Business briefing

The daily business briefing: May 4, 2018

Ex-Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn charged with conspiracy, Arizona teachers end their week-long walkout, and more


U.S. charges former Volkswagen CEO with misleading regulators in diesel scandal

Federal prosecutors in Detroit on Thursday charged former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn with conspiring to mislead regulators about the German automaker's diesel emissions. Winterkorn resigned shortly after September 2015 revelations about the company's efforts to cheat on U.S. diesel emissions tests. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that prosecutors will show that "Volkswagen's scheme to cheat its legal requirements went all the way to the top of the company." A lawyer for Winterkorn in Germany did not immediately comment, but Winterkorn told German lawmakers last year that he was not immediately informed about the cheating.


Arizona teachers end week-long walkout

Thousands of Arizona teachers ended their week-long walkout on Thursday after the state agreed to give them a 20 percent raise by 2020 and invest $138 million more in public schools. The concessions did not meet all of the demands in one of the largest in a string of teacher protests across the nation. The Arizona walkout shut down schools that serve hundreds of thousands of students. Arizona is one of five states where public schools have been forced to close temporarily due to teacher protests demanding increased spending on education. The first protest came in West Virginia, where teachers shut down schools for nine days before staff got a raise.


Former Wilmington Trust executives charged with fraud

Four former executives of Wilmington Trust, the only bank criminally charged over the federal bailout program, were convicted Thursday of fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors said the executives — former Wilmington Trust president Robert Harra Jr., former chief credit officer William North, former chief financial officer David Gibson, and former controller Kevyn Rakowski — misled regulators and investors about the bank's huge past-due commercial real estate loans before the bank was sold in 2011. "They misled the Federal Reserve, they misled the public, and they turned around and raised $287 million off of that lie," prosecutor Jamie McCall told jurors. Defense attorneys said there were several legitimate reasons for not reporting the loans, including the fact that they were in the process of being extended.


Jobs report shows hiring rebound in April

The U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent from 4.1 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a gain of 188,000 nonfarm jobs. The last time the jobless rate dropped below 4 percent was late 2000. The April hiring numbers marked an improvement over a March gain initially reported at 103,000 positions. Economists had dismissed that slowdown as a step back after a surge in hiring in February, when unseasonably mild weather led to the creation of 326,000 positions. The Labor Department also increased the figure for March gains to 135,000, and trimmed the February figure to 324,000.


Judge rules New York condo building can drop Trump name

A New York judge ruled Thursday that residents of a Manhattan condominium have a legal right to remove the Trump name from the building. New York State Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten said that although the residents of the building had a licensing deal allowing them to use Trump's name, they were under no legal obligation to do so. "The court declines to accept the defendant's assertion that the parties are required to continue the use of the identification 'Trump' in perpetuity," Bransten said. Building residents voted last year to ditch the Trump name over concerns it would hurt their property values. "Obviously we think that she got it wrong, but we respect it," said Trump Organization lawyer Lawrence Rosen, who represented the Trump family company.


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