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Star Tribune from Minneapolis, Minnesota • Page D3

Star Tribunei
Minneapolis, Minnesota
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By Dee DePass Star Tribune Staff Writer Determined that rural issues decay on the stump, independent community bankers are hauling in gubernatorial candidates for a public debate with out- state farmers, residents and bankers. The debate, set for Aug. 3 at the Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria, is the first sponsored by the Independent Community Bankers of Minnesota. It also is one of the first of the election season to bring together all four endorsed gubernatorial candidates: DFLer Roger Moe, Republican Tim Pawlenty, the Independence Tim Penny and the Green Ken Pentel. The hourlong event comes on the heels of the banker three-day annual convention celebrating its 40th anniversary.

About 600 people are expected to attend Al Olson, the president, said the debate will challenge prospective leaders to consider affordable rural housing and farm and immigrant worker issues. About 75 percent of the 500 bank members are from rural areas. who live in rural Minnesota are concerned about growth, progress, job creation and quality of life just like city and suburban residents. But rural areas face additional challenges in health care, education and employment Olson said. Larry Sorenson, president of Arlington State Bank, said he expects to ask the candidates about transportation issues for the southwestern corner of the state.

have the poorest road system to get into the Twin Cities from any direction. We have all this grain that moves through here plus people in but no four-lane highway, he said. money seem to be Economic development is another big issue as 10 percent of dairy farmers will quit this year in the southwestern corner of the state, Sorenson said. Thirty percent of all his loans are agriculture-related. Rural areas need ways to make themselves attractive to other industries, he said.

Olson said the next governor must be educated about these concerns. After 14 years at the helm, Olson is expected to retire at age 65 at the end of 2003. He is under consideration for a post with the International Joint Commission, which manages the Great Lakes. If chosen, his appointment would require a presidential nomination and Senate confirmation. Dee DePass is at Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Edward Stringer, due to retire Aug.

31, will rejoin his former law firm of Briggs and Morgan, the firm announced Thursday. Stringer, 67, will chair the Minneapolis alternative dispute resolution practice. have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the court and look forward to working with businesses and individuals to help them resolve their disputes without the high costs that can be associated with Stringer said. A member of the Supreme Court since 1994, Stringer also practiced corporate law and served as chief of staff for Gov. Arne Carlson.

Stringer was a member of Briggs and Morgan from 1969 until 1980, when he became general counsel for Pillsbury Co. In 1989, President George Bush appointed Stringer general counsel for the U.S. Department of FRIDAY, JULY 26 2002STARTRIBUNE PAGE D3 0BRIEFS0 Nortech Systems Wayzata, has named Michael Degen president and CEO. Degan held the positions on an interim basis since May 1, after the unexpected death of Quent Finkelson. Velocity Express Plymouth, said the fourth quarter ended June 29 was its first profitable quarter.

Manchester Companies Minneapolis, has acquired St. Paul-based Nuvolution, a management and systems consulting firm with offices in Dallas and San Francisco. Terms were not disclosed. Hypertension Diagnostics St. Paul, has extended until 5 p.m.

Sept. 17 the period in which holders of its redeemable Class A warrants may participate in its offering of up to 2.4 million redeemable Class warrants. The company also has extended the expiration date of the Class A warrants until that time. The company also reduced the exercise price of the Class A warrants to $1.25 per common share issuable from $1.80, and the Class warrants to $1.50 per common share issuable from $2. Foods Dallas, and Land Inc.

Arden Hills, have expanded their strategic alliance and licensing arrangement, allowing Dean Foods to use the Land Lakes brand name nationally on a range of dairy products. HickoryTech Mankato, said Concho Cellular Telephone Co. Kerrville, Texas, has signed a contract for Write2k billing product for wireless service providers. Ratings said that after the St. Paul Companies Inc.

completes its announced transaction to offer stock and equity units, Fitch will remove the ratings from Rating Watch Negative and affirm them with a Negative Rating Outlook. Eagan, has named Paul Mellon president and general manager of its U.S. commercial business. Mellon previously was chief of operations and company director for Asia Cellular Satellite, a telecommunications company serving Asia. Investors Service has assigned a Baa1 rating with a stable outlook to the College of St.

