Sunday, January 02, 2000

TIPSHEET


Ex-Swallen's investors and workers paid

        Four years after Swallen's closed its stores here, about 200 former workers and investors finally should get checks this month for the unsecured notes they bought from the company.

        The bad news is that the checks will total only about $1.13 million, or less than one-fifth the value of the notes they bought from the bankrupt company over the past four decades.

        The good news is that the bitter case is finally coming to an end.

        “These were people who had invested in good faith with their employer,” said Jim Cummins, the attorney representing the mostly retired workers who had bought the notes, which are called debentures. “For the class of debenture holders, this is the conclusion of the journey.”

        The $1.13 million came from the Swallen family, which sold the chain of stores in April 1995. The new owners declared bankruptcy that October and closed the stores in December.

        Confronted by attorneys who claimed the family sold the company while it was unhealthy, the Swallen family also contributed $1.55 million to the bankruptcy estate in a settlement approved by judges in U.S. Bankruptcy Court and Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, attorneys said.

        “It's over as far as we're concerned,” said Robert Goering, the Swallen family attorney. — Cliff Peale

Astounding century
        Was the 20th century the greatest ever? The Cato Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research foundation in Washington, D.C., says it was.

        “Almost every indicator of health, wealth, safety, environmental quality and social conditions shows rapid improvement over the past century,” it said. Consider:

        • Manufacturing wages rose almost four times higher.

        • Household assets were seven times greater.

        • Homeownership increased 43 percent.

        • Life span increased by 30 years.

        • Length of the workweek decreased 30 percent.

        • Deaths caused by infectious disease decreased 14-fold.

        • Women with bachelor's degrees increased by half.

        • Accidental deaths decreased 61 percent. Bill Ferguson Jr.

Slight name change
        Has BroadWing Inc., the new name of the parent for Cincinnati Bell Telephone, been clipped?

        No, but the new holding company formed with the merger of Bell and IXC Communications, the Austin, Texas, fiber-optic network operator, has quietly changed the “w” in its name from upper- to lowercase.

        A spokeswoman said nothing sinister here. The company's new logo was still being developed when it unveiled the new name in November. As part of the refinements, it was decided the name and logo should be Broadwing not BroadWing. Mike Boyer

City touts its work
        The city of Cincinnati's development department has taken its share of criticism, but city officials made it known last week they had completed a record 26 deals under the state's enterprise-zone program in 1999.

        Andi Udris, who officially left the city last week to head the effort to bring a Hofbrauhaus microbrewery here, said the deals were approved by City Council and certified by the state. Combined, they helped retain or create about 7,700 jobs, he said.

        The enterprise-zone program gives tax incentives to companies expanding or locating in certain areas. Two of the bigger projects this year were for Firstar Corp. and Fifth Third Bancorp, which committed to building operations centers in Linwood and Madisonville, respectively.

        “It turned out to be a good year for that program,” Mr. Udris said. Cliff Peale

        Items for Tipsheet are gathered by Enquirer business reporters and compiled by Lisa Biank Fasig of the business staff.

       



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