Must Read Money Stories for Friday, March 4

by March 4, 2016

Fiery crash. Former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon died Wednesday morning after his car sped into an overpass wall and was engulfed in flames. The crash occured one day after McClendon was charged with breaking federal antitrust laws by orchestrating a conspiracy to rig bids for oil and gas acreage while he was CEO of Chesapeak Energy, Reuters writer Heide Brandes reported. He had denied any wrongdoing. McClendon’s indictment Tuesday followed a four-year investigation into whether Chesapeake colluded with a competitor to suppress land lease prices in Michigan during the shale oil boom. That case was closed, but investigators later uncovered possible bid-rigging in Oklahoma. 

Not business genius. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential candidate, fired hard at Donald Trump Thursday, calling the Republican primary candidate “a phony, a fraud,” while calling into question his business chops, Kent Hoover, Washington bureau chief for The Business Journals, reported. The Bain Capital cofounder blasted Trump ventures including: Trump University, Trump Vodka, Trump Airlines, Trump Magazine, Trump Steaks, and Trump Mortgage and pointed to four Trump-backed businesses’ bankruptcies that “crushed small businesses and the men and women who worked for them.”

Costco raises. Retail giant Costco Wholesale Corp. announced it will raise its minimum wage for all workers to $13 or $13.50 an hour, beginning this month, CNN Money’s Ahiza Garcia reported. Costco’s highest paid workers currently make about $22.50 an hour. The increase will cut its earings per share in the next three months by 1 cent, and by 2 cents in the following three quarters, the Issaquah, Washington-based company said in a conference call with analysts. Costco’s announcement follows Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s move to raise its minimum wage to $10 an hour this year.

Can you afford a home? MarketWatch reporter Catey Hill reported on what Americans need to earn to purchase a home in major U.S. cities. While buyers in San Francisco need to make the most money, nearly $148,000, to afford a median-priced home in their area, residents of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Detroit and Atlanta needn’t make more than $40,000. The survey by mortgage information website assumes the buyer has good credit, made a 20 percent down payment and would be spending no more than 28 percent of his income on principal and interest.

Photo of “Red Sold Sign” from Diana Parkhouse on Flickr Creative Commons license