Business Briefs – June 21, 2016

Puerto Rico Hit With Lawsuit As Key Debt Negotiations Stall

WASHINGTON (AP) – A group of bondholders on Tuesday sued Puerto Rico’s government as debt negotiations fell apart less than two weeks ahead of what would be the largest default in the island’s history.

The suit filed in New York by holders of general obligation bonds seeks to invalidate a debt moratorium and fiscal emergency law passed in early April as the island struggles to restructure $70 billion in public debt.

While Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla has not yet implemented a temporary debt moratorium, many speculate he will soon because Puerto Rico is expected to default on a payment of nearly $2 billion on July 1.

Suit Accusing Starbucks of Under-Filling Lattes Can Proceed

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A federal judge is allowing the bulk of a lawsuit accusing Starbucks of systematically under-filling lattes to move forward.

Two California residents are suing the coffee chain, claiming Starbucks lattes are only filled to about 75 percent of the cup’s capacity. A federal judge has thrown out three of the eight claims filed against Starbucks.

Starbucks says the company believes the lawsuit is “without merit” and it will be prepared to defend itself in court.

End of California Nuclear Era: Last Plant to Close by 2025

LOS ANGELES (AP) – California’s last nuclear power plant will close by 2025 under an accord announced Tuesday, ending three decades of safety debates that helped fuel the national anti-nuclear power movement.

The state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and environmental groups reached an agreement to replace production at Diablo Canyon nuclear plant with solar power and other energy sources that don’t produce climate-changing greenhouse gases.

The facility, which sits along a bluff on California’s central coast, supplies 9 percent of the state’s power.

Lennar Ramps Up Construction, Prices in 2Q

MIAMI (AP) — Lennar delivered more homes and at higher prices during its second quarter, exceeding expectations that Wall Street had for the nation’s second-largest homebuilder.

The company had a 10 percent jump in new orders over the three-month period that is crucial in the housing industry, CEO Stuart Miller said in a company statement Tuesday.

The slow and steady recovery of the housing market is being sustained by low interest rates, modest wage growth, consumer confidence, low unemployment and tight housing inventory levels, Miller said.

GOP Congressman Seeks to Block Changes to U.S. Currency

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A Republican congressman is trying to block the Treasury from redesigning U.S. currency, a move that could prevent the government from replacing Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill with abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa has offered an amendment to a spending bill barring the use of funds to redesign any Federal Reserve note or coin. It wasn’t immediately clear why King opposed the redesign, and his office did not immediately respond to messages.

Under plans announced in April by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. The abolitionist and former slave who was a leader of the Underground Railroad will become the first African-American featured on U.S. paper currency and the first woman on paper currency in a century.