/raid1/www/Hosts/bankrupt/CAR_Public/000731.MBX               C L A S S   A C T I O N   R E P O R T E R

               Monday, July 31, 2000, Vol. 2, No. 147


ANICOM, INC: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Lawsuit in Illionois
CARD ISSUERS: Consumers Sue over Excessive Fees Following Govt Lead
CHICAGO BOARD: Settling Eight-Year Legal Feud Re Education for Homeless
CLARK PUBLIC: Utility Seeks Delay in Document Review in River Road Plant
CROSSROADS SYSTEMS: Kirby McInerney Files Securities Suit in Texas

D.C. FEDERAL: Suit Says Police Violated World Bank Protesters' Rights
DRUG AGENTS: Drug-Trafficking Defendants File Suit over 1997 Search
ENTRUST TECHNOLOGIES: Spector, Roseman Files Securities Suit in Texas
GEORGIA POWER: Black Employees File Lawsuit over Racial Discrimination
INMATES LITIGATION: Suit Filed over Collect Calls at D.C. Prisons

PROFIT RECOVERY: Chitwood & Harley Plans to Expand Securities Suit in GA
PROFIT RECOVERY: Wolf Haldenstein Plans to Expand Securities Case in GA
RIDGEWOOD ENERGY: 3rd Cir Criticizes NJ Judge for Cursory Fee Cutting
ST. CHARLES: Teachers Sue for Payment for Infertility Treatments
SUHARTO: Indonesia’s A.G. Files Corruption Charges

TELEGLOBE INC: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in New York
TOBACCO LITIGATION: S&P Affirms Settlement Bond Ratings after Jury Award
UNICAPITAL CORP: Spector, Roseman Files Securities Lawsuit in Florida
USDA: Black Farmers Rally For Support
WATER CONTAMINATION: Ontario Hires Subsidiary of GA Firm as Evaluators


ANICOM, INC: Schiffrin & Barroway Files Securities Lawsuit in Illionois
A class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on behalf of all
purchasers of the common stock of Anicom, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANIC) from April
29, 1998 through July 18, 2000 inclusive (the "Class Period").

If you wish to discuss this action or have any questions concerning this
notice or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please
contact Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP (Marc A. Topaz, Esq. or Robert B. Weiser,
Esq.) toll free at 1-888-299-7706 or 1-610-667-7706, or via e-mail at

The complaint charges Anicom and certain of its officers and directors with
issuing false and misleading statements concerning the Company's revenues,
income and earnings.

Contact: Schiffrin & Barroway, LLP Marc A. Topaz, Esq. Robert B. Weiser,
Esq. 888/299-7706 (toll free) or 610/667-7706 e-mail: info@sbclasslaw.com

CARD ISSUERS: Consumers Sue over Excessive Fees Following Govt Lead
Government actions against credit card issuers seem to have emboldened
dissatisfied consumers and class action lawyers, who have been taking
matters into their own hands by filing suits against the companies.

This month Citigroup Inc. agreed to pay $45 million to settle a consumer
class action. The suit accused Citi's credit card unit of improperly
assessing finance charges. Citi did not take blame for the problem but said
it settled to "avoid the expense of litigation."

And on July 7, Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank NA, the card subsidiary of
Metris Cos., was slapped with a lawsuit that makes similar allegations
about excessive fees. That suit is seeking class action status.

Credit card experts say this type of lawsuit may grow more prevalent now
that consumers and class action lawyers smell blood in the water. The
Justice Department's ongoing lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard, which is
scheduled to resume Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, has called
national attention to card industry practices. And Providian Financial
Corp.'s agreement to settle a government probe for $300 million made
headlines everywhere.

"As long as the plaintiffs' class-action bar senses that there is money out
there, you'll see other lawsuits," said Anita Boomstein, an attorney in the
New York law firm Hughes, Hubbard & Reed.

Citigroup's $45 million hit may be the biggest private action settlement to
date, experts say. While Citi is not alone in paying a large sum to make
its legal troubles go away, some industry executives worry about the
precedent that has been set.

"The trial bar has set its sights on the bank card industry, and it is
increasingly viewing it as a treasure trove," said Duncan MacDonald, a
former general counsel of Citigroup who is now a consultant. Mr. MacDonald
said the card industry invited this trouble two years ago when it began
sending notices to consumers changing the terms and prices of their cards.

PaineWebber analyst Gary Gordon said, "A lot of the reason there are
complaints like this is because the industry is so competitive." Credit
card companies are increasingly relying on fee income -- selling ancillary
products, and penalizing customers for the slightest infraction -- to make
up for the money they lose by peddling products with low interest rates and
no annual fee.

In the Citigroup lawsuit, Citibank South Dakota NA and Universal Bank NA
(which issued the AT&T credit card portfolio that Citibank purchased
several years ago) were accused of improperly crediting the payments of
some customers on the day the payments were received.

Because of the way the payments were handled, they were deemed late, and
the cardholders were assessed a finance charge. Sometimes the finance
charges led Citi to raise the cardholders' interest rates.

The suit was filed in December in U.S. District Court in the Central
District of California. This month Citigroup began notifying cardholders
about the lawsuit and the plan to settle it.

According to these notices, Citibank is establishing an $18 million
settlement fund. Another $18 million is earmarked for the expenses involved
in distributing the refunds. And $9 million will be spent on attorneys'

Citigroup said it would change the cutoff time for crediting consumer card
payments received on a business day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A statement issued by Citibank's public relations office says:

"Citibank believes that it is in the best interest of our cardmembers and
our shareholders to settle this case, which focuses on technical questions
relating to the 10 a.m. cutoff time for credit card payments to be posted
as of that day. This settlement enables us to avoid the expense of
litigation and brings the benefits of a settlement, including improved
disclosures and educational material as well as refunds, to our

To get the refund Citi customers must fill out a claim form. Even then,
most people will get only about $1.

The lawsuit filed against Metris this month in a district court in
Minnesota accuses the St. Louis Park, Minn., card lender of charging
cardholders for services they did not request and of unfairly assessing
finance, late, and over-the-limit fees, among other things.

According to the lawsuit, Metris increases "the likelihood that
cardholders' payments will either be late, and thus charged a late payment
fee in addition to greater finance charges; or simply be delayed, and
therefore will incur greater finance charges." Metris "routinely
designate(s) Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays as payment due dates
when, in accordance with its standard cardholder agreement, defendants do
not accept credit payments as received on these days," the suit says.

This year alone, it alleges, 31% of Metris' payment due dates are
Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays.

The other major complaint against Metris involves its marketing of
so-called fee-based services, such as Fraud Alert, PurchaseShield, and
Quality Jewelry Care. Metris routinely enrolls cardholders in these
services "without their express consent or first providing a complete
description of these services, failing to honor 'money back' guarantees,
and failing to give cardholders full refunds upon receipt of timely
cancellation requests," it is alleged.

A Metris spokesman, Michael Smith, said Metris would not comment on pending

Keelyn M. Friesen, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said her Minneapolis law
firm, Zimmerman Reed, is considering suing other card companies. "We are
finding that these practices are not limited to Providian and Metris," she

Ms. Friesen's law firm is also involved in one of the half-dozen pending
consumer lawsuits against Providian. Those lawsuits were combined last fall
for the purposes of pretrial discovery, she said.

