Business Briefing

Ritz-Carlton opens at L.A. Live

Without fanfare, the Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles, the last piece of the L.A. Live entertainment complex, opened for business.

Only 20 of the hotel’s 123 rooms opened while crews put the finishing touches on the rest of the hotel, which opens April 15.

The Ritz-Carlton is perched on the upper floors of the 54-story tower next to L.A. Live, the $2.5-billion complex of shops, restaurants, nightclubs and theaters developed by Anschutz Entertainment Group.


Rules eased on vacant property

The federal government is relaxing some rules to make it easier for communities to spend funds on redeveloping abandoned and foreclosed properties.

The changes, effective immediately, will allow cities, counties and states to buy properties in mortgage default and uninhabitable homes with lingering code violations through the $4-billion Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

The program was started amid the nation’s foreclosure crisis, but a year later about a third of more than 300 local governments that got grants have barely made a dent in them, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Icahn takes over casino mortgage

Carl Icahn has bought the remaining half of the $500-million mortgage on the three Trump Entertainment Resorts casinos he’s trying to buy out of bankruptcy.

The investor, who previously owned 51% of the mortgage issued by Dallas-based Beal Bank, agreed last week to buy the remaining 49% at a 7.5% discount, according to court documents.

Icahn and Texas banker Andy Beal are facing off against Trump Entertainment bondholders and Donald Trump for ownership of the company’s three Atlantic City casinos.


EBay to launch fashion microsite

EBay Inc. may be the biggest online clothing seller, but it’s still known for selling other people’s castoffs. Now it wants shoppers to think of it when looking for trendy duds like hipster jeans and red ballerina flats.

EBay plans to launch a fashion microsite Monday. It’s the latest in a series of changes that will sometimes have it acting more like an outlet mall or “private sale” website.

EBay is working with major fashion brands and retailers such as Hugo Boss and Lord & Taylor to act as sellers.


Claims against Qwest are tossed

A federal judge has thrown out some claims in a civil lawsuit the Securities and Exchange Commission filed against former Qwest executives, including former Chief Executive Joseph Nacchio.

U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger let stand allegations focusing on whether Denver-based Qwest Communications International Inc. misled investors by not specifying how much of its revenue between 1999 and 2002 was one-time and how much was recurring.

Some claims tossed concerned whether defendants improperly helped Qwest backdate sales or record revenue from leases of its fiber-optic network upfront rather than over the life of the contracts.

-- times staff and wire reports