Pacific Northwest Former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt will help a Canadian investment firm with labor negotiations related to...

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Gephardt aids buyer of Boeing operation

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Former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt will help a Canadian investment firm with labor negotiations related to its purchase of Boeing’s commercial airplane operations in Kansas and Oklahoma, Onex announced yesterday.

Gephardt will join a team of Onex advisers on the planned acquisition. Gephardt’s focus will be on “transition labor matters” in negotiations with Boeing’s unionized employees, Onex said.

Gephardt, a Missouri Democrat with strong labor ties, retired from Congress this year after serving since 1977.

He ran twice for president, including last year before dropping out after losing in the Iowa caucuses. Bob Brewer, Midwest director for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, said that in their discussions with Onex, union officials have made it clear that they would like a “labor-sensitive person” on the company’s new board in Wichita. Seth Mersky, managing director of Onex, said he could not discuss board appointments until Onex receives government approval for them.


A promise of cars that never crash

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and the leader of Ford Motor outlined a future yesterday in which software enables cars to fix themselves and never crash.

Gates and Ford Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford Jr. said having high-definition screens in vehicles, speech recognition, cameras, digital calendars and navigation equipment with directions and road conditions will set car companies apart from their competitors.

Eventually, Gates said, there could be a car that wouldn’t let itself crash.

“That absolutely should be the goal,” Gates told a group of several hundred during the Microsoft Global Automotive Summit at the automaker’s suburban Detroit campus. “The embrace of technology will be the key for the leaders of the industry.”

Metropolitan Mortgage

Lender may sue former CEO

Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities may sue its former chief executive officer and his ex-wife for allegedly taking millions of dollars from the company even as it spiraled toward bankruptcy.

Maggie Lyons, acting CEO of Metropolitan, said the Spokane company may try to recover for creditors $6.7 million in special stock redemptions, dividends and salaries paid to C. Paul Sandifur Jr. and Helen Sandifur.

Met Mortgage, once a $2.7 billion financial-services conglomerate founded by Sandifur’s father, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2004 amid accounting problems and federal investigations.

The Sandifurs separated in 1994 and Paul Sandifur eventually petitioned for divorce. In 2002 the couple signed a separation and property settlement.

Helen Sandifur, through her attorney Gene Hamilton, said she had not heard of the potential claims. But Hamilton said the company would have a heavy burden to show anything wrong with Helen Sandifur’s divorce settlement.

Paul Sandifur’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.

Compiled from The Associated Press