REFILE-PRESS DIGEST- New York Times business news - Aug 12

Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:35am EDT

(Corrects Kinder Morgan item to add dropped line "it is consolidating its four related pipeline companies into one")

Aug 12 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* New York prosecutors brought criminal charges against a dozen payday loan companies and their founder, Carey Vaughn Brown, accusing them of disregarding the state's limits on interest rates on loans. (nyti.ms/1kXYOej)

* The Justice Department is using a powerful civil fraud provision to investigate potential fraud in the marketing of securities backed by risky auto loans. This opens up a new front for the government to pursue large monetary penalties against companies that package loans made without paying too much attention to whether the borrowers are credit worthy. (nyti.ms/VekHKl)

* Kinder Morgan Inc is consolidating its four related pipeline companies into one and abandoning the master limited partnership structure it helped popularize. Largely because of Kinder Morgan's success, the partnerships have become increasingly popular for energy companies. But now, with Kinder Morgan restructuring as a traditional corporation, questions have emerged about what will happen to the many other master limited partnerships. (nyti.ms/1oFBaDb)

* A ruling by a panel of former judges found that Lehman management, not Ernst & Young, was most responsible for setting in motion a maneuver that let Lehman Brothers move billions off its balance sheet. (nyti.ms/1A9mfVn)

* Federal regulators said Monday that Kansas had defrauded investors by bringing $273 million of bonds to market in 2009 and 2010 without disclosing that its pension system was deeply underwater and that the investors ran a risk of not being fully repaid. (nyti.ms/1r6hcEc)

* JPMorgan Chase & Co has agreed to spin off its private-equity unit through a deal with two investment firms, realizing a long-held goal for the giant bank. (nyti.ms/1oFqbEL)

* Chiquita Brands International, the banana producer that is seeking an inversion with a $526 million deal for its Irish rival Fyffes, received an unsolicited offer on Monday from an unlikely pair of private companies. (nyti.ms/1uINTFM)

* Pittsburgh International Airport's runways are sitting on enough natural gas to run the whole state of Pennsylvania for a year and a half. (nyti.ms/1sSChzv)

* The Aloft hotel in Cupertino, California, will begin testing a robotic bellhop designed to shuttle items from the hotel lobby desk to guest rooms. (nyti.ms/1oFlrii) (Compiled by Rama Venkat Raman in Bangalore)