TODAY

– March 27, 2015

William Morris Endeavor, Silver Lake buying IMG

(AP) — Talent agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment is teaming with investment firm Silver Lake Partners to buy sports marketing firm IMG Worldwide, combining a powerful force in entertainment with one of the powerhouses in sports marketing.

Financial terms were not disclosed. William Morris Endeavor said the acquisition will add global reach and depth in sports, fashion and media.

Aside from sports figures including NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, IMG also has clients in the fashion industry. IMG got its start in 1960 with a handshake between Mark McCormack and golfer Arnold Palmer, according to its website. It has 3,500 employees and operates in more than 30 countries.

IMG had been owned since 2004 by private equity firm Forstman Little.

William Morris Endeavor was created in 2009 when the entertainment agency William Morris merged with Endeavor, but its roots go back more than a century. The Beverly Hills, Calif., agency represents thousands of notables in film, television, music, literature, theater and digital media including Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman and Amy Adams.

Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel, co-CEOs of William Morris Endeavor, will serve as co-CEOs of the combined company. Emanuel is the brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and is often cited as the inspiration for superagent Ari Gold on HBO's series "Entourage."

The Associated Press is a partner with IMG in Sports News Television, a sports news agency.

Do California's new water restrictions go far enough?

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Written on 03/27/2015, 11:43 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook is joining a long list of magnates promising to give away most of the wealth that they amass during their careers.
Written on 03/27/2015, 11:42 am by 
GILLIAN FLACCUS, 
KRISTIN J. BENDER, ELLEN KNICKMEYER, Associated Press
(AP) — Declaring a reported kidnapping wasn't a hoax, the attorney for a California woman who went missing for two days says she has met with police and is cooperating with their investigation. Denise Huskins met with Vallejo Police detectives for several hours Thursday "with the hope of clearing her name because she is absolutely, unequivocally, 100 percent, positively a victim," attorney Doug Rappaport said. He said her abduction wasn't staged as police have suggested. "This is no hoax," he said. Rappaport said Huskins has been emotionally and physically broken and hurt even more by being considered a suspect. "The fact that she has been designated as a suspect only hurts her further," he said. A lawyer for Huskins' boyfriend, Aaron Quinn, also denied earlier Thursday the kidnapping was a hoax. Attorney Dan Russo said his client had good reason for not immediately calling police when his girlfriend was abducted early Monday: At least two kidnappers bound and drugged him. Police did not immediately returned phone calls seeking comment on the attorneys' statements. The alleged kidnapping occurred in the pre-dawn hours Monday, but Quinn didn't report it until around 2 p.m. That delay is part of what aroused suspicions, Vallejo police Lt. Kenny Park said. "Upon further investigation, we couldn't substantiate any of the things he was saying," Park said Wednesday. Park said Quinn was "free on his own" for now. He wouldn't say whether anyone else was involved in the alleged hoax. But Russo said the strangers restrained Quinn and "forced him to drink something" they said was a drug. Quinn was even prepared to pay the ransom by the kidnappers' deadline of noon Wednesday, but Huskins was reported safe by then, the attorney said. "(Quinn) has basically died and gone to hell. He is in terrible shape," Russo said. "He is exhausted both mentally and physically." Russo added investigators tested Quinn's blood to determine if he was drugged but haven't revealed the results yet. He declined to release other details about how the alleged kidnapping unfolded, saying he didn't want to impede the investigation. "We are as at sea as most of you as to what happened," the attorney said. But he noted Quinn "has no responsibility for what's going on." Huskins, 29, turned up Wednesday in Huntington Beach, about 400 miles from Vallejo. Hours later, police revealed they found no proof of a kidnapping and believed it was a hoax. Russo said Thursday that police questioned Quinn for 17 hours. He added his client has not been in contact with Huskins and is staying with family. Jeff Kane, Huskins' uncle, told The Associated Press he was infuriated by the Vallejo Police Department's announcement that his niece's abduction was a hoax. Kane, of Huntington Beach, said police interviewed Huskins and her family for hours. "They said, 'If you don't start telling the truth, we're going to offer you or your boyfriend the chance to tell the truth, and whoever goes first will get leniency,'" Kane said. "I believe when the truth comes out, people are going to look at each other and say, 'That is the most horrific story I've ever heard. I can't imagine what she's gone through.'" Huskins is a physical therapist at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Vallejo. A Kaiser official declined to comment on her. In 2005, Huskins pleaded guilty in Orange County to misdemeanor driving with a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit. Her sentence included three years' probation and a first offenders' alcohol program, online court records show. She obtained a physical therapist's license in Massachusetts after studying at Long Island University in Brooklyn, according state online records. The license expired in 2014. No complaints were lodged against her, said Jayda Leder-Luis, a licensing division spokeswoman. In California, Huskins was licensed as a physical therapist in October 2013, according to the state's physical therapy board. Quinn also is a physical therapist licensed in California. Their next-door neighbor Dana Vandeweg said Quinn has lived there for a few years and has been kind and thoughtful. He adopted a stray cat and alerted neighbors ahead of the one or two quiet parties he hosted annually. "We all are having a hard time believing he'd have anything to do with a thing like this," Vandeweg said. "It was just, 'This can't be!' He's just a nice guy."