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shirley Offline
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Sept. 2008 news
Sep 9, 2008 8:23 am US/Pacific
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Woman, 3 Girls Found Dead After Lancaster Fire
LANCASTER A woman and three girls were found dead Tuesday morning at the scene of a house fire in Lancaster, authorities said.

The victims were discovered when firefighters put out the fire, which was reported about 7 a.m. in the 1500 block of East Avenue J-3, Los Angeles County fire Inspector Ron Haralson said.

Firefighters doused the flames in the one-story, single-family home in about 20 minutes, Haralson said.

The causes of death and the cause of the fire were under investigation.

The victims' ages and names were not immediately released.

Sep 8, 2008 9:44 am US/Pacific
Al Qaeda Member From O.C. May Be Dead
Adam Gadahn Possibly Killed In Air Strike On Afghan-Pakistani Border
SANTA ANA An American propagandist for Al Qaeda who was raised in Orange County may have been killed along the Afghan-Pakistani border in an air strike by an unmanned U.S. Predator aircraft, according to intelligence experts quoted by a British newspaper.

Gadahn has been credited with helping transform Al Qaeda's propaganda wing into a slick operation able to communicate in fluent English and produce professional quality DVDs, including one for Osama bin Laden last year.

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Adam Gadahn, aka Azzam al-Amriki, may have been killed in an air
strike along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
He may have been killed by a predator assassination, which have targeted and killed many of the terrorist group's military commanders, trainers and facilitators in the past year, according to London's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Gadahn has not been heard from for months, leading intelligence experts to conclude that he may be dead, the Telegraph reported.

Jihadists around the world will be watching as closely as intelligence officials this week to see whether Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Ameriki -- Azzam the American -- produces a new video message to mark 9/11, as he has done every year since 2003, according to the Telegraph.

Gadahn has been is under indictment on U.S. federal charges of treason and providing material support to the enemy, with a $1 million bounty on his head.

Daily News Los Angeles
Lancaster's English-only idea put on back burner

By Karen Maeshiro, Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 08/28/2008 1108 PM PDT

LANCASTER - Councilwoman Sherry Marquez said she is suspending her efforts to proclaim English the official language of Lancaster and will instead focus on passing English-only federal legislation.

After consulting with the city attorney and the city manager, Marquez said a local English-only ordinance would lack teeth and that city efforts would be better expended elsewhere.

"I'm just leaving it alone for right now," Marquez said Thursday. "Looking at what's going on and everything we're trying to do, we may be better served if the city attorney works on all the other things."

Councilman Ron Smith said most of what the city does in another language, which is Spanish, would not be affected by a city ordinance because it's either required by federal law or needed in case of public-safety emergencies.

"Looking at an ordinance, it wouldn't change much," Smith said. "Why put staff on writing an ordinance and doing all this work and putting effort, time and expense into doing something that will not make a change?"

Marquez announced her decision at Tuesday's council meeting, saying that after she first proposed the idea two weeks ago, she received hundreds of e-mails - the vast majority positive and thanking her.

Three or four people wrote messages accusing her of being a racist.

"If anyone should ever call me a racist, first of all, they don't have a clue about me," Marquez said at the meeting. "I am in no way,
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shape or form a racist, but I am a very proud American."

Thirty states have made English their official language, including California in 1986. Since 1981, there have been several attempts by congressional lawmakers to make English the national official language, according to English-only advocacy groups.

At the local government level, more than 100 cities and counties have adopted English-only measures.

karen.maeshiro@dailynews.com 661-476-4586
09-09-2008 11:19 AM
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admiral1
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Ex-water officials plead no contest
Ex-water officials plead no contest
Daily News
09/11/2008 10408 PM PDT

LANCASTER - Two recalled directors of a small Agua Dulce water company accused of defrauding customers of more than $80,000 pleaded no contest this week to felony grand theft charges.

If Manuel Fernandez and Carey Lee Moisan pay $81,584 in restitution by March 2009, Antelope Valley Superior Court Judge Carlos Chung will dismiss all but one of the seven counts and reduce that to a misdemeanor, officials said.

If restitution is not made, they each face up to eight years in prison.

While on the board of the Sierra Pelona Valley Water Co. several years ago, prosecutors said the defendants paid themselves as directors in violation of board bylaws and sold water to their own company from a secret corporation they formed for a penny more a gallon.
23-09-2008 09:10 AM
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admiral1
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Water ordinance closer to being adopted
Water ordinance closer to being adopted
Daily News
09/18/2008 1126 PM PDT

PALMDALE - The City Council moved closer this week to implementing a new water ordinance that will prohibit grass front lawns on new residential construction.

