SunTrust Banks fired its chief credit officer and two other executives. The Atlanta-based bank said it made "numerous errors" in determining how much to set aside for bad loans during the first half of this year. Chief Credit Officer Sandra W. Jansky was dismissed, as were two other executives SunTrust did not identify. Controller Jorge Arrieta was reassigned to a non-accounting position, the bank said. Chief executive L. Phillip Humann said an internal investigation found that some employees misled and ignored recommendations from its auditors and falsified information. Last month, the bank said the Securities and Exchange Commission had begun an informal inquiry into its announcement that it planned to restate earnings for the first six months of this year.
Flyi's Share Price Continues to Fall
Shares of Flyi, parent company of Dulles-based Independence Air, fell 32 percent after the firm reported in an SEC filing that it might seek bankruptcy protection. The commuter airline said that it is trying to renegotiate an $83 million payment on aircraft leases, due in January. The stock has fallen 87 percent this year. Shares closed at $1.30. Meanwhile, Standard & Poor's said that at the end of this week Flyi will be replaced by another company in the S&P SmallCap 600 index because Flyi has traded below $2 a share for more than five consecutive days.
General Growth Properties, the Chicago-based mall developer that plans to buy the Rouse Co. this week, said it may issue 4 million shares of stock to the heirs of the late billionaire Howard Hughes, according to a document filed by General Growth with the SEC. Hughes heirs, concerned about their stake in Rouse, had threatened to delay the sale unless they could continue sharing in profits generated by land they owned when Rouse acquired Hughes Corp. in 1996.
Diebold will pay California $2.6 million to resolve a lawsuit in which the state accused it of making false claims that its touch-screen voting machines and tabulation system were immune to tampering. Diebold's newest touch-screen voting machines were banned in California after problems arose during the March presidential primary. Some of the settlement would go to train poll workers, the state attorney general said.
The United States said it would appeal a ruling in favor of Antigua by the World Trade Organization, which found that U.S. bans on online gambling violate international trade rules. Even if the appeal fails, the WTO "cannot force the U.S. or the states to change their laws," a senior U.S. trade official said. If necessary, the official said, the United States may thwart the Antiguans by simply altering the commitment it made in the General Agreement on Trade in Services to open "recreational services" to foreign competitors, exercising the right that all countries have to change their commitments under the agreement.
Former Nicor Energy executives agreed to a lifetime ban on serving as officers of a public company as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC suit claimed that Kevin M. Stoffer, Andrew J. Johnson and John Fringer overstated revenue and improperly shifted income and expenses to inflate profit by more than $11 million at the natural gas, electricity and energy services venture.
Former Westar Energy executives David Wittig and Douglas T. Lake took more than $1.8 million worth of personal flights on company jets between 1998 and 2002, according to witness John Meara, a certified public accountant hired by prosecutors in the federal fraud case. Wittig, former chairman and chief executive, and Lake, former executive vice president, are accused of trying to loot the Kansas electric utility.
Goldman Sachs Group agreed to pay a $175,000 fine imposed by the New York Stock Exchange after a former salesman delayed trades for wealthy clients to trade for his own account. According to the decision by the NYSE, Goldman "failed to reasonably supervise" the employee, Karl Zachar, who delayed allocating trades for as long as six hours, which allowed him to lock in profits and to send more favorable trades to his account.
Marathon Oil is conducting audits that could result in a downgrade of its oil and gas reserves, the Houston company said in a regulatory filing. Marathon last month reduced 2004 production projections, partly because of poor performance from gas fields in Wyoming's Powder River Basin.
Microsoft will expand the legal protection it offers customers in a bid to fend off the Linux operating system, whose sellers often do not provide similar safeguards. Microsoft previously protected only volume-license customers but will now extend the policy to all customers, a company official said. Microsoft will defend customers and cover legal costs related to suits for patent infringements, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks.
United Airlines said it asked for bids from 10 regional jet operators to fly as many as 70 of its regional jets as part of its United Express operations. United, which is trying to reduce the cost of its regional service while reorganizing under Chapter 11, submitted proposals to Dulles-based Independence Air, Air Wisconsin, Trans States, Chautauqua, Mesa, Sky West, Horizon, Pinnacle, Mesaba and Express Jet. Before launching this past summer, Independence Air operated United's regional operation as Atlantic Coast Airlines. The airlines have until Dec. 10 to respond to United's request.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Sears, Roebuck, accusing the retail chain of discriminating against employees who spend more than one year on extended disability leave. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to work with disabled employees to find ways to accommodate them while they are injured, said Ethan Cohen, an EEOC lawyer. A Sears spokesman said he hadn't seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.
The United Auto Workers at DaimlerChrysler's Detroit Diesel engine manufacturing plant reached a tentative agreement one day into a strike. Details were withheld pending ratification by the 1,300 UAW members at Detroit Diesel in the next few days.
The European Union and Japan plan punitive tariffs on more than $135 million worth of U.S. exports, retaliating for a law that gives customs duties to U.S. companies in violation of global trade rules. The World Trade Organization ruled in August that the E.U., Japan and six other governments can impose extra levies on U.S. imports if Congress did not repeal the law.
Access CardioSystems is recalling 10,000 heart defibrillators because some of them turn themselves on or do not deliver shocks. Access CardioSystems said no deaths have been attributed to malfunctions in the devices, which are used by hospitals and rescue workers across the nation. The company has stopped doing business, so it cannot repair or replace the machines, the Food and Drug Administration said. The devices carry serial numbers from 075690 to 077140, or from 075180 to 084760. People with questions can call 978-405-1057 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Total and Eni, two of Europe's largest oil companies, said third-quarter profit increased because of high crude-oil prices and surging demand for chemicals. Total's profit increased 39 percent, to 2.37 billion euros ($3.06 billion). Eni's profit rose 75 percent, to 1.67 billion euros ($2.2 billion).
Revlon's third-quarter loss widened to $91.6 million, from $54.7 million a year earlier. Sales fell to $294.4 million from $316.5 million.
Federated Department Stores reported a 10 percent increase in third-quarter earnings. The operator of Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Lazarus-Macy's department stores earned $74 million in the quarter. Sales were flat at $3.49 billion.
Whole Foods Market Inc. said fourth-quarter profit rose to $30.2 million on $927.3 million in sales, from $23.8 million profit on $750.7 million in sales.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.