IGC's president quits a day after chief's sentencing Firm also penalized for wetlands violation

June 19, 1996|By Jay Hancock | Jay Hancock,SUN STAFF

Interstate General Co.'s No. 2 executive resigned yesterday, a day after the company's top boss was sentenced to jail for illegally filling wetlands in Charles County.

Gregory G. Kreizenbeck, who has been IGC's president and chief operating officer since March 1994, "is leaving the company to pursue personal interests," the company said in a written statement.

Kreizenbeck was traveling and could not be reached for comment.

IGC spokesman Gregory A. -TenEyck declined to elaborate on the reasons for Kreizenbeck's exit. But he said Kreizenbeck informed IGC's board more than two weeks ago about his decision to leave.

One Wall Street analyst speculated that Kreizenbeck, hired two years ago to provide expert, day-to-day management at IGC, is leaving to find an employer less embroiled in controversy and litigation.

"Let's just say it's an unusual situation" at IGC, said Edward W. Davis, a stock analyst for Oppenheimer & Co. in New York. "My guess is, he's saying, 'This is going to be a mess for a while; who wants to deal with this?' "

Kreizenbeck arrived at IGC after the company violated environmental laws. In February, a federal jury found IGC and a subsidiary guilty of illegally filling wetlands from 1988 to 1993.

On Monday, in a decision that attracted national attention, U.S. District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. sentenced IGC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James J. Wilson to 21 months in prison and fined him $1 million. Williams also fined IGC and an affiliate $3 million, and ordered them to restore 50 acres of wetlands.

The fines were the largest ever levied against a business for harming wetlands.

Wilson is supposed to report to prison in two months. Meanwhile, he and Chief Financial Officer John E. Hans will take over Kreizenbeck's duties, the company said.

Wilson is going to ask an appeals court to postpone his sentencing, pending his appeal of the convictions.

No decision has been made on whether Kreizenbeck's spot will be filled over the longer term, -TenEyck said. He said that Wilson could easily operate IGC on his own in the meantime.

"Mr. Wilson was chairman, CEO and COO from 1957 to 1994," he said.

IGC, based in St. Charles, was accused by the government of illegally filling 70 acres around St. Charles.

Its stock closed unchanged yesterday at $3.25. The stock is down by only $1.50 from its 52-week high of $4.75, despite the fact that an accountant testified that he had doubts about the company's continued ability to survive, given its low cash on hand and large debts.

Pub Date: 6/19/96

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