$23.58 million revenue bonds, series Five-N1, and $25 million variable rate demand revenue bonds, series Five-N2, to be issued through the Minnesota Higher Education Facilities Authority. The series Five-N1 bonds will refund the about $3.7 million outstanding series Three-M1 bonds, and will fund a debt service reserve account. By Liz Fedor Star Tribune Staff Writer Elected leaders of Teamsters Local 2000 sued Teamsters President James P. Hoffa in federal court Thursday, contending Hoffa illegally removed them from office July 1. Local 2000 represents more than 11,500 flight attendants at Northwest Airlines and Sun Country Airlines.

Hoffa ousted all seven members of the Local 2000 executive board after they refused to follow his directives to fight an organizing effort by some Northwest attendants trying to form an independent union. Twin Cities-based flight attendant Mollie Reiley was appointed trustee of the local after President Danny Campbell and other leaders were relieved of their duties. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, calls for reinstatement of the elected leaders and withdrawal of the trusteeship. Meanwhile, Teamsters officials today will conduct a hearing in Minneapolis to consider whether Local 2000 should remain in a trusteeship.

A hearing panel, appointed by Hoffa, will take testimony from Local 2000 members. Teamsters spokesman Brian Rainville called the lawsuit a stunt to draw attention away from the legitimate Campbell, who has returned to his job as a flight attendant, said he plans to participate in the hearing. However, he said that he and other members of the executive board proceeded with the lawsuit because they believe Hoffa violated the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. He also said the removal violated his free-speech rights. that law was designed to provide a more democratic infrastructure in local Campbell said.

He argues that top Teamsters officials us from office for political reasons, rather than what they cited we were unwilling to In mid-June, some flight attendants revealed plans for an independent union, the Professional Flight Attendants Association (PFAA). They asked attendants to sign cards authorizing a representational election, which would allow them to choose between the Teamsters and the PFAA. Hoffa called on Local 2000 leaders to denounce the organizing campaign and take eight specific actions. In response, Campbell, Vice President Anne Meyer and Secretary-Treasurer Bob Krabbe sought a meeting with Hoffa to discuss an alternative strategy. In the 28-page complaint, the plaintiffs said, never engaged in two- way communication, face-to- face or in any other Barbara Harvey, a Detroit attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the Local 2000 officers had a speech right to refuse to endorse the policies and tactics of the international She added, looks very much to the members and to me that this trusteeship has been imposed as an excuse to remove from office some of the most effective and prominent remaining opponents of the Hoffa Joining Harvey as co-counsel on the case is Betty Grdina, who served as an attorney in the administration of former Teamsters President Ron Ca- rey.

Teamsters spokesman Rainville disputed assertion. He said Local 2000 officials were removed from office because of absolute refusal to do anything about the by the PFAA. of taking affirmative steps to inform the membership of the serious threat this raid posed to their collective bargaining agreement and their local union and their ability to be protected, they did Rainville said the elected leaders tried to the raid to gain further advantage for their political He said the behavior of the Local 2000 leaders has given and comfort to the On Thursday, PFAA spokesman Gary Helton issued a statement of support for the lawsuit. again, the Teamster president failed to listen to the leadership of the Northwest Airlines flight Helton said, adding that the attendants are and tired of being dictated to and are reaching out by the thousands in support of Helton said, has never been an issue of PFAA vs. Local 2000.

It has been, and always will be, an issue of the NWA flight attendants against the The PFAA needs at least half of the flight attendants to sign cards before the National Mediation Board will call an election. trusteeship hearing is open to Local 2000 members, but closed to the public. The hearing panel is not expected to issue an immediate decision. Liz Fedor is at Flight attendant union leaders sue Teamsters over removal from office Members do bidding By Dee DePass Star Tribune Staff Writer The St. Paul Companies said it will raise about $750 million with an offering equally split between common stock and equity units that will convert to shares by 2005.

