Sunday September 29, 2002

Treasurer announces schedule  

for $11.9 billion bond sale 

SACRAMENTO — Nearly a year after the idea surfaced, then fell victim to repeated political, financial and legal delays, California is about to issue nearly $12 billion in municipal revenue bonds to pay off massive state bills from buying electricity last year. 

California Treasurer Phil Angelides announced Friday an “anticipated schedule” for the state’s Department of Water Resources to issue the bonds to investors in October and November. 

Earlier Friday, Angelides held a 30-minute conference call with major investors across the United States regarding what his office calls the largest municipal bond offering in U.S. history. At least 10 million California utility customers with the state’s three largest electric utilities will pay off the bonds with a portion of their bills. 

State officials cautioned the payment system does not necessarily mean higher power bills in California, where costs for residential, industrial and commercial users are above the U.S. average. 

At the state Department of Finance, which is still struggling with possible worsening financial forecasts even after closing a $98.9 billion budget for the 2002-2003 fiscal year ending next June 30, spokeswoman Anita Gore said a bond issue backed by utility customer rates means one thing: cash. 

“Certainly it helps the cash flow,” Gore said. “It brings cash to the general fund so we can pay our bills and provide services.” 

State finance officials balanced the budget with assumptions they would get the bond money. They still hope to receive $9 billion more in refunds from energy sellers for alleged overcharges. 

State attorney general files spam suit against Southern California company 

SANTA CLARA — California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed suit against Internet marketer PW Marketing LLC, accusing the company of illegally spamming millions of Californians. 

The suit, filed Thursday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, alleges the company’s owners, Paul Willis of Northridge and Claudia Griffin of Canyon Country, violated various California consumer protection statutes that prohibit unsolicited commercial e-mails, known as spam. 

The suit also alleges the company violated statutes against using false addresses in advertising, failing to disclose required information, engaging in untrue or deceptive advertising and engaging in unfair business competition. 

Trustee to manage Napster  

SAN JOSE — Napster Inc. showed signs of life Friday as the defunct song-swapping service, creditors and the U.S. Trustee’s Office agreed to appoint a trustee to oversee the company during bankruptcy reorganization. 

The agreement, reached after creditors failed to find an executive willing to take over the company, will halt efforts by the U.S. trustee to convert the bankruptcy case to Chapter 7 liquidation. 

The company has been leaderless since chief executive Konrad Hilbers — the sole director — quit earlier this month following an unsuccessful takeover by the record label Bertelsmann AG. 

Napster also has received a letter of intent from an anonymous bidder for most of the company’s assets, said Rick B. Antonoff, an attorney representing Napster’s unsecured creditors committee.