Court reverses GAF convictionA federal appeals court...


Court reverses GAF conviction

A federal appeals court today reversed the conviction of GAF Corp. and its vice chairman, James Sherwin, who were convicted for their role in a scheme to manipulate the stock price of Union Carbide Corp.

In a 2-1 vote, the appeals panel ordered that the case be retried for a fourth time.

The convictions of GAF and Sherwin were obtained after a third trial, concluded in March, 1990. GAF was fined $2 million and Sherwin was sentenced to six months in prison.

They were found guilty in December 1989 by a federal jury of trying to boost the price of Union Carbide's stock in 1986, just before GAF was about to sell off a large block of Carbide shares.

The stake had been accumulated by Wayne, N.J.-based GAF after a failed takeover bid for the large chemical company.

The appeals court said the defendents did not receive a fair trial because of a ruling that prevented the defense from introducing some evidence.

Martin Marietta recognized:

A unit of Bethesda-based Martin Marietta has received the U.S. Small Business Administration's highest rating in recognition of its help in developing business opportunities for small and disadvantaged companies.

Martin Marietta's Information Systems division has been designated a 'Category A' prime contractor by the SBA's Mid-Atlantic Region, only the second time the designation has been awarded since its inception in 1985. This region includes Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

GM penalized:

Fines totaling $35 million were announced today against General Motors Corp. and two disposal companies that allegedly handled more than 50,000 tons of sludge contaminated with cancer-causing PCBs.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said General Motors would be fined $14.1 million for generating the sludge at its plant in Massena, while Cecos International Inc. and CWM Chemical Services Inc. would be fined for disposing of it in Niagara County between February 1984 and October 1987.

The EPA contends the sludge should have been burned, not deposited in landfills. GM said it has differed with EPA on some of its conclusions and was preparing a formal response.

Court rejects steel appeal:

The Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by a Swedish company subject to import quotas and tariffs for "dumping" stainless steel in the United States.

The court, without comment, refused to order the U.S. International Trade Commission to consider lifting the restrictions on the company.

U.S. regulators ruled in 1973 that Avesta AB of Sweden was dumping selling it at below fair value stainless steel plate in this country, causing harm to domestic producers.

The company and its U.S. affiliate, Avesta Stainless Inc., sought in 1985 to have the anti-dumping restrictions lifted. The firm said the quotas and tariffs imposed against it are no longer warranted because of changed conditions.

Domestic steel producers and the Bush administration urged the justices to leave intact the anti-dumping order against Avesta.

Avon makeover:

Avon President Rick Goings is hunched over the coffee table, furiously scribbling his $3.45 billion company's battle plan for taking the cosmetics industry by storm.

"Avon's going to get saucy in its ads," declares the 45-year-old president of Avon Products Inc. After a prolonged proxy fight with a powerful dissident stockholder that threatened company control, the world's largest door-to-door cosmetics marketer is about to transform itself with a major shift in sales strategy.

For the past year Chartwell Associates has been buying large blocks of Avon stock, seeking seats on the board of directors and claiming the company wasn't run properly. On Thursday, however, the investment group apparently bailed out from its attempt to control Avon by selling the vast majority of its stock.

The new marketing campaign, of course, is directed at consumers, not stockholders. Most ambitious may be the marketing push toward direct-mail sales. The company is encouraging its 10,000 U.S. sales representatives to start compiling mailing lists of customers so that Avon headquarters can send sales brochures through the mail.

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