This Week in Financial Blunders: Ketchup, Yen, and an Unlucky Lottery

This Week in Financial Blunders It ain’t easy being financially responsible. Just last week I told myself I was not going to eat out for the next seven days, and two days in I had spontaneously bought and eaten Taco Bell before I could even remember the commitment I made. Ah well, that slip up pales in comparison to the monster mess-ups that people, corporations, or even entire nations make with their finances. Don’t believe me? Well you’re wrong, and you’ve fallen into my perfect setup for this week in financial blunders. Starting with…

No More Drama

Prolific R&B singer Mary J. Blige is under some serious heat for her finances this week. As many news outlets have reported, the 42 year old Grammy winner was served with a $901,769.65 tax lien in the State of New Jersey, but this is just one (albeit huge) strike in the string of problems the singer has had with her money. Earlier this month Blige was sued by Bank of America in the New York State Supreme Court, being accused of defaulting on a $500,000 loan she took out in 2005 and stopped paying on last year.

Also, just last year, the charity Mary runs, the Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now Inc., was sued for never paying back a $250,000 loan and the charity was also accused of two-timing students looking for a scholarship and mishandling funds.  After her charity had issues, Blige and her husband, Martin Isaacs, were sued for a recoup of a loan they failed to pay off. The suit was issued by Signature Bank through the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, and with interest the couple owes $2,258,000.

Heinz Investors Playing Catch Up to Dell

As you’ve probably seen in the news in the past few days, Heinz, maker of the eponymous ketchup and many other food products, was part of a massive $23 billion buyout from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian-backed buyer of Burger King, 3G. The goal was to switch the company to privately owned and give each stockholder buyout cash per stock received, just like Dell planned on doing weeks before when they switched to be privately owned.  Only problem with Dell’s plan was that their largest independent stock holders formed together to block the buyout, claiming they would not be given proper compensation from the buyout.  Oddly enough, the same thing is happening at Heinz.

Just a day after the announcement was made at Heinz, and shareholders were to promised to be given $72.50 per share, two federal shareholder lawsuits were filed. These two suits claim, amongst other things, Berkshire Hathaway and 3G as the only buyers and prevents them from being taken over, or even to give information to potential buyers “except under very limited circumstances.” Add this with the $400 million Heinz higher ups are expected to make when this goes through, it becomes understandable why shareholders are a bit upset.

Now and Yen

Caught amid heavy import fees and weakening exports, Japan has seen its economy slowly dip in the past year. Overall, the yen is worth 15% less against the US dollar since November, and the country is facing a monthly trade deficit of 1.6 trillion yen, or $17.1 billion. With most of their nuclear reactors still closed, Japan has been importing fuel at a much higher rate than they have in the past. Their imports of liquid petroleum gas rose 28% from last year, with imports altogether rising 7.3%.

There have been many factors that have affected the world’s third largest economy, and almost all of them deal with their weakening export market as BBC News reports. Other than the previously mentioned reasons, European countries haven’t been trading as much because of their continuing debt crisis, and land disputes with China have halted sales with them, their biggest trade partner. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel though; despite everything, Japan’s exports rose last month for the first time in eight months. Exports to the United States rose 10.9% in, and the nation is hoping for exports to rise overall while the yen is still weak in hopes of a slow raise in the economy throughout the year.

What Luck?

In an incredible feat of irony, two Kansas brothers succeeded in accidently blowing up their house while celebrating winning the lottery. That’s right, after winning a $75,000 lottery ticket one of the un-named brothers apparently went to refuel a butane torch for a bong in the kitchen, emptying the butane into the air. It reached a pilot light in the furnace, leading to an inevitable explosion. One brother received second degree burns but is stable; a girlfriend to one of the brother drove him to the hospital then disappeared into the sunset. The remaining lotto winning brother admitted to police after the explosion that he had meth and marijuana in his house, assumedly being used with the previously mentioned bong and lighters. No word on what their winnings will be used for, but bail, hospital bills and home repairs are likely.

That’s the scoop for all things ridiculous this week in financial news. As always, if you have a comment or a story I may have missed, please post below so we can keep these blunders going.

 

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