Instead of turf, developers and homebuilders will be required to use city-approved drought-tolerant landscaping and native plants that use less water as well as various types of rocks.

The council approved the first reading of the plan Wednesday and forwarded it for a second reading and approval at the Oct. 15 meeting.
23-09-2008 09:23 AM
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admiral1
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Man, 18, charged in Lancaster arson-slayings
Man, 18, charged in Lancaster arson-slayings
Daily News
By Karen Maeshiro, Staff Writer
09/12/2008 10 04 PM PDT


LANCASTER - Prosecutors charged an 18-year-old man Friday with the slayings of a Lancaster woman and her three daughters, a crime for which he could face the death penalty if convicted.

Corey King was charged with killing Sonya Evette Durfield, a 43-year-old surgical technician, and her three daughters, 14-year-old Ebony Horton, 12-year-old Melinda Harris, and 9-year-old Kayla Clark, whose bodies were found Tuesday by firefighters in their burning home in Lancaster.

"It is an awful, unimaginable crime followed by an arson in an attempt to burn the bodies," Deputy District Attorney Michael Blake said outside court.

King's attorney, Deputy Public Defender Michael Allensworth, declined to comment.

King, who has addresses in Altadena and Lancaster, also was charged with arson, grand theft auto, and special allegations of multiple murder and torture of two of the victims. It was alleged that King used a knife to slay Durfield and two of her children.

Coroner officials said Durfield and one older daughter had been beaten and slashed or stabbed to death, the second older daughter was stabbed to death and the youngest was strangled.

The special allegations make King eligible for the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted.

King, described as a friend of Durfield's adult son, made his first court appearance Friday in Antelope Valley Superior Court for his arraignment,
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which was put over to Oct. 10 to allow defense attorneys more time to research the case.

Wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit, King answered firmly, "Yes, sir," in response to questions posed to him by a court commissioner about waiving his rights to have a preliminary hearing and trial within the statutory time.

The victims' relatives and friends of the defendant were on hand for the hearing.

"We can't express how we are feeling right now," said Casondra Clark, another of Durfield's daughters. "How can he take our little sisters and mother?" Durfield worked at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia and had six children.

Zona Morales, 22, and her brother, 16-year-old Jamall Morales, said they have known King for about six years and said he was not capable of such violence.

"I think it's totally ludicrous," Zona Morales said. "He's not even violent like that."

Jamall Morales agreed, saying, "That isn't Corey at all."

He said that before King surrendered to authorities, he told him that he didn't commit the Lancaster slayings and he blamed another unidentified person.

The Moraleses said King's mother died about six to eight months ago. "When the mom died," Jamall said, "he was going through a lot of stuff."

Detectives said King was at the victims' house the night before and took a car belonging to the victims to a nearby Wal-Mart, where he shoplifted several items of clothing.

karen.maeshiro@dailynews.com 661-476-4586
23-09-2008 09:27 AM
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admiral1
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Tony Alamo says he's back
Daily News
Tony Alamo says he's back in California after raid at Arkansas church
By Brandon Lowrey, Staff Writer
09/23/2008 1204 AM PDT

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The Tony Alamo church near Saugus. (David Crane/Staff Photographer)

SANTA CLARITA - Windowless, white commercial vans glide through the dry canyons north of Santa Clarita, stirring up suspicion and gossip among the locals.

The vans transport the faithful - many of them homeless and runaway young people - in and out of Tony Alamo's New Jerusalem Christian Ministries. The reclusive sect has made its home deep in Mint Canyon, amid tall oaks, for more than 40 years.

Across the street, a small neighborhood of ranch-style homes is perched on a hillside overlooking the modest-size ministry.

"They don't bother anyone," said Mike Hooper, 48. "They're kind of misunderstood because they don't go into the community.

"A normal church has functions," Hooper said. "This church doesn't do any of that stuff."

Hooper said the armed guards who watch the church at 13136 Sierra Highway in Santa Clarita every minute of every day make him feel safe.

"It's free armed security I'd have to pay $5,000 a month for," he said. "So I'm like, `Cool, they watch my house."'

Alamo, the charismatic 74-year-old church leader, has spent most of his time in recent years at his church and residence in his wife's home state of Arkansas. On Saturday, federal agents investigating allegations of child pornography raided the compound and child-welfare workers took six children into custody.

