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around the valleys

– San Fernando Valley Universal City Nikki Rocco, president of domestic distribution at Universal Pictures, will retire in December after 47 years with the company. In 2013, Rocco oversaw Universal’s all-time best year at the domestic box office with gross sales of more than $1.4 billion. Rocco started at Universal in 1967, when she was 17 years old. She was hired in the company’s New York sales department after completing a paid training program. Rocco followed the sales department to Los Angeles in 1981. Promotions followed and she was named to her current position in 1996, which made her the first woman to head distribution at a major studio. Universal has yet to name her successor. Burbank Walt Disney Co. announced an expansion of the Shanghai Disney Resort before it has even opened, as it seeks to capitalize on a boom in Chinese tourism. The Burbank entertainment and media company will split an additional $800 million investment in the park on more attractions, entertainment and other offerings with Shanghai Shendi Group, its joint venture partner in China. Shanghai Disney Resort, which originally was slated to cost $4.4 billion, is not scheduled to open until late 2015. It will span 1,000 acres and include two hotels and an outdoor recreation area. Disney did not offer details on the new attractions. In a cross-Valley combination of aircraft maintenance companies, Velocity Aerospace Group of Burbank has acquired EDN Aviation Inc. of Van Nuys. Velocity is a global aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul company. EDN is also an aircraft repair company that specializes in cockpit repairs, including control panel components such as light plates, circuit breaker panels, control wheels and knobs. EDN will continue to be operated by its current management team, including founder and President Motti Kurzweil. Political analyst and former Clinton White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers has been named head of worldwide corporate communications at Warner Bros. Myers will begin her position with the studio on Sept. 2., replacing Sue Fleishman who had been with Warner Bros. for nine years. Myers will handle corporate communications, including media relations, executive communications, corporate responsibility and philanthropy. Myers was press secretary during President Bill Clinton’s first term and later worked as a political analyst, commentator and writer as well as a contributing editor to Vanity Fair. She will re-locate to Los Angeles from Washington, D.C. North Hollywood A San Fernando Valley businesswoman has been sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for defrauding Medicare of almost $10 million. Susanna Artsruni, 46, of North Hollywood, owned Midvalley Medical Supply in Van Nuys and worked at several medical clinics. In an earlier plea agreement, she admitted that physician assistants at three clinics signed prescriptions and orders for medically unnecessary equipment and tests. The fraudulent bills totaled $24.8 million, of which Medicare paid $9.6 million. U.S. District Court Judge Margaret Morrow also ordered Artsruni to pay $9.6 million in restitution to the government medical program for seniors. Woodland Hills Northrop Grumman Navigation Systems has received a $10.6 million contract to produce computer systems for two U.S. Marine Corps helicopters. The Northrop division, headquartered in Woodland Hills, will make the FlightPro mission computers for the AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom attack helicopters. The computer combines mission, weapons and video-processing capabilities. – Conejo Valley Agoura Hills Scott London, a former partner at accounting firm KPMG in downtown Los Angeles, has been sentenced to 14 months in federal prison for insider trading. U.S. District Court Judge George Wu sentenced the 51-year-old Agoura Hills resident, who pled guilty last July to one count of securities fraud after he was arrested following an FBI sting. In addition to the prison term, London was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine. He will begin serving his sentence July 18. London admitted he conspired with his golf partner, Bryan Shaw, a jewelry company owner in Encino, who used the inside information to make profitable stock trades. Shaw is scheduled to be sentenced May 19 and his cooperation is expected to reduce his sentence. Diana M. Laing was named chief financial officer of American Homes 4 Rent, a single-family home institutional landlord. Lang, 59, replaces Peter J. Nelson, who had been with the REIT since 2012 and announced two months ago he was resigning to pursue other interests. Laing comes aboard as American Homes has grappled with poor earnings and rising home acquisition costs. She will assume her position May 18 with an annual base salary of $250,000. She previously served as chief financial officer of Thomas Properties Group Inc., a Los Angeles publicly-traded real estate developer. Westlake Village Market research firm J.D. Power & Associates is buying an online advertising analytics firm in Florida. The Westlake Village company said Orlando-based Korrelate will help automakers, dealers, third-party automotive websites and advertising agencies evaluate their websites and online marketing efforts. J.D. Power, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial Inc. of New York, did not disclosed terms of the deal. Thousand Oaks The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted fast-track designation for ivabradine, a heart drug licensed for sale by Amgen Inc. Ivabradine is an oral drug that inhibits electric signals in the heart, reducing the pulse rate. It was developed by Servier Laboratories, a French pharmaceutical company, but Amgen has a license to market the drug in the United States. It is sold under a variety of trade names in Europe and Asia. Amgen plans to file for FDA approval in the second quarter. – Santa Clarita Valley Santa Clarita NexusIS, a Valencia information technology services and consulting firm, has been acquired by Dimension Data plc, a South African company seeking to expand its U.S. presence. Dimension Data, headquartered in Johannesburg, is adding 19 Nexus offices primarily in the West, Southwest and South with the acquisition. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Nexus Chief Executive Deron Pearson is remaining with the company and reports to Mark Slaga, chief executive of Dimension Data Americas. The California Board of Equalization, which collects business taxes, has opened a Santa Clarita regional center and is closing its Van Nuys office on Sherman Way. Accounts served at that office will either be handled at the new office or an existing office in Glendale. The 22,000-square-foot Santa Clarita office at 25360 Magic Mountain Parkway features self-service computer kiosks that enable customers to conveniently register for a permit or license, file a return or make a payment. The board collects about $56 billion annually in taxes and fees from businesses. – Antelope Valley Palmdale More than 400 current and former employees at Boeing Co. in the Antelope Valley will receive $47 million as a settlement for not being compensating under the terms of union contracts negotiated with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace. The former employees will receive lump payments of a few dollars to more than $400,000 while many current employees have already received a raise of $33,000 annually. The local, based in Seattle, filed a formal grievance against Boeing in Chicago arguing that in 2001 engineers and technicians working for Boeing in Palmdale and Edwards Air Force Base were denied representation by the union. The $47 million award includes back pay, premium pay, interest, pension and 401(k) contributions. A South Korean energy company will open the headquarters for its wind energy division in Palmdale. Anywind Wind Power Electric Inc. and the city signed an agreement for Anywind to manufacture its wind turbine systems in the city. Anywind is owned by Pishon Energy, based in suburban Seoul. It has 11 patents on various components of wind turbines that use twisted round blades in place of traditional propeller type turbine blades. The company will open its headquarters at 450 W. Palmdale Blvd. and is looking to purchase the 130,000-square-foot building at 600 Technology Drive for manufacturing. – Around the Valleys To be considered for publication, submissions should be emailed to egolan@sfvbj.com. Please put ATV in the subject line. For more information, call (818) 316-3123.

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