It will use the proceeds for insurance underwriting and general corporate purposes. Officials expect to sell 7.7 million equity units at $50 each, and 15.5 million shares of common stock at $24.20 each. The price, decided late Thursday and based on the closing price, was offered in an attempt to take advantage of the slight improvement in the market, CFO Tom Bradley said. The offer starts today. market was very good and it opened up with some positive signs We know we have to raise the capital.

been in the public and been an overhang on our stock and a rating agency issue. So once we saw the opening, we talked with our banks and just decided to do a one-day deal and get it St. Paul initiated the offering to some capital to provide some additional support for our underwriting spokesman Mark Hamel said. St. Paul has withstood three $1 billion events over the last 10 months or so, starting with the World Trade Center Hamel said.

The company also lost $940 million in medical malpractice claims last year and recently settled an asbestos claim for $987 million. If the offering succeeds, most of the $750 million in proceeds will provide capital to the property and casualty underwriting operations, with the balance going to corporate purposes, Hamel said. Merrill Lynch and Salomon Smith Barney will jointly manage the securities offering. Investor Services analyst Alan Murray said that the offerings were positive news from a credit standpoint. He said which was reviewing the ratings for a possible downgrade, now expects to confirm its ratings once the offering is completed.

On Tuesday, St. Paul posted a second-quarter net loss of $223 million, or $1.09 per share, reflecting the impact of the asbestos claims settlement. The stock, which fell 4 percent Tuesday, dropped again Thursday by 4.6 percent to close at $24.20. Dee DePass is at St. Paul Cos.

expects to raise $750 million; offering starts today REGIONAL NEWS The government also is likely to seek the indictment of former CEO Bernard Ebbers, the Journal reported, citing unidentified sources familiar with the matter. The Journal said prosecutors are seeking and cooperation to produce evidence against Ebbers, who resigned two months before the company admitted it inflated earnings by nearly $4 billion. are confident that the prosecutors will ignore the howling mob and concentrate on the attorney Reid Weingarten said. if they do so, Mr. Ebbers will not be WorldCom also could be indicted as a corporation under a plan being considered by the Justice Department, the Journal reported.

A conviction of the long-distance phone company could drive it out of business and hurt consumers and creditors. WorldCom spokeswoman Julie Moore said Thursday that the company had no indication that indictments were forthcoming. is flatly inconsistent with what federal prosecutors have communicated to the Moore said. The Justice Department and the FBI declined comment Thursday. Calls to home were answered by a recording.

His attorney could not immediately be located for comment. The Securities and Exchange Commission, citing improprieties of unprecedented filed civil fraud charges last month against WorldCom. The company, based in Clinton, admitted June 25 that it falsely accounted for $3.8 billion in expenses. The inflated revenue allowed the company to report profits when it otherwise would have losses. That day, it fired Sullivan, who was subsequently accused by the auditor, Arthur Andersen, of withholding information about books.

WorldCom filed for bankruptcy Sunday under Chapter 11, the largest such filing in U.S. history. The judge overseeing the case approved the appointment Monday of an independent examiner to ensure an honest accounting of the value and investigate for mismanagement and fraud. WORLDCOM fromD1 Federal agency considers plan to indict firm itself State Supreme Court judge plans to join former law firm Education. Stringer joined the Carlson administration in 1992 and was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1994.

David Phelps Four gubernatorial candidates to debate before rural banker group Associate Justice Edward Stringer was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 1994. 0726.DY.BUS.DME.003.A Thu Jul 25 17:24:28 2002 SATURDAY, JULY 27TH 9 A.M. 5 P.M. SUNDAY, JULY 28TH 11 A.M. 4 P.M.

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