October 11, 2012

Robert L. Johnson, chairman of The RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), announced recently that RLJ Acquisition, Inc. has successfully completed the business combination acquiring Image Entertainment, Inc. and Acorn Media Group, Inc., two highly complementary media content distribution companies to create RLJ Entertainment, Inc. Approved by the company’s, Image’s and Acorn’s respective shareholders, RLJ Enter­tainment, Inc. becomes one of the largest independent global distributors of digital and video content.

“RLJ Entertainment CEO Ted Green, COO Miguel Penella, and I are very excited about this new business combination,” said Johnson.

“RLJ Entertainment’s goal is to become a preeminent distributor of content to all media platforms including DVD and Blu-Ray, digital downloads, digital streaming, and broadcast and cable. We are also committed as part of our business strategy, to leveraging our experience in acquiring, distributing, and monetizing content to create branded digital subscription channels over the Internet targeted to distinct audiences that are underserved by current media platforms and interested in programming that appeals directly to their unique viewing interests.

“RLJ Entertainment believes that the growing convergence of streaming digital content directly to the television set will revolutionize the way consumers acquire content on a customized a la carte basis rather than purchasing bundled packages. RLJ Entertainment is uniquely situated to become a prominent player in a digital media world where the consumer controls what they want to see and when and where they want to see it.”

RLJ Entertainment marks the third company Johnson has taken public, including Black Entertainment Television, which became the first African American company publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 1991 and RLJ Lodging Trust, a $2 billion market cap hotel REIT with 144 hotels, which Johnson co-founded with CEO Tom Baltimore, went public in May of 2011.

Shares of RLJ Entertainment common stock will be traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the stock ticker symbol RLJE.  RLJ Enter­tainment warrants will be traded on the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board.  The company anticipates that payments to holders of its shares of common stock that redeemed their shares will be made promptly following the closing of the business combination.

In conjunction with and to provide funding for these acquisitions and RLJ Entertainment’s ongoing working capital needs, RLJ Entertainment entered into a $70 million credit agreement with a group led by SunTrust, which includes a five-year $15 million revolving credit facility and three tranches of term loans totaling $55 million with final maturities ranging from five to five and one-half years, at interest rates ranging from prime rate plus 5 percent to 6.25percent or LIBOR plus 6 percent to 7.25 percent plus an additional 3 percent per annum paid in kind on the last $15 million of the facilities.

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October 04, 2012

LAWT Wire Service


The California Wellness Foun­dation (TCWF) announced the appointments of Crystal D. Crawford as program director and Claudíette Wright-Bey as executive assistant to the president and CEO.

“The Foundation welcomes Crystal and Claudíette, each of whom brings a wealth of knowledge to their respective roles,” said Diana M. Bontá, president and CEO. “Crystal is a professional with strong leadership skills and deep knowledge in women’s health, educational outreach and health policy. Claudíette’s organized approach and initiative are invaluable to the operation of the executive department.”

Crawford oversees the foundation’s grant making related to the issues of diversity in the health professions and women’s health. Her responsibilities include reviewing letters of interest and grant proposals and making funding recommendations related to these issues. Before joining TCWF, she was CEO of the California Black Women’s Health Project (CABWHP), the only statewide organization solely devoted to improving the health of California’s black women and girls through policy, advocacy, education and outreach. Previously, she was CABWHP’s director of public policy for more than a decade.

Throughout her career, Crawford has combined policy and legal approaches to many social justice and civil rights issues and causes. Before working in the nonprofit, public interest sector, she was an associate with corporate law firms in Los Angeles, Boston and New York, as well as a public school teacher. Originally from Harlem, N.Y., Crawford earned her bachelor’s in history from Dartmouth College and her law degree from New York University School of Law. Among her many recognitions are the Advocates’ Award from Western Center on Law and Poverty and the PowerPAC Award from the Los Angeles African American Women’s Political Action Committee.  She is admitted to the bar in California, New York and New Jersey.

“I bring to TCWF a passion for promoting unity across racial and ethnic communities and social justice causes as we work together to improve health outcomes for all of our communities,” Crawford said. “It is a tremendous privilege to join the foundation as we continue to advance its stellar commitment to improving the health of Californians, including low-income individuals, women and communities of color.”

As executive assistant to the president and CEO, Wright-Bey coordinates administrative and clerical activities for the president and CEO and is liaison to TCWF’s Board of Directors. Prior to joining TCWF, she served as the executive assistant to the head of school and board of trustees at St. James’ Episcopal School in Los Angeles. She also worked as the assistant to the vice president of information technology at Advanstar Communications and served as assistant to the head of school and board of trustees at The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks. Wright-Bey is pursuing her master’s degree in counseling and guidance from Cali­fornia Lutheran University and holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from The University of La Verne. She is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to contribute to the Foundation’s mission of grantmaking for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention,” Wright-Bey said. “It is gratifying to know that our efforts of service and leadership are transforming lives.”

