Cancel the '$16 muffin' order After a huge flap triggered by a U.S. Department of Justice audit claiming that its staffers paid $16 for muffins at a 2009 meeting at the Capital Hilton hotel, the department's office of the inspector general backed off on Friday. Hilton had explained that the conference tab included fruit, coffee and juice, plus tax and tip for each attendee—along with the muffin. However, a Republican senator still criticized DOJ's spending—including "$600,000 on event planners"—saying the department had nearly doubled its expenditures on conferences since 2008, according to the Los Angeles Times …

'Untraditional venue' the favorite of planners The favorite event venue for planners is an untraditional one—say, a warehouse or office—that the planner can transform into a special event site. The finding comes from the latest online poll from Special Events. Forty-eight percent of respondents named an "untraditional venue" as their favorite. Seventeen percent say a hotel ballroom is their preferred event venue, followed by a private home (14 percent), a tent (13 percent) and a restaurant (5 percent).