Alamo's earlier brushes with the law in the 1990s include a four-year prison term for tax evasion and being a fugitive from
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justice.

And as federal agents hinted there could be a warrant for his arrest soon, Alamo told the Daily News by phone that the allegations were baseless persecution.

"Every true Christian church gets that. Jesus got it. Everybody gets it," said Alamo, whose followers believe he has direct contact with God.

Monday, Alamo said he and his followers have been constantly besieged by the forces of the Dark Lord: Catholics and the law.

Alamo - pronounced al-AH-mo - was born Bernie Lazar Hoffman to a Jewish family in 1934 in Joplin, Mo. He changed his name, reportedly to sound more like Italian- American singers Frank Sinatra and Perry Como.

He claims to have found God in 1964. He married Susan Lipowitz in 1966 and started his ministry with his wife in 1969.

His wife died of cancer in 1982 and Alamo put her body on display for six months at an Arkansas compound, requiring his flock to pray for her resurrection.

Alamo's church on the outskirts of Santa Clarita, which has 100 to 400 worshippers, is the Los Angeles-area headquarters for his congregation.

As peculiar as many neighbors to the church find it, Alamo and his followers have made positive contributions to the Santa Clarita Valley, helping nearby residents evacuate during fires and even volunteering to build Canyon High School's football field in the early 1970s.

Back then, Charles Willett, a contractor, was a Jaycee in charge of building concrete bleachers for Canyon High School's football field. Tony and Susan Alamo offered to supply the manpower: the young members of the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation, the church's charitable arm.

Willet drove to Alamo's church, picked up about 20 young men and brought them to Canyon High School, where they worked for three months on the bleachers.

"They recruited (the followers) down on the streets in Hollywood," Willett said. "A lot of them were ex-drug users and they were pretty eccentric that way. And then they became eccentrically involved in the Christian foundation."

The church's dogma and odd habits have aroused curiosity, suspicion and even disgust. Alamo outlined some of his church's beliefs during phone calls to the Daily News on Sunday and Monday.

Polygamy is OK in God's eyes.

Homosexuals are Satan's tools.

The pope is a homosexual who could be the Antichrist himself.

Girls should be allowed to marry and have sex as soon as they have their first menstrual period, regardless of their age, as long as they're born-again Christians and mature enough to carry on an interesting conversation.

"When they reach puberty, they're able to have children," he said. "Why would God prevent anyone?" But when asked whether he or any of his followers has ever had sex with a girl under 18, he said no.

"I know what would happen if I did that," he said. "I'm not that stupid."

Monday, several women stood in the lobby of Alamo's Sierra Highway church wearing T-shirts bearing Alamo's name and his ministry's emblem: A bejeweled golden cross. When a reporter asked them questions, Sharon Green stepped forward to vouch for the congregation.

"My heart and soul is content now, with my niece being here," she said, adding that the church has been treated unfairly by the news media. But before long, a woman wearing an Alamo shirt ushered Green away, told the reporter to leave and shut the door.

Outside the church, two white vans with Arkansas license plates were parked as armed guards patrolled the area in a truck; Alamo said they're there to ward off vandals.

When asked whether he is a cult leader, Alamo bristled.

"No, I'm not," Alamo said. "A cult (leader) is like the pope.

"If we're a cult, then Jesus and his followers were a cult."

Alamo's church also owns a cluster of homes a few miles away from the church, where Alamo said some of his congregation live. The homes are on a hill just behind the Santa Clarita Valley landmark Halfway House Cafe.

An employee at the cafe said Alamo's white vans are a fixture up there.

In the Halfway House, Alamo's face popped up on a news broadcast, describing the raid at the pastor's Arkansas church. Those in the dining room pointed to the images of the church on the television.

"I drive by there all the time," said Stuart Kennon, 45, of Santa Clarita.

He said he's heard lots of gossip, and that Alamo has gotten into trouble with the law, but not much else. "I don't really know anything about it.

"Aren't they in Hollywood, passing out their pamphlets?"

brandon.lowrey@dailynews.com, 818-713-3699
23-09-2008 09:45 AM
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admiral1
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Post: #6
(Tony Alamo) State seeks parents of 6 after raid
23-09-2008 09:54 AM
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admiral1
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Evangelist Tony Alamo's complex hit in child-porn raid
Evangelist Tony Alamo's complex hit in child-porn raid
By Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press
09/20/2008 0916 PM PDT

FOUKE, Ark. - FBI agents and state police raided an evangelist's headquarters Saturday as part of a two-year child pornography investigation, and social workers interviewed children who live at the complex in southwestern Arkansas to find out whether they were abused.