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September 27, 2012


Assemblymember Isadore Hall, III (D – Los Angeles) has been named the 2012 Legislator of the Year by the California State Alliance of YMCAs. Hall is being recognized for his legislative leadership and for his commitment to public policies that empower young people throughout Cali­fornia.


For over three years, Hall has worked with the State Alliance of YMCAs, legislative leaders and youth organizations across the state to help support civic education programs, including the YMCA Youth & Government Program. These programs have seen a sharp decrease in support from donors and a dramatic increase in demand for scholarships to help disadvantaged youth participate in these important civic education opportunities.


This year, Hall successfully authored AB 233, which will create the California YMCA Youth & Government Fund and allow California taxpayers to voluntarily donate to a number of civic youth education programs using a tax check off on their income tax form. Proceeds from the fund will support the YMCA Youth & Government Program, the African American Leaders for Tomorrow Program, the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project, the Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project and various other non-profit civic education programs. AB 233 was recently signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown and will take effect on January 1, 2013.


“Since its inception 63 years ago, the YMCA Youth & Government Program has successfully helped tens of thousands of California high school youth become involved, responsible and respected citizens,” said Hall.


“I am proud of the work we have done to help empower young people throughout the state to become the next generation of leaders and I look forward to working with the YMCA in the future to help build California’s leaders of tomorrow.”


Hall was recognized at the California State Alliance of YMCAs Fall Conference on Wednesday, September 26 in Long Beach, California.

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October 04, 2012

Provided courtesy of Jeff Cosby, Wells Fargo Financial Advisor


Given the volatility of the job market over the past few years, job loss and other unexpected career disruptions or changes have become all too common for many Americans, and they can throw off one’s long term plans and goals. When we encounter these types of major life changes, the more immediate need to adapt to our new lives and settle in to our new realities tends to take priority. However, in spite of the focus required for those day-to-day challenges, planning for retirement continues to be top of mind for many. According to the most recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index, when asked to rank their most important savings priority, 41percent of investors said “saving for retirement.” But how to do it?

Regardless of your personal circumstances, there are some basic steps you can take to plan for the day you retire. First, you should consider how much time you have left in the ranks of the employed, and adjust your planning based on your stage in life so that you will be financially prepared to retire.

If you have at least ten years left before you plan to retire, you still have the advantage of time on your side. One of the most basic principles of investing is putting your money into different investment vehicles and then leaving it there so you can potentially reap the benefits of long-term returns. With more than ten years left to invest, you might be able to afford to take on a bit more risk with your investments. While equities – such as stocks – have an inherent risk of losing money, they also have a history of providing significant returns over a long period of time. Just keep in mind that past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Probably the biggest advantage of getting an early start is the benefit of compounding earnings. Based on the investments in your retirement portfolio, the money you put in has the potential to earn more money for you – whether through interest payments, dividends, or other means of growth. In many cases, those earnings can be reinvested into your portfolio, further enhancing the total value of your savings and allowing your money the opportunity to “make money” for you.

If your retirement is less than ten years away, then it’s time to start making subtle adjustments to your investment mix. Hopefully, at this point you’re not just getting started, but rather taking a look at how your investments are allocated and making sure they appropriately match your risk tolerance, your investment objectives and your relatively short time horizon. Because you have less time to work with, you still want to have some investments that offer growth, but you also want to begin looking at preservation of principal through fixed income alternatives such as bonds, which may provide a little more stability in your portfolio and help reduce your overall risk.

Finally, at some point you’ll reach that day that you once thought was so far off. When you find yourself officially in the position to retire, you will have a whole different outlook on those funds you have set aside for just that purpose. Instead of making contributions to your retirement funds to help them grow, you’ll need to maintain your income from those investments. You’ll likely begin taking distributions from them to pay for your day-to-day expenses. A thorough review of your investments will help you clearly see just how much you have saved, and how you will have to plan your distributions so you don’t run short on funds during your retirement.

Financial preparation for retirement is different for every individual. To make sure that you’re on the right track, take the time now to assess your own situation and see what you can do to make sure you’re ready when it’s time for you to retire. The good news is that with proper investment planning, you should be able to retire with confidence—if you get organized.

Investments in securities and insurance products are:



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September 20. 2012

Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital board members made major progress toward the new MLK hospital recently, when they named Dr. Elaine Batchlor as the institution’s new chief executive officer. Now as the hospital, still under construction, is built, Batchlor will begin to assemble its staff, physicians, personnel and also see to the equipping of the new facility. Scheduled for completion in 2014, the hospital will have 130 beds, including a 21-bed emergency department and a critical care unit. It also will provide a range of healthcare and social services.


 Dr. Batchlor has an outstanding background and brings a history of excellence and innovation to her new position. A physician of internal medicine and rheumatology, she previously served as chief medical officer for L.A. Care, the largest public health plan in the United States. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Harvard University, an M.D. from Case Western Reserve Uni­versity, and a master’s degree in public health from UCLA. Upon her appointment as CEO, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said, “Dr. Batchlor has the experience, expertise and leadership skills required to make this tremendous undertaking, the launch of a new hospital, the success we know it will be.”




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