Monthly Archives: July 2016

Additional indicators of Millennials

More Millennials feel working class than any other generation (+56%) per a recent Ipsos Mori study and with brands like Airbnb, Uber, Etsy and Fabletics gaining momentum, disrupting and rewriting business models it’s easy to see why. Travel, handmade goods, cabs and other activities were previously only for the rich and were a real indicator of class.  This scenario has been completely changed because of access, new models and reduced wastage.

Food – and wine in particular – are the next industries to see similar disruption because, according to John Gillespie of the Wine Market Council, Millennials are the largest wine consuming generation (36% versus 34% for Baby Boomers). That means big money as the wine industry is a $38 billion pound industry in the US alone that sees roughly 1-2% growth year over year.  Experience is leading the charge, convenience and quality came first with the likes of ‘Enjoy Life By The Glass‘ (above) regularly seen at big arenas and events across the UK with rave reviews from both sides of the bar.  There are additional indicators, the latest of which is causing a stir with the red, white and rosé crowds – namely colour.

When I first heard about blue wine (and sampled some) I was surprised by the quality and experience – a perfect Millennial combination. Whether you buy it for fun, taste or the wow factor, products like the ones below are for everyone now and not just the rich because of the price and the way they are made.  Spanish startup Gik Live is leading the charge with blue wine. Founded by six entrepreneurs, Gik Live blend white and red grapes, anthocyanin, and indigo to create Blue Nun.  The eye-catching and vibrant blue is an experience that took two years to make with the help of researchers and universities in Spain.  Sweet, crisp and about $11 a bottle.  Available in the UK, Spain, France, Germany, and the Netherlands and planned U.S. launch in 2017.

The Way To A Chicago Alderman

images-39A recently unsealed indictment in Chicago shows just how far money from 1998′s  $200 billion master tobacco settlement with the states spread. Federal authorities have charged former Chicago alderman Edward “Fast Eddie” Vdolyak with trying to help another lawyer evade taxes on potentially $65 million in fees the pair were promised despite having done no legal work on the deal.

The indictment against Vdolyak was unveiled last week as an addition to the pending criminal case against Daniel P. Soso, a former policeman and lawyer the feds charged with tax evasion last year. The government accuses Vdolyak of using relatives and other intermediaries to hide his payments to Soso under a fee-splitting agreement with an unnamed Seattle attorney who was identified in earlier court proceedings as class-action lawyer Steven Berman.

Vdolyak’s lawyer Michael Monico with Monico & Spevack said his client would plead not guilty at his arraignment tomorrow. The government failed to send notice to the proper entity for the back taxes, Monico said, although Vdolyak nevertheless placed $300,000 in escrow against the IRS claim.

Regardless of how Vdolyak fares in court, the indictment further taints a massive multistate agreement that rewarded the political friends of the attorneys general who helped negotiate it. Former Texas Attorney General Dan Morales went to jail in 2003 for trying to steer some $400 million in fees to one of his friends, and state AGs elsewhere hired private law firms, many of them with strong ties to the Democratic Party, to pursue the cases seeking repayment of Medicare and Medicaid expenses for smoking-related diseases.

The resulting settlement was a financial win for Philip Morris, which got a price-sustaining cartel out of the deal under state agreements to restrict new entrants from the cigarette industry.

It was also a bonanza for the private lawyers, who reaped more than $1 billion in fees paid out over the next 25 years. Recipients included Berman’s firm Hagens Berman, Motley Rice, Milberg Weiss (one of whose name partners later went to jail on unrelated securities charges), and Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos. Here in my home state of Connecticut, then-AG, now-Sen. Richard Blumenthal authorized lucrative fee contracts with his former law firm Silver, Golub & Teitel as well as another firm with ties to then-Gov. (and since jailed) John Rowland.

Develop TV Series About Superstar

Grammy Award-winning multi-platinum recording artist Luis Miguel, who has sold more  than 100 million albums, sung duets with Frank Sinatra and Sheena Easton and has had widely publicized high-profile relationships with Mariah Carey and Daisy Fuentes, as well as Mexican actress Araceli Arámbula, the mother of two of his children, will soon share his life story on television.

An extremely successful performer whose popularity has earned him a loyal fan base and sold out concerts worldwide, Luis Miguel, who has lived in the limelight since he started his music career at just 11 years old, has given very few interviews and when he does, he avoids discussing his personal life.

His fans will get to learn more about that private side of the Mexican superstar in a television mini series about his life thanks to Mark Burnett, super producer and president of MGM Television, who was able to secure the exclusive rights to Luis Miguel’s story.

Burnett, producer of shows such as The Voice, Shark Tank and The Apprentice, will help develop the series as part of a new joint venture between MGM and Gato Grande Productions, helmed by Mexican entrepreneurs Miguel Alemán Magnani and Antonio Cue Sánchez Navarro. Alemán is a former Televisa executive and grandson of Mexican President Miguel Aleman Valdés. Cué, former owner of the Major League Soccer team Chivas USA, is the grandson of a founder of the Mexican brewery Grupo Modelo, which manufactures Corona beer.