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William Ackman

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Bill Ackman Had a Dream

The activist investor cries, evokes Martin Luther King Jr. and JFK, after losing fight with Target board.

By Jessica Pressler

The Upper East Side Completes Renée Zellweger

The actress smoothly buys into a hard-to-crack co-op, while JPMorgan and the New York 'Times' struggle, in our daily digest of real-estate, finance, media and law news.

Sickos Behind Marketing for Airborne Were Lying to Us All

LEGAL • Manhattan's Tonic East restaurant will pay $35,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that the eatery discriminated against blacks wearing hip-hop clothing and urban wear to a Super Tuesday event for Barack Obama supporters. [NYT] • Office procrastinators might have to look for a new method for wasting time: Scrabulous is under fire. [DealBook/Alley Insider] • Airborne, the cold-relieving drug of choice for many cube dwellers around the city, will pay $23.3 million to settle claims of false advertising. Says one critic, "Airborne is basically on overpriced, run-of-the-mill vitamin pill that's been cleverly, but deceptively, marketed." Holy wow. Anyone want to come together and ratchet this up to class-action against "second-grade teacher" founder Victoria Knight-McDowell? [CNN]

Katie Couric Must Really Hate Goldfish

MEDIA • Katie Couric's YouTube channel provides real service journalism: While chitchatting with Joe Biden, the CBS anchor recommends viewers tune into her favorite viral video — the one where a little girl watches her goldfish get flushed down the toilet. [HuffPo] • The New York Times op-ed columnists can't endorse political candidates. This "isn't a problem" for Maureen Dowd because she doesn't "do a partisan column." [NYO] • Vegas, take note: Big Apple broadsheets are front-runners in the race for the Pulitzers. [E&P]

Have You Heard? There's a New Economic Freak-out Happening!

FINANCE • William A. Ackman of Pershing Hedge Funds got everyone freaking out about bond insurers by issuing a report yesterday afternoon predicting that MBIA and the Ambac Financial Group might just lose $24 billion on mortgage investments. “Here comes Ackman at the 11th hour upsetting the apple cart,” Douglas M. Peta, chief market strategist at J.& W. Seligman & Company, told the Times. “I don’t think anybody has really thought it all through, but we all understand the implications of real trouble in the bond insurers could be far reaching.” [NYT] Related! MBIA announced a $3.5 billion write-down this morning. [CNN] • Wharton is still the number-one place in the universe to pick up an MBA. [FT] • Following in the steps of other CEOs with giant mortgage-related losses, Merrill won't give its top brass any bonuses. But they will give them stock options "to promote the continuity of the management team as they continue to navigate through challenging market conditions in 2008." That's one way to hang on to staff. [Reuters]