In some editions of yesterday's Business & Finance section, there was an error in a story about Washingtonian businessmen. A sentence on George W. Hoyt, of The Washington Star, should have stated that during his seven years with a group of suburban papers in the Chicago area, "he was credited with bringing the financially struggling chain into the black."
For E.C. Ernst Inc., 1978 was not a bad year -- it was a disastrous one. And for Joseph Griffin, only a month into his role as chairman, 1979 promises to be a vexing one. He is confronted with bringing the once successful company back to life.
Ernst's troubles, now Griffin's, came to lifht last last spring when the big electrical construction company shocked its shareholders with a report of a loss for the fourth quarter of the fiscal year after it had reported profits of $2.4 million for the first nine months. More bad news was to come as Ernst posted a $7 nillion loss for the six-month period ended Sept. 30. Dividends were dropped.
In November, a stockholders' suit charging Ernst, the second-largest electrical contracting firm in the country, with filing misleading earning statements by including income on unfinished contracts.
One month later, newly installed chairman and chief executive Charles L. Scharfe Jr. was out and action was started to rescind a 1978 merger of Scharfe's former firm into Ernst. On Dec. 1, Griffin was elected to Scharfe's job and the beleaguered company later filed for a Chapter XI bankruptcy attempt at reorganization.
For Griffin, 61, it is his second time around at Ernst. He first joined the firm in 1969 as a director and served as chief financial officer in 1971 and 1972.
In its bankruptcy petition, Ernst cited "expanstion of the company, primarily overseas" as reasons for its financial problems. The petition also noted that "the company has an extensive backlog of contracts and anticipates entering into new ones so that it might be profitable in the future."
CARLETON STEW ART
With the recent normalization of deplomatic relations between the United 'states and China, the establishment of financial and banking ties is not far behind. And among the leaders of the U.S. expedition is American Security Bank and its innovative chairman, Carleton Stewart.
Stewart, 57, visited China in May 1977 and American Security was one of the first U.S. banks to set up a correspondent banking relationship with the Bank of China. Stewart will return to Peking in a few months with the hope of expanding the D.C. bank's business with the Chinese.
The relationship between the Bank of China and American Security, Washington's second largest bank, dates back to 1972, when China opened its main banking account at American Security. Transactions include drafts, telegraphic and mail transfers and travel letters of creditd for use by visiting Chinese delegations.
American Security continued to expand its international operations in 1978 by opening an office in Tokyo, the first area financial instituion to be represented in Japan.
Stewart and American Security are also looking forward to rapid expansion on the home front in the coming year.
GEORGE W. HOYT
"Without new contracts, we're out of business. We'll shut down The Star. permanently Jan. 1." With those ominous words from publisher George W. Hoyt, The Washington Star was once more thrown into a life and death stuggle for survival.
The Star's new management, Time Inc., said that all 11 unions must sign new, five-year contracts or the media giant would abandon the 126-year-old paper. The paper's 1,270 unionized employes decried Time's negotiating tactics, chargin ina joint statement that the huge publishing corporation had "put a gun to our head." But Hoyt's ultimatum was taken seriously and at the last minute the printer, the last of the unions to hold out, gave in and Washington remained a two-newspaper city.
The 41-year-old Hoyt was brought to The Star last May as general manager along with new editor Murray Gart shortly after Time purchased the newspaper from Texas millionaire businessman, Joe L. Albritton for $28 million. In June, Hoyt was promoted to publisher.
Hoyt is to stranger to the problems of running a paper. Prior to his assignment at The Star, he was president of Pioneer Press Inc., a Time-owned group of 18 weekly papers in the Cicago suburbs. During his seven years there he was credited with bringing the financially-struggling chain into the red.
Hoyt is hopeful here. "My sense of the situation, the paper and the marketplace is that all the ingredients are here for a sucessful operation," he said. But circulation and advertising volume are down from last year and the paper was running a deficit of about $1 million a month last year.
Time says it is committed to rebuilding financial health at The Star and plans to invest more than $60 million in the next five years to improve the editorial content of the paper as well as production, delivery, advertising and circulation.
OLIVER T. CARR
The Nation's Capital is well on its way to becoming a boom town and no one has contributed more to it than Oliver T. Carr and the construction and development firm that bears his name. It is estimated that the Oliver T. Carr Co. has more than half a billion dollars of new construction projects in progress from Georgetown to Silver Spring.
In 1979 Carr will be playing an even more influential role in the rejuvenation of Washington as president of the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade, the area's principal business group.
Carr, who is the latest of three generations of developers, said that the first priority of the Board of Trade this year will be providing "new jobs and new employment opportunities." He noted a board report detailing $1.3 billion worth of new construction in the downtown area that may generate as many as 50,000 jobs.
The Carr Co. has a considerable stake in the rebuilding of Washington. Already in the works for this year ia a $200 million shopping center and office complex to be built over the Metro Center subway station on G St. NW, a $57 million redevelopment project built around the Garfinckel's store at 14th and F Sts. NW, and a $14.5 million building to house the American Society of Association Executives at 1575 I St. NW.
Carr succeeds attorney R. Robert Linowes as head of the Board of Trade. Under Linowes stewardship, the Board of Trade took a more active role in community problems and set up committees in D.C., Maryland and Virginia to make donations to various candidates.
JOSEPH B. DANZANSKY
Pennsylvania Avenue is a street of hopes and dreams for the federal city. And, in one of the biggest and mist expensive re-devel-opment projects ever undertaken, the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corp. is seeking to revitalize the section of the avenue between the White House and Capitol Hill.
Guiding the government chartered agency into its seventh year of operation is Joseph B. Danzansky, chairman of the board of National Bank of Washington and former chairman of Giant Food Inc. Danzansky, 64, succeeds Elwood Quesada as head of PADC.
Danzansky is recognized throughout the community for his involvemdent and association with public service organizations. He is the chairman for the 1979 United Way Campaign. A former president of the Metropolitan Washington Board of Trade, Danzansky has been instrumental in Furthering ties between the white business community and black community organizations.
President Carter recently singed a bill authorizing PADC for another five years and boosting a funding ceiling to $200 million. The money is used to purchase land along the avenue which PADC resells to private companies. For every dollar of federal money spent, four dollars in private investment will be generated.
Two major projects got under way last year with the acceptance of design bids on the old Willard Hotel and a complex surrounding the National Theatre. They are both still in the planning stages and construction is still about a year away. The PADC expects new private investment around Pennsylvania avenue to top $150 million this year.
The Willard, located at the corner of Pennsylvania and 14th St., will be restored to its original elegance and an addition will be built in the same beaux-arts architectural style. Florida builder Stuart S. Golding along with the Farmont Hotel Corp. of San Francisco were chosen for the project.
The PADC awarded the National Theatre contract to Quadrangle Development Corp. and Marriott Corp. Under the plan, the theater will stay up and be bordered by a huge, $110 nillion building containing a hotel, offices and stores.