- - Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Allstate sues Goldman Sachs over investments

Allstate Corp. is suing Goldman Sachs Group Inc., saying more than $122 million in mortgage-backed securities the insurance company bought beginning in 2006 were fraudulent.

Allstate said in a statement Monday that it filed the lawsuit in New York state court against Goldman Sachs and certain affiliates. The complaint alleges violations of state laws involving residential mortgage-backed securities.

Allstate claims Goldman Sachs provided documents about the investments that “contained untrue statements and omitted material facts.” The complaint seeks unspecified damages.

Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Allstate says it purchased more than $122 million in mortgage-backed securities from Goldman Sachs and affiliates in 2006 and 2007. The value of those securities plunged as the housing market bubble burst.


Canadian company buys embattled electricity line

HELENA — A Canadian energy company is buying an embattled Montana power transmission line project that has seen its plans of shipping wind energy across the border become mired in landowner disputes.

Alberta, Canada-based Enbridge Inc. announced Tuesday it was buying Tonbridge Power Inc., whose main business involves the Montana-Alberta Tie Line power transmission project. The deal is subject to shareholder approval.

Enbridge says it will pay $70 million for Tonbridge and the debt it has incurred so far in building the 214-mile transmission line.

Ultimately, Enbridge says it expects to spend approximately $300 million completing the line.

The MATL line has been the focus of high-profile legal and legislative battles in Montana. Some landowners are refusing to sell rights of way to the company, leading to bitter eminent domain claims.


JetBlue pilots vote to remain non-union

NEW YORK — Pilots at JetBlue are choosing once again to go without union representation.

It is the second time in three years that pilots at the New York-based airline have tried and failed to unionize. The latest attempt was driven by the Air Line Pilots Association, or ALPA, which represents more than 53,000 pilots at 39 U.S. and Canadian airlines.

JetBlue Airways Corp., one of the only U.S. airlines that is entirely nonunion, said Tuesday that 58 percent of just over 2,000 valid votes were cast against bringing in some form of representation. Forty-two percent of votes were cast in favor of a union.

The first grass-roots attempt to unionize took place in 2008. Pilots at that time wanted to form their own union and avoid teaming up with a larger national labor union such as ALPA, which has difficult relations with management at some other airlines. At that time only a third of the pilots voted in favor of the union.

Organizers said then that getting the word out proved difficult, and ballots not cast were counted as “no” votes.

Since then, the National Mediation Board, a federal agency that oversees labor relations, has changed the rule so that votes are based on only the ballots that are cast.

In a statement, JetBlue CEO Dave Barger thanked the pilots for choosing to retain their “direct relationship with the company.”


Charter jet exec gets probation in fraud case

NEWARK — A former executive of a Florida charter jet company whose plane crashed at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport has been sentenced to probation after admitting using unqualified pilots.

Joseph Singh worked for Platinum Jet Management. The now-defunct company flew charters that frequently carried high-end clients like Duran Duran, Keith Richards and Jay-Z.

The government investigated the company after one of its planes crashed on takeoff at Teterboro in 2005, injuring 20 people.

Singh pleaded guilty to fraud and admitted using unqualified pilots to fly the charters.

On Tuesday, a federal judge in Newark sentenced him to a year’s probation and ordered him to pay $200,000 in restitution.

Singh testified last year against Platinum Jet co-founders Michael and Paul Brassington, who were convicted and await sentencing. Two others pleaded guilty. Charges were dropped against a sixth defendant.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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