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Accounting News Roundup: Back-to-Work Wednesday; MF Global’s Failiversary; When Is a Dance Not a Dance? | 10.31.12

Tracking the Storm [NYT]
All the latest updates to get you through Wednesday.

Power Outages May Last More Than a Week [WSJ
Utility companies warned that it could take more than a week to restore power to the millions left in the dark after Sandy pounded the Eastern U.S. […] New York and New Jersey, where Sandy made landfall Monday, continue to bear the brunt of the region's outages. More than 2.6 million New Jersey customers are living without power, representing 65% of the state's total, and nearly 2.1 million in New York state have been left in the dark, according to federal regulators. But outages were spreading to Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee on Tuesday.

A Year Later, All Eyes Still on 'Edie' [WSJ]
Who broke the law by raiding customer accounts at MF Global Holdings Ltd.? Investigators seem no closer to the answer than they were when the New York brokerage firm filed for bankruptcy exactly a year ago Wednesday, owing thousands of farmers and ranchers, hedge funds and other investors an estimated $1.6 billion. Their money was supposed to be stashed safely at MF Global, but company officials used much of it for margin calls and other obligations. The last, best hope for a breakthrough in the probe is Edith O'Brien, the former assistant treasurer at MF Global. Working in the company's Chicago office, she was the go-to person for emergency money transfers as MF Global flailed for its life. "She really kept the place running," says Matthew Gopin, MF Global's former head of internal audit for North America, referring to her everyday duties approving money transfers. […] Friends say she has been worried about becoming the "fall guy" in the probe, especially since former MF Global Chief Executive Jon S. Corzine told lawmakers in December that she assured him the $175 million transfer was proper. In private conversations, Ms. O'Brien has bristled at and disagreed with Mr. Corzine's comments. "They may have thought they had a chump, but they've got the wrong chump," she told several friends while drinking Chardonnay at a bar in Chicago, according to someone who was there.

‘A Dance Is a Dance’ [NYT]
The New York State Court of Appeals ruled last week that Nite Moves, a strip club near Albany, must pay sales tax on admissions fees it collects from customers. State law exempts from sales tax “dramatic or musical arts performances,” including “choreographic” performances. The question was whether a private lap dance or a pole dance qualifies as a “dance.” Clearly, they should. The court’s 4-to-3 majority held that the dancing at Nite Moves is not art but — like baseball games, stock-car races and ice shows — is a form of entertainment that falls within “the broad sweep of the tax.” In this case, the dissent by Judge Robert Smith has the more convincing argument. The majority decision, he wrote, rests on “a distinction between highbrow dance and lowbrow dance” the state tax statute does not make.
Income Levels vs. Education Levels [Tax Foundation]
Seems about right.
With Lucasfilm Deal, Disney Spends Big to Land a Lucrative Franchise [DealBook]
Disney’s takeover of Lucasfilm, keeper of the the Star Wars franchise, ranks as the media empire’s second-biggest since its 1995 merger with Capital Cities, according to data from Capital IQ. Only the company’s $7.6 billion purchase of Pixar ranks higher, with the $3.9 billion acquisition of Marvel Entertainment following closely behind.

The Closest Thing We Could Find to a Crazy Eddie Halloween Ad [YouTube]

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