Six Former Employees File Suit against AT&T
Barker-Benfield, Simon, The Florida Times Union
After months of rumbling discontent, six former employees of
what used to be AT&T Universal Card Services and AT&T Solutions
Customer Care have filed suit against their former corporate
parent company, contending that AT&T Corp. unfairly excluded
them and about 500 other employees from an AT&T early retirement
Earlier this year Universal Card was bought by Citibank, and
Solutions was bought by Matrixx Marketing Inc. of Cincinnati.
Employees at the two units were excluded by AT&T from a special
companywide early retirement plan, which includes comprehensive
medical benefits for life and additional money.
The company said at the time the program was designed to reduce
the number of employees and that it was not designed for
employees already leaving as a result of their units being sold.
The suit argues that after the sales were announced, AT&T
unfairly put roadblocks in the way of employees trying to
transfer to other AT&T units where they would have qualified for
the plan. Previously, the company had actively helped employees
find jobs at other subsidiaries.
By blocking the exits, AT&T interfered with the plaintiffs'
attainment of their rights under the Employee Retirement Income
Security Act, the suit contends.
"I'm sympathetic, but at the same time I am convinced that what
we did was fair and square," said Burke Stinson, an AT&T
spokesman in Basking Ridge, N.J.
Plaintiffs are Carmen Perillo, Stephen Dautel, Gerald Hardy,
William Brown, J. Elaine Broom and JoAnn Kotchowski.
DON'T BE CONNED
Vince Lockwood of Power Exchange, which installs
remanufactured engines, warns that scam letter writers from
Nigeria are targeting the Jacksonville market again.
Earlier this month he received a letter purporting to be
seeking a partner to help launder $41.5 million illegally
obtained as a result of "over-invoicing" for a government
contract. The letter also asks for his bank account number.
Banking and law enforcement officials periodically issue
warnings about the scam letter industry in Nigeria, and the
Nigerian Embassy in Washington even runs ads warning people not
to be conned.
And speaking of cons, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.,
which insures bank deposits, has just established a "suspicious
internet banking" web site at
The site lists official FDIC "special alerts" on unauthorized
banking operations in the United States, including those
trolling the internet.
SARASOTA ANALYST DIES
Sam Beebe, a well-regarded Florida bank stock analyst and money
manager in the Sarasota area, died June 20 of an apparent heart