Category Archives: Money

Beware the $5 counterfeiter bandit!

I stepped into a well-known fast food restaurant this morning for a quick breakfast. Little did I know that this fiend has apparently been going around distributing fake $5 bills. Or, apparently, that’s what the cashier thought was going on, as she summoned two managers to tell them that my bill was fake. One of the managers quickly assured her that this was not so. But as everyone knows, counterfeiters love to fake small currency, because they make their money on volume.


More or less true

Lawsuit claims former owners stripped Bruno’s of $290 million |

But extremely difficult to prove, or if is proven, to actually win a case on. Essentially, Lone Star Funds stripped Bruno’s of cash, as said above, and then sent it into bankruptcy. This ended a cycle of repeated leveraged buyouts that turned a once-thriving regional chain into a shell of its former self. But don’t take my word for it:

Regional grocers have been frequent targets for leveraged buyouts, with Bruno’s itself being bought that way once before. (The first purchase, by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., also led to bankruptcy.)

Observers of the industry say that even though supermarkets have razor-thin profit margins, they’re attractive because they take in so much cash.

“There’s a cash flow, and some of the expenses you can control and reduce quite a bit,” said David Livingston, a supermarket consultant based in Pewaukee, Wis.

The savings usually goes to pay down debt and into the pockets of the buyout firm, said Page, the Indiana professor.

But reducing expenses usually means fewer employees and less investment in stores, which tends to turn off customers. “I can’t ever say that the situation got better at the store level,” Livingston said.

Trust me — in Bruno’s case, nothing got better.

He’s going to fit in nicely

Video: William Bell owes $125,000 for 2003 campaign |

Bell’s wages (from what, I have no idea, I thought he just ran for office) are being garnished to pay off this debt to an advertising agency. “However, [the ad agency lawyer] says the monthly garnishment of $600 does not even cover the interest and at this rate Bell will never pay it off.” He’s got some big shoes to fill, but Larry couldn’t have done any better.


47% of households owe no tax – and their ranks are growing – Sep. 30, 2009

Yes, this is true — no income tax. That doesn’t take into account withholding taxes for Social Security and Medicare, which are regressive and take a huge cut from most people’s paychecks. Focusing on the income tax is a common right-wing trope that seemingly is trotted out to make you feel sorry for rich people.

This is cruel, I know…

Lowder, McGregor, Dye lost millions | | The Tuscaloosa News | Tuscaloosa, AL


We’re number one! Whoo!

Colonial BancGroup, 4 Other Banks Shut – ABC News

Colonial, based in Montgomery, is the largest bank failure this year. And you thought Alabama couldn’t create havoc with the economy.

The Birmingdome of Roads

Alabama Department of Transportation sets first public meeting on three plans for proposed Finley bypass –

Birmingham City Councilwoman Maxine Parker said she grew up hearing her granddad and other men in her Collegeville community talking about the Finley bypass.

They’ve been talking about this since 1968! They’ve built something like a hundred miles of interstate in Jefferson County alone since then, and they still haven’t gotten beyond the preliminary planning stages on this. I would guess — I wouldn’t want to call the people who have run Alabama over the years racist or anything — that it has something to do with the community that it would serve.

Hooray, things are getting worse more slowly!

U.S. Jobless Rate Hits 8.9%, but Pace of Losses Eases –

The slow demise of Bruno’s continues

Southern Family Markets bids on Bruno’s stores; 13 in Birmingham area could close –

Already down to 56 stores (from a high of, I would guess, over 200), nearly half the remainder (25) would close under this deal. Included among these is the store in perennially underserved Bessemer. This is still very nearly a best-case scenario. Also, the lawyers will get a million bucks, so they’re happy.

Added: Bruno’s pulls out of Montgomery.

Life support

Update: Hearing on Bruno’s auction postponed as talks continue – Business News from The Birmingham News –

Really, though, it’s just a temporary measure before they harvest the organs.