homeowners, has a strong disincentive to sink more money — beyond the $15 million that’s already going to the Coast Guard museum — into the town of 25,000.

Property values have increased in New London, as they have almost everywhere in the country. How to capitalize on that? (Holdout Mike) Cristofaro has an idea.

….. “I’m sure I could convert my house into the Eminent Domain Museum and I’d get more visitors.”

Civil Disobedience: It Could Happen

The Christian Science Monitor’s well-done June 8 story on the situation (“Last stand for property-rights activists”) is notable for the fact that it raises a legitimate possibility of civil disobedience:

Ms. Kelo’s pink cottage at 8 East Street and Mr. Cristofaro’s house a few blocks away have become symbols of defiance for property rights activists nationwide. And it is unclear what might happen should bulldozers suddenly arrive in the neighborhood.

“If I have to handcuff myself to the house I am willing to do that,” says Mr. Cristofaro. “My father is 81 years old and he says he will cuff himself to the house.”

Supporters have been phoning nonstop from around the country, Cristofaro says. Some are pledging to form a protective human chain around his home, if necessary.

Notable Quotes in an LA Times Story

The Los Angeles Times even-handed June 7 story (hey, it sometimes happens) reported the reactions and feelings of many of the participants in this drama, with indications of the psychological toll the ordeal has taken on the holdouts:

Michael Cristofaro said he woke up Tuesday morning feeling that, along with his property rights, he had just been stripped of his citizenship.

….. “I don’t feel like an American citizen today at all,” Cristofaro said Tuesday. “I feel like my rights have been totally violated.”

….. “We’ve got a city of a little over 25,000 people,” she (Mayor Beth Sabilia) said. “We are a distressed community, under any objective measure. The city of New London is 6 square miles, 50% of which is tax-exempt. This is a small whaling city, hard up by the sea. We don’t have spare land to access in order to increase our tax base.” (Playing a pretend-blight card that doesn’t exist. See the first item in this post. — Ed.)

….. Scott Bullock, an attorney for the Kelo plaintiffs, berated the council vote as “a raw exercise in power.” Bullock works for the Institute for Justice, a libertarian public interest law firm in Washington.

“I have been to many disgusting City Council meetings, but this has to have been ranked at the apex,” Bullock said. “This City Council has done something that defies logic, common sense and morality.”

“The council could have treated these people with respect,” he added. “They had a totally acceptable package on the table that was supported by the governor and the property owners — and that would have ended it. And they refused to do it.”

….. William Von Winkle said he decided to accept an undisclosed settlement from the city late Monday, mostly because he was tired of what he called “harassment, threats and intimidation” by redevelopment authorities.

“I’ll tell you what, I sold out,” Von Winkle said Tuesday, sounding exhausted. He said the pressure to settle became too much for him, especially after his 25-year-old son was killed a week ago in an apparent robbery in nearby Groton.

“Finally, I’d had enough,” he said. “In the beginning, they took possession of the property — kicked the doors in and kicked my tenants out. They put barricades in the street, and they did everything possible to harass me, to make me sell.”

I have to wonder when those incidents took place, and how widely they were reported.

Nearby Rhode Islander Rips New London Voters and Government

In a June 12 letter to The New London Day, Phillip Gingerella of Westerly, RI wrote:

New Londoners have only themselves to blame for the eminent domain mess they find themselves in.

For years they have voted at the local, state and federal level for liberal politicians who believe that it’s the people’s duty to serve government instead of government’s duty to serve the people. These politicians have appointed activist judges who think they have a right to interpret the law based on their personal beliefs, instead of interpreting the Constitution.

Does anyone really think that anyone except New London’s municipal employees will benefit from the revenue generated by the seizure of the property in the Fort Trumbull area? Does anyone think this is the end of seizures of prime residential property in New London to benefit the “greater good”?

New Londoners have finally gotten exactly what they voted for. In the end, you always do.

_____________________________

UPDATE: Since I’m not a wheel reinventer, I will refer you to the awesome Castle Coalition project of The Institute for Justice, which has, among other things:

Kelo News London Post-Eviction Vote Update, Part 1 — News and Developments

A REMINDER OF WHERE THINGS STAND

KeloSituation061206

Kelo and Cristofaro remain in their homes, pending eviction and demolition. The high-powered, politically-connected Italian Dramatic Club (IDC) also remains, but will stay right where it is. That’s because the high-powered, politically-connected IDC was arbitrarily exempted from eminent domain by the City of New London and The New London Development Corporation (NLDC) in the late 1990s. The Supreme Court rendered its outrageous Kelo v. New London decision last year in full knowledge of the exception made for the high-powered, politically-connected IDC by the powers that be. (I am emphasizing the treatment of the high-powered, politically-connected Italian Dramatic Club because I believe it remains the dirtiest and most inexcusably underreported aspect of this entire corrupt enterprise.)

NEWS OF THE PAST WEEK

A number of new items have come out in the past week that should be noted:

  • The amounts back fees and charges the two holdouts allegedly owe have been revealed.
  • The city is not disclosing the terms of its settlements with the holdouts during the previous week, in what many believe is defiance of state disclosure law.
  • A New London Day online (yet in my opinion probably reliable) poll shows strong opposition to, and very little support for, Council’s eviction vote.
  • Connecticut Governor Rell stood firm in her recommendation that immediate-family-transferable titles be given to the two holdouts, and that their dwellings be removed to a appropriate spots in Parcel 4A.
  • William Von Winkle, who settled in the final minutes before the fateful June 5 Council meeting, spoke out about why he settled, and expressed solidarity with the remaining holdouts and their cause.

(Note: All New London Day articles require registration after one day, and a paid subscription after seven days.)

What about Those Back Fees, Rents, Taxes, Etc.?

A week before the eviction vote, it was reported that the City would seek $946,000 in back rents, taxes, fees, etc. from the six remaining holdouts. Now that all but two have settled, the obvious question that no one except The New London Day is sufficiently curious enough to report about is “What do Susette Kelo and the Cristofaros (supposedly) owe?”

Here’s what The Day’s Elaine Stoll reported last week (about halfway through the article):

The city has maintained it is entitled to seek use and occupancy fees dating to the time of the taking, a position Bullock disputes. By the city’s calculation, Kelo owes $68,800 in use and occupancy fees through June 1 for her house at 8 East St., which the city legally owns but that she continues to occupy. The city deposited $123,000 in escrow to compensate Kelo for the value of her former property.

The Cristofaro family owes $96,000 in use and occupancy fees and third-party rent through June 1 for the house at 53 Goshen St., according to city calculations. The city deposited $150,000 in escrow to compensate Cristofaro.

Of course, The Institute for Justice and the holdouts hotly dispute the city’s claims. Similar claims asserted against the then-seven holdouts caused national outrage last summer when the NLDC sent out eviction notices in defiance of Governor Rell.

The city’s willingness to stick to those claims when push comes to shove makes the city’s apparent defiance of disclosure law discussed in the next item extremely important.

Is There a Legal Requirement to Make Settlements Public?

It appears that the answer is “yes,” based on reporting done by The New London Day’s Ted Mann:

To the state Freedom of Information Commission, it sounds like a slam dunk: If the City of New London has signed settlement agreements with some of the plaintiffs in the Fort Trumbull redevelopment, the city must disclose how much those former occupants will be paid.

But in the course of New London’s famously fitful urban-renewal project, why should anything come easily, even what city leaders see as the good news?

New London officials familiar with the settlements — including City Law Director Thomas Londregan, Mayor Beth Sabilia, City Manager Richard Brown, and Michael Joplin, president of the New London Development Corp. — all refused on Tuesday to disclose the details of the settlements reached in recent days with four of the six remaining plaintiffs, despite the fact that attorneys at the state commission were confident the law requires them to do so.

“There’s no reason for them not to give that out,” said Thomas A. Hennick, the commission’s public education officer. “There’s no exemption for that.”

The refusal to reveal details of the agreements with four plaintiffs — William Von Winkle, Charles Dery, Richard Beyer and Thelma Brelesky — ensured that it would remain unclear what conditions, financial or otherwise, led the plaintiffs who battled the seizures of their properties for years to finally agree to relinquish them to the city and the NLDC.

….. The Day sent written requests for copies of the settlement agreements to Londregan and to Rell’s staff on Tuesday.

The article also recites the reasons why city officials believe they can keep the agreements confidential, but Mann notes that none of the reasons are valid under the state’s disclosure laws.

It’s “interesting,” to say the least, that Council and the NLDC, in what I see as a cynical negotiating tactic, are apparently willing to flout disclosure laws so breezily while holding Susette Kelo and the Cristofaros to the letter of the Supreme Court’s ruling on eminent-domain law.

As they say, “developing….”

Mayor’s Supposed Majority Support for Eviction Remains Awfully Quiet

An online New London Day poll taken on Wednesday through Saturday to gauge reaction to Council’s eviction decision Monday came back with these results:

NLDpoll061006

Even given four choices, almost 66% of respondents want to do what the Governor recommended in an attempt to break the impasse last week (relocate to Parcel 4A and return the deeds). Though it is an online poll, The Day’s limited circulation, its non-inclusion in Google News, and its registration wall lead me to believe that poll participants are generally from the local area, and that there is a very good chance that the above is a fair reflection of local sentiment (and no, I didn’t vote!). If I’m correct, the Mayor Beth Sabilia’s claim to have majority backing is hysterically false. In fact, only 25% support the two items that could be seen as what the Mayor and Council’s majority want (the last two choices listed).

The Governor Remains Firm

While of course holding out hope for negotiated settlements, it’s clear from what the Governor said last Thursday, covered in an AP report that was, as far as I can tell carried only in regional papers, that she feels that her recommendations were reasonable and should be followed:

Rell says her office trying to settle with New London homeowners

….. “I have asked (state mediator Bob) Albright to work throughout the day and late into the night to try to reach a settlement with those two homeowners,” Rell said. “If that is not feasible, hopefully the City Council will come back and take my suggestion once again and perhaps go in that direction. But right now we continue negotiations.”

