Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

January 04, 2003

In the Region

Rite Aid workers to get $10.75 million in settlement

Rite Aid Corp., its insurers and the administrator of its retirement plan have agreed to put up $10.75 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the company breached its responsibility by allowing employees to invest in Rite Aid stock while its former managers allegedly were falsifying its books.

The money, minus legal fees and other costs, will be distributed among about 16,000 employees who bought Rite Aid stock through the 401(k) plan during the late 1990s, according to a person familiar with the settlement. Payments will be based on a formula that considers how much and how long the stock was held, the person said.

Rite Aid has paid $4 million into a settlement fund and the insurance companies will pay $5.5 million, the nation's No. 3 drugstore chain said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Prudential Financial, which administers Rite Aid's principal 401(k) plan through a subsidiary, has agreed to pay about $1.25 million.

U.S. regulator OKs local thrift merger

Lutherville-based Wyman Park Bancorp. Inc. said yesterday it received approval from the federal Office of Thrift Supervision for its pending merger with Bradford Bank, a federally chartered savings bank in Towson.

The transaction is expected to close next month, at which time Wyman Park and all the branches of its subsidiary, Wyman Park Federal Savings & Loan Association, will operate under the Bradford Bank brand. The new company's headquarters will remain in Rodgers Forge.

Stockholders of Wyman Park approved the deal at the annual company meeting in October.

Trial of ex-Bibelot owners is rescheduled for June 2-4

A trial in the personal bankruptcy of Brian D. and Elizabeth G. Weese, former owners of the bankrupt Bibelot book chain who are accused of defrauding creditors of millions of dollars, has been rescheduled for June 2-4 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Baltimore.

Irving E. Walker, the trustee overseeing the couple's personal bankruptcy, had asked to postpone the trial - originally set to begin Monday - after a $12.7 million settlement between the Weeses and three major creditors fell through, leaving Walker behind on the trial preparation. Judge James F. Schneider, who rescheduled the trial yesterday, extended the discovery period to March 31.

Maker of vaccine patch raises $54 million

Iomai Corp., a Gaithersburg developer of a patch to deliver vaccines, said yesterday that it raised $54 million in a previously disclosed venture-capital round.

The fund-raising, which VentureOne statistics show totaled more than all other Maryland health-care companies raised in venture capital in each of last year's first three quarters, was co-led by Baltimore's New Enterprise Associates and Essex Woodlands Health Ventures.

MedImmune Ventures Inc. also participated, marking the fund's first biotechnology investment since its launch in July 2002.

Elsewhere

Bush follows father in dropping data on mass layoffs

The Bush administration has dropped the government's monthly report on mass layoffs, which also had been eliminated in 1992 when President Bush's father was in office.

The report by the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded layoffs of 50 or more workers regardless of duration. It was started in 1984, but was dropped for lack of funding during the last recession and revived in 1995 by President Bill Clinton.

The last report, issued on Christmas Eve, showed that U.S. companies laid off more than 240,000 workers in 2,150 mass layoffs in November.

This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

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