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Adelphia Founder Agrees To Give Up Condos

Jan 17, 2003 | AP

The indicted founder of Adelphia Communications Corp. has agreed to give up 34 apartments, condos and vacation homes that were bought with company money.

Negotiations are also under way on at least 60 other properties held by John Rigas' family, lawyers for Adelphia and the family said.

"Some of these properties are clearly the company's and we are conveying them back to the company," Stephen J. Harmelin, an attorney for the Rigas family, said Thursday.

Rigas was indicted in September on charges he defrauded Adelphia of millions of dollars. He has denied wrongdoing.

The land and homes at the center of the talks range from undeveloped plots near Adelphia's headquarters in Coudersport, Pa., to a $2.4 million ski resort condo in Beaver Creek, Colo. Adelphia spokesman Eric Andrus wouldn't provide a full list of the properties that the Rigas family agreed to return.

Rigas, who founded Adelphia in the 1950s and built it into one of the nation's largest cable television companies, resigned in May after the company said he had directed it to guarantee billions of dollars in loans to private businesses owned by his family.

Federal agents arrested Rigas and his sons Timothy and Michael on July 24 and accused them of using the company as their "personal piggy bank." The SEC filed a civil suit, claiming they and other Adelphia executives had committed "one of the most extensive financial frauds ever to take place at a public company."

Since then, auditors have been examining Adelphia's books, trying to determine how much of the family's extensive assets were bought with company cash.

Those holdings include nearly 100 homes and plots of land, Andrus said. Harmelin said some had been given to Rigas and his family as compensation for their work. None of the property was obtained illegally, he said.

In filings with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Adelphia said it paid $1.2 million for improvements to Tim Rigas' Beaver Creek condo, and paid the taxes on a second $1.8 million Beaver Creek unit John and Doris Rigas bought.

From 1995 until 2001 the company also paid the tax on six lots the Rigas family bought at exclusive resorts in Hilton Head and Daufuskie, S.C., and on land and homes in Dunkirk and Olean, N.Y., the filing said.

Adelphia said in court filings that in another 1994 transaction, the Rigas family sold 58 properties to the company for $14.3 million, but never relinquished the deeds to 20 of them.

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