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Archive for Friday, December 1, 2000

Oz names interim CEO

Theme park project tabled until next year

December 1, 2000

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— A Detroit advertising and marketing manager was to be named Thursday as the interim chief executive officer of Oz Entertainment Co.

Dick Ferguson will assume day-to-day operations of the company, which is trying to develop an $861 million theme park and resort based on the Wizard of Oz story. Ferguson replaces Robert Kory, who remains on the company's board of directors.

The changes come three weeks after Johnson County commissioners voted 2-2 on Oz Entertainment's proposal to develop the park at the former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant near DeSoto. One reason cited by opponents on the commission was a lack of trust with Oz developers.

"The project we've got is a great project," Kory said. "It needs additional support, and my view is Dick Ferguson can make a great contribution to us. I regard this as a positive."

Ferguson could not be reached for comment. He was hired on Nov. 16 by VSI Holdings, based in Detroit and the largest investor in Oz. A payroll spokeswoman said Ferguson was hired as executive vice president. The company has two seats on the Oz board of directors.

The project remains tabled until early next year when Oz officials hope a new county commission views it favorably.

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