MEDIA

Paxson Founder and CEO Resigns

Paxson Communications founder and chief executive Lowell W. Paxson, right, is resigning from the broadcast network and television station operator, the company said.

He will be succeeded as chief executive by R. Brandon Burgess, an executive vice president of General Electric's NBC Universal, which owns a 32 percent stake in Paxson.

As part of a new agreement with Paxson Communications, NBC Universal has 18 months to either acquire the company or find a third party to buy it.

Newspaper Circulation Falls

The nation's 789 daily newspapers' total weekday circulation dropped by 2.6 percent year-to-year to an average 45.2 million copies in the six months ended Sept. 30, the Vienna-based Newspaper Association of America said. Citing Audit Bureau of Circulations figures, the NAA said that total Sunday circulation for the 627 U.S. dailies with such an edition fell 3.1 percent to an average 49.4 million copies.

MARKETS

SEC Halts Trading in Cameron

The Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trading of Cameron International as it probes a share-price leap from 5 cents to $90 and the possible change in ownership of the company.

Shares of Cameron, a marketing services company based in Los Angeles, soared 1,083 percent to $55 on Oct. 28 and increased 58 percent to $87 on Oct. 31. The surge occurred "during a period when no material information about the company was made public," the SEC said.

The company announced a forward stock split of 30 to 1 on Oct. 31, the same day it said Andy Quinn was named president, secretary and treasurer.

LEGAL

Jail Urged for Ex-KPMG Partner

A former KPMG executive should remain jailed as a flight risk on charges he helped concoct a tax shelter fraud, a U.S. prosecutor said. David Greenberg amassed more than $24 million and then tried to hide it by transferring money elsewhere, including to his ex-wife, prosecutor Kevin Downing said at a hearing.

The argument against bail came after Greenberg pleaded not guilty to the latest indictment in what the Department of Justice has described as the largest criminal tax case ever filed. The government says the fraud allowed affluent KPMG clients to avoid $2.5 billion in taxes. Downing said a witness told investigators Greenberg planned to flee the country with $16 million to $20 million.

Ex-Wal-Mart Official Pleads Guilty

A former Wal-Mart vice president pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud, admitting that he manipulated invoices to embezzle money that was funneled to a senior executive. Robert Hey had reported to Thomas M. Coughlin, a former Wal-Mart vice chairman under investigation by a U.S. attorney. Wal-Mart referred Coughlin to federal prosecutors this year alleging he had defrauded the company out of $500,000; Coughlin has not been charged.

According to U.S. Attorney Bob Balfe, between 1997 and 2004, Hey used his position to "illegally manipulate employee travel reimbursement and (the) vendor invoice accounting system at Wal-Mart to embezzle monies, gift cards and products which were provided to a senior Wal-Mart executive for the executive's personal benefit and use." Balfe's statement lists the senior executive as only "John Doe."

T-bill rates were mixed. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday fell to 3.87 percent from 3.89 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 4.16 percent from 4.13 percent. The annualized return to investors is 3.963 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,902.18, and 4.303 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,789.94. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 4.32 percent last week from 4.26 percent the previous week.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.