Harassment Suit: Mercer

Stock News: ORC

Crosstown Move: Opera Festival

New in Town: Magid

Expansions: Conair

Deaths

Corrections or additions?

These articles were prepared for the October 4, 2000 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane

Just like in 1997, when First Union announced it would

buy CoreStates for $18.3 billion, lots of predictions are being made

by Boston-based Fleet Bank in its proposal to buy Summit Bancorp

(www.summit.com).

Fleet would get 370 branches in New Jersey plus 130 branches in

Connecticut

and Pennsylvania, making it the eighth largest bank in the nation

and taking over from Summit as the largest bank in New Jersey

(www.fleet.com)

Along with the purchase price of $7 billion will come $150 million

in job cuts, 75 branch closings, and across the board savings of $275

million. But T. Joseph Semrod, Summit’s CEO who in prior years

resisted

any overtures to sell the bank, will stay in place for two more years

and run the New Jersey operations from his current Carnegie Center

headquarters, which now has 384 employees.

In addition to Summit’s headquarters at the Carnegie Center, U.S.

1’s Business Directory for the central Jersey area lists 15 branches

for Summit and nine for Fleet, including the Fleet’s unusual

"Financial

Solution Center" just a few doors down from the Summit branch

at the corner of Nassau and Witherspoon streets. Other obviously

competitive

pairings are in New Brunswick, with Fleet and Summit branches at 385

and 410 George Street, respectively, and in Princeton Junction on

Princeton-Hightstown Road.

Fleet will trade 1.2 of its shares for each of Summit’s shares, which

represents 2.4 times the book value of Summit shares. On Monday,

October

2, Summit’s stock closed at $38.06, up $11.50 over the previous

Monday’s

price.

A Boston-based national organization, Neighborhood Assistance

Corporation

of America (www.naca.com) is trying to stave off takeover changes

by campaigning against Fleet Bank’s fee structure, which they term

"outrageous" and "predatory."

Because Fleet Bank has made more progress with online banking,

Summit’s

clients will enjoy better service in that area. Another area likely

to be streamlined is phone inquiries. Fleet routes all calls through

an 800 number, staffed 24 hours a day, while Summit still uses local

numbers for its branches.

Top Of Page
Harassment Suit: Mercer

Two women have filed a sexual harassment suit against

two supervisors at William M. Mercer Inc., the Carnegie Center office

of the global firm, Marsh & McLennan. Kathleen M. DalCortivo, of

Sterns

& Weinroth on State Street in Trenton, is representing the plaintiffs

and has filed a civil action in the Mercer County division of state

superior court.

The allegations include severe and pervasive sexual harassment, a

hostile work environment, outrageous conduct having the effect of

causing severe emotional distress, negligent infliction of severe

emotional distress, and breach of contract.

One of the women has worked for the firm and its predecessors for

11 years and is a team leader. The other plaintiff was hired last

year. Both are still employed by William M. Mercer. After Dalcortivo

notified the company of the lawsuit, the two individuals named in

the suit were reportedly fired.

Barbara Perlmutter, a representative of Marsh & McLennan Companies,

declined comment on the litigation but gave a statement: "The

intention of all our companies is to maintain a work environment that

is professional and respectful of all individuals. We take all

complaints

seriously regardless of the source. We investigate them thoroughly

and promptly and take remedial action where appropriate."

William M. Mercer Ltd., a 55-year-old company, has one office at the

Carnegie Center, headed by Jeremiah Riddle, which constitutes the

financial services and MIS divisions. The other office, which does

employee benefits consulting, was formerly known as A. Foster Higgins.

Top Of Page
Stock News: ORC

Opinion Research Corporation International (OPI),

23 Orchard Road, Suite 1, Box 183, Princeton 08542-0183. John Short,

CEO. 908-281-5100; fax, 908-281-5103. Home page:

www.opinionresearch.com.

A private equity firm based in Chicago, LLR Equity Partners, has made

a nearly $10 million investment in the market research firm. It bought

1,176,458 shares of common stock at $8.50 per share and has warrants

to buy more stock at $12. LLR Equity Partners is a $260 million firm,

and two of its representatives of LLR will join the board of

directors.

This sale recognizes that ORC shares are undervalued in the market,

says CEO John F. Short. "It represents the most effective means

of securing the capital needed to continue our aggressive business

expansion and acquisition strategy."

Top Of Page
Crosstown Move: Opera Festival

Opera Festival of New Jersey, 29 Emmons Drive,

Princeton 08540. Karen Tiller, general director. 609-919-0252;

fax, 609-919-0251. Home page: www.operafest.org/nj.

The professional opera festival organization moved on October 1 from

228 Alexander Street to 29 Emmons Drive, Suite G-50, Princeton 08540.

Phone and fax are new.

Top Of Page
New in Town: Magid

Wentworth Property Management, 4 Princess Road,

Lawrenceville 08648. Jim Magid, regional vice president. 609-895-9636;

fax, 609-895-9630.

Early in October this residential management company, based in Valley

Forge, will open its fourth regional office in New Jersey. Jim Magid

manages condominium and homeowner association communities such as

Lawrence Square Village, K. Hovnanian, Princeton Gate, Campbell Woods,

and Brandon Farms. He is also active in Community Associations of

New Jersey.

After graduating from Elmira College (in New York, Class of 1975)

Magid worked in a manufacturing business that had been founded by

his grandfather. The Oxford Division of the Hartford Corporation in

New Brunswick did printing and laminating of plastics and nonwoven

materials. Then he spent nearly 10 years in a residential real estate

management company in New Brunswick, Executive Property Management,

before joining Wentworth.

Top Of Page
Expansions: Conair

Conair, 185 Milford Road, East Windsor 08520. Ben

Albence, site manager. 609-426-1300; fax, 609-426-9475.

Thanks in part to a bulkier product line, Conair will expand on

Milford

Road by the end of 2001. With an addition of 200,000 square feet,

the privately-held company will nearly double the size of its 411,000

warehouse and distribution center. It will add 50 workers to the

current

force of about 350 people and become East Windsor’s second largest

employer, second only to McGraw Hill. Conair moved to East Windsor

from Edison 13 years ago, says John Mayorek, vice president. A

graduate

of Seton Hall, Class of 1969, he has been with Conair for 28 years.

Mayorek says the firm expects to have revenues of $1 billion this

year, up from about $900 million last year. Conair makes such items

as Cuisinart food processors, and telephones, and personal care items

such as hairdryers.

The warehouse area has been declared a "foreign trade zone."

That means, says Mayorek, that duty payments need not be made before

merchandise is unloaded from the ship. "We do not have to pay

the duty until the product leaves the premises. It is more of a cash

flow savings," says Mayorek. Duty on hairdryers, for instance,

is typically five to seven percent of the product cost. "It is

not a loophole of any sort."

Top Of Page
Deaths

Dorothy Barocas Koppelman, 82, on September 16. She and

her husband, Julius Koppelman, endowed the Holocaust Center at Rider

University.

Charles Abbott Carter III, 54, on September 6. He had

been director of admissions at the Hun School and a portfolio manager

for insurance companies.

Richard Joseph Maruso, 45, on September 29. He was a

building

contractor and a construction official in Hopewell Township.

Corrections or additions?


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