Originally created 01/08/98

Business briefs



Mitsubishi cuts to hurt areas little

NORCROSS, Ga. -- Despite a move by Mitsubishi Consumer Electronics America to close offices and lay off 300 workers in Georgia, community leaders said Wednesday they can stand the blow.

"We are in a situation now where we have new industries coming in, so basically we can absorb the loss," said Peter Guthrie, chairman of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

The electronics manufacturer, a unit of the Japanese parent, announced Tuesday it would close its Norcross headquarters in March and lay off about 80 of the 200 employees there. It will lay off 220 workers in its plant in Braselton, northeast of Atlanta.

"We hate it very much, but we've been grateful to Mitsubishi for providing us a lot of good jobs," said Braselton Mayor Henry Braselton. "They have been good neighbors and good corporate citizens."

The cutbacks reverse years of expansion by Mitsubishi in Georgia. The Braselton plant was its largest in the United States. At its peak two years ago, the plant produced 450,000 televisions and employed nearly 800.

Third Bell company joins case

WASHINGTON -- A federal judge brought a third regional Bell company Wednesday under his ruling that allowed two others to offer long-distance telephone service. At the same time, the government joined AT&T, MCI and Sprint in requesting a delay in implementing the order.

To avoid "considerable disruption" to the telecommunications market and to preserve the status quo, the Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Joe Kendall of Wichita Falls, Texas, to stay his Dec. 31 decision until an appeal is heard.

On the same day, Judge Kendall granted a request by Bell Atlantic, the largest regional Bell company, which provides local phone service from Maine to Virginia, to join the case, Bell Atlantic spokeswoman Susan Kraus said. It originally was brought by the regional Bells SBC Communications and US West.

The development means that if the ruling takes effect, Bell Atlantic as well as the first two would be able to use it. Bell Atlantic would offer long-distance service to local phone customers along the East Coast, Ms. Kraus said.

AOL seeks e-mail injunctions

NEW YORK -- Hot on the heels of federal court victories, America Online has filed suit against three more bulk e-mail companies, seeking injunctions and unspecified damages.

In a suit filed in federal court in Alexandria, Va., on Tuesday, the nation's largest online service accused IMS of Knoxville, Tenn., Gulf Coast Marketing of Baton Rouge, La., and TSF Marketing of Riverside, Calif., of stuffing members' electronic mailboxes with unsolicited bulk e-mails with bogus return addresses and refusing to stop when asked by AOL.

George Vradenburg, general counsel for the online service, said the damages sought were "substantial" and "enough to deter these people."

No one could be reached at the three companies, and only TSF Marketing had a telephone line.