Not every lawsuit results in a settlement. First USA seems to be defending
itself handily in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas,
where a judge dismissed a consumer lawsuit seeking class action status.
That lawsuit focusing on First USA's late fees is now wending its way
through the appeals courts.

The maelstrom over what consumer groups say is an unreasonable uptick in
punitive fees started about a year ago, when Providian and First USA, the
credit card subsidiary of Bank One Corp., were publicly accused of being
too greedy in collecting various fees.

Investigations by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and some
state attorneys general started, and eventually Providian and First USA
were accused of charging late fees to customers who had paid their card
bills on time. In Providian's case, the accusations included deceptive
marketing practices and a policy of charging customers for services, such
as credit protection, that they had not asked for.

Providian blamed its late-fee problem on a computer glitch, and First USA
said it might have "inadvertently" posted erroneous late fees to cardholder
accounts between November 1998 and March 1999.

After the news broke about the investigations, consumers filed at least six
lawsuits against these companies, most of them aimed at Providian. In the
third quarter of last year Providian took a $20 million charge to refund
the late fees it had wrongly charged customers. This June, Providian agreed
to settle with government regulators, promising to pay a whopping $300
million to atone for its business practices.

The threat of more litigation appears to be affecting card lenders'
marketing efforts. Michael Auriemma, president of Auriemma Consulting Group
in Westbury, N.Y., said that within the past six weeks "we have seen some
card solicitations saying: We have eliminated late and over-the-limit
fees." Among the card lenders doing this, Mr. Auriemma said, are Chase
Manhattan Bank, Wachovia Bank, and First USA.

Robert McKinley, president of CardWeb.com Inc., a consulting company and
news service for the card industry, said such lawsuits would likely be
limited to the top card lenders, because "they are the ones with deep
pockets." (The American Banker, July 28, 2000)

CHICAGO BOARD: Settling Eight-Year Legal Feud Re Education for Homeless
The Chicago board of education and homeless advocates said they are
settling an eight-year legal feud over how the city's public schools serve
as many as 22,000 homeless students.

Representatives of both sides said they worked more closely in the past
year to bring the school system in compliance with the McKinney Act, a
federal law meant to guarantee quality education for homeless children.
They said that cooperation prompted them to end the court battle so that
together they might tackle a wide range of issues, from training for school
employees about the rights of homeless children to addressing truancy.
"This agreement provides the framework for us to work cooperatively to
secure the highest-quality education for students who attend the Chicago
Public Schools," said Paul Vallas, the schools CEO.

Vallas spoke at a joint press conference with the Chicago Coalition for the
Homeless, which filed a 1992 class-action lawsuit on behalf of homeless
families with students enrolled in the city's public schools.

The board and the coalition originally settled in 1996. But in 1999, the
homeless advocates sought sanctions against the schools, saying they had
violated the agreement.

Last August, Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Getty agreed and ordered the
district to pay a $1,000-a-day fine until it came into compliance--a
decision that school officials appealed. Last Thursday July 27, they
dropped that appeal, and, under the terms of the new settlement, the board
will not pay penalties.

The pact also calls for the board to pay as much as $3 million in bus or
cab fare for transient students so they can continue to attend the same
school, regardless of the relocation of their families, Vallas said.

Since homelessness can mean moving as many as five times a year, education
officials and homeless advocates said that remaining at the same school was
important to maintain stability in a student's life and to promote

Other terms of the agreement require the schools to hire people to enroll
in school children who are living in homeless shelters, and to offer
complimentary tutoring and uniforms to homeless children.

One homeless woman attending the press conference said she was optimistic
about the settlement. "They should give us a chance, not because of the way
we look or the situation we find ourselves in, but just out of respect and
dignity," said 27-year-old Maribel Blanco. "That's the only thing we ask
for." (Chicago Tribune, July 28, 2000)

CLARK PUBLIC: Utility Seeks Delay in Document Review in River Road Plant
Clark Public Utilities is seeking a delay in naming an engineer to review
documents that are part of a lawsuit over whether Clark's officials
withheld public records related to the utility's generating plant. The
utility has asked for a two-week extension of an already-past deadline, and
its opponent in the 4-year-old lawsuit is fighting the idea.

In late June, Superior Court Judge Edwin Poyfair ruled that Clark and the
half-dozen plaintiffs must agree on the selection of an "unbiased and
independent" engineer to look at purportedly proprietary documents.

The decision was the latest in the May 1996 lawsuit involving contentions
that Clark officials withheld public records related to specifications for
the River Road Generating Plant.

State law requires a public vote on generating facilities producing 250
megawatts or more; when the plant was being designed, Clark officials said
the River Road project would produce 248.

Believing that specifications would show otherwise, the six-member
Concerned Ratepayers Association requested documents. What they got was
incomplete, they contended.

The state Supreme Court ruled last September that certain documents the
utility did not provide to the plaintiffs were public records. However, the
case was bounced back to Poyfair for a ruling on whether the records, while
"public," qualify under certain state law exemptions that would keep them
under wraps.

Poyfair gave both parties until this last Tuesday July 25 to agree on an
engineer; failing that, he implied he would find one himself.

In a letter faxed to Poyfair last Tuesday, Seattle-based attorney James
Lobsenz asked for a two-week deadline extension, saying he had returned to
his office "well rested after my one-month sabbatical trip" but didn't have
enough time to reach agreement with plaintiff's attorney John Karpinski on
naming an engineer.

Last Wednesday morning, Karpinski filed court papers asking Poyfair to make
the decision. In letters to a Lobsenz associate earlier in July, Karpinski
wrote that the Tuesday deadline was set with the knowledge that it would be
shortly after the end of Lobsenz's vacation. Poyfair's June decision was
made while Lobsenz was already on vacation.

Karpinski's papers included the names of five engineers he submitted
earlier to the utility. The lone submission from Lobsenz is "a Portland
patent attorney whose last experience was in 1957 as 'engineer,"'
Karpinski's papers say.

"I don't think the utility is capable of agreeing with us on anything,"
Karpinski said. "If we said the engineer was blue, they would say he is
aqua or something."

Poyfair, who was presiding over a jury trial last Wednesday, said he was
considering the request. He added that "the court is looking into who is
available" to review the documents.

The plant has been operating for months. If Poyfair rules the documents are
disclosable, the plaintiffs would be entitled to their attorney fees.
However, the decision could be appealed by either side conceivably all the
way, once again, to the state's high court. (The Columbian (Vancouver,
WA.), July 27, 2000)

CROSSROADS SYSTEMS: Kirby McInerney Files Securities Suit in Texas
A class action lawsuit has been commenced in the United States District
Court for the Western District of Texas on behalf of all purchasers of
Crossroads Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRDS) common stock between July 13, 2000
and July 26, 2000.