As you might expect, The New London Day didn’t like the headline used by The Hartford Courant above, which was also used by The Boston Globe and TV station WTNH. The Day went with “Gov. Rell Still Trying To Forge A Settlement In Fort Trumbull.”

Von Winkle Speaks Out

William Von Winkle, who owned three properties, was left defenseless when the Governor did not extend her title-return recommendation to rental properties, despite the protests of The Institute for Justice’s Scott Bullock. Here’s what Von Winkle had to say last week:

Former Fort Trumbull property owner William Von Winkle spoke out Tuesday on his decision to accept a financial settlement with the city, whose seizure of his and other properties by eminent domain was upheld last June by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I really didn’t want to settle and would have preferred to keep my buildings. But without the governor or the City Council supporting keeping rental homes in Fort Trumbull, I did not have much of a choice,” Von Winkle said in a statement released through Institute for Justice senior attorney Scott Bullock.

“I am very proud of the battle me and other Fort Trumbull property owners fought and are still fighting,” Von Winkle said. “It is a case that is really changing the nation. Eminent domain for private development is wrong. I believed that since this fight started and I will always believe that.”

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ-Life Links (061306)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Marvels,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:54 am

Subscription-only Link:

  • A subscriber link at Investment News reports that the Brits apparently don’t know what’s good for them (/sarcasm):

    A pox on SOX: FSA
    By Aaron Siegel
    June 12, 2006

    The U.K.’s Financial Services Authority warned today that U.S. regulations -including those contained in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 – would not automatically apply to British companies in the event of a merger between a London and U.S. stock exchange.

    A takeover of the London Stock Exchange by Nasdaq or another U.S. exchange could have long term implications for regulation, said Callum McCarthy, chairman of the U.K.-based Financial Services Authority after discussion with his counterparts at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    “Neither the FSA nor the SEC consider that U.S. ownership of the LSE, in and of itself, would result in U.S. regulations, including Sarbanes-Oxley, applying to companies listed or quoted on its markets or member firms of the LSE,” said Mr. McCarthy in a statement released today.

    But I thought SarBox was the be-all end-all model for the 21st Century business regulation. Apparently, or transparently, not everyone agrees.

Free Links:

  • “S.O.B.er” Interested-Participant links to a report about 91 people, mostly Mexicans here illegally, arrested for doing jobs Americans won’t do. Yeah, that’s a tease. Go there.
  • Japan’s 1st quarter growth was revised upward from 1.9% to 3.1%. This is good news — The rough period for the Nikkei notwithstanding, the country appears to be back on track after over a decade of mediocrity, and will hopefully continue an upward trend. 2005′s growth was 2.8%, and the previous two years were 2.3% and 1.8%, respectively.
  • Life Imitates WHAT?“Police said Friday they expect to make arrests based on a two-year investigation of a Dartmouth College fraternity that helped inspire the raunchy 1978 movie, ‘National Lampoon’s Animal House.’ ….. Showing that life seems to imitate art sometimes, the raid came as parents began arriving on the Ivy League campus for graduation Sunday.”
  • This would be very welcome“Qualcomm and others are promoting new screen technology for handhelds and mobile devices that can stay on all day without sapping battery life, thanks to the sun or liquids. ….. Currently, phone screens stay dark–mostly by necessity.”
  • More ho-hum economic news — Despite losing thousands of jobs because of Bank of America’s purchase of Wilmington-based MBNA Corp., the state of Delaware expects to add 7,000 jobs this year in an economy with about 440,000 total jobs. The state’s unemployment rate in April was a full point below the national average.

May Require Free Registration:

  • Wal-Mart opens its first store in the City of Chicago — and gets a major reason to wonder what it was thinking:

    Wal-Mart is due to open its first store in Chicago this summer, which is expected to bring more than 400 new jobs to the Austin neighborhood on the West Side. Austin hasn’t seen many new jobs in recent years, even as other parts of the city have thrived.

    Yet some Chicago aldermen want to welcome Wal-Mart with a slap to the head. They’re pushing an ordinance that would require all so-called big-box retailers in the city to pay their workers at least $13 an hour in wages and benefits. The $13 minimum would apply to anyone who works more than five hours a week in a store larger than 75,000 square feet. A University of Illinois at Chicago study last year estimated that, as of 2003, this would have applied to about 35 stores in Chicago.

    So why Wal-Mart workers and not, say, Radio Shack workers?

    Ald. Joe Moore (49th), sponsor of one of several versions of the wage ordinance, argues that the largest retailers “can absorb the higher wage costs.” And, he said, “they have nowhere else to go.”

    In a year where the competition has been strong, Mr. Moore’s final sentence may be the dumbest statement you’ll see from an elected official in all of 2006.

Positivity: Woman Trapped in Car under 40 Tons of Gravel Rescued

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:55 am

Firefighters and witnesses pulled off a successful rescue in Houston:

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