The raid at the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries south of Texarkana started an hour before sunset, but state police said no one was arrested. Armed guards regularly patrol the ministry headquarters, but there was no resistance as agents moved in, state police said.

Tom Browne, who runs the FBI office in Little Rock, said the investigation involved the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of children across state lines for criminal activity.

"Children living at the facility may have been sexually and physically abused," Browne said.

In a phone call to The Associated Press from a friend's house in the Los Angeles area, Tony Alamo - who was once accused of child abuse and has been convicted of tax evasion - denied any involvement in pornography.

"We don't go into pornography; nobody in the church is into that," Alamo said. "Where do these allegations stem from? The anti-Christ government. The Catholics don't like me because I have cut their congregation in half. They hate true Christianity."

About 100 state and federal law officers raided the 15-acre compound housing the ministry, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a cult that opposes homosexuality, Catholicism and the government.

The ministry's Web site says it is "dedicated to spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and the winning of souls worldwide."

John Selig, head of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, said state workers were talking to children.
23-09-2008 10:02 AM
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admiral1
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6 children in custody after raid (Tony Alamo)
6 children in custody after raid
By Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press
09/21/2008 1155 PM PDT

FOUKE, Ark. - Six minors have been temporarily placed in state custody as part of a child porn investigation after a raid on a ministry run by a man who says "consent is puberty" when it comes to sex, officials said Sunday.

The children will be in the custody of the Arkansas Department of Human Services as investigators interview them, state police spokesman Bill Sadler said in a statement.

Sadler didn't say how long the interviews would last, but did say that courts would decide the children's status in the event of any "long-term separation" from the property of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in rural Fouke.

He did not say how old the children were, but an e-mail that authorities inadvertently sent to media members last week referred to 12-, 13- and 14-year-old girls.

The move comes after a raid Saturday by more than 100 federal and state authorities. Investigators said their two-year probe into allegations of child pornography and abuse focused on convicted tax evader Tony Alamo and his ministry, described by its critics as a cult.

Alamo claimed in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Saturday that the investigation was part of a federal push to legalize same-sex marriage while outlawing polygamy. He also said for girls having sex, "consent is puberty."

Alamo and his late wife Susan were street preachers along West Hollywood's Sunset Strip in 1966 before forming a commune near Saugus.

Susan Alamo died of cancer in 1982; Alamo claimed she would be resurrected and kept her body on display for six months while their followers prayed.
23-09-2008 10:06 AM
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admiral1
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County halts brewery dumps organic waste
County halts brewery dumps
Subcontractor discarding organic waste
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press
Tuesday, September 23, 2008.

By JAMES RUFUS KOREN
Valley Press Staff Writer
PEARBLOSSOM - Los Angeles County officials have ordered a Simi Valley-based waste disposal firm to stop dumping waste from the Van Nuys Anheuser-Busch brewery in the Antelope Valley.

Kenmark Enterprises, a firm hired by Anheuser-Busch, dumped a mixture of organic brewery waste and diatomaceous earth - a filtration material - on a parcel of land near 155th Street East north of Pearblossom Highway, in the Big Rock Creek wash.

The County Department of Public Health told Kenmark to stop dumping material on Sept. 8, one week after the company started dumping it, said Chris Mastro, an environmental health specialist with the health department.

"The story I get from the transporter is that they thought they were doing a legal and appropriate activity," Mastro said. He said Kenmark had started leasing the land parcel a few weeks prior to dumping the material.

Kenmark Enterprises could not be reached for comment Monday. Anheuser-Busch said it will pay to clean up the dump site.

"Anheuser-Busch hired a contractor to recycle a brewery filtering aid slurry into concrete," the beer maker said in a statement issued Monday. "Rather than using the approved recycling method the contractor deposited the material at another location without our knowledge or approval. Although cleanup is the contractor's responsibility, we are working with the agencies involved and a third-party cleanup firm to ensure proper cleanup of the area which will proceed as soon as we have permission from the site owner."

Mastro said he contacted various state agencies, including the air and water quality boards and the Department of Fish and Game, and they will work with Anheuser-Busch to clean the site.