The complaint alleges that Crossroads and its CEO issued materially false
and misleading statements - in violation of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934 - regarding Crossroads' operations and
financial results for its fiscal third quarter (ending July 31, 2000).
Specifically, the complaint alleges that Crossroads and its CEO knew by
July 13, 2000 - but did not disclose to investors until July 27, 2000 -
that certain of its products were experiencing interoperability problems
with network software. These problems were so severe that the company, by
mid-July, had stopped shipping the products and has not yet resumed
shipment of corrected devices. On July 27, 2000, the company disclosed that
its revenues would decline from the previous quarter's revenues by a
shocking 66% due to the product shipment halt as well as a cancellation of
an order at the end of the quarter. When the truth about the company's
operations and financial results was finally revealed to investors on July
27, 2000, investors saw their shares lose more than 50% of their value in
one day, from $13 7/16 to $6 3/8 per share. Thus, as result of Crossroads'
misrepresentations and omissions, the complaint alleges, the price of
Crossroads' stock was artificially inflated during the class period, and
investors who bought these securities were damaged thereby.

The lawsuit seeks to recover losses suffered by investors who purchased
Crossroads stock during the class period, excluding the defendants and
their affiliates. Plaintiff is represented by the law firm of Kirby
McInerney & Squire, LLP, which specializes in complex litigation, including
securities class actions. Kirby McInerney & Squire has repeatedly
demonstrated its expertise in this field, and has been recognized by
various courts which have appointed the firm to major positions in
consolidated and multi-district litigation. The firm's efforts on behalf of
shareholders in securities litigation have resulted in recoveries totaling
hundreds of millions of dollars, and its achievements and quality of
service have been chronicled in published decisions.

Contact: Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP Ira Press, Esq. Gretchen Becht,
Paralegal 830 Third Avenue, 10th Floor New York, New York 10022 Telephone:
(212) 317-2300 or Toll Free (888) 529-4787 E-Mail: gbecht@kmslaw.com

D.C. FEDERAL: Suit Says Police Violated World Bank Protesters' Rights
Civil rights attorneys filed suit last Thursday July 27 accusing District
and U.S. authorities of violating the First Amendment during the World Bank
protests in April, and they warned police elsewhere against using similar
tactics to stifle a new "progressive movement."

Joined by a 14-year-old girl who was caught up in a mass arrest by D.C.
police and a young man who said he was beaten during a march, legal
activists, including lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union,
announced the class action lawsuit on the steps of U.S. District Court on
behalf of 15 named plaintiffs and thousands of unnamed protesters.

The suit alleges that the defendants, including D.C. Police Chief Charles
H. Ramsey and the directors of seven federal law enforcement agencies, used
unconstitutional tactics to intimidate and disrupt protesters. The tactics,
they said, included a blanket arrest of everybody on a single block the
night before the demonstrations and a raid of the protesters' headquarters.

"What happened here was a dramatic and widespread violation of the law by
the police," said Arthur B. Spitzer, legal director of the local chapter of
the ACLU.

Spitzer said the timing of the lawsuit was meant to put the police in
Philadelphia and Los Angeles on notice that civil rights advocates will be
watching how they handle large demonstrations planned at the Republican and
Democratic national conventions this summer. Many activists who
participated in the D.C. protests are in Philadelphia for the GOP event.
The Democratic convention is Aug. 14 to 17 in Los Angeles.

Attorneys for the protesters said a common theme of anger at corporate
influence over national politics and world trade link the World Trade
Organization protests in Seattle last year, the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund protests in the District in April, and the
convention protests this summer.

"It's the post-Seattle police strategy for how to stop a progressive
movement, a new youth movement," said Brian Becker, co-director of the
International Action Center, a plaintiff. "This lawsuit is important
because our movement is growing, as will be demonstrated at the conventions
in Philadelphia and Los Angeles."

After the Washington protests of April 16 and 17 ended with nearly 1,300
arrests but without the chaos that gripped Seattle, police officials
congratulated themselves on a job well done. "I apologize for nothing we
did," Ramsey said in response to the lawsuit. "They have the right to sue
us just like they had to right to protest."

Ramsey would not comment on the specifics of the lawsuit because, he said,
he hadn't read it.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said the mayor also would
have no comment because the case is pending.

The suit, filed by groups including the National Lawyers Guild and the
Partnership for Civil Justice, focuses on several police actions.

Under the category of "disruption," the suit alleges that city or federal
officers stopped and frisked activists in the street and searched vehicles
without probable cause.

The suit accuses the D.C. police of "false arrest" in the case of the 600
people rounded up at 20th and K streets NW the evening of April 15.
According to Becker, many of the 600 were marchers who were returning from
a legal protest at the Justice Department. He said D.C. police officers
told the protesters to turn north on 20th Street. Then, at K Street, police
closed the block and arrested everyone there--including tourists,
bystanders and a Washington Post photographer.

Mitra Mohammadi, of the District, who was then 13, said she and her mother
had come that night to see what the demonstrations were all about. "We saw
the marchers go by, then we decided to film it, and then we got locked up
and arrested." She said she spent six hours in custody before being

The suit accuses police of using excessive force but names only one victim,
Rob Fish, 21, of New Jersey. At a news conference, Fish described being
beaten by a man in civilian clothes who had a badge and wielded a baton.
Spitzer said the attorneys intend to append numerous examples of brutality.

The suit also attacks the closing of the protesters' headquarters on
Florida Avenue NW the day before the demonstration. Police said there were
fire violations. Spitzer said that there may well have been violations but
that there are such violations across the city. He said it was a pretext to
disrupt the group.

Authorities confiscated supplies, including political pamphlets and protest
puppets. A few hours later, they gave back some of the puppets. The suit
alleges that city officials reneged on a deal to return the rest of the
confiscated material before the demonstrations began.

Executive Assistant Chief Terrance W. Gainer said: "I thought we were
trying to be as fair as can be in that situation. The fire codes shut that
building down, and we tried to work with them to free the puppets and

The suit accuses police of spreading false information to reporters,
including allegations that materials for making pepper spray were found in
the activists' headquarters. The protesters say the materials police found
were actually ingredients to make gazpacho.

Gainer said that the department does not concede that the peppers and
onions officers found were indeed the makings for gazpacho.

"I like gazpacho," he said. "But what we found there, in the context of the
situation, was seen as potentially dangerous." (The Washington Post, July
28, 2000)

DRUG AGENTS: Drug-Trafficking Defendants File Suit over 1997 Search
Several defendants in a 1996 drug-trafficking case have sued agents with
the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and federal prosecutors, alleging
the government went beyond the scope of a search warrant in 1997.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the civil-rights suit in June on
behalf of 10 men indicted in the case. The government alleged the men and
16 other people were part of a methamphetamine conspiracy in southern New

The lawsuit claims that in May 1997, agents Richard Rottinger, Fred Moore,
William Goodenough, Ron Kahn, Stephen Woodson and Frank Chavez
inappropriately seized items from the plaintiffs, who were jailed at the
Torrance County Detention Center in Estancia pending trial.

The suit also said Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie Shemitz, David Williams
and Kelly Burnham should be held accountable because they did not prevent
the inappropriate seizure.

The U.S. Attorney's Office and the DEA declined to comment on the lawsuit
because it is pending.

