Skip to main content
The largest online newspaper archive
A Publisher Extra® Newspaper

The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio • Page 65

Akron, Ohio
Issue Date:
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

ri zi i i i Section a Editorials E2 Business E6 t-JL Akron Beacon Journal Sunday, April 21, 1985 getting what ferfjJ isn it payin By James IVIcCartnoy Kn'tgbtHidder Newspapers the Army's chief of staff of shoddy work "I'm not here to say that our company is perfect," David S. Lewis, chairman and chief executive officer of General Dynamics, told a House committee. "(But) I refuse to accept any portrayal of our company or its people as being dishonest or lacking integrity. The charges persist. There have been troubles with almost every major weapons system in the U.S.

arsenal its most sophistictated nuclear warheads (General Electric), its most powerful submarines (General Dynamics), its finest missiles (Hughes), its best fighter planes (General Dynamics) and its most important weapons supplied to allies (MaTtiir A chorus of criticism of contractors has developed from both inside and outside the government. Many critics, including Gordon Adams, believe that an underlying problem has been the speed and intensity of President Ronald Reagan's $2 trillion military buildup, opening the gates to freewheeling profiteers. There are other criticisms as well. Navy Secretary John Lehman, a hard-line, pro-military official, recently said the military bureaucracy "created See DEFENSE, page E4 on the Pershing 2 missile. The company said corrections have been made and missiles are being deployed on schedule.

United Technologies accused by the Air Force of overcharging $40 million on aircraft engines. Congress has been told the company's accounting practices for labor are way out of line, creating exorbitant profits. The company is contesting the charges. Hughes Aircraft charged by the Defense Department with'systematic" deficiencies in workmanship and quality control on high-tech missile systems produced for all three armed services. Payments were suspended until corrections were made.

Raytheon accused by the General Accounting Office of shoddy workmanship on the Patriot missile. The Army has said delivery schedules are running way behind and has ordered corrections. For their part, the contractors have uniformly denied guilt. A common response has been that they have played squarely and within the system. he Pentagon and a handful, of congressional committees, with an assist from federal courts, have leveled a sweeping series of allegations against the nation's top defense contrac tors ranging from outright fraud to shoddy workmanship.

Records show that every one of the top 10 defense contractors has been challenged for overcharging, bill-padding or producing inferior weaponry since the Reagan administration came to power in 1981 and began a huge military buildup. One contractor has been indicted, payments to two others have been frozen or suspended, two have agreed to repay the government for overbilling, two have been required to reduce prices and two have been ordered to improve their workmanship. One contractor is contesting overbilling charges. In recent weeks, investigations that have been under way in some cases for years have come to a head, exposing deep trouble and possibly corruption in the defense establishment. One contractor, General Electric, was temporarily barred from any new contracts by the Pentagon after it was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly defrauding the Air Force of more than $800,000.

GE was accused of making 104 false statements to the government. General Dynamics accused of overcharging more than $244 million over the past 12 years, has acknowledged that it included country club fees for top executives and even a kennel fee for one executive's dog in charges passed on to the taxpayer. The Pentagon has frozen contract payments to General Dynamics but has Awarded $5 billion in new contracts to the firm while investigations continue. As more and more abuses are coming to light, many defense experts and members of Congress have expressed concerns that while the Pentagon's efforts have high visibility, corrective actions have been too limited and the underlying problems are not being attacked. But suddenly contractors who have profited from the administration's military A believer in history that lives By Peter Geiger Beacon Journal staff writer The DODular notion of Hale Farm and Village is contradicted by the man who runs the place.

Visitors think of Hale as an Ohio pioneer showplace, complete with mid- 19th centurv artifacts and artisans; as a village that celebrates the common if undulv romantic idea of life in a rustic, rural and simpler time. "No. no. no." replies Siegfried Fne- del Buerling, the thoroughly American ized German native who directs Hale for the Western Reserve Historical Soci ety. "Not just pioneer history, but liv ing history, he says.

And life in early Ohio was a lot more progressive, more complicated than is commonly thought, he adds. So Buerling, a man with dominating willpower and an infectious smile, is preparing to re-direct Hale's second 20 years in a fashion less locked to the pioneer 18th and 19th centuries. When the Cleveland-based society decided in 1962 to move endangered, historic buildings to the Bath Township farm on Oak Hill Road, the plan was to re-create a village green as it might have appeared on the Western Reserve in the first half of the 19th century. By society decree, time at Hale was frozen at 1850. There would be no acquisitions of buildings or furnishings later than that jdate.

Craftsmen and guides dressed in costumes of that period and demonstrated skills of the time. But there had to be certain compromises: Paying guests expect Hale personnel to appear clean and neat, a quality that would have been impossible in workaday pioneer Ohio. Everyone was expected to ignore the sights, sounds and smells of air- Tiny Pa. college keeps Polish culture alive buildup are on the defensive. "Defense horror stories involving an array of contractors are cropping up with nauseating frequency," said Sen.

Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. "This suggests there are not just one or two bad apples in the barrel, but that all the apples have rotted." Said Gordon Adams of the privately supported Defense Budget Project: "It may not be a national scandal, but it is certainly a national disgrace." Here is a sample of the accusations against the top 10 defense contractors: Rockwell International accused in a court action of mischarging the government on an Air Force contract. The company has agreed to repay $1.5 million. McDonnell Douglas charged with overbilling legal fees by $24 million. The company has agreed to pay.

