Originally created 12/19/97

Additional business news



Meeting has been moved

Today's monthly meeting of the Greater Augusta chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives has been moved. Interested people should attend the noon meeting on the second floor of the Town Tavern restaurant behind the Fort Discovery building at Seventh and Reynolds streets.

Avondale announces managers

GRANITEVILLE -- Avondale announced two new plant managers Thursday for its denim-producing mills.

Fred Padgett, former manager of the Hickman plant, has been named manager of the Horse Creek plant. He will be in charge of Warren Dye, Indigo Dye and Horse Creek Weaving.

D.T. Atkinson, general manager of Sibley Greige and Indigo dyeing, was also promoted to the newly created position of general manager of the Sibley and Hickman yarn plants.

Estate at Harmony sold

COLUMBUS -- The Estate at Harmony, a dinner club on Macon Road, has been sold to a restaurant holding company in Columbus.

Valley Hospitality Services, a group of investors that includes John D. "Jack" Pezold, closed its deal to buy the club on Tuesday after negotiating for about a month, a company spokesman said.

Mr. Pezold owns The Pezold Cos., a management group whose holdings include about 14 McDonald's restaurants in the Columbus area. He recently announced his intent to sell Fox network television stations in Columbus and Augusta, pending regulatory approval.

Valley bought the club from The Harmony Club Inc., which held the mortgage for the facility and its 21 acres at 4800 Macon Road.

About $15,928 in back property taxes, fees and penalties were paid on the property Tuesday before the transaction closed.

The club's new name is simply The Estate, and it will continue to honor the club's 800-orso membership contracts, said Tracy Sayers of The Pezold Cos.

Reimbursements possibly hiked

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Confidential records from Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which owns Columbia Augusta Medical Center, confirm the company improperly boosted reimbursement from federal health care programs, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The records from hospitals in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee and Arkansas showed certain Columbia hospitals hid costs that were not reimbursable and then asked the government to pay for them, according to the newspaper.

The Times also found Columbia supervisors told employees to hide documents that showed how the company was disguising costs. At one Arkansas hospital, records were stamped: "CONFIDENTIAL: Do not discuss or show to Medicare auditors."

Columbia refused to comment on the paper's findings until after it receives the results of an internal audit by Deloitte and Touche.

Columbia, the nation's largest health care company, is the target of a federal fraud investigation. Three mid-level executives have been indicted on fraud charges related to cost reporting at a Florida hospital, but the investigation has had a much greater impact on the company.

Kodak to cut jobs

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Eastman Kodak Co.'s plans for competing more profitably in the photographic products market include cutting 6,600 more jobs than the 10,000 positions it had previously said would be axed.

The camera and film maker disclosed Thursday that its plans for reducing its annual costs by $1 billion will mean elimination of 16,600 jobs, or about 16.5 percent of its work force.

The deeper cuts were applauded on Wall Street. Kodak shares were up $1.50 a share, or 2.7 percent, at $58 in late trading on the New York Stock Exchange even though the market was generally lower.