Today’s News: CalPERS corruption charges; Variety ‘ankles’; Convention Center Plan B

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CalPERS corruption. The former head of the state’s public employee retirement fund and a former board member have been charged with gaming the system to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. A federal grand jury says former CalPERS CEO Federico Buenrostro Jr. and former board member Alfred Villalobos – a one-time deputy mayor of L.A. – illegally served as placement agents, basically middlemen  hired by private equity firms to drum up business. The charges include fraud, conspiracy and corruption. Both men have insisted they did nothing wrong. Sacramento Bee

Jail oversight. The new chief of the L.A. County jail system says she aims to change the way deputies approach their jobs. Former state prison official Terri McDonald is responsible for implementing a sweeping set of reforms intended to improve deputy training and jail management. She’ll also have to focus on realignment – the statewide program that is transferring thousands of prison inmates to local jails. Hiring an outside expert to run the jail system was one of the recommendations made last year by an independent commission. L.A. Times

Less Variety. It’s the end of the road for Daily Variety…the print road that is. After almost 80 years, the venerable Hollywood trade publication is putting out its final print edition today. Variety will now focus on its web site and a revamped weekly publication that will debut later this month. The web site, which previously required a subscription, will now be free. Variety was purchased for $25 million last fall by Jay Penske, the son of auto parts billionaire Roger Penske. L.A. Times

Convention wisdom. L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry is expected to introduce a motion today that would get the ball rolling on an alternative plan to fix up the aging Los Angeles Convention Center if the AEG downtown NFL stadium deal falls through. The proposed stadium would take part of the West Hall of the Convention Center and AEG has pledged to rebuild and modernize the facility. Owner Philip Anschutz announced last week that he was pulling AEG off the market. L.A. Daily News

Rail rush. The California High Speed Rail Authority has voted to issue about $8 billion in tax-payer approved bonds to build the country’s first bullet train. Officials will try to sell more than $3 billion of the bonds as the state rushes to begin construction this summer. The first segment of the rail line will run from Madera to Bakersfield. The project is eventually supposed to link Southern and Northern California with trains travelling 220 miles per hour. San Jose Mercury News