Archive for August, 2012

Braves owner top political donor among sports team bosses

Braves fans often gripe about the ball club’s relatively modest payroll, asking why team owner Liberty Media can’t lay out the green for more talent.

Liberty’s president and CEO Gregory Maffei has found a way to spend some of his own cash away from field, however.

He’s giving it to political candidates. One report states that the Braves boss is actually the top political donor among sports franchise owners.

According to a story from WNYC, “The most generous single owner was Gregory Maffei of the Atlanta Braves, who dished $157,500 to Mitt Romney, American Crossroads, Restore Our Future, and the National Republican Congressional Committee.”

The report examined how all the owners of teams in the four major U.S. sports leagues contributed to President Barack Obama, the Republican presidential candidates, Democratic and Republican national committees, U.S. House and Senate campaign committees, and affiliated super PACs in the current election cycle.

The findings: “Owners of teams …

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Suit: Apple’s Steve Jobs promised me job for life

Is there any such thing as a guaranteed job for life?

(Associated Press)

(Associated Press)

Yes, according to Wayne Goodrich, a one-time close aide to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs and now the complainant in a California lawsuit filed against the maker of the iPhone and iPad.

Goodrich, who says he was the “executive producer” behind the headline-grabbing roll-outs of Apple’s premier products, said the Apple leader promised him he’d always have a job, according a lawsuit obtained by Bloomberg News.

Goodrich said Jobs made the promise in May 2005 after he’d returned from medical leave for pancreatic cancer treatment. Jobs, 56, died of complications from the cancer last October.

Goodrich, who joined Apple in 1998, said he was let go in December 2011 for “business reasons,” according to Bloomberg. His lawyer, Phil Horowitz, however, said Apple is trying to avoid paying Goodrich restricted stock, the value of which as jumped from $97.40 a share when it was awarded in 2008 to $635 on Aug. …

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Study shows younger workers willing to pay for benefits

Half of Gen Y and Gen X workers employed by companies with fewer than 500 employees are putting more of an emphasis on benefits to achieve financial security, according to a study from insurer MetLife.

Two-thirds of Gen Y and Gen X small business employees said they would be willing to pay more for their benefits rather than risk losing them. And more than half said they would be interested in having a wider range of so-called voluntary benefits offered them even if that meant paying the full tab for benefits such as life, dental, vision, disability, critical illness and homeowner/auto insurance.

More than four in five small business employers said an important objective of benefits is retaining workers, and younger employees who were very satisfied with their benefits package were much more likely to feel a very strong sense of loyalty to their employers: 72 percent versus 46 percent for workers overall.

“Our study underscores that generational differences about benefits …

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California business owner’s ad blasts Obama tax plan

An eye-catching full-page advertisement appeared in The New York Times today from a self-described affluent business owner.

The ad is titled “Why This Fat Cat Likes Obama’s Tax Plan,” but be assured that the heading is tongue-in-cheek.

The writer, Norman Lizt of La Jolla, Calif., says he pulls in “close to eight figures annually” and has built a substantial net worth as a sole, private equity investor. He says he also employs a half-dozen people and contributes to charities.

But Lizt says that if President Obama is reelected and his “redistributionist tax agenda” is achieved, his marginal rate of taxation (he lives in California, and that’s factored in) will edge over 50 percent. That, he says “represents the crossing of an inviolate threshold … and is entirely unacceptable.”

And so, he says, “I probably will simply shutter my business and say my sweet farewells to a half dozen great employees (who are unlikely to equal their current remuneration elsewhere … if they are …

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RockTenn CEO: ‘Find someone you really want to work for’

RockTenn CEO Jim Rubright led his Norcross-based packaging manufacturer on to an elite group of companies earlier this year when it was named to the Fortune 500 list for the first time. As CEO for the past 13 years, Rubright, 65, did not use the much-touted method of “organic growth” to jump from No. 669 in revenue to No. 449. Instead, the University of Virgina-educated lawyer has primarily engineered large acquisitions — buying two Gulf States Paper divisions, Southern Container and Smurfit-Stone Container — to grow RockTenn from $1.3 billion in 1999 to an estimated $9.5 billion this year, with 26,000 employees.

Jim Rubright

Jim Rubright

Acquiring other companies and melding them into your own is a risky game that has derailed many firms. Rubright, a former King & Spalding attorney who has handled such deals, knows that firsthand. He talks about how to avoid major pitfalls, as well as how he hires key people and the best way to advance your career.

Q: What’s your acquisition strategy?

A: …

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Rabbis demand Apple remove ‘Protocols’ app

An organization of rabbis has called on Apple to remove an app in Arabic from iTunes in Europe that the group says could be used by hate groups to spread lies about a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.

The 99 cent e-book app is “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and the group calling for its removal is the Conference of European Rabbis, which represents Orthodox Jewish congregations.

While conference president Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said in a statement that the book should be available for study by academics, “in its proper context, to disseminate such hateful invective as a mobile app is dangerous and inexcusable” because it only benefits the cause of bigots and conspiracy theorists, the group says.

ITunes carries the following description of “The Protocols:”

“The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is one of the world’s most famous conspiracy theories. It is a statement of prejudice and paranoia, a fake historical record and a grand hoax all rolled into …

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More elderly victimized by investment fraud

A new survey says older Americans are the targets of investment fraud and financial exploitation.

Two-thirds of the 756 state securities regulators, financial planners, law enforcement officials, attorneys and other professionals who responded to an online poll said that they deal with elderly victims of investment fraud and financial exploitation. Three in four called it a “very serious” problem and described the elderly as “very vulnerable” to swindles.

The survey was done by the Investor Protection Institute in response to questions posed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The  most common abuses: Theft or diversion of funds by family members; theft or diversion of funds by caregivers; financial scams by strangers.

The survey “shows that financial swindles targeting older Americans are a bigger problem today than ever before and that seniors need more help,” said Don Blandin, president and CEO of the Investor Protection Institute.

The suggested solution: more …

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Kia supplier to add 150 jobs in LaGrange

Sewon America, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia’s largest supplier, plans to add 150 jobs and invest another $10 million in its existing facility in LaGrange, it was announced Thursday.

The company provides metal-stamping for a variety of automotive parts at the plant.

Georgia Department of Economic Development commissioner Chris Cummiskey said, “As KMMG continues to grow and expand in Georgia, so will its suppliers. This is a great example of the long-term economic benefit a company’s location brings to a region.”

The current facility was established in 2008 and initially employed 470. About $170 million was initially invested in machinery and equipment. Sewon’s workforce expanded to 700 by the end of 2010, and that will grow to 850.

Expansion work at Sewon will begin immediately and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2012.

“Sewon America is an outstanding company and an excellent corporate and community partner in LaGrange and Troup County,” said Development …

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Georgia’s jobless rate jumps to 9.3 percent in July

Georgia’s unemployment rate jumped to 9.3 percent in July from 9 percent in June, the state labor department said Thursday.

The state’s jobless rate, which had been closing the gap with the national rate, is now back at a full percentage point above the U.S. rate of 8.3 percent.

Georgia’s rate has declined from a year ago when it was 10 percent.

“One of the main reasons for the increase in the unemployment rate was a large number of temporary layoffs in manufacturing,” state Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said in a statement. “But many of those people have already gone back to work.”

There were 56,540 first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits in July — up 15.7 percent from June. Temporary manufacturing layoffs accounted for most of the increase, the labor department said.

The state’s labor force increased by 7,731 new jobseekers to 4,765,132 in July. But the number of jobs dropped by 0.5 percent in July. There were 20,600 jobs lost among seasonal workers in the …

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$320 million Powerball: Here are the winning numbers

(Maybach)

(Maybach)

11 p.m. update: The winning Powerball numbers drawn Wednesday night are: 6, 27, 46, 51, 56; and the Powerball is: 21.

2:45 p.m. update: Georgia Lottery President Margaret DeFrancisco has announced she plans to retire. See latest story.

Previous story: With $320 million you could buy your closest friends a $2.6 million Bugatti Veyron Supersport car, one of the most expensive cars in world, or one of Germany’s $1.4 million Maybach Landaulet sedans, something a little roomier.

Or maybe you’re looking for a bigger place to live. The 35,000-square-foot Fleur de Lys mansion in Beverly Hills is still on the market for $125 million. It’s the most expensive home for sale in the U.S., according to Forbes. Or if you’re looking for something a little smaller and closer to home, former Hawks coach Joe Johnson’s 13,822-square-foot Old Londberry community home in northwest Atlanta is for sale for a mere $4.7 million.

Maybe you’re the Warren Buffett type, whose main goal is not …

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