Business briefs: 6/28/12
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The remaining 25 employees at the Federal Reserve Bank, Downtown, will be moving to leased space in One Oxford Centre on Grant Street sometime in the fourth quarter, the central bank announced Wednesday. Those employees currently work at the opposite end of the street at 717 Grant St. in a building the Federal Reserve plans to sell. Allegheny County real estate records show the assessed value of the building at $6.5 million.
A class-action suit stemming from the shutdown of the state's health insurance program for the working poor, called adultBasic, will be allowed to proceed, according to a split Commonwealth Court panel. The suit, filed in March 2011 by three Southwestern Pennsylvania plaintiffs, alleges that Gov. Tom Corbett and other administration and legislative officials killed the program in violation of a state law that requires some of Pennsylvania's tobacco settlement funds to be spent on adultBasic. The court panel ruled 5-2 on Wednesday that the Legislature is largely immune from the suit, but that the administration is not.
Giant Eagle has signed a lease to put a Valu King store on the former Roomful Express site along McKnight Road. The O'Hara grocer, which has opened the deep discount stores in markets such as Johnstown and Erie, expects the Ross store to open this fall. Bottom Dollar Foods also is putting a small-format grocery store in the Ross Towne Center shopping center.
The Department of Energy has awarded approximately $1 million in grants to three Pennsylvania companies for clean energy innovations. Springdale-based Media and Process Technology, which specializes in removing contaminants from gas, aqueous and hydrocarbon streams received $996,821.
The Bridgeville-based Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association, which serves as a catalyst for venture capital and entrepreneurship in the region, has launched the Emerging Leadership Board for members 35 and younger. The program is designed to prepare young professionals to serve as future board directors.
The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office announced a nearly $1.8 million settlement in its case against Baltimore-based BlueHippo Funding, which is accused of preying on people with poor credit by offering computers, flat screen TVs and other electronic equipment on layaway but failing to deliver the products. Pennsylvania consumers who encountered problems with the company but have not yet filed a formal complaint should contact the AG's office at 1-800-441-2555 or www.attorneygeneral.gov.
The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 454 checks totaling $2.9 million to consumers victimized by a scam that promoted video rental machines as a business opportunity. The agency's case against American Entertainment Distributors Inc. alleged that consumers were duped into paying $28,000 to $37,500 for video rental vending machines that purportedly would earn their owners $60,000 to $80,000 a year. All investors lost money, the FTC said. Those with questions should call toll-free 1-866-271-9147 or visit the FTC's refunds website, http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/cases/redress.shtml.
Barclays Bank PLC has agreed to pay more than $450 million to settle charges it attempted to manipulate key interest rates, including the London InterBank Offered Rate, or LIBOR. The London-based investment bank announced settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission and the British Financial Services Authority. Barclays CEO Bob Diamond said he and other top executives would forgo bonuses this year.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for durable goods rose 1.1 percent in May after two months of declines. And core capital goods, which signal business investment plans, increased 1.6 percent. That also followed two months of declines. Durable goods are items that are expected to last at least three years. In May, orders rose to $217.2 billion, but remain 11.4 percent below their 2007 peak.
Apple Inc. won a court order immediately blocking U.S. sales of Samsung Electronics Co.'s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet computer as the companies continue their global patent dispute. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., issued the order Tuesday after rejecting a similar request in December.
A European court on Wednesday upheld most of a massive fine levied against Microsoft by the European Commission's competition watchdog, closing a case against the software giant that began in 1998. The General Court of the European Union rejected Microsoft Corp.'s request to dismiss the fine levied in 2008, but did trim it to $1.1 billion. The fine is a "penalty for noncompliance" with an order for Microsoft to make computer programming code available that would allow competitors' products to interface properly with Microsoft's server software.
First Published June 28, 2012 12:00 am