McDonnell Douglas also was investigated for shoddy work on tail assembly of FA-18 fighters and agreed to repair 148 planes at its own expense. General Dynamics accused of overcharging $244 million on expenses over the past 12 years. The government has frozen payments on contracts as a BioGraph: Siegfried Buerling have learned the proper attitude toward history. We want slow, steady growth, not too fast. We re a historical society; we're interested in Siegfried Buerling Hale Farm and Village director 111111 craft, vehicular traffic and, since 1974, of the beloved Cuyahoga Valley Line steam railroad, an early 20th century relic.

Now Buerling is preparing a new approach to Hale's second 20 years for approval by the society's trustees. "Everything doesn't have to be 1700s or 1800s," he says. "That would get boring after awhile. There's so much interesting later, say the early 1900s." It's not an unexpected remark from a man who has always been as interested in technology as in historic preservation. He learned old-world cabinetmak-ing in his father's shop in Germany's Ruhr Valley.

But he candidly asserts, "I was always a totally modern freak. I thought Formica was the ultimate material. I haven't changed my mind much on that today." There will be no Formica at Hale, but Buerling would like the pioneer village to portray not just the way the Western Reserve lived at its founding, but also the way it grew up. Following that leaning, he was instrumental in starting the summer-excursion steam railroad that stops at Hale. Now he has suggested to the society a Hale Farm and Village that will see way of recouping the overpayments.

General Electric charged by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia with defrauding the government of $800,000, of four counts of filing false claims and 104 counts of making false statements. The Air Force has demanded the return of $168 million in spare-parts profits, and the company' is temporarily barred from further defense contracts. Lockheed accused by a senator" of charging $640 for toilet seat covers on an airplane. The company subsequently cut the price to $100. Boeing Co.

charged the Air Force $748 for a pair of duckbill pliers to repair aircraft engines, similar to a pair an engineer testified could be bought at a hardware store for $7.61. After cutting the price to $90, Boeing tacked on other expenses. The total bill to the Air Force did not change. Martin Marietta accused by completion of the town green perhaps with Victorian buildings. He would augment the village's kiln and glass works with an "industrial street" that might include a steam-powered, shaft-driven woodworking shop and other late-19th century factories.

The suggestions are far from radical, but they reflect the progressive mind of the bubbling Buerling. "I have learned the proper attitude toward history," he says. "We want slow, steady growth, not too fast. We're a historical society; we're interested in preservation." But he is also committed to change. "I have a management philosophy: Everyone ought to be fired every 10 years," he says.

"You stay too long, you begin to feel you own the place." Buerling has worked for the society since 1959 and, since 1968, has been director of Hale and of the society's three house museums: the President Garfield Home in Mentor; Loghurst, the oldest building in the Western Reserve, in Canfield; and Shandy Hall in Union-ville, Ashtabula County. Is it time for him to be fired? "I'll probably retire early," he grins. To stay alive, Alliance is reaching out to the Polish communities for students and money while trying to appeal to non-Polish students as well. Polish-born Casimir Kowalski, the school's president since April 1982, said: "We haven't done a good enough selling job in the Polish community. We're being more aggressive.

The college just sat here in the past." Adorning Kowalski's office wall are pictures of Pope John Paul II, Liberace and the Polish-born airplane magnate Henryk de Kwiatkowski. "We're here to educate young minds," he said. "But our special mission is to preserve and pass on Polish traditions and culture." Kowalski speaks to Polish clubs and church groups in cities such as Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit and Syracuse, singing Alliance's praises while leading his audience in Polish such songs as Sto Lai! (100 Years). Today there are 204 full-time students, 46 percent of whom have a Polish background. After hitting a peak of 700 See COLLEGE, page E5 Inside this section RONALD REAGAN: Will he be just a footnote to the list of presidents? Editor Paul Poorman.

Page E2. STATISTICS: They aren't out of work but human beings are. Senior editor Abe Zaidan. Page E3. SMOKING: Giving up one rotten feeling for another.

Columnist Russell Baker. Page E3. IT'S A RAID: Financier Carl Icahn, who launched a hostile takeover of Uniroyal, has raided many other companies in the past. Business writer Doug Oplinger. Page E6.

By Bob Dvorrhak Associated Press CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS, Pa. -Things are so Polish at tiny Alliance College, founded and sponsored by the Polish National Alliance, that four students take English as a second language. "There's something Polish everywhere you go," said Dawn Regula of Baltimore, a junior. "You can't escape it. All you have to do is sit in the cafeteria for five minutes and you'll hear someone speaking Polish." Miss Regula, historian for the Polish Club and its representative on the school's student government, will study next year at Jagiellonian University in Polish city of Krakow through an exchange program.

Alliance's 200-acre campus in northwestern Pennsylvania, dotted with 150 varieties of trees brought from Poland, has buildings named for Revolutionary War hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko, physicist Marie Curie and other famous Poles. Honorary doctorates have been given to former national security adviser Zbig-niew Brzezinski, Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, pianist Liberace and Dan Rostenkowski, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Course offerings include the history of Poles in America and the literature of the Polish Renaissance. The library, with 20,000 volumes in its Polish Room, has one of the richest Polish collections in the country. A Krakow festival featuring pirogi and other Polish foods is held each fall.

The 27-member Polish Club sponsors an annual Christmas Eve dinner called Wig-ilia, which is followed by a polka dance. And the Kujawiaki, a 35-member touring dance troupe that features Polish folk music, is rehearsing for its 500th performance in May. These Polish roots give 73-year-old Alliance its identity at a time when most ethnic colleges have merged or closed. I.

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 300+ newspapers from the 1700's - 2000's
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the The Akron Beacon Journal
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

About The Akron Beacon Journal Archive

Pages Available:
Years Available: