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November 09, 2001 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-09

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 9, 2001 - 5A

Taubman

Bleeding for a cause: Week 2

Plaintiffs'

study

conspiracy
trial set to
start today
Former Sotheby's
chairman faces up to
three years in prison
. From staff and wire reports

details types of
bias in Ford suit

0

The benefactor and namesake of
the University's architecture school
is scheduled to go on trial in Man-
hattan today as a scandal that
exposed fine art auctioneers as
price-fixing opportunists will go
back on public display.
A. Alfred Taubman, the one-time
Sotheby's chairman, was charged
with antitrust conspiracy for
allegedly joining
rival auction
house Christie's
in a conspiracy
to set artificially
high commission
rates that ripped
off sellers.
Taubman
donated $30 mil-
lion to the Uni-

RYAN LEVENTHAL/ Daily
LSA freshman Justin Trauben gets his blood pressure taken before his blood is drawn yesterday at Mary Markley Residence Hall
for the Michigan-Ohio State Blood Battle. The remaining schedule of donation sites for the Blood Battle is:
Today: East Quad, Wednesday: University Friday: East Hall,
2 p.m.-8 p.m. Hospitals, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. 2 p.m.-8 p.m.
Sunday through Friday: Friday: Chrysler Center, Saturday, Nov. 24:
Michigan Union, 2 p.m.-8 p.m. noon-6 p.m. Presentation of Blood Drop
U Tuesday: University Hospitals, Friday: Mosher Jordan, Trophy at Michigan-Ohio State
7 a.m.-7 p.m. 2 p.m.-8 p.m. football game

DETROIT (AP) - An analysis
of Ford Motor Co. statistics that
was done for plaintiffs suing the
automaker shows that older workers
received lower grades on their eval-
uations than younger workers, and
fewer women than men received the
lowest grades.
Ford faces two class action and seven
individual lawsuits by current and for-
mer managers. The plaintiffs claim they
were denied promotions or were termi-
nated because of their age or for being
white males.
Attorney James Fett, who is repre-
senting several Ford employees in the
suits, hired statistician Malcolm Cohen
to do the analysis.
Two charts that Cohen put together
show that as the age of Ford employees
increased, the percentage of lower
grades also rose. Cohen, the president of
Employee Research Corporation of Ann
Arbor, did not return a message yester-
day seeking comment about his method-
ology.
"These raw numbers are meaningless
and in fact the court acknowledged
when it ruled the statistics could be
released ... that the raw data in question
are open to question and spinning," said
Ford spokeswoman Anne Gattari.
Under the Performance Manage-
ment Process, employees were
graded A, B, or C. Those receiving
a C could lose bonuses and raises,
and two consecutive C grades could
mean dismissal. Initially, at least 10
percent of employees were to be
graded C, but thAt later was low-
ered to 5 percent.
In July, Ford said it would discontinue
its 18-month-old system of evaluating

about 18,000 managers. On July 10 the
letter system was replaced by three des-
ignations: top achiever, achiever, and
improvement required. There would
also be no fixed percentages for the
number of employees receiving each
classification.
Cohen's first chart shows 0.9 percent
of those under the age of 30 received a
C, the lowest grade. As the age of the
employees evaluated rises, so does the
number of workers receiving C's. Two
percent of those age 35-39, 6.2 percent
of those 45-49, and 28.2 percent of
workers age 60-64 received C's, accord-
ing to the analysis.
Another chart shows 3.8 percent of
women evaluated in 2000 received C
grades, while C grades were given to
7.8 percent of the men.
Gattari said the company is continu-
ing to look at the figures and is confi-
dent its evaluation system is fair and
unbiased.
"These people have very different job
responsibilities and work histories. You
have to consider all these variables
before you get a truthful analysis;' she
said.
A judge granted plaintiffs the right to
the Ford statistics on Oct. 26 when attor-
neys argued the workers needed them to
make a well-considered decision on
whether to accept voluntary buyouts
and retirement packages offered as part
of Ford's move to reduce its salaried
work force.
The statistics were released Yes-
terday - as talks aimed at settling
the suits between Ford and plain-
tiff.s' attorneys, other than Fett,
broke down, according to a source
requesting anonymity.

Taubman

versity's College

of Architecture and Urban Planning
in 1999, the largest financial gift of
its kind ever given to any architec-
ture school. The college was subse-
quently named after Taubman, 76,
of Bloomfield Hills.
The University said last year after
Taubman came under fire that it had
no plans to reconsider having the
school named after him.
Jury selection in the case began
yesterday.
Taubman, an audio headset dan-
gling from his ears, turned and nod-
ded toward prospective jurors as he
was introduced by U.S. District
Judge George B. Daniels.
Daniels said he hoped 12 jurors
and three to four alternates could be
chosen in time to begin opening
statements today, followed by the
government's first witness. The trial
could last about a month, he said,
drawing a sigh from several poten-
tial jurors.
The indictment accuses Taubman
and his counterpart at Christie's,
Anthony Tennant, of joining in a
conspiracy that stole as much as
$400 million in commissions from
sellers from 1993 to 1999.
Taubman has said he is "absolute-
ly innocent" since charges were
made public on May 2 by the
antitrust division of the U.S.
Department of Justice.
Tennant, 71, of Andover, Eng-
land, remains a fugitive, maintain-
ing that he is innocent and being
pursued as a "scapegoat for others."
His lawyers have said he will not go
to the United States to contest the
charges.
If convicted, Taubman faces up to
three years in prison and could be
fined up to twice the amount lost by
customers.
Last October, Sotheby's pleaded
guilty to price-fixing charges along
with its former chief executive offi-
cer, Diana D. Brooks, the first
woman to head a major auction
house.
Brooks' plea deal requires her te
testify for the government against
her former boss and say she was
acting on orders from Taubman.
Sotheby's has been sentenced to
pay $45 million; Brooks awaits sen-
tencing.
Sotheby's said in a May statement
that none of its current employees
was involved in or aware of any
breach in antitrust laws. It declined
comment Wednesday.
Christie's received amnesty from
prosecution after it began cooperat-
ing with the federal investigation. A
grand jury began probing the scan-
dal in 1997.
Taubman lawyer Robert B. Fiske
said to retain its amnesty, the auc-
tion house must show that it shut
down the price fixing once it was
discovered and that Sotheby's initi-
ated the scheme.
The fallout from the scandal has
walloped the companies financially,
leading to a $537 million settlement
of lawsuits brought by customers.
The companies, which control
more than 90 percent of the world's
auctions of art, jewelry and furni-
ture, will share the settlement costs.

I I

Lebanese native elected Wayne mayor
WAYNE (AP) - Lebanon native Abdul Haidous has been wide attention. Haidous's campaign did not.
elected mayor of this Detroit suburb of 20,000. Some other Arab-American and Muslim candidates also
The 57-year-old city councilman said he is known as Al, so fared poorly in Tuesday's municipal elections.
he chose to list his name on the ballot as A. Haidous. In Hamtramck, Shahab Ahmed, a Muslim immigrant
"I'm proud of my Arabic name, and I'm proud of my from Bangladesh, finished sixth in a race for five city
American name," he told the Detroit Free Press for a story council seats. Ahmed had come in third in the Sept. 11
yesterday."I didn't want to confuse voters." primary and blamed anti-immigrant flyers for his defeat.
Unlike nearby Dearborn, Wayne has a small Arab-Amen- "I was very shocked," Ahmed said. "I thought the people
can population. The unsuccessful Dearborn mayor's race of would see through that flyer. The opposition couldn't find a
Abed Hammoud, an assistant Wayne County prosecutor, drew better time than the events of Sept. 11."

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