Thursday, June 10, 2004

Business Digest

Apartment owners sue Fannie Mae

DALLAS - The owners of three housing projects for low-income residents - including a Maineville, Ohio, man - charge in a lawsuit that mortgage giant Fannie Mae swept money out of their escrow accounts and used the money for its own benefit.

Alfred Porkolab of Maineville and other owners are seeking class-action status, which would allow up to 2,000 other owners to join the case.

The owners claim that Fannie Mae invested some of the escrow money but didn't share profits or interest with the apartment owners.

"We were providing a service - affordable housing for the needy," said Porkolab, 89. "I was very much dismayed with Fannie Mae that they would take advantage of us."

Porkolab said lawyers estimated the owners' losses nationwide in the billions.

Dayton factory on pace with expansion

DAYTON, Ohio - Behr America Wednesday said it had completed the first phase of a multi-million-dollar expansion plan here, taking full ownership of Behr Dayton Thermal Products to mark the end of a two-year joint venture with DaimlerChrysler Corp.

The company's investment exceeded $60 million the past two years, on pace with Behr's plan to spend $100 million to modernize its Dayton manufacturing complex by May 2005.

Electric suppliers allowed to bid

COLUMBUS - Consumers who pay Ohio's most expensive electric bills could get a break under a plan state regulators approved Wednesday.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio authorized power suppliers to bid to provide electricity to FirstEnergy Corp. customers. If competitors cannot beat the market price by January, the company will be allowed to freeze rates for three years in exchange for a customer fee.

FirstEnergy's service territory stretches across northern Ohio from Akron to Toledo.

'Life' magazine gets new life as insert

Life magazine is being reborn, again. Time Inc. has shut down Life twice before, in 1972 and 2000. But this time, the magazine will be a weekly supplement in newspapers.

This fall, Life will begin appearing on Fridays in more than 50 major newspapers.

Gannett Co.'s USA Weekend appears Sundays in The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Wal-Mart loses planning approval

DECATUR, Ind. - Officials rejected a zoning change needed for a proposed Wal-Mart supercenter. Decatur's planning commission voted 5-2 Tuesday night against changing the zoning for the proposed site.

Coca-Cola executive Heyer will exit soon

ATLANTA - The Coca-Cola Co.'s No. 2 executive is stepping down after being passed over for the top job.

The company said Wednesday that Steve Heyer, president and chief operating officer, will leave by mutual agreement.

Coca-Cola shares slid 85 cents to close at $51.76 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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