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Employee: Adelphia Built $13M Golf Course

Mar 18, 2004 | AP Adelphia Communications Corp. spent nearly $13 million to build a golf course, the company's accounts payable manager testified Thursday in the fraud trial of the Adelphia's founder, two of his sons, and a fourth former executive.

Former Adelphia chairman and chief executive John Rigas, his sons Timothy and Michael Rigas, and former executive Michael Mulcahey are on trial in federal court in Manhattan on charges of conspiracy and fraud. They have pleaded innocent.

Prosecutors have argued that golf-playing Timothy Rigas, the company's former executive vice president and chief financial officer, forced Adelphia to pay $700,000 for his membership to a golf club and later had the company invest $13 million to build a golf course.

The cable company's account payable manager, Linda Pekarski, also testified that some of the millions of dollars that Adelphia paid for the Rigases' home mortgages, golf-club memberships and other expenses were allocated to the Rigases or their businesses.

Prosecutors elicited the clarification from Pekarski following a request by the judge when the jury was absent. Pekarski, a government witness, doesn't know the which charges were ultimately billed to the Rigases, prosecutors told Judge Leonard Sand after