The employe who raised allegations of bid-rigging in the rental of the movie "Born Again" to theaters in two southern cities has been suspended indefinitely with pay pending an investigation of his charges by Avco Embassy Pictures, The Washington Post has learned.
Sources in that company said William Lau, the Southern Divison manager of Avco Embassy Pictures based in Atlanta, was flown to Los Angeles to meet with company executives Friday concerning allegations he had made about his superiors in documents sent to the president of the parent Avco Corp.
The charges were also given to The Washington Post by an Avco employe, and were reported in a story earlier last week.
Lau charged that Avco Embassy sales manager Herb Robinson had ordered both Lau and other Avco employes to make sure that selective theaters or chains in Atlanta and Winston-Salem were allowed to see supposedly secret bids of competitors seeking to show "Born Again" in their theaters.
The selected theater owners were then alleged to have submitted late bids - which were dated earlier to make it appear as if they were submitted on time - and win the movie for their theaters.
Avco Embassy Executive Vice President Bob Rehme has categorically denied the charges, and said Friday that Avco, the parent corporation based in Conneticut, was planning to investigate the matter immediately, and was seeking to being in an outsider to conduct the probe.
Rehme at that time admitted that Lau had been flown to Los Angeles, and had met earlier in the day with Avco Embassy officials. Rehme said Lau would not discuss the matter, but made no mention of the fact that the division manager had been suspended.
But employes of Avco said yesterday that Lau had been brought face-to-face with Robinson and Rehme in Los Angeles and was suspended during the meeting. None of the officials Lau accused of wrongdoing were disciplined, the sources said.
Lau could not be reached for comment.