The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 5, 1997 · Page 216
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December 5, 1997

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 216

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Friday, December 5, 1997
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Page 216
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r f 4 4 4 4 'ft The Palm Beach Post --FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1997 MSL SECTION D 4 r - N i- 'i T"-- " III WHliJ Lawsuits flying between Hydron, ousted Tauman mm Scandal monger leaving tabloids A- , f , .1 yr o Rising land prices push poinsettia farm north Art Rosacker's father bought the farm in the mid-1950s for $750 an acre. By Michael Utley Palm Beach Post Staff Writer For Art Rosacker, once the largest poinsettia grower in Florida, it has become more profitable to plant homes than flowers in Palm Beach County. Like so many others in the agricultural community, this 58-year-old nurseryman whose family has been growing the fabled Christmas plant here since 1955 is converting his 100-acre farm into prime development land. Attached homes are being built today on 40 acres of Rosacker's property near the , intersection of West Atlantic Avenue and Jog Road. By the end of 1999, he expects the entire site in suburban Delray Beach to be filled with 600 duplexes and quadra-plexes selling for $100,000 and up. Once the process is complete, Rosacker's Floral Acres Inc. will move, probably to Stuart or some other place with more open land and lower property values. Rosacker said he tries not to get too nostalgic about the land his father purchased for $750 an acre. "You just have to chalk it up to progress," he said. "When I first came here, we had two human neighbors and 300 cow neighbors. Obviously, there have been a lot of changes since then." Floral Acres, a sprawling dirt lot with rows of poinset-tias and ferns on sale, is now surrounded by strip malls and large-scale housing developments, including Kings Point and Lakes of Delray. "I suppose there is a story here about , how progress is forcing the ag community to head north," Rosacker said recently at his nursery. "But the other side of that is, in many cases, you're talking about people who bought their land at $1,000 an acre and are now selling it for $50,000 an acre." The nurseryman wouldn't Please see POINSETTIASSZ) Ignacio Rangel (left) and Tony Zavala pack a firm will get closer competition if Floral Acres PAUL J. MILETTEStaff Photographer poinsettia at Kraft Gardens. The Fort Pierce moves from Palm Beach County to Stuart. An executive post away from real decision-making frustrated the :; onetime editor of the k National Enquirer. By Julie Waresh ' Palm Beach Post Staff Writer , LANTANA Tabloid journaU ism legend Iain Calder said Thurg. day he's leaving his posts at Amejl,; ican Media Inc., publisher of tlje; National Enquirer. Calder, 58, has served as exei utive vice president and as a direr;-. tor of the parent company since Hei resigned as editor in chief of tile inquirer in 1995. A statement released Thursday by American Media, whose other publications include the Star and Weekly World News, said Calder's departure "fol Calder lows what he termed were dis4 agreements with the company."; Reached Thursday at his office at American Media, Calder downplayed the problems and said they stemmed primarily from his frustration at no longer directing coverage at the tabloid he ran for decades. "It was a little bit frustrating to be at one end of the hall and see everything done differently," said Calder, who stepped down as Enquirer editor, citing stress-related medical problems. " Ever the scandal monger, Calder said he had to juice up Thursday's release. "I have tell you, as a journalist, I kind of put that in there so people would call me," he said. "You've got to have an angle!" Calder should know. A newspaperman since age 16, the native of Scotland joined the Enquirer in 1964 and is credited with helping build the weekly paper into perhaps the nation's best-known supermarket tabloid. At the Enquirer, Calder was known as a hard-driving editor, who was a stickler for detail. In his posts at American Media, Calder. handled new publications, re- Please see ENQUIRER5)' Glade, Pahokee and South Bay. - The business expansion position has been advertised already, Pelton said. The group plans to fill the company recruitment position by April and the international marketing position by September. ! The international marketing job mainly involves developing potential trading partners abroad, Pelton said. Through Enterprise Florida, the state's not-for-profit economic development arm, the Business Development Board works to bring together county businesses and traders abroad who are interested in the county's products and services. t n if There's a bitter power play going on at Hydron Technologies Inc. Harvey Tauman, the man who founded the Boca Raton cosmetics firm more than two decades ago, was ousted in a late-night board meeting in September. He filed a $4 million lawsuit in Palm Beach County Circuit Court on Sept. 30 alleging breach of con "1 tract for firing him without cause. Hydron's new management now accuses Tauman of fraud in a counter-' claim recently filed. It alleges Tauman billed the company which hawks its wares on QVC for personal expenses and pumped up earnings projec- Danielle Herubin Stocks t,ons "The entire counterclaim was childish in my opinion," says Tauman's Boca Raton attorney, Neil Baritz. Hydron's counterclaim accuses Tauman of a "persistent and pervasive pattern and practice of intentionally deceiving Hydron and its board of directors." It claims Tauman spent thousands of dollars on his wife, Jennifer, and himself and had Hydron pay the bills. Such expenditures, the counterclaim says, included: B $1,139.20 in clothing for Jennifer on March 12. B $662.50 for a gold pen on April 5. B $395.91 for perfume on April 20. B $360.90 for a facial for Jennifer on May 4. B $450 for house cleaning on May 5. B $1,254 in cosmetics, a haircut, clothes, glycolic lotion and peel cream, deep pore and other items on May 14. B $31.93 for a FedEx charge from Tauman's dog trainer on June 20. B At least $1,700 in telephone calls made by Tauman from his house to Australia and other places that allegedly involved Tauman's personal business. Tauman denies the allegation that Hydron improperly paid expenses on his behalf. He also denies the other allegations, which include: B That he hired family members and friends