Kenmark dumped a mixture of solid and liquid waste. Mastro said the waste was organic and inert, making it largely harmless.

But the organic materials will begin to smell as they decay, Mastro said.

"It's kind of like garbage," he said. "It can attract flies."

Mastro said he did not know how much material had been dumped, but that Kenmark only had been dumping material between Sept. 1 and 8.

Mastro said he expects the cleanup company hired by Anheuser-Busch will complete the work in a few weeks.

"They are taking the lead on cleaning this up," he said. "They pretty quickly jumped into action."

Mastro said he did not know if illegal dumping charges would be filed against Kenmark Enterprises. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said no charges had been filed as of Monday.

jkoren@avpress.com
23-09-2008 10:26 AM
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admiral1
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Agency to use chloramines to disinfect water
Agency to use chloramines to disinfect water
This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press
Tuesday, September 23, 2008.

By ALISHA SEMCHUCK
Valley Press Staff Writer

PALMDALE - Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency has announced it plans to switch from chlorine to chloramines to disinfect drinking water early next year.

AVEK decided to use chloramines to comply with Environmental Protection Agency regulations mandating lower levels of potential carcinogens called trihalomethanes, but some AVEK customers, most notably Rosamond Community Services District, oppose the switch, citing other potential health risks.

"As with chlorine, chloramines will be safe for residents and pets like dogs and cats," said a Sept. 12 AVEK letter to Antelope Valley businesses. "But as with chlorine, chloramines must be removed or neutralized for kidney dialysis and aquatic animals. Chloramines may also affect swimming pool water, emergency water drums, some businesses and private water storage tanks."

The switch is expected to take place between January and March, the letter said.

Chloramines form when ammonia is mixed with chlorine. AVEK's switch to chloramines is intended to lower the levels of trihalomethanes, or THMs, which form in water from the California Aqueduct when chlorine, used as a disinfectant, comes into contact with natural organic substances, such as decaying plant matter. THMs have been correlated to a high incidence of certain types of cancer. Studies on the use of chloramines have not produced that same conclusion.

But Rosamond Community Service District officials say they will refuse to accept water treated with chloramines. Rosamond's board members met people who claim assorted health concerns, including red, burning watering eyes; breathing difficulties; and skin rashes.

"Working with AVEK, we can solve the problem," said Jack Stewart, general manager of Rosamond Community Service District.

The Rosamond board will decide how to deal with the issue after hearing the results of a report from Montgomery Watson Harza, a consulting firm hired by AVEK to work on the project.

AVEK's board authorized the $35,000 study to compare two ways Rosamond can accept water deliveries from AVEK without being subjected to the chloramines.

One involves adding enough additional chlorine to offset the ammonia. The other would be for Rosamond to tie into the AVEK water delivery system at a point before the ammonia is added.

Stewart said he didn't know which the Rosamond board would choose, and they can't decide until they hear the details of both methods and the cost for each.

Though Rosamond officials still haven't determined how to handle the chloramines, Stewart said, "whatever is decided, we can be ready by mid-January," when AVEK wants to go online with the process.

Whether all AVEK's customers can meet the Jan. 15 date is uncertain.

"We're getting some feedback from a few customers that may not be ready at that time," said Michael Flood, AVEK engineer. "We want to work with them, but also make sure folks don't put it off."

As for Los Angeles County Waterworks District 40, AVEK's biggest customer, meeting the Jan. 15 date is not a problem.

"We will be ready by Jan. 15," said Adam Ariki, the waterworks division chief. "For the most part, we're ready (now). We've already converted all our disinfection facilities for the use of chloramines."

It cost the county in excess of $8 million for that project, which involved 18 facilities, Ariki said.

"It's a huge cost for us. But in the long run, the use of chloramines is the most reliable and cost-effective disinfection method. There is a lot of misconception about the use of chloramines," he said, disagreeing with contentions the compound causes health problems.

"Chloramines have been used as a disinfectant for a very long time - a century, as far as I know," Ariki said. "Two-thirds of the water companies throughout the state use chloramines."

The EPA estimates 68 million people use chloramine-treated water, based on a 1998 survey.