___Flaccus reported from Huntington Beach; Bender reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writers Amy Taxin, Andrew Dalton and John Antczak in Los Angeles and Olga R. Rodriguez in San Francisco contributed to this report.
Written on 03/27/2015, 11:39 am by BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press
(AP) — Days after Donald Sterling was banned for life from the NBA and in jeopardy of losing his Los Angeles Clippers, he was trying to ensure that the woman who led to his downfall had a house of her own. In a recording played Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Sterling told V. Stiviano that he wanted her to give up the house he bought her that his wife was seeking in court as community property the couple acquired over six decades of marriage. He said he was going to figure out a way to get her another home. Stiviano didn't want to give up anything and she wanted him to tell his wife he bought the house for her. "Sweetie," Sterling said, "she's going to be hassling you all the time." "There's nothing wrong with you saying, 'This is my confidante, my everything ... and I wanted to help her and her family,'" Stiviano replied in the May 2 conversation. The recording was one of several played as Stiviano fights to protect the $1.8 million duplex and millions of dollars in cars, jewelry and other gifts Shelly Sterling claims were deceptively taken from her husband by the seductive younger woman. During the sometimes flippant testimony, the 32-year-old said she loved Donald Sterling and referred to him as her "hubby," but said they never were romantic despite sharing a room on trips to Dubai, Paris and Las Vegas. Shown several photos of her nuzzling the 80-year-old, she denied kissing him. "I don't know if you call duck lips or pucker lips kissing," she said, getting laughs from the gallery. When asked if she hated Shelly Sterling, she didn't hold back. "She is a bully," she said. "That's exactly what I thought she was — the evil witch of the west." The trial has provided a backstory of sorts to the saga that played out last year when the recording of Donald Sterling telling Stiviano not to publicly associate with blacks culminated with his ouster from the NBA and led to a record $2 billion sale of the team. Stiviano said she had 500 recordings of Sterling and some of those are now being used against her. In one snippet played Thursday, Donald Sterling is heard telling Stiviano he wants to give her everything. "I would rather give you cash," he said just after the house was purchased in December 2013. "But that's not going to make you happy. That's why I have to buy you that car. Because you're stubborn and you're pushy and I love you so much." "Not only do I want a car," Stiviano replied, "I want a new camera and I want a new lens." In several clips, Sterling tried to explain how someone could claim a sports car and house as community property and that one day she would ask why the assets were structured that way. "I will say, 'Because you didn't listen to me,'" Sterling said. "Do you think I can hide the house?" Stiviano replied. A judge will decide as soon as Friday whether Stiviano relinquish the gifts that an accountant valued conservatively at $3.6 million. Her lawyer says most of the funds can't be connected directly from Sterling to Stiviano and that the law doesn't allow a spouse to go after a third party in such a case. Lawyers on both sides said there's no precedent for such a case. Judge Richard Fruin Jr. cast doubt on Shelly Sterling's case Thursday, saying there's no clear documentation that funds went from the Sterling family's real estate company to Stiviano's bank accounts.
Written on 03/27/2015, 11:23 am by MICHAEL R. BLOOD, Associated Press
(AP) — Labor leaders announced Thursday that they have resolved a dispute with developers that threatened to delay construction of a proposed 80,000-seat stadium near Los Angeles that could become home for an NFL team. Earlier this month, labor leaders became alarmed after concluding that certain jobs connected to the nearly $2 billion project backed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke might be awarded to non-unionized workers. Labor trouble could make a stadium project less appealing to the NFL and its owners, who ultimately decide on possible team moves. In a statement Thursday, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Executive Secretary Rusty Hicks said agreements have been reached on those jobs for the project in Inglewood, about 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Hicks said the federation has "reached its goal — 100 percent of our unions have signed agreements for the proposed Inglewood stadium development. The promise of good jobs — both for the project's construction and for ongoing operations — is now a guarantee." "We now have certainty that the project will be an economic engine for the