Fri02122016

News

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues

SPLAT targets data, outreach as airplane noise continues


Graphic courtesy of Don Gardner
Activists claim that a new SFO flight path leaves a “sound shadow” that impacts Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.

Sky Posse Los Altos Team – more simply known as SPLAT – seeks to squelch the noise...

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Schools

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'

Los Altos High student-run charity plans '5 Gallon Gala'


Courtesy of Lia Evard
Water by Youth members gave Egan students a chance to carry a 40-pound Jerry can, to see how difficult it is to obtain water in developing nations.

Water by Youth, a club at Los Altos High School, is making a splash by pla...

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Community

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage

What would you do with a box of cookies? Local Girls Scouts help Tanzanian orphanage


Courtesy of Alicia Madden
Sales of local Girl Scout cookies support service projects, such as funding an orphanage in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania.

Girl Scout cookies – whether you think of them as a treat, a tradition or a diet comp...

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Sports

Scoreless spells sink LA boys

Scoreless spells sink LA boys


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High point guard Nolan Brennan attempts a shot in Friday’s game versus Palo Alto. He scored eight points in the loss.

There have been several games this season in which the Los Altos High boys basketball t...

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Comment

New 'York' values

New 'York' values


Hughes

 

As we have witnessed California suffer through one of its worst droughts in history over the past few years, all of us, I’m sure, have been keenly aware of our surroundings and have done a small part in trying to conserve wa...

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Special Sections

Getting a charge  out of the Volt

Getting a charge out of the Volt


Courtesy of Chevrolet
The 2016 Chevrolet Volt can be driven up to 50 miles on the power stored in its batteries.

Just five years ago, we wondered in this column what the power supply would be for the car of the future. Gasoline, diesel, electric ba...

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Business

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats

Nearing V-Day: Shops stock sweets, treats


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos resident Ella Roosakos, 11, with her mother, Gail, puzzles over which Gourmet Works sweets to buy as a valentine for Ella’s friend.

The gift-buying rush isn’t exclusive to Christmas. It may jump over...

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People

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

ALAN RODNEY MILLS

Alan Rodney Mills, PhD, 83, of Los Altos passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 30th, 2016. He was born in Rochdale, England in 1933 and came to California in 1962. He was a proud alumni of Manchester Grammar in England, University of Liverpoo...

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Stepping Out

PYT 'Gets Famous'

PYT 'Gets Famous'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Renee Vetter of Palo Alto, left, and Megan Foreman of Los Altos star in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Judy Moody Gets Famous.” Performances are scheduled Friday and Saturday.

Peninsula...

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Spiritual Life

A time to prepare: Fasting for Lent isn't limited to food

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, which in the Christian calendar marks the beginning of Lent – the 40 days of preparation for Resurrection Sunday, otherwise known as Easter.

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Inside Mountain View

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters

New right-to-lease ordinance promises relief for renters


Mountain View Tenants Coalition/Facebook
Residents gather in the fall to protest Mountain View’s rising rents. Rent relief is on the way in the form of a new ordinance.

A controversial Mountain View law requiring landlords to provide lease opt...

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Judge rules against local businessman in Ponzi-like case

After a year of back-and-forth, a judge concluded this week that Los Altos resident Mark Feathers and his company, Small Business Capital Corp., violated federal securities and exchange laws.

U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila accepted Securities and Exchange Commission evidence that because of fraud and mismanagement, SB Capital’s 400 investors have lost approximately 25 percent of the $42 million they invested.

In an order filed Friday, Davila granted the SEC’s request for a summary judgment and denied Feathers’ competing request for the same. He ordered the “disgorgement of ill-gotten gains” and set a hearing date Oct. 22 to consider “what remedies are to be granted and in what amounts.”

A court renders a summary judgment when a judge finds no genuine dispute as to any material fact – in other words, when evidence appears so conclusive as to not require a full trial. Representing himself and his company, Feathers had to show what Davila called a “genuine issue for trial.” In his order, Davila laid out why Feathers’ submissions to the court did not meet that standard and discussed to what extent the court had to cut Feathers some slack – to “liberally construe” his submissions – because he represented himself without a lawyer. Evidence submitted to the court must include affidavits or “other evidentiary material,” and Davila described Feathers’ submissions as falling short of that standard.

“I have been outnumbered by a large margin in the manpower necessary to present facts, never mind putting them into the right legal framework,” Feathers told the Town Crier in an email.

He wrote to investors that he would appeal the judgment.

Investors, many of them Los Altos residents, bought into two mortgage investment funds Feathers managed from an office on San Antonio Road. The SEC contended that Feathers transferred money from the funds to pay expenses and make cash distributions to investors that masqueraded as “returns on investment,” maintaining an illusion of profitability.

SEC attorney John Bulgozdy described the process of using investor money to pay returns as “Ponzi-like.” Feathers maintained that because he disclosed the loans and transfers to investors, his actions were aboveboard and not in fact evidence of fraud and misrepresentation.

Feathers submitted hundreds of documents including SB Capital paperwork and emails to the court, but Davila wrote that Feathers didn’t indicate with sufficient specificity what he believed they proved – “It is not the task of the court to comb through the record in search of genuine issue of triable fact.”

In his order, Davila referenced testimony from an auditor and a consultant suggesting that Feathers loaned himself money from the funds, then documented it in a way that made the business appear to still be generating profit.

Davila had to weigh whether a “reasonable investor” might have made a different decision with his or her money if he or she had known about the loans and money transfers at SB Capital. He concluded, based in part on declarations two investors made to the SEC, that investors might have withdrawn their investments if they had known what the company was doing.

Davila declared that Feathers’ accounting demonstrated an intent to deceive or, at a minimum, “extreme recklessness in his management of the (f)unds.”

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