New York Times

 

 

NATIONAL DESK

 

Ex-Chairman Of Insurer Won't Testify

 

By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
June 18, 2003


The former chairman of Ullico, a union-owned insurer, refused to testify yesterday before a Congressional committee investigating accusations that the insurer's board members earned more than $6 million through insider trading.

 

Appearing under subpoena, Robert A. Georgine, Ullico's former chairman and chief executive, asserted his Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions before the House Education and Workforce Committee.

 

Forced to resign his Ullico posts last month, Mr. Georgine is under federal and state investigation on accusations of insider trading along with several other current and former board members.

 

Mr. Georgine told the committee that he was confident he had done nothing wrong, but added that his lawyer had advised him not to testify.

 

''There are many questions that remain unanswered about the Ullico scandal, and rank-and-file union members deserve answers,'' Representative John A. Boehner, the Ohio Republican who is the committee's chairman, said. ''At the very same time that union leaders were joining the chorus of well-deserved criticism of Enron and others for corporate misconduct, Ullico set up a system of insider stock deals that made millions for the board at the expense of rank-and-file union members.''

 

Mr. Georgine and more than a dozen other board members made large profits buying and reselling Ullico's stock. The stock deals so upset many labor leaders that they organized a slate of directors that won control of Ullico's board and pushed out Mr. Georgine.

 

Randall Turk, a lawyer for Mr. Georgine, said of his client: ''He declined to testify because there are numerous government investigations pending, and the Fifth Amendment is designed not just to protect people who have done something wrong, but to protect every American who is being investigated. It's his constitutional right to remain silent.''

 

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company


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