Ground damage alleged
More than 50 West Virginia and Pennsylvania property owners are suing FirstEnergy Corp. over groundwater pollution, soggy yards and foundation damage they say was caused by a leaking coal ash impoundment.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Wheeling, W.Va., accuses the Akron-based company of negligence, reckless conduct, trespass and creating a nuisance.
It says arsenic and other substances have leached out of the unlined, 1,700-acre Little Blue Run impoundment into groundwater, and the air has been fouled by the noxious odors of hydrogen sulfide gas.
The complaint says the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has repeatedly cited FirstEnergy for violations, so FirstEnergy’s conduct should qualify as willful and reckless.
FirstEnergy has long planned to close the pit straddling Beaver County, Pa., and Hancock County, W.Va.
FirstEnergy spokeswoman Stephanie Walton said the company had not yet formally received the complaint.
“In March 2013, FirstEnergy submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) a plan to permanently close the Little Blue Run disposal facility. That plan remains under review at DEP. Even after site closure, FirstEnergy will continue extensive environmental monitoring programs at the disposal facility, including dam safety and ground and surface water monitoring,” she said.
China seminar set
Akron accounting and consulting firm BCG & Co. announced it will host a program for businesses interested in opportunities in China.
The free seminar will be at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn hotel. Subjects will include regulations, costs, transportation, taxes, finances, labor issues and employee benefits.
Information is available online at https://doingbusinessinchina2013.eventbrite.com. Or call 330-864-6661.
Gambling site names exec
Penn National Gaming Inc. announced that Michael Galle, 43, who has served as the assistant general manager of Hollywood Casino Toledo since June 2011, has been named general manager of Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course, which is scheduled to open in the second half of 2014.
Galle will report to John Finamore, senior vice president of regional operations.
Galle will oversee the startup, opening and management of the planned $136 million facility, including recruitment and training of employees.
The facility, under construction at Austintown’s CentrePointe Business Park off state Route 46, just south of Interstate 80 and just west of Youngstown, will feature a video lottery terminal facility with approximately 1,000 VLTs at opening, a 1-mile thoroughbred racetrack, more than 1,000 enclosed seats with racetrack views and a year-round simulcast wagering operation.
Galle, with a 21-year career in gaming, has been with Penn National Gaming since February 1995.
Chrysler shares valued
The UAW Chrysler Health Care Trust said its assets grew by $1.58 billion last year, more than half of which came from the rising value of its Chrysler holding.
The trust’s net assets grew by 18 percent in 2012 to $10.3 billion, according to its 2012 financial statement, filed Oct. 11. Almost $900 million of the gain resulted from an increase in the value it placed on its Chrysler stake. Expenditures for benefits rose less than 0.1 percent to $631.1 million.
Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Chrysler and majority owner Fiat SpA, has spent four years trying to merge the companies. Fiat filed for an initial public offering of Chrysler shares last month at the behest of the trust. The two sides are sparring over the value of the trust’s 41.5 percent stake, listed as $3.6 billion in the 2012 filing.
Marchionne valued the stake at $1.7 billion in July, when the trust said it had increased to $4.2 billion. Matt Wood, a spokesman for the trust, and Katie Merx, a Chrysler spokeswoman, declined to comment on the filing.
Health-care trusts for retirees from General Motors and Ford also reported increases, a reversal after the three funds showed losses for 2011. Chrysler’s trust, organized as voluntary employee beneficiary plan, or VEBA, had lost $733.6 million a year earlier. Its liabilities more than doubled last year to $349.6 million.
Microsoft phone update
Microsoft is updating its Windows software for cellphones to accommodate larger devices and make it easier for motorists to reduce distractions while driving. It’s the third update to Windows Phone 8 software since the system’s release a year ago. Devices with this update will start appearing in the coming weeks, and older phones will be eligible for a free upgrade, too.
Compiled from staff and wire reports.