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5 Big Stories

A look back at the week in Business

By Jeff Harrington, Times Deputy Business Editor
Published June 17, 2007


1. Pearlman nabbed by authorities

The FBI finds Orlando boy band promoter Lou Pearlman in Indonesia.

WHAT IT MEANS: Pearlman, accused of running one of the largest investment frauds in Florida history, is initially charged with one count of bank fraud. But investors still have little chance of recovering much of the $300-million-plus they are owed.

2. Hard Rock, poker expand

The Seminole Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Tampa launches a $120-million expansion.

WHAT IT MEANS: The expansion, which will make the casino the largest in Florida, underscores a gambling boom. Details are released at the same time a huge expansion of poker becomes state law.

3. Wal-Mart thievery

Shoppers and employees are taking more - without paying.

WHAT IT MEANS: The hit on stolen items, known as shrinkage in retail lexicon, could rise to more than $3-billion for Wal-Mart this year. Some former workers say bonuses have been cut because of higher inventory losses.

4. High-tech hotel points to 2008 opening

Clearwater developer Jerry Ellenburg sets his sights on Tampa for the first of four eSuites hotels.

WHAT IT MEANS: After securing $127-million in financing, the long-stalled plan for a new hotel concept is revving up. Daily room prices north of $140 could include high-def TVs, surround systems that work with iPods and water-purification systems.

5. Florida's No. 1 ... in foreclosures

The state leads the country in number of homes entering the foreclosure process in May.

WHAT IT MEANS: Not exactly the kind of top billing the state enjoys. One economist blames the high number of speculators, who are struggling to sell their investments.

[Last modified June 15, 2007, 20:58:26]

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