Eight members of Congress are calling on the Small Business Administration to investigate whether the operator of a luxury Santa Monica hotel and dozens of other properties properly spent tens of millions of dollars in pandemic relief funding.



a group of people that are talking on a cell phone: A group prays during an August demonstration supporting Margarita Santos, center, who was fired from her housekeeping job at the JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot hotel. The hotel's operator, Columbia Sussex, received tens of millions of dollars in PPP loans. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)


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A group prays during an August demonstration supporting Margarita Santos, center, who was fired from her housekeeping job at the JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot hotel. The hotel’s operator, Columbia Sussex, received tens of millions of dollars in PPP loans. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and seven of her Democratic colleagues issued a letter Tuesday urging the SBA to investigate how a hotel conglomerate that owns or operates at least 50 hotels spent the money it received — as much as $63 million — from the Paycheck Protection Program.

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The group of lawmakers said in the letter that the PPP was designed to keep workers employed but that the hotel company, Columbia Sussex, accepted the funding through multiple affiliates and still laid off thousands of workers.

“Columbia Sussex appears to have taken advantage of these policies — borrowing taxpayer money at artificially low interest rates through multiple entities while laying off workers,” their letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza says.

Phone calls and emails to the Kentucky headquarters of Columbia Sussex were not returned Tuesday.

The PPP, part of the $2-trillion stimulus funding package approved by Congress in March, was promoted as a tool for keeping workers employed during the economic crisis. But experts, academics and union leaders told the Los Angeles Times that loopholes and flaws in the program allowed businesses to accept millions of dollars in forgivable loans without retaining or recalling most of their workers.

The program requires loan recipients to use at least 60%

Members of the decentralized finance (defi) community are upset with Yearn Finance founder Andre Cronje over the mishap with Cronje’s secret Eminence (EMN) project. The Eminence protocol gathered $15 million before the project was ultimately hacked before the official launch.

According to a recent blog post published on Medium, a group of defi community members plan to sue Yearn Finance founder, Andre Cronje, and fork YFI as well. As news.Bitcoin.com recently reported, there’s been a lack of trust in Cronje’s work since an undercover project that didn’t even launch was drained for $15 million in funds.

The project was called Eminence (EMN) and after the incident, Cronje said he was lying low from social media.

“We are crowdfunding capital to finance a lawsuit against Andre Cronje, Kirby and Banteg over the EMN scandal on behalf of the victims,” explains the blog post written by the group dubbed ‘EMN Investigation.’ The team added:

Andre Cronje, the founder of Yearn Finance, hyped a surprise launch. Eminence Finance contracts were deployed by the Yearn Finance deployer, and Andre tweeted and retweeted as liquidity flowed in.

The investigation team says that Kirby, the head of communications at Yearn Finance, gave instructions on how to leverage the contracts and promoted Eminence prior to launch.

The group also accuses the Yearn Finance developer, Banteg, of “selling tokens bought from the contract to Uniswap right until the contracts were hacked.”

“The hacker drained the entire $15 million that had been locked up in liquidity by using a flash loan exploit,” the EMN investigation team detailed. “The hacker then returned $8 million to Andre, and was misappropriated.” The seething blog post is also filled with screenshots, tweets, and market charts that aim to bolster the group’s argument.

The investigation group is asking for ETH donations to

OLDWICK, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct 9, 2020–

AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings (Long-Term ICR) of “a+” of Standard Insurance Company (Portland, OR) and its affiliate, The Standard Life Insurance Company of New York (White Plains, NY), together referred to as the Standard Insurance Group (The Standard). Additionally, AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term ICR of “bbb+” and the Long-Term Issue Credit Rating (Long-Term IR) of “bbb+” on the outstanding $250 million 5% senior unsecured notes, due 2022, of StanCorp Financial Group, Inc. (StanCorp Financial) (Portland, OR), the intermediate holding company of The Standard.

Concurrently, AM Best has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICR of “a” of Pacific Guardian Life Insurance Company, Limited (Pacific Guardian) (Honolulu, HI). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. The Standard and Pacific Guardian are the U.S. insurance subsidiaries of Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company (Meiji Yasuda).

The ratings of The Standard reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strong, as well as its strong operating performance, favorable business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM).

The Standard’s risk-adjusted capital has shown incremental increases over the past two years based on favorable operating results. Dividends to the parent have been lower than historical levels, which has contributed to the capital appreciation. Approximately one-third of The Standard’s invested assets are held in commercial mortgage loans with a concentration of loans on the West Coast. The portfolio is currently performing well as The Standard is the direct underwriter of the loans and has strong underwriting capabilities based on its long history as a loan originator. However, commercial mortgage loan performance overall is under pressure due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in retail and hospitality

A former finance manager at e-commerce giant Amazon on Monday was charged with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC alleged a senior manager in Amazon’s tax department, who analyzed and reviewed numbers ahead of the company’s quarterly an annual earnings reports, is said to have obtained “highly confidential” information about the company’s performance and tipped off her husband from Jan 2016 through July 2018.

The employee’s husband and his father made trades using the information on 11 separate accounts, earning then family $1.4 million from the unlawful trades.

AMAZON PRIME DAY SET FOR OCT. 13 – OCT.14 

“Employees with access to confidential, potentially market-moving corporate information may not use that information to enrich themselves, their friends, or their families,” Erin Schneider, Director of the SEC’s San Francisco Regional Office, said in a statement.

The employee, her husband and his father were all charged with violating antifraud laws.

A spokesperson for Amazon declined to comment on the charges.

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The complaint alleges that Viky Bohra and his father, Gotham Bohra, then traded on this confidential information, reaping illicit profits of approximately $1.4 million.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in federal court in Seattle, charges all three Bohras with violating anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws. They have agreed to pay total disgorgement of approximately $1.4 million, total prejudgment interest of $118,406, and total penalties of about $1.1 million.

In a parallel action, the U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Washington on Monday filed criminal charges against Viky Bohra.

Each of the Bohras did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Amazon declined to comment.

United, pilots agree to deal to avoid furloughs

United Airlines and its pilots have reached an agreement that both sides say will avoid about 2,850 furloughs that were set to take effect later this week and another 1,000 early next year.

The Air Line Pilots Association said Monday that the deal will allow United to spread a reduced amount of flying across the airline’s 13,000 pilots to save jobs at least until next June.

The agreement was ratified by about 58 percent of the pilots who voted on it.

United is still poised to furlough nearly 12,000 flight attendants, mechanics and other union employees starting later this week.

GM to repay Ohio tax incentives post-closure

General   Motors   will   repay $28 million in state tax incentives to Ohio after the largest U.S. automaker came under heavy criticism for closing its Lordstown Assembly plant in March 2019.

GM’s agreement with the Ohio Tax Credit Authority also requires the Detroit automaker to pay $12 million for “community support programs” in the Mahoning Valley.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost had demanded that GM repay $60 million in state tax credits after it closed its Lordstown Assembly