In the Region
Gas, electricity pricier in Phila. area
Philadelphia-area energy consumers paid more last month for gasoline, natural gas and electricity than the national average for metropolitan areas. The
Bureau of Labor Statistics
said gasoline averaged $2.37 a gallon in the Philadelphia/Wilmington/Atlantic City region, 7 percent more than the national average. Natural gas
customers paid $1.70 per therm, 24 percent more. Electricity customers paid 15.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, 28 percent more.
- Jeff Gelles
Sunoco weighing OSHA fines
is weighing whether to pay or appeal fines for 25 safety violations at its Eagle Point Refinery in Westville. Last week's citations from the
U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration
, including nine repeat violations, carry fines of $305,000 and involve risk of "serious injury and possible death." Spokesman Thomas Golembeski said Sunoco was exercising its right to contest the citations. He had no comment on previous citations, but said safety "continues to be our main focus."
- Inquirer Staff
Gift-wrapping sign of the times
Gift-wrap and greeting-card maker
CSS Industries Inc.
, Philadelphia, said it expected to fall short of its previously announced per-share earnings target of $2.40 to $2.55 for the current fiscal year. Without giving a new projection, CSS blamed "deterioration in the retail environment brought on by the general economic downturn."
- Paul Schweizer
Workers finally get back 401(k)
U.S. Department of Labor
has appointed a benefits administrator to run the 401(k) plan of a defunct West Chester company,
Five Star Industrial Services
, which shut down in 1995. The Labor Department said that former employees of the mechanical-engineering company had not been able to access their accounts. The new administrator is
Metro Benefits Inc.
- Roslyn Rudolph
Temple executive resigns
Robert E. Pezzoli
has resigned as chief operating officer of
Temple University Health System
and interim chief executive officer of
Temple University Hospital
. Spokeswoman Rebecca Harmon said Pezzoli planned to "pursue other opportunities." In November,
Edmond F. Notebaert
took over as senior executive vice president for health affairs at Temple University.
- Stacey Burling
Fired pregnant worker owed $17,000
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
said it had ordered
Fidelity Mortgage Services Inc.
, Philadelphia, and its vice president,
, to pay $17,405 plus interest to
after she was illegally terminated in 2006 for being pregnant. It also ordered Fidelity Mortgage Services to end what it called "discriminatory practices." Chairman
Stephen A. Glassman
said that "in spite of progress we have made, pregnant women still suffer illegal discrimination in the workplace." The commission said attempts at reconciliation with the company were unsuccessful. It issued its finding in May and ordered the payments yesterday. The company's phone line was not working late yesterday.
- Inquirer Staff
Wal-Mart reaches $640M settlement
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
, the world's largest retailer, will pay as much as $640 million to settle 63 federal and state class-action suits claiming the company cheated hourly workers and forced them to work through breaks. The settlement ends actions pending in federal court and most state courts - except for Pennsylvania, California and Massachusetts. The company will record an after-tax fourth-quarter expense of $250 million, or about 6 cents a share. "In terms of money, it doesn't move the needle at Wal-Mart, but cleaning it up is going to be viewed as a positive by everyone, including Wall Street," said retail-industry analyst
- Bloomberg News
Fen-phen lawyer still guilty
A federal appeals court in Mississippi has upheld the conviction of a lawyer for swindling
pharmaceuticals out of millions of dollars over the diet drug fen-phen. Vicksburg lawyer
was convicted in federal court in 2007 and sentenced to six years for his role in the scheme, which netted more than $6 million from Wyeth. Prosecutors said Arledge knowingly allowed clients to make claims of about $250,000 each, even though they had no legitimate health problems caused by the drug.
Madoff investor found dead
The founder of an investment fund that lost $1.4 billion with
Bernard L. Madoff
committed suicide at his Manhattan office, marking a grim turn in a scandal that has left investors around the world in financial ruin.
Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet
, 65, was found sitting at his desk with both wrists slashed. NYPD spokesman
said no suicide note was found. De la Villehuchet's
Access International Advisors L.L.C.
was one of several funds to be hit hard in Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
PNC-Nat City marriage is approved
PNC Financial Services Group
National City Corp.
, in separate meetings, gave formal approval of their merger to be completed by late 2009. PNC is paying $5.6 billion with money it obtained through the government's $700 billion bailout program. PNC is the first U.S. bank to use such money to make an acquisition. The combined bank will have about $180 billion in deposits and more than 2,700 branches, including 8.2 percent of the market in the eight-county Philadelphia area as of June 2008.
GlaxoSmithKline, Archemix in deal
said they would work together to develop drugs for inflammatory diseases, in a deal that could be worth as much as $1.4 billion. Archemix, of Massachusetts, will do the research, starting with $27.5 million in up-front payments from GlaxoSmithKline.
Southwest to lease back planes
Southwest Airlines Co.
, the discount carrier with large Philadelphia operations, said it would sell 10 Boeing 737 jets and then lease them back, to raise cash. Southwest did not identify the buyers.
said Dec. 2 that it planned to sell 39 aircraft.
said Dec. 9 that it had raised $150 million in a sale-leaseback of 15 planes.
- Bloomberg News