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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Week in Review

Quote of the Week

‘It was perplexing. But after a number of years of covering the stock I’ve come to see that we’re all wrong to be perplexed. I discovered after awhile that Mr. Zable is, in fact, going to live forever and I’ve become quite comfortable with that notion.’

, Paul Coster of JP Morgan Securities Inc. in New York.

Click here for the story.

Friday, Jan. 13

Standing Trial:

San Diego Superior Court Judge Frederic Link set Feb. 1 for the arraignment of six former members of the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System board, charged with conflict of interest related to the city’s pension fund crisis.

Following a lengthy pretrial hearing that spanned four weeks, Link ruled that there was sufficient evidence for the six to stand trial. Link will set a trial date during the arraignment, according to his office.

The charges, filed by the district attorney’s office, stem from the now notorious 2002 decision, involving the board and City Council, that permitted the city to underfund the pension, in exchange for increased benefits.

Prosecutors contend that the state conflict of interest law prohibits public officials from drafting agreements where they themselves can financially benefit.

The defendants are Cathy Lexin, former human resources director; Terri Webster, former acting auditor; firefighters union President Ronald L. Saathoff; former treasurer Mary Vattimo; analyst Sharon Wilkinson; and John Torres, of the city’s Police Department, and a former vice president with the Municipal Employees Association.

Each faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison.

, Pat Broderick

Tuesday, Jan. 17

Cyber Bucks:

Sky MobileMedia, Inc., a San Diego-based provider of mobile application software platforms, said it closed a $15 million, second round of venture financing.

Sid R. Bass Associates of Fort Worth, Texas, led the latest investment round with San Diego-based Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, a first round investor, also participating.

Sky said it plans to use the new capital to support its fast growing Sky-Map handset manufacturer customers, including expanding customer support, field applications engineering, and sales activities.

Sky MobileMedia also announced that Ake Persson, a former president of Ericsson’s CDMA Systems Business unit and president of Ericsson Wireless Communications Inc. in San Diego, was named chairman of its board of directors.

, Mike Allen

Wednesday, Jan. 18

Ad Spat:

Intuit Inc., which develops TurboTax software in San Diego, said it would change TV and radio commercials for TurboTax in response to a lawsuit by competitor H & R; Block.

In a press release, Kansas City, Mo.-based H & R; Block said it disputed Intuit commercials claiming TurboTax software prepared more returns than H & R; Block’s offices. H & R; Block filed its suit earlier in the month in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, which issued an order to change the commercials.

Rob Lanesey, a spokesman for Mountain View-based Intuit, said the two companies had reached a compromise. “As part of the agreement, Intuit will modify the ad and remove one of the claims, and Block has withdrawn its objection to the other,” Lanesey said.

The court did not rule as to any wrongdoing in the case, he added.

TurboTax builds on software developed by ChipSoft, a San Diego company Intuit acquired a dozen years ago. H & R; Block also markets tax software.

, Brad Graves

Thursday, Jan. 19

Numbers Rise At Legoland:

England-based Merlin Entertainments Group said it is evaluating sites for a second Legoland theme park in North America, which it would build in three to five years.

The company also said it wants to build a smaller Legoland attraction in the United States by 2008.

The company called its Carlsbad site “a launching pad for expansion into the North American market.”

Company representatives cited 2 percent attendance growth and 6 percent revenue growth at its Legoland California park in Carlsbad during 2005 and said they expected more growth in 2006. The company did not release specific numbers.

“Our strategy for success for the four Legoland parks is simple: significant capital expenditure to add new rides and attractions, new marketing programs and brand communication strategies, and development of a destination resort profile around all four parks,” said Nick Varney, the chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, in a prepared statement. “We are particularly focused on Legoland California as Merlin’s first venture into U.S.-based attractions due to the strong growth potential of the California market.”

Expansion plans for Legoland this year include an area with several water-based attractions called Pirate Shores.

Legoland opened in 1999. Merlin is owned jointly by the Blackstone Group, a New York-based investment group, and Denmark-based Lego.

, Brad Graves


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