The daily business briefing: June 7, 2017
Uber fires 20 after harassment investigation, Eric Trump's charity reportedly funneled money to family business, and more
Uber fires 20 after sexual harassment investigation
Uber announced Tuesday that it had fired more than 20 employees following an investigation it commissioned into allegations of sexual harassment and other complaints about workplace culture. Uber ordered investigation, led by international law firm Perkins Coie, after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog post in February accusing the company of failing to respond to allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, saying human resources had not punished her manager after she reported he had made unwanted advances. Perkins Coie said it looked into 215 claims of harassment and discrimination. The names of the terminated employees have not been released.
Report: Trumps funneled charity dollars into Trump Organization
The Eric Trump Foundation paid his family's company, the Trump Organization, $1.2 million for the use of a golf course and other services during charity fundraisers over several years, despite Eric Trump's insistence that his foundation was getting the use of the Trump course free of charge, according to a report in Forbes. "Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament," Forbes writes. The article also says the Donald J. Trump Foundation, President Trump's charity organization, apparently funneled $100,000 to the Trump Organization by sending the money to the Eric Trump Foundation, which paid a similar amount back to the president's company. The Trump Organization said it was "shameful" and "truly disgusting" to suggest the company profited from the fundraising, noting that the Eric Trump Foundation has raised more than $16.3 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, mostly through the golf events.
Anthem announces pullout from Ohio's ObamaCare exchange
Anthem, one of the country's biggest health insurers, announced Tuesday that it would stop participating in Ohio's ObamaCare exchange next year, the latest in a series of moves by major insurance companies out of the program. Unless another insurer steps in, Anthem's departure in Ohio could leave people in 20 counties with no option for buying individual coverage through the ObamaCare exchange, which is the only place where they can use income-based tax credits to help pay for insurance. Humana and Aetna have already said they would leave the exchange markets entirely, as insurers report steep losses as rising prices and Republican efforts to repeal or chip away at ObamaCare raise doubts about the future of the exchanges.
U.S. and Mexico reach new sugar deal
The U.S. and Mexican governments on Tuesday reached a deal adjusting the mix of Mexican sugar exported to the U.S., calling for Mexico to reduce the share of refined sugar while increasing the share of raw sugar. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that to arrive at the "agreement in principle" Mexico met nearly every demand by the U.S. sugar industry to address problems in a 2014 sugar trade agreement. "Unfortunately, despite all of these gains, the U.S. sugar industry has said it is unable to support the agreement in its present form," Ross said, adding that he hoped U.S. producers would agree to the final version of the agreement.
Sears to close 66 more Kmart and Sears stores
Sears Holdings plans to close 66 more Kmart and Sears stores as the struggling retail chain continues its push to cut costs, a source close to the chain said Tuesday. Forty-nine of the affected stores will be Kmarts, and 16 will be Sears locations. The company also will shut down seven auto centers, bringing the total number of new closings to 72. Most will shut their doors in September, adding to the 180 shutdowns the company announced in early 2017. Sears Holdings made no immediate comment on the report. The company is struggling to restore profits at Kmart and Sears, which have seen sales decline due to competition from online retailers and big-box discount stores.