BUSINESSWorld

THE JOURNAL RECORD, February 25, 1997 | Go to article overview

BUSINESSWorld


Heads or tails, you may lose

NEW YORK (NYT) -- The class-action suit certainly sounds like a wonderful invention. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of powerless civilians employ a single team of lawyers. Each person pays a tiny legal fee and thus, naturally, gets a decent chunk of any damages awarded. What efficiency!

But this naive notion, alas, ignores the astounding ability of lawyers to run through cash -- a phenomenon documented with jaw- dropping vividness in the best seller A Civil Action. A case in point: One Dexter J. Kamilewicz, of Yarmouth, Maine, was a class- action "winner" recently in a suit involving mortgage escrow accounts. His winnings: $2.19; his legal bill: $91.33. No, that's not a joke. Kamilewicz didn't think so either, and, yes, he is now suing the lawyers. Can he afford to win this one, too? Arena football heights ORLANDO, Fla. (Bloomberg) -- The Arena Football League's Orlando Predators were sold to businessman William Meris for $2.3 million, the highest price paid for a team in the 11-year-old league. Meris, 31, purchased the team from former owners Donald Dizney and James English earlier this month and was awaiting approval from the league's board of directors. The sale tops the $950,000 paid for the league's Connecticut Coyotes in 1995. The league has yet to approve a $1.8 million sale of the expansion Los Angeles franchise, which is expected to begin play in 1998. Meris, general partner of Monolith LP, a multimillion dollar investment firm in Phoenix, said he "always wanted to be involved in ownership of a professional sports team." The Predators, coming off a 9-5 regular season in 1996, led the 14-team league in attendance, averaging 15,580 fans per home game at the Orlando Arena. The team has qualified for the playoffs each of the last five years, played in three Arena Bowl Championship games and has won 26 of its last 29 regular season home games. Lesher resigns NEW YORK (AP) -- Richard L. Lesher, who greatly expanded the political influence of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during a 22- year tenure as its president, announced his resignation Monday. Lesher, 63, said that after two decades as the day-to-day operating head of the Chamber, which describes itself as the world's largest business federation, he desired time to write, serve on more corporate boards and do volunteer work. Lesher already serves on three corporate boards and said he was discussing joining three more, and expected to be involved in the privatization of the Letterkenny Army Depot, a Chambersberg, Pa.-area, military installation, within a few miles of where he was raised. The decision was announced in Washington after a directors meeting, but Lesher said he had considered the move for months and that no single incident led to it. It is to take effect later this year. The Chamber announced it has started to search for a successor. Lesher's vehicle for increasing the voice of the organization was the creation of a communications network that included in-house television facilities producing daily and weekly programs, and a weekly column distributed to 556 newspapers. The Chamber produces First Business, an early morning news program focusing on small business, which it says reaches 63 million homes in the United States and 1.9 million in Latin America. Perhaps best known of the media productions is It's Your Business, a weekly public affairs debate in which Lesher is a permanent panelist. It is carried on 133 TV stations and one cable network. Pennies from hell WASHINGTON (NYT) -- In 1964, if memory serves, this mighty nation did just fine without a coin worth a fifth of a cent. Gum was purchased, change was made, commerce hummed merrily along. Yet that's what today's penny is worth -- a fifth of a 1964 cent. That year's penny bought what a nickel does today. Yet the penny survives, an indestructible relic gradually taking over every drawer and jar in the land. …

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