Each of the 10 men has since pleaded guilty to various charges in a
27-count indictment, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

ACLU attorney Philip B. Davis said the pleas are not the point. "This case
is all about following the rules and requiring the government to play by
the rules," Davis said in a recent interview.

The suit said agents obtained a warrant in May 1997 to "seize letters
between inmates and/or family members or associates of the inmates."
Affidavits submitted in support of the search warrant alleged the 10 men
were members of a conspiracy to ' "beat the charges' by hanging together
and not pleading guilty to the charges."

The lawsuit said the 10 men were pulled out of their cells at the Estancia
prison while the agents searched. "The federal agents went beyond the scope
of the warrant by seizing from each of the plaintiffs numerous documents
protected by the attorney-client privilege," the lawsuit said. "Also seized
were such obviously nondocumentary items as religious crosses, pieces of
hard candy, a nail clipper, an emery board, packets of decongestants,
family photographs and (size) AA batteries."

The lawsuit said Shemitz, Burnham and Williams knew some of the evidence
seized was protected by attorney-client privilege, but did not seek a
judicial determination to determine whether the government could keep the
evidence and review it.

In late 1997, U.S. District Judge Bruce D. Black suppressed the evidence,
noting that the men's Sixth Amendment rights were violated. "They thought
they'd get away with it," Davis said of the government. "They didn't get
away with it in the criminal case, and they're not going to get away with
it this time." (Albuquerque Journal, July 27, 2000)

ENTRUST TECHNOLOGIES: Spector, Roseman Files Securities Suit in Texas
Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. announced on July 27 that a class action
lawsuit has been commenced in the United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Texas on behalf of purchasers of Entrust Technologies
Inc. (Nasdaq:ENTU - news) common stock during the period between April 19,
2000 and July 3, 2000 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges Entrust and certain of its officers and directors
with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Entrust develops,
markets, and sells products and services that allow enterprises to manage
trusted, secure electronic communications and transactions over networks.
The complaint alleges that defendants misrepresented the revenues that
Entrust was deriving from its public key infrastructure business which
together with defendants' false representations that Entrust would post 2Q
2000 EPS of $0.08, operated to artificially inflate the price of Entrust
stock to a Class Period high of $ 82-3/4 on 6/30/00. This upsurge in
Entrust's stock caused by defendants' false and misleading statements
enabled Entrust to complete the $703 million stock-for-stock acquisition of

On 7/5/00, two business days after the acquisition of enCommerce was
completed, Entrust revealed that it was in fact suffering a huge decline in
revenues, was not posting earnings per share growth, and contrary to
defendants' repeated assurances, Entrust was forced to reveal the problems
it had been experiencing during the Class Period in attempting to grow its
business. This announcement caused its stock price to drop to as low as
$34-3/8 (or over $40 per share) on record volume of 19 million shares on
7/5/00, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to members of
the Class.

Contact: Spector, Roseman, & Kodroff Robert M. Roseman, 888/844-5862

GEORGIA POWER: Black Employees File Lawsuit over Racial Discrimination
Three employees of Georgia Power Co. sued the utility last Thursday July
27, claiming it fosters a "pattern of discriminating against
African-Americans'' who work there and shows "reckless indifference'' to a
racially hostile workplace.

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of high-profile racial discrimination
suits against major corporations in Georgia.

The Georgia Power workers, who seek class action status to represent all 2,
100 African-American employees, claim that management of Georgia's largest
utility company paid black employees less and maintained a "glass ceiling"
that discriminated against them for promotions.

In anticipation of the lawsuit, Georgia Power President David Ratcliffe
addressed all 8,000-plus employees statewide via closed-circuit television
from the company's downtown Atlanta headquarters last Thursday. He said the
company "maintains a strong policy of zero tolerance for racially or
intolerant behavior.'' He announced the appointment of a Diversity Action
Council, co-chaired by an African-American board member, and promised to
"move expeditiously to address these concerns.'' "I take these concerns
seriously,'' Ratcliffe said.

Both sides in the legal action expressed a willingness to discuss

In support of its claim of a hostile work environment, the lawsuit alleges
that Georgia Power management did nothing about the display of a hangman's
noose in a heavily traveled area at the utility's operating headquarters in
Cornelia between 1997 and September 1999. A photograph depicting what
appears to be a noose hanging in a storeroom was attached to the lawsuit. A
similar allegation was made in a racial discrimination suit filed in May
against Lockheed Martin Corp.

"Although a hangman's noose has long been one of the most chilling
representations of racial harassment, two Georgia Power vice presidents and
several managers who were aware of it and had even viewed the noose took no
action to remove it,'' the lawsuit says.

"This example of grossly inappropriate behavior and offensive conduct is
just the tip of an iceberg. African-Americans company-wide report incidents
of racial harassment, including being called (by a racial epithet) or being
told in essence that 'blacks are too dumb to be managers.' ''

Ratcliffe said in an interview the company during the past two weeks had
found two hangman's nooses at operations centers in Cornelia and Dalton,
both in North Georgia, that had "apparently been there for some time." They
were taken down, he said.

"Clearly this is embarrassing and represents a very insensitive action by
our employees,'' he said. Ratcliffe vowed to be "very firm'' with any
employees who were involved, but said he wants to gather the facts before
taking action. "But it's clear to me we need some more sensitivity
training,'' he said.

Filed in Fulton County Superior Court, the 29-page lawsuit names Georgia
Power Co. and its parent Southern Co. as defendants. It was filed by the
same law firm that represents Coca-Cola employees in a racial
discrimination lawsuit against the Atlanta-based soft drink company.

Other recent discrimination lawsuits have named Home Depot and Waffle
House, both Atlanta companies. The companies have all denied discriminating
against employees and Coca-Cola has reached a tentative settlement of one
of two pending lawsuits.

Ratcliffe, a 30-year Southern Co. veteran who took over the presidency of
Georgia Power 14 months ago, said the company began an assessment of its
employment practices two weeks ago when he discovered employees had
retained attorneys. "I tried to meet with the employee group,'' he said.
"Their response was that they would not meet with us without attorneys

From there, it became a discussion between the plaintiffs' attorneys at
Bondurant & Elmore and Georgia Power's law firm, Troutman Sanders.

Ratcliffe appeared to be taken aback when he read the lawsuit for the first
time. "You may hear or read some things about our company that are not
pleasant, '' Ratcliffe said in his five-minute talk to employees. " Don't
overreact to those things.'' But, he promised, "if we have made mistakes,
we will work hard to correct them.''

Ratcliffe also announced that Juanita Baranco will co-chair with him a
diversity council that will recommend improvements in employment practices.
Baranco is chief executive of Atlanta-based Baranco Automotive Group and
one of Georgia Power's three African-American board members.

The three plaintiffs are Cornelius Cooper, a 28-year company veteran now
working as a lineman in Atlanta; Michael Edwards, a 13-year veteran who is
a lineman; and Sarah Jean Harris, a 21-year veteran who is a senior region
support representative in the engineering and operations department.

Cooper has been "repeatedly subjected to offensive comments about his race,
'' the lawsuit says, citing specific examples.

The suit claims Cooper and Edwards have been denied promotions because of
their race. And Harris, the only African-American in her department,
unfairly received lower performance evaluation scores than her white
counterparts and, as a result, lower compensation, the suit alleges.