entire region and help turn the tide against poverty-level jobs in Los Angeles," Hicks added. The politically powerful unions had been quietly gathering petition signatures in Inglewood that could have led to a local vote on the plan, potentially delaying development of the project and forcing organizers to invest additional time and money. Any delays could be costly, with a rival stadium plan proposed by the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders moving ahead in nearby Carson. The developer, Hollywood Park Land Co., declined comment on the union issue. In San Diego on Thursday, the county and city announced they have joined forces in a bid to keep its NFL franchise. Mayor Kevin Faulconer and county supervisors will together spend up to $500,000 on consultants, attorneys, bankers and other experts. Voters will eventually decide whether to back a new stadium for the Chargers. The mayor's stadium task force is expected to announce a financing plan by May 20 in San Diego's Mission Valley area. Under current NFL rules, the next opportunity for a team to file to relocate would be in January 2016. State and local officials in Missouri have been maneuvering to keep the Rams.
Written on 03/27/2015, 11:22 am by Business Journal staff
Fresno State alumnus David Vartanian has pledged to fund an annual $1,000 scholarship for a Fresno State pre-veterinary major in honor of his pet English bulldog.  The Ag One — Mr. Murphy the Bulldog Scholarship will honor Vartanian's adopted pet that died March 7, six days before the official campus bulldog mascot Victor E. II died.  "Mr. Murphy brought hope, joy and, most of all, love to everyone who met him," said Vartanian, a 2008 graduate of the Craig School of Business who is now director of sales for PepsiCo in the western United States. "I hope this scholarship will help a Fresno State junior or senior each year follow a professional career in enriching the lives of animals and their owners." Vartanian said the scholarship is a tribute to Mr. Murphy's team of veterinarians at Fresno Pet Emergency and Referral Center and NorthPointe Animal Hospital.  Fresno State's pre-veterinary major is part of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. The curriculum emphasizes hands-on training and has placed students in veterinary programs throughout the country. "We are sincerely appreciative of Mr. Vartanian's gift," said Randy Perry, chair of the Animal Sciences and Agriculture Education departments. "Pre-veterinary is our most popular animal science major so this scholarship will be put to good use, especially since veterinary students are always in demand."
Written on 03/27/2015, 11:22 am by GILLIAN FLACCUS, 
TAMI ABDOLLAH, Associated Press
(AP) — A woman police say concocted a plot to kill mothers and steal their babies to pass off as her own calls herself a mogul, a motivational speaker, a songwriter and one of the "kindest women you will ever meet" on her many websites. But police paint Giseleangelique René D'Milian, 47, as a twisted schemer who was out to convince her married boyfriend that she had given birth to his twins last December outside the country. There is no indication he knew of the plans. "She fabricated a story and wanted him to believe these children were his. Why? We don't know," Long Beach police Lt. Lloyd Cox said. She and three others were arrested Wednesday in what police called an "evil" scheme that led to the abduction and killing of a 3-week-old girl in January after her family was shot and wounded in a home invasion. A second woman was attacked in February with a baseball bat in an unsuccessful attempt to steal her 4-month-old son, police said. D'Milian and 29-year-old Anthony McCall are accused of murder, kidnapping and other crimes, while D'Milian's daughter, Charisse Shelton, 30, and Todd Boudreaux, 44, have been accused of helping cover up the crimes, authorities said. It wasn't clear if they have attorneys or would request public defenders at a hearing Friday. The details emerged a week after a Colorado woman who told her family she was pregnant lured an expectant mother to her home and cut the unborn baby from her belly, authorities said. The baby didn't survive, but the mother has been released from a hospital. In D'Milian's case, no hint of violent tendencies appear on her multiple websites and international fan accounts, where she went by René Reyes. She advertised herself as the founder of an independent recording label and a professional speaker who has helped multinational corporations improve their operations. She had 271 podcasts on iTunes under the title "Speak Into Existence With René Reyes." One website called her "one of the most sincere and kindest women you will ever meet. Her biggest downfall would be trying to help others, even those who later may show not to deserve it." Police believe the only child abducted in the plot was 3-week-old Eliza Delacruz. D'Milian and 29-year-old Anthony McCall followed Eliza and her mother on Jan. 3 as they rode a Long Beach bus, police said. D'Milian briefly spoke with the woman, then McCall burst into their home two hours later, shot the baby's parents and uncle and kidnapped Eliza, police said. The baby was found dead in a trash bin the following day in Imperial Beach, a Mexican border city 100 miles away. Investigators wouldn't say how Eliza died and declined to discuss what may have motivated the woman's accomplices beyond saying that McCall was a friend. A month later, McCall attacked a 23-year-old mother with a baseball bat in an El Segundo hotel room, aiming to take her baby, police said. Hotel workers intervened, scaring him away, and the child wasn't