The EPA says studies show fewer trihalomethanes or other possibly carcinogenic byproducts form when chloramines are used in place of chlorine. Because it lasts longer, chloramines also offer greater protection against bacteria regrowth in systems with large storage tanks, the EPA says.
23-09-2008 10:29 AM
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shirley Offline
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Post: #11
Man Nabbed For Passing Wind At Cop
26-09-2008 09:40 AM
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CBS2 vidio link for9/26/08
26-09-2008 09:45 AM
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WaMu Fails
WaMu Fails
9/26/08Click here for CBS2 news clip




U.S. engineers sale of WaMu to JPMorgan
Regulators seize the faltering giant S & L. Deposits are secure.
By E. Scott Reckard and Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
September 26, 2008
In the biggest bank failure in U.S. history, Washington Mutual Bank was seized late Thursday by federal regulators and immediately sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co. for $1.9 billion.

Customer deposits will be secure, regulators said, but shareholders of the nation's largest savings and loan will see what's left of their holdings wiped out. WaMu shares have lost 88% of their value this year amid huge losses in the bank's mortgage loan and credit card businesses.

Although not unexpected, the failure is the latest in a series of collapses that have shaken the financial world and may add new urgency to efforts by Congress and the Bush administration on a $700-billion financial sector bailout plan.

Federal regulators said the seizure was prompted by growing concerns over the viability of WaMu, which has nearly one-third of its more than 2,200 branches in California.

Nervous depositors had withdrawn $16.5 billion of their money in the last 10 days, and a full collapse could have devastated the federal banking insurance fund, regulators said.

"I was worried," said Sheila Bair, chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. "We needed to protect the depositors and the taxpayers."

With the government-brokered sale to JPMorgan, however, depositors will have full access to their money, she said, even the funds that weren't fully insured. JPMorgan, meanwhile, will get the West Coast foothold it had long coveted.

"It will be a seamless transition," Bair said. "There will be no interruption in services and bank customers should expect business as usual come Friday morning."

The "run on the bank" phenomenon that hammered WaMu followed a similar outflow at IndyMac Bank, which was taken over by federal regulators in July even as the Pasadena bank was trying to find a buyer for itself.

Both were brought down by the kind of lending practices that now jeopardize the global financial system -- including granting mortgages to borrowers without demanding sufficient collateral or proof of their ability to make payments. As housing prices have tumbled, many of these borrowers have defaulted on the loans.

Before the mortgage meltdown, WaMu was a major originator of subprime and other risky loans. Of the $181.5 billion in home mortgages that WaMu had on its books as of June 30, $52.9 billion were adjustable-rate loans in which borrowers had an option to make lower payments, but exercising that option also put them in deeper debt and, many believe, more likely to default.

Of the rest, $16.1 billion were subprime loans to the riskiest borrowers.

With assets of $307 billion and deposits of $188 billion, the thrift is by far the largest bank to fail in U.S. history. The record had been held by Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust of Chicago, which had $40 billion in assets when it failed in 1984 -- about $84 billion in today's dollars, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator.

The sale means the FDIC, facing an expected rash of bank failures in the midst of the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s, won't have to drain its $45-billion insurance fund to cover losses from Washington Mutual.

Bair said JPMorgan won an auction among four banks bidding for Washington Mutual on Wednesday. The thrift's main regulator, the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision, had planned to declare Washington Mutual unsound on Friday, the normal day for bank closures, and turn it over to the FDIC for disposition, Bair said, but news of the failure had begun to leak out, so the action was moved up a day.

The transaction will make JPMorgan the No. 1 U.S. bank by deposits, with more than $900 billion. Bank of America Corp. will be No. 2, with $785 billion.

JPMorgan has long been considered the most likely buyer for Washington Mutual. It had offered to buy the Seattle-based thrift in the spring, but WaMu instead accepted a $7-billion private equity investment from TPG, the former Texas Pacific Group.

WaMu put itself up for sale this month after its board ousted CEO Kerry Killinger. The need to strike a deal became more urgent in recent days as the company's debt was downgraded to deep-junk levels and its stock plunged anew.

It was unclear if JPMorgan would be able to sell troubled Washington Mutual loans to the federal government as part of a $700-billion bailout proposed by the Bush administration. In a telephone conference, Bair and JPMorgan spokesman Tom Kelly said Washington Mutual was in such bad shape that the news of the bailout didn't factor into the deal.

Bair praised JPMorgan Chase and its chairman, Jamie Dimon, for helping the government stabilize the country's shaken financial system. She also praised Warren Buffett for doing the same by investing $5 billion in Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs this week.
26-09-2008 09:55 AM
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admiral1
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Post: #14
Chocolate Pulled from shelves
Chocolate Pulled from shelves
30-09-2008 08:23 AM
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