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REGION



Published: Sat, February 12, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



REGION

Bedford Downs scrutinized

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania State Harness Racing Commission said it will hear more about Bedford Downs' financing partners.

The commission Thursday granted a request by Bedford Downs to present testimony about its financing by Innovations Capital and Merrill Lynch.

"We are grateful to the commission," said Carmen Shick, president of Bedford Downs. "We believe that it is in the best interest of harness racing in Pennsylvania and in the best interest of the public to have this evidence heard."

Shick wants to build a $165 million racetrack and casino complex near Route 422 on a reclaimed strip mine, but his financing partners have changed.

Commission members said they want to hear about the new financing plans before they make any decision about who will get a harness-racing license.

NATION

Disney says it's still searching for chief mouse

MINNEAPOLIS -- The search isn't over for a new Walt Disney Co. chief executive to replace Michael Eisner, chairman George Mitchell pledged on Friday. But whenever Mitchell wasn't talking, there were just two people on the stage at Disney's annual meeting -- Eisner, and the apparent front-runner to replace him, president Robert Iger.

Mitchell said the search should be finished by June and will include interviews with outside candidates.

"We are carefully considering an internal as well as external candidates, including interviews with each candidate," Mitchell said. "The board will make its decision when the process is completed, not before or during it."

Several large shareholders, including dissident ex-board members Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold, have expressed concern that the succession process would unfairly favor Iger. Disney was at the meeting -- he even autographed proxies for some shareholders -- but didn't ask questions during the meeting or speak with reporters.

Pressed by a shareholder, Mitchell would not say if the board had already interviewed outside candidates.

Ex-manager at Cox sued

WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators have filed civil insider-trading charges against a former manager of investor relations for cable operator Cox Communications Inc., saying he illegally made at least $285,505 from trades of options on Cox and Concurrent Computer Corp. stock.

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday announced the lawsuit against Frank R.V. Loomans, alleging he used sensitive information about Cox not available to the public to trade the stock options in a brokerage account in the name of his father, Luc F. Loomans, between July 2000 and July 2001.

In the suit, filed Thursday in federal court in Atlanta, the SEC is seeking unspecified civil fines and restitution from Frank Loomans and an order barring him from serving as an officer or director of a publicly traded company.

Former Rite Aid lawyer to report to prison

HARRISBURG -- The former top lawyer and board vice chairman at Rite Aid Corp. will begin serving a 10-year federal criminal sentence on March 1, nearly a year-and-a-half after a jury convicted him of conspiracy, lying to federal regulators and other charges.

Franklin C. Brown, 76, will be held at the minimum-security prison camp in Minersville, Pa., U.S. District Judge Sylvia H. Rambo wrote in a 22-page memorandum issued Thursday.

Judge Rambo had previously allowed Brown to remain free on bail until the U.S. Supreme Court clarified rules for federal sentencing, which it did Jan. 12.

Brown's lawyers have called the 10-year term a de-facto death sentence.

Vindicator staff/wire reports




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