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Archive for Thursday, May 17, 2001

Briefcase

May 17, 2001

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Co-op's auction set

Farmers Cooperative Assn. can go ahead and sell its assets to pay off creditors in its ongoing bankruptcy case, a judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Flannagan approved the Lawrence-based co-op's plans to conduct an auction at 10 a.m. June 7 at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds.

"I'm going to start calling Bunge, AGP, the Ottawa Co-op all the ones that had some interest before and maybe pique their interest to get several bidders for each parcel," said Don Dumler, above, the co-op's president and chief executive officer. "That's what it takes to have a successful auction."

Up for sale are elevators and associated buildings in 17 communities in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri. The co-op also will auction its headquarters building and South Lawrence elevator at 2121 Moodie Road; an Ampride station at 23rd Street and Haskell Avenue; and a farm store in Gardner.

All sales would require approval from Flannagan. A hearing to consider bids has been scheduled for 9 a.m. June 11.

Equipment is slated to be auctioned in July.

The co-op filed for bankruptcy protection in September, listing debts of $19.7 million and assets of $25.3 million.

Asbestos case

Former Koch employee wins $8 million award

A jury awarded $8 million to a former Koch Petroleum Group worker and his family who said he was exposed to asbestos at a refinery in Rosemount, Minn.

Joseph Akin, 70, argued that the exposure caused him to develop mesothelioma, a rare cancer almost always associated with asbestos.

The jury found that A.P.I. Inc. of St. Paul, Minn., negligently sold asbestos products to the Koch refinery without adequate warnings, which caused Akin's health problems.

Jurors awarded $4 million to Akin for past and future damages as a result of his cancer, and $4 million to his wife, Dorothy Akin, for past and future loss of companionship. Joseph Akin also was awarded $50,880 for past medical costs.

Survey

Fed chairman asks Americans for financial help

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is asking Americans to participate in a nationwide survey of personal finances.

The central bank said Wednesday that a letter from Greenspan was being mailed this month to 10,000 households asking for help with the Fed's latest survey of consumer finances.

The survey, conducted once every three years since 1983, gives Fed policy-makers and other government agencies the most comprehensive look at household balance sheets everything from how many cars Americans own to the value of their houses and stock portfolios.

Participants in the survey will be chosen at random from 100 areas across the country. Results will be released in early 2003.

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