hurt. Police say they know about D'Milian's online persona. "She seems very intelligent," said Cox, the Long Beach lieutenant. "The detective says she's charismatic, she speaks well." D'Milian portrayed herself online as a "masterful genius behind so many ventures" with a published book called "Speak Into Existence: Affirmations For Success." She helped sponsor the Leadership Success Summit in 2013 and spoke for 30 minutes, receiving praise from the crowd, said Lisa Marie Platske, who plans the annual event. Leticia Wright met D'Milian through a business networking event about eight years ago and said she was a fun person who was often traveling. D'Milian sometimes referred to having twins, but Wright had never met them. The two fell out of touch in the last year and Wright was stunned by the accusations. "I cannot imagine her doing this. That does not sound like her to me," Wright said. But, she added, "when you see people in their suit and tie, looking good and speaking from the stage, I guess that's kind of all you see."
Written on 03/27/2015, 11:15 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — A small earthquake jolted an area of Fresno County, but there were no reports of damage. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the temblor occurred at 6:30 a.m. Friday and had a preliminary magnitude of 4.2. It was centered 6 miles north of Coalinga and occurred at a depth of 7 miles. Christine Mercer, a dispatcher with the Coalinga Police Department, says the quake wasn't too strong and lasted four or five seconds. She said: "You could kind of hear the rumble and then there was a jerk and that was it." Mercer says police received numerous calls, but none reported any damage or injuries. The USGS website shows a number of smaller quakes in the same area overnight. The largest was magnitude-3.5 at 12:32 a.m.
Written on 03/27/2015, 11:05 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Fresno's deputy police chief was among four people arrested on federal drug charges, including conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and heroin, authorities said Thursday. Deputy Police Chief Keith Foster, 51, was arrested for conspiracy to distribute and/or possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone, heroin and marijuana, the Federal Bureau of Investigations said in a statement. Foster and Fresno residents Rafael Guzman, Jennifer Donebedian and Randy Flowers were arrested as result of a yearlong joint investigation by the FBI and ATF that involved wiretaps and surveillance, the FBI said. Foster, a 29-year-veteran of the Fresno Police Department, oversaw patrol operations for the department's four police districts. He has been a deputy chief since January 2007. Foster has been put on paid administrative leave while the Fresno police conduct an internal investigation into alleged criminal and policy violations, the Fresno Police Department said in a statement. "This is a very sad day for the Fresno Police Department, the citizens of Fresno, the law enforcement profession, and for me personally," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said. An affidavit by U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent Sherri L. Reynolds shows Foster told Flowers in a Dec. 23, 2014, phone call that he had "100 of those things" for Flowers. Foster picked up a prescription for 100 oxycodone tablets at a Rite Aid pharmacy drive-thru and then drove his black BMW to Flowers' home on West Church Avenue in a pocket of southwest Fresno just outside city limits. Foster picked up another prescription of oxycodone pills on Jan. 27, 2015, and then drove to Flowers' home. Flowers has a criminal history in Fresno County that includes a 1988 conviction for possession of cocaine base for sale; a 1994 conviction for being a felon and addict in possession of a firearm; and a 2010 conviction for delivery of a schedule II controlled substance from Marion County, Oregon, the affidavit says. Neither the FBI nor the Fresno Police Department could provide the name of a defense attorney to comment on the charges.
Written on 03/27/2015, 10:30 am by Business Journal staff
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) announced that long-time Chief of Staff Johnny Amaral is leaving for a position with Westlands Water District. Amaral ran Nunes' first successful Congressional campaign in 2001, and has served as chief of staff since 2002. “This has been, by far, the most rewarding job I’ve ever had,” said Amaral. “I’ve had the privilege of meeting a huge number of our constituents and working with the most incredible people in the Central Valley. It was a tough decision to leave this office and our amazing staff, and to part ways with Devin, who is one of my best friends. But I’m looking forward to a new opportunity with Westlands to continue pursuing one of my main goals of the past thirteen years — to end the man-made drought in the Central Valley.” Amaral's title with Westlands will be deputy general manager for external relations, drawing upon his more than a decade of experience on water issues and long-standing relationships with farmers, policymakers and principals stakeholders at the local, state and federal levels, according to a news release from Nunes' office. “Johnny has been crucial to my efforts, both in our home district and in Washington,” Nunes said. “He has deep knowledge of all the key issues facing Central Valley communities, and has handled even the most difficult problems with absolute professionalism and a dose of good humor. I commend my good friend for his many years of service to the people of the 22nd District. While I’m sad to lose Johnny, I think his hiring by Westlands is a positive sign that the water district intends to take a more engaged, pro-active approach to solving the water crisis.” Amaral begins at Westlands on May 1. Amaral will be paid $250,000 a year — a 50 percent raise from his House of Representatives salary, reported The Fresno Bee. Anthony Ratekin, a Valley native and provious field representative for Nunes, will serve as his new chief of staff, based in the Clovis and Visalia offices.
Written on 03/27/2015, 8:59 am by MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
 (AP) — The U.S. economy's tepid performance last quarter — a 2.2 percent annual growth rate, the government said Friday — was typical of the economic rebound that began in the summer of 2009. Yet the generally sluggish pace of the U.S. recovery masks a sign of strength: This growth spurt has proved to be one of the most durable since World War II. And it seems at no risk of ending anytime soon. The economic recovery will mark its sixth anniversary in June, meaning it will have already lasted 14 months longer than the average expansion since World War II. "This recovery has been disappointing in terms of growth so far but if you are looking for a silver lining, it is that the slow rate of growth has allowed the economy to avoid the kinds of excesses that can lead to over-building, over-lending or other problems," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "We are a long way from that." The longest recovery on record was the 10-year growth period that lasted from March 1991 to March 2001. But many economists believe this expansion could surpass that. Zandi said it may only be at the half-way point, meaning it could last another six years. In the final look at fourth quarter GDP, the government said consumer spending was more robust than previously estimated, though business restocking was weaker. Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, grew at a 4.4 percent rate in the fourth quarter — the strongest performance in eight years and even better than the 4.2 percent estimated a month ago. Export growth also posted an improvement, although those gains were offset by slower growth in business inventories, leaving total GDP unchanged. The report also showed that inflation was well under control. A price measure tied to GDP rose just 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter. Excluding food and energy, prices rose a modest 1.1 percent. Analysts said the gain reinforced Federal Reserve's view that inflation was continuing to fall below its target of 2 percent. "The economy was on solid footing at the end of the year, while inflation and inflation expectations continue to ratchet lower than expected," said Bricklin Dwyer, an economist at BNP Paribas. Economic growth for all of 2014 also unchanged at 2.4 percent, only a tiny improvement from the 2.2 percent growth seen in 2013. For the past five years, growth has averaged a subpar 2.2 percent. In 2014, the economy actually shrank at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the first quarter as the country was hit by a series of severe winter storms. Growth rebounded to a 4.6 percent rate in the spring and a 5 percent rate in the third quarter in the strongest performance in 11 years. But growth slowed in the fourth quarter, and the deceleration is expected to extend into the January-March period, reflecting the impact of winter storms and shipping disruptions from a West Coast port dispute. Economists, however, believe strong gains in consumer spending will propel growth to a rate of at least 3 percent in 2015, which would be the best performance in a decade. Part of Zandi's optimism stems from his belief that with inflation currently so low, the Fed will be able to move gradually when it starts raising rates, likely later this year. And with the Fed's target rate at a record low near zero, it will take time before rates are increased to the point where they slow borrowing activity and overall economic growth. Many economists believe that at most, the Fed will move rates in two small quarter-point moves this year, leaving them below 1 percent at the end of 2015. That was the previous record low before the current six-year stretch of rates near zero. Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Economics, thinks that growth will rebound to a solid 3.4 percent rate in the April-June quarter and remain robust for the rest of the year. He believes that the job growth seen over the past year, the strongest in 17 years, will energize consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy. "Consumers are going to be the engine of growth for the U.S. economy this year," Behravesh said. Behravesh believes that the expected deceleration in the first three months of this year won't be anything like last year when a series of storms combined with other factors to send the economy into a sharp contraction. "We are going through a soft patch, but it is nothing like what we saw a year ago," he said.

Latest State News

Written on 03/27/2015, 11:43 am by The Associated Press
(AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook is joining a...
Written on 03/27/2015, 11:42 am by 
GILLIAN FLACCUS, 
KRISTIN J. BENDER, ELLEN KNICKMEYER, Associated Press
(AP) — Declaring a reported kidnapping...
Written on 03/27/2015, 11:39 am by BRIAN MELLEY, Associated Press
(AP) — Days after Donald Sterling was...
Written on 03/27/2015, 11:23 am by MICHAEL R. BLOOD, Associated Press
(AP) — Labor leaders announced Thursday...

Latest National News

Written on 03/27/2015, 8:59 am by MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
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