who were either not qualified or never planned to do any work. B That he inflated Jennifer's qualifications to QVC. B That he for several years "intentionally misrepresented" future revenues to the board to get bonuses, raises and stock options for himself. B That he gave the board inflated revenue projections. For the six months ended June 30, Hydron was projected to have $5.7 million in sales and $349,150 in net income. The company ended up with $5 million in sales and $125,937 in net income. "That should illustrate how ridiculous this is. Projections are just that projections based on the information you have available at this time," Baritz said. "We believe the allegations about projections being fraud are ridiculous." Tauman was well-known to millions of QVC shoppers, who knew Tauman as "Hydron Harvey." Tauman was a believer in his products, which used a water-attracting polymer as a base in skin creams and other cosmetics. He often took family members on his appearances. The best known was his granddaughter, "Baby Hydron." Richard Banakas, Hydron's acting president, said directors "acted in the best interest of shareholders" by firing Tauman. Tauman's lawsuit asks that he keep his option to buy 300,000 shares of the company's stock and get pay through the remaining five years of his contract. Tauman's 1997 base salary was $443,100. Danielle Herubin writes about companies and markets. Market closed at: 8,050.16, up 18.15 Minute by minute 81101 Dow: week by week 8200 ) "I"""" r 9-5 9-19 10-3 10-1710-3111-14 11-28 Breaks Indicate market holidays. Opening price does not have to match the closing price from the day before. Opening price can reflect trading and news that occurs after the market closes. However, market change Is measured from close to close. i 1 i 11 1 rt-n 8100 -J V 8090 YM. d?c 8080 i f 8070 r w 8060 -f V IT-" 8050 Vi 8040 t 1' ' , w 8030 1" j i "iyi"" :ni'f "''1 1 1 1 ' 1 1 fu. r ... I 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 a.m. p.m. 1 1 1 1 I I AaL J 7200 I f Www 'MMWWI Poinsettia history The first poinsettia plant was brought to the United States in 1828 by Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. . At the time, the plant was called the "flower of the blessed night" because its red leaves were thought to resemble the Star of Bethlehem. It was already being used as a decoration during the Christmas season in Mexico, because it bloomed during the winter months. When the plant became popular in the United States, it was renamed the poinsettia. SOURCE: wwwclaus.compoinsettia.html Trey Business Development Board to make 3 hires By Sanjay Bhatt Palm Beach Post Staff Writer WEST PALM BEACH - The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, the county's designated jobs go-getter, is doing some job creation of its own. The not-for-profit organization's board of directors recently gave it permission to hire three more people, said Larry Pelton, the group's president. "What the board wants to do is increase the number of projects we can close," he said, from creating 4,000 new jobs annually to 5,000. Pelton said Thursday he wants to reach that goal within three years. "To businesses, has 15 people on staff and plans to add two more marketers. The Dade County Beacon Council, that county's chief economic development group, has 35 staffers andx400 member businesses. The Business Development Board's 1997-98 annual report lists more than 500 member businesses. Pelton noted that the Business Development Board staff is actually growing by only one because because two staffers left earlier this year. Pelton said he assumed their duties international marketing and helping existing businesses grow in Belle iWS!!!1."""1''"!!'! BILL INGRAMStaff Photographer Rosacker tends flowers at nursery. do that, we've got to have more salespeople." The jobs involve retaining existing businesses in the county, recruiting new businesses and marketing the county abroad, Pelton said. The jobs, which will pay $30,000 to $35,000 annually, will probably be filled by area residents, he said. Adding three positions to the staff will bring the total work force to 15, he said, less than the chief economic development councils in Broward and Dade counties. The Broward County Economic Development Council, with 660 member employees, will hire five to 10 additional people once the new warehouse is operating. Groundbreaking is expected in January. "We came here with no intention of putting a branch here," said Rose Marie Opici, who still goes into the office most days. "We have branches in Chicago, Ohio and New York. But a 10-day vacation turned into a distributorship." Today, the Opicis call Jupiter Island home. Their children and grandchildren take part in the family business as well. The Opici Wine Co. started 63 years ago with Hubert Opici's parents. The family no longer has its own vineyards, but it carries more than 200 labels in addition to the 35 that carry the Opici label. The Opicis are considering renting a portion of their new warehouse to individuals to store their own fine wines. "Once we get our inventory in, we'll see just how much extra space we do Opici Wine outgrows its base, plans move to grander quarters - 4 . "" " " '-.vis. 1 . . r- " . Jif ' - '"V If if?" By Angie Francalancia Palm Beach Post Staff Writer LAKE PARK When Rose Marie and Hubert Opici first came to Florida, it was a vacation, not a new distribution area, they sought. Eighteen years later, the Opici Wine Co., known for supplying wine and cheese shops and restaurants with its 35 varieties, is expanding into a larger warehouse. The Opicis have contracted with Ahrens Cos. of West Palm Beach to design and build an office-warehouse nearly five times the size of the 5,400-square-foot space the company has now. Ahrens will build the $1.3 million 26,000-square-foot distribution center on Watertower Road in Lake Park, said Richard Ahrens, company president. I lis company will design a building that can expand to 70,000 square feet, he said. The company, which has 25 local Rose Marie and Hubert Opici find conditions are cramped in their current 5,400-square-foot Florida operations center. They'll have more room soon when a 26,000-square-foot distribution center is built in Lake Park. have," said manager Randy Burke. "We service the state from Orlando Their Northern warehouses also to the Keys," Rose Marie Opici said, supply the service, he said. He wouldn't "We hope to do the whole state, eventu- disclose revenue or income figures. ally." . i

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