Ratcliffe and other Georgia Power officials declined to discuss personnel
matters and plaintiffs' attorney Steven Rosenwasser said his three clients
were not available for comment beyond the claims made in their lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, African-Americans constituted 19.2 percent of
Georgia Power's work force in December 1998, they accounted for 22 of the
company's "higher-level positions,'' and five of 150 foremen were black.

Georgia Power said that as of last Thursday July 27, 1,793 of its 8,632
employees were African-American, 15 of 272 foremen were African-American,
97 of 1,030 manager-supervisors are African-American and three of 21
executives with vice presidential rank or higher are black.

Georgia Power officials clearly wanted to present a conciliatory front.
Georgia Power already has a "process in place'' to deal with the charges
and make changes, said spokesman Todd Terrell. "I'm always open to settling
the case," Ratcliffe said in an interview.

Rosenwasser said his clients also are open to settlement talks --- if
Georgia Power is willing to agree to "full compensation for past wrongs''
and to independent monitoring of any reforms the company makes and to
ensure a non-discriminatory environment in the future.

"We don't want employees to be at the mercy of the company that has
promised to reform its employment practices in the past but has repeatedly
failed to do so," the attorney said. Ratcliffe said he has no problem with
reporting steps the company takes. " We're not a closed company,'' he said.

The Georgia Power suit follows other class action proceedings claiming
racial discrimination by two major Georgia companies:

    Coca-Cola Co. Suit filed: April 1999. Plaintiffs: Eight current and
former African-American employees. Claims: Coca-Cola discriminated against
African-American employees in pay, promotions, performance evaluations and
terminations. Suit sought class action status to cover 2,000
African-American workers. Coke denied the claims. Status: Tentative
settlement reached in June, but financial details have to be worked out.
Meanwhile, four former black employees have filed another discrimination
suit against Coke, seeking $ 1.5 billion. Coke denies the claims.

    Lockheed Martin Corp. Suit filed: Two lawsuits filed in May 2000, one
by salaried workers and one by hourly workers that also named as defendants
the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers and the
Local Lodge No. 709. Plaintiffs: Seven hourly and four salaried
African-American employees and former employees of the Marietta plant,
seeking class action status. Claims: Lockheed discriminated in promotions,
raises and training; retaliated against workers for complaints about
discrimination; and created a hostile work environment. Lockheed denies the
claims. Status: The case is in the preliminary stage, setting deadlines for
motions and other matters that govern its management. (The Atlanta Journal
and Constitution, July 28, 2000)

INMATES LITIGATION: Suit Filed over Collect Calls at D.C. Prisons
Telephone companies that handle collect calls from inmates at Washington
state prisons have been accused of violating consumer protection laws.

The lawsuit, filed by two relatives of inmate and prison activist Paul
Wright in King County Superior Court, accuses phone companies of
disregarding a state law which requires that each recipient of a collect
call be told the cost before being asked to accept the charges.

Lawyers asked that the case be certified as a class action on behalf of all
Washington state prison inmates.

Collect calls are the only way state prison inmates can call outside local
calling areas.

"You have no idea how much money you're going to be charged for this call,"
Wright said by phone from the McNeil Island Corrections Center. "One thing
we can guarantee is it's going to be a ridiculous amount."

The head of United Friends and Families of Prisoners, Janet Haynes of
Kitsap County, whose husband is an inmate at the Monroe Correctional
Complex, estimates she has spent more than $70,000 on collect phone calls
in her 13 years of marriage.

Under state law, each violation is subject to a $200 fine. The lawsuit
covers four years worth of calls by prisoners numbering as high as 14,000
at one time.

Michael Dunne, a spokesman for Qwest, which recently acquired U S West, and
AT&T spokesman Vic Kucera denied any wrongdoing.

Steve McLellan, a spokesman for the Washington Utilities and Transportation
Commission, said recipients of collect calls often are instructed in a
recording to press a button on touch-tone telephones to hear the charges.

The Herald of Everett reported that the message preceding a call from
Wright did not provide any way to learn the price of the call.

The recording said it was a collect call from a prisoner via U S West and
included warnings that the call wouldn't work with call waiting and other
special services and that it would be recorded.

The only option, The Herald reported, was: "If you wish to accept this
collect call, press 1 now."

Out-of-state calls through AT&T's inmate program cost 69 cents a minute
plus a $3.95 connection charge, while in-state long distance collect calls
run 59 cents with a $3 charge, company spokeswoman LeeAnn Kuster said.

Less expensive alternatives, including AT&T's 1-800 collect call system,
which costs 40 cents a minute with connection charges ranging from $2.99 to
$ 5.50 for out-of-state calls, are not available to inmates.

One reason prison calls cost more is the additional security controls, said
Jeannine Hansen, another spokeswoman.

Wright noted that under phone company contracts with the state, much of the
revenue from such calls is turned over to the prison system.

Prisoner-rights groups in New Mexico, New York and Washington D.C. have
filed lawsuits challenging such contracts and the price of calls this year.

The Washington state prison system received $5.2 million last year under
contracts that providing the state with 27 percent to 45 percent of gross
collect call revenues, said Veltry Johnson, a Corrections Department

The money is split between funds for crime victims and prisoner
improvements such as recreation supplies, crafts equipment, cable
television hookups and arts programs, Johnson said. (The Associated Press
State & Local Wire, July 28, 2000)

PROFIT RECOVERY: Chitwood & Harley Plans to Expand Securities Suit in GA
Chitwood & Harley plans to expand the class period in the class action
lawsuit that is pending in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Georgia against Profit Recovery Group International,
Inc. ("PRGX" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: "PRGX") and certain officers and
directors. The expanded class period will include those who purchased
shares of PRGX between February 16, 2000 and July 26, 2000 (the "Class

The complaint charges PRGX and certain of its officers and directors with
violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The complaint alleges that
defendants issued a series of materially false and misleading statements
concerning the Company's publicly-reported revenues and earnings that
artificially inflated PRGX's stock price throughout the Class Period. A
recent press release by the Company revealed that PRGX had continued the
course of conduct challenged in the complaint until July 26, 2000.

Contact: Chitwood & Harley Martin D. Chitwood or David Bain 888/873-3999 or
404/873-3900 dab@classlaw.com

PROFIT RECOVERY: Wolf Haldenstein Plans to Expand Securities Case in GA
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP announces that it intends to
extend the class period in a previously filed action against Profit
Recovery Group International, Inc. (PRGX) and certain directors and
officers. The extended class period includes those who purchased shares of
PRGX between February 16, and July 26, 2000 (the "Class Period")

On July 25, 2000, Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP commenced a
class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia. http://www.whafh.com.Thecomplaint alleges that the
Company and certain of its officers and directors, namely John M. Cook,
Chairman & CEO, and Scott L. Colabuono, Executive VP, Treasurer and CFO,
violated federal securities laws by providing materially false and
misleading information about the Company's revenues and earnings during the
Class Period. A copy of the complaint filed in this action is available
from the Court, can be viewed on the Wolf Haldenstein website at
www.whafh.com, or can be obtained directly from the firm by calling the
number below or by writing.

By press release dated July 26, 2000, PRGX revealed that to that date, it
had continued the fraudulent course of conduct challenged in the complaint.
If you purchased PRGX securities between the period February 16, 2000 to
July 26, 2000, you may, no later than August 7, 2000, request that the
Court appoint you as lead plaintiff. A lead plaintiff is a representative
party that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the
litigation. In order to be appointed lead plaintiff, the Court must
determine that the class member's claim is typical of the claims of other
class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the
class. Under certain circumstances, one or more class members may together
serve as "lead plaintiff." Your ability to share in any recovery is not,
however, affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead
plaintiff. You may retain Wolf Haldenstein, or other counsel of your
choice, to serve as your counsel in this action.

Contact: Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP, New York Fred Taylor
Isquith, Esq. Gregory M. Nespole, Esq., Julie Sullivan, Esq., or Michael
Miske Tel: (800) 575-0735 E-mail: classmember@whafh.com whafh@aol.com
nespole@whafh.com sullivan@whafh.com Website: www.whafh.com URL:

RIDGEWOOD ENERGY: 3rd Cir Criticizes NJ Judge for Cursory Fee Cutting
urging lower court judges to explain their reasoning when cutting attorney
fees in class actions, a federal appeals court vacated a fee award of $ 1.7
million to lawyers who asked for more than $ 3.1 million for their work in
winning a $ 9.5 million settlement. "The district court abused its
discretion in this case by not exercising it; and when it did exercise it,
by misapplying our jurisprudence," Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Edward R.
Becker wrote in Gunter v. Ridgewood Energy Corp.

The ruling is a victory for attorneys Joseph Sternberg of Goodkind Labaton
Rudoff & Sucharow in New York and G. Martin Meyers of Denville, N.J., who
argued that U.S. District Judge William H. Walls of the District of New
Jersey ignored their arguments that the case was an extremely difficult and
labor-intensive one that had resulted in a very favorable settlement for
the class.

The case arose from a series of failed oil and gas investments. The
plaintiffs were investors in a series of limited partnerships who claimed
that the defendants fraudulently marketed and sold about $ 150 million
worth of interests in the partnerships between 1986 and 1990. When the $
9.5 million settlement was struck, the plaintiffs' lawyers asked for $ 3.16
million in fees. But Judge Walls allowed fees of only 18 percent of the
fund, or $ 1.71 million.

Judge Becker said Walls explained his decision to slash the fees by nearly
half with "a conclusory one-sentence statement. "Walls wrote: "The nature
of this litigation, its resolution at this stage without the necessity of a
trial, the nature of the settlement and its value, convince the court that
it would place a reasonable burden on the class to award fees of 18 percent
of the settlement fund." Becker said Walls "expanded slightly upon that
statement" when he denied a motion for reconsideration, by saying that he
did not credit "the unexplained and undetailed expenditure of 2,500 hours
by counsel." But Becker said Walls declined the lawyers' invitation to
review their billing records and that the judge did not explain why he had
refused to credit 2,500 of the 8,500 hours "even though counsel proffered
documentation for that work." The jurisprudence of the 3rd Circuit, Becker
said, calls for "thorough judicial review" of fee applications. "Without a
reasoned and documented explication of the rationale for approving or
denying a particular fee award, it is difficult, if not impossible for an
appellate court to review such an award for abuse of discretion," Becker
wrote. Walls' rulings, Becker said, were "vague and conclusory" and "did
not address or apply the relevant criteria ... that a district court should
consider in awarding fees in a class action."

Becker, who was joined by U.S. Circuit Judges Jane R. Roth and Max Rosenn,
said it was impossible to review Walls' rulings because he never discussed
how he had applied the seven factors that go into deciding how to award
fees in a common-fund case. "The problem in this case is that the district
court dealt with the fee-award issue in a cursory and conclusory fashion,"
Becker wrote. "Even after reading the district court's opinions, it remains
difficult to discern both how the court arrived at the 18 percent award
figure, and why it reached certain other conclusions that it did. The court
mentioned the costs awards factors that a court should consider in such
circumstances, but did not apply any of the factors, at least insofar as we
can ascertain," Becker wrote. In a final footnote to the opinion, Becker
said that lower court judges can "avoid many of the complications
associated with fee awards by setting guidelines and ground rules early in
the litigation process." Such ground rules, he said, may include orders
pertaining to record-keeping that facilitate judicial review; periodic
status reports; establishing reasonable hourly rates; and capping the
amount of time that lawyers may spend on a particular matter if they expect
to be compensated. Another approach, Becker said, is to determine the fee
arrangement in advance through competitive bidding. "This device appears to
have worked well, and we commend it to district judges within this circuit
for their consideration," Becker wrote.

Listing cases in which bidding processes have been used, Becker cited
district court rulings from the Northern District of California, the
Northern District of Illinois and one decision by Walls himself in In Re:
Cendant Corp. Litigation. Finally, Becker said, a judge who suspects that
the class plaintiffs' rights are not being adequately vindicated by
appointed counsel may appoint a special master "to review or challenge the
fee application."  (The Legal Intelligencer, July 28, 2000)

ST. CHARLES: Teachers Sue for Payment for Infertility Treatments
Although a formal response hasn't been made, attorneys for St. Charles
School District 303 will argue the district hasn't violated any federal
laws despite a lawsuit filed by two of its teachers, alleging the
district's health coverage is discriminatory because it excludes payment
for infertility treatments.

Attorney Mike Duggan said the district's health plan does not violate the
Americans With Disabilities Act, as the lawsuit alleges. "We are
self-insured and there is an ADA provision that claims cannot be based on
that type of plan unless it can be shown the terms are a subterfuge for
discrimination in some other way," he said.

He also maintained the plan does not discriminate on the basis of sex, as
the teachers' suit alleges, because "it also excludes male infertility

Lisa Mack and Angela Moreau filed the suit in federal court, alleging that
the district's exclusion of the treatments from their health coverage
violates both the ADA and their civil rights.

The suit seeks a permanent injunction to prevent the district from denying
health-care benefits on the basis of a disability, specifically
infertility, or on the basis of sex, including pregnancy. It also seeks
unspecified compensatory damages.

Federal law requires that bias claims first be presented to the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission. Duggan said the district presented the
same responses when the women filed their claims with the EEOC in April. In
June, the commission found cause for violations of the ADA, and the
teachers proceeded with their action.

The suit states both women suffer from infertility disease and fit the
ADA's definition of a disability because the disease is a "physical
impairment that substantially limits one or more of their major life
activities," including procreation and raising their own children. It also
said the district is violating the pregnancy-discrimination part of the
federal civil rights act since the treatments would be for a medical
condition related to pregnancy.

Mack, who has worked for the district for 13 years, was diagnosed 2 1/2
years ago, and Moreau, a 10-year employee, about 19 months ago.

Patricia Collins, the teachers' attorney, said there are good reasons to
file the suit, which also is asking the court to declare it a class action.

"Infertility is the only disease that is excluded in the district's health
plan," she said. "But an employer cannot single out one disability not to
cover. That is discriminatory because it is treating that disability
differently, and those who have that disability are receiving a lower level
of benefit from the plan than everyone else."

The district's assistant superintendent for business, Dave Zager, said the
district switched about 10 years ago from a traditional insurance company
to a self-insured plan to save money.

A few years ago, he said, it looked at adding the infertility treatments to
its plan, which covers 915 employees, including teachers, support staff,
custodians and administrators. Its health benefits committee, however,
determined the $300,000-a-year cost was too high because too few employees
would be affected.

Collins said she doesn't buy that argument. "They don't have a cost basis
for excluding the treatments because they are covering diseases which are
far more expensive to treat," she said. "If the district can afford to pay
for more expensive treatments, then they can't say [infertility] would
bankrupt the district. They are discriminating against one disability and
that violates the act. And the plan also will cover drugs like Viagra and
prescriptions for acne but not the hormonal drugs that will assist women in
becoming pregnant."

Zager said he isn't sure if the disease is the only one the district's plan
excludes but said the district covers cases that are potentially more
expensive, including heart transplants and cancer treatments.

"Imagine working for the same place for years and paying into your health
plan, and then find out you have a disease that isn't covered," Collins
said. "It's devastating." (Chicago Tribune, July 28, 2000)

SUHARTO: Indonesia’s A.G. Files Corruption Charges
Indonesia's attorney general filed corruption charges against former
President Suharto, accusing him of skimming $ 157 million from seven
charitable foundations he controlled during his 23 years of rule in
Jakarta. Suharto, who was forced to resign in 1998, is alleged to have
amassed billions of dollars in illegal wealth. Suharto, 79, who has been
under house arrest for two months, has suffered two strokes and his
attorneys say he is unfit to stand trial or be questioned by prosecutors.
(Chicago Sun-Times, July 27, 2000)

TELEGLOBE INC: Milberg Weiss Files Securities Suit in New York
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP announces that a
class action lawsuit was filed on July 27, 2000, on behalf of purchasers of
the securities of Teleglobe Inc. (NYSE:TGO) between February 11, 1999 and
July 29, 1999, inclusive. A copy of the complaint filed in this action is
available from the Court, or can be viewed on Milberg Weiss' website at

The action, numbered 00 Civ 5610, is pending in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York, located at 500 Pearl Street,
New York, NY 10007, against defendants Teleglobe, Charles Sirous (Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer) and Claude Seguin (Chief Financial Officer).
The Honorable Barbara S. Jones is the Judge presiding over the case.

The Complaint charges that defendants violated Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of
the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder,
by issuing a series of material misrepresentations to the market between
February 11, 1999 and July 29, 1999, thereby artificially inflating the
price of Teleglobe common stock. The complaint alleges that during the
Class Period, Teleglobe's profitability was plummeting as a result of back
office problems in its newly-acquired Excel division, a severe price war in
the North American wholesale long distance market, shrinking profit margins
in nearly all of its business lines and adverse fluctuations in certain
currency markets. Nevertheless, as alleged in the complaint, throughout the
Class Period, defendants falsely represented that these problems were
merely isolated events in order to permit Teleglobe to complete a huge $1
billion bond offering on July 20, 1999, which was necessary for Teleglobe
to raise the capital it needed to finance its$5 billion global telephone
network called GlobeSystem, which would facilitate Teleglobe's transition
from a provider of slow growing/low margin telephone services to a provider
of fast growing/higher margin data services. However, as alleged in the
complaint, just eight days after Teleglobe sold $1 billion worth of bonds
to unsuspecting investors, it announced that it would badly miss analysts'
earnings estimates for the second quarter in a row. Upon this announcement,
the price of Teleglobe common stock collapsed in value from $ 27 13/16 per
share to $21 11/16 per share on huge trading volume which was many times
more than Teleglobe's average daily trading volume.

Contact: Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP Steven G. Schulman or
Samuel H. Rudman One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th fl. New York, NY, 10119-0165
Phone number: 800/320-5081 Email: teleglobecase@milbergNY.com Website:

TOBACCO LITIGATION: S&P Affirms Settlement Bond Ratings after Jury Award
Standard & Poor's has affirmed its ratings on all tobacco settlement
revenue securitization bonds following the $144.9 billion punitive damage
award in Florida against U.S. tobacco companies as a result of the Engle
class action case (see list).

This affirmation takes place in conjunction with the commentary issued by
Standard & Poor's on the Engle punitive damage award dated July 17, 2000.
Rated companies affected by this ruling include Philip Morris Cos. Inc.
(single-'A'/Stable/A-1 corporate credit rating), RJ Reynolds Tobacco
Holdings Inc. (triple-'B'-minus/Stable/--), Loews Corp.
(double-'A'-minus/Negative/-- and parent of Lorillard Tobacco), and British
American Tobacco PLC (single-'A'/Stable/A-1).

Although tobacco company ratings are considered in the analysis of the
tobacco settlement bonds, the company-specific ratings were not directly
linked to the specific settlement bond ratings. As industry volume is the
basis on which annual Master Settlement Agreement payments are made,
however, the securitized bond ratings are linked to the overall performance
of the industry, which continues to be subject to potential setbacks and
litigation risk. If rating actions on the tobacco companies are taken in
the future as a result of industry risk, there may be resultant rating
action on these securitization bonds.

Current ratings stability for these companies hinges on several
assumptions, including expectations that no enormous payments will be made
in the near term, as the Florida legislature has put a $100 million cap on
posting a bond for appeal. Standard & Poor's also does not believe that any
money is likely to be paid for many years. If the bonding cap is not
upheld, however, Standard & Poor's will reassess its position, as a sizable
bond requirement may not be manageable by some or all of the defendants, or
may be affordable but damaging to credit measures.

Further, a final judgment cannot be entered on this award as the size of
the class has not yet been determined, making it unlikely that the court
will be able to allocate damages to the plaintiffs that have already
completed the individual trial phase. Additionally, the size of the current
award could be reduced to more manageable amounts, as none of the
defendants can afford to pay it today. Lastly, Standard & Poor's does not
believe the industry would consider a settlement at this time.

Over the past 10 years, Standard & Poor's has factored uncertainty related
to litigation into its ratings of tobacco companies, which, given the
business and financial profiles of some of these firms, has clearly been a
limiting factor. The Engle case represents another chapter in a complex
story that may take many years to resolve and which may even be dismissed
by a higher court.

Though Standard & Poor's is not taking any rating actions at this time
because of the uniqueness of this case and the duration of the appeals
process, it remains concerned about the potential for additional setbacks.
Most states have ruled against class action suits in tobacco cases.
Recently, however, Standard & Poor's has been concerned about changing jury
sentiments, and the Engle decision seems to confirm that concern. Also,
although tobacco products have proven that they have considerable pricing
flexibility, large additional judgments will certainly reduce this

Uncertainties also continue to exist with respect to a federal lawsuit,
other class actions, and third-party cases. Consequently, given recent
developments, any incremental increase in litigation risk is likely to
result in at least a moderate rating action for the rated tobacco
companies, Standard & Poor's said.



Tobacco Flexible Amortization Bonds

Series 1999-1

Issuance Amount                 Due       Rating

$14.995 mil                  7/15/03-05      AA-

$24.005 mil                  7/15/06-10      A+

$670.28 mil                  7/15/11-39      A

Nassau County Tobacco Settlement Corp.

Tobacco Settlement Asset-Backed Bonds

Series A

Issuance Amount                 Due       Rating

$4.7 mil                   7/15/03-05     A+

$8.465 mil                  7/15/06-10     A

$281.335 mil                 7/15/11-39     A-

Westchester Tobacco Asset Securitization Corp.

Tobacco Settlement Asset-Backed Bonds

Series 1999

Issuance Amount                   Due     Rating

$52.739 mil                   7/15/29     A

$50.765 mil                   7/15/39     A

Source: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services

UNICAPITAL CORP: Spector, Roseman Files Securities Lawsuit in Florida
A class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of Florida on behalf of all persons who purchased the
common stock of UniCapital Corporation Inc. (NASDAQ: UCP) between May 14,
1998 and May 15, 2000, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges that defendants violated Sections 11, 12(a)(2), and
15 of the Securities Act of 1933, and Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, by
issuing a series of materially false and misleading statements to the
market During the Class Period. When the Company, on May 15, 2000,
disclosed that its first quarter 2000 financial results would be far lower
than the market had been led to believe, the price of UniCapital's stock
dropped by 28%.

Contact: Spector, Roseman & Kodroff, P.C. Robert M. Roseman, 888/844-5862

USDA: Black Farmers Rally For Support
For most of his 78 years, Leonard Nelson has done two things - farmed
cotton in Jefferson County and voted for the Democratic Party.

No longer do his livelihood and politics go hand in hand. Nelson stood last
Thursday July 27 with about a dozen other black farmers on the steps of the
Jefferson County Courthouse in a show of support for Republican congressmen
Jay Dickey of Arkansas and J.C. Watts of Oklahoma. The farmers said the two
Republicans have helped them the most in their efforts to get payments from
a federal anti-discrimination lawsuit. "I've always been pretty strong with
the Democrats, but as long as the Republicans are working for us, I'll
support them," Nelson said.

Dickey is facing a tough challenge from Democrat Mike Ross, a state
senator, in the 4th District.

When the Arkansas chapter of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists
Association endorsed Dickey in June, the move caused a backlash from some
of the state's black lawmakers and from the Washington-based National Black
Farmers Association, another advocacy group for black farmers.

But National BFA President Gary Grant said, in the courthouse news
conference last Thursday, the association will support whoever it feels is
acting in its best interest. "For a long time, politicians have taken for
granted who we would support. But we are here today to let you know that we
will support whoever is helping us the most," Grant said.

The farmers reached a settlement last year in a lawsuit against the federal
Agriculture Department that alleged they were systematically discriminated
against when applying for farm loans and subsidies.

Some now claim the federal government is wrongly denying payments and
acting too slowly in cutting settlement checks.

Grant said the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association will ask a
federal judge to throw out the consent decree that authorized payments to
farmers discriminated against by the government.

He said the farmers will return to court to ask U.S. District Judge Paul
Friedman to set aside the settlement agreement in the class-action lawsuit
because it has failed to provide adequate relief for the 20,000 black
farmers who made up the class nationwide.

But an attorney for the farmers predicted the judge will not change "one
word" of the decree.

The lawsuit was filed for the organization in 1997 by Washington, D.C.,
attorneys Alexander Pires Jr. and Phillip Fraas, who alleged that the
farmers were discriminated against in lending practices from 1981 to 1996.
The consent degree, signed last year, provided $375 million to settle the

"I don't know what world these guys are living in," Pires told the Arkansas
Democrat-Gazette in a telephone interview. "He (Friedman) is not going to
change one word. ... He couldn't do that without the consent of the
parties. It's an agreement. Either (the farmers) don't understand the suit
- because I got everything I pleaded for - or they just enjoy complaining."

Friedman said in an order he would allow attorneys 45 minutes to present
new evidence in the case but he would not revisit the consent degree,
according to Pires.

The Arkansas group endorsed Dickey just weeks after he told them it would
be difficult for him to push to speed up settlement payments in the
discrimination lawsuit because they hadn't supported him. Since then,
Dickey and Watts, the only black Republican in Congress, sponsored a failed
nonbinding House resolution to speed up the payments.

Alvin Oneal traveled from Tennessee to attend last Thursday's event. Oneal,
a longtime cotton farmer, said he wanted to show national support for the
Arkansas farmers. Like Nelson, he said he has traditionally supported
Democratic candidates. "I would say my politics are in between right now,"
he said. "I see where the results are coming from." (The Associated Press
State & Local Wire, July 28, 2000)

WATER CONTAMINATION: Ontario Hires Subsidiary of GA Firm as Evaluators
Crawford Adjusters Canada, an independent claims adjusting firm and a
subsidiary of Crawford & Company (NYSE: CRD.A and CRD.B), has been hired by
the government of Ontario to evaluate claims under the province's Walkerton
Compensation Plan. The plan will provide financial compensation to
individuals who became sick or lost loved ones because of Walkerton's
contaminated drinking water.

Jeffrey Bowman, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Crawford &
Company's Americas Group confirmed that immediate steps are being taken by
Crawford to establish a claims center in Walkerton, Ontario.

Glenn Gibson, Chief Executive Officer of Crawford Adjusters Canada added,
"Our independent evaluators will be available to meet with each person to
review their claim. They will assess value and entitlement to compensation,
and the government will provide free consultation with an independent
lawyer as people decide about making a claim, complete application forms,
and review their compensation options."

"This plan offers a quick and simple alternative to court cases in order to
speed up support to the victims of the Walkerton tragedy," Ontario Attorney
General Jim Flaherty said in a news release issued last Wednesday. "Getting
the independent adjusters on board represents a critical step in making
this commitment a reality."

Flaherty added in the news release, "Crawford has earned a reputation for
fairness, sensitivity and efficiency in responding to critical situations
and we are delighted the company has accepted this important assignment."
The firm's track record includes handling such emergencies as the 1995
tornado in the Barrie and Orangeville area, the 1998 Winnipeg floods and
the 1998 ice storm in Montreal. Ontario courts have also appointed Crawford
as administrator for various class action settlements.

The provincial compensation plan is designed to provide those who suffered
injury or loss with the same level of compensation that they could expect
to receive in the courts - but to do so much more quickly. "This isn't
about legal liability. It is about doing the right thing," Flaherty
concluded in the release.

The Walkerton Compensation Plan is one component of a full financial
compensation and emergency relief package offered to Walkerton residents by
the Ontario government. Also included in the package is emergency relief
for individuals to cover water-related out-of-pocket expenses and fixed
costs, emergency relief for local businesses, and a pledge by government to
do whatever it takes to ensure that Walkerton residents have access to a
safe, clean water supply.


S U B S C R I P T I O N  I N F O R M A T I O N

Class Action Reporter is a daily newsletter, co-published by Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc., Princeton, NJ, and Beard Group, Inc.,
Washington, DC. Theresa Cheuk, Managing Editor.

Copyright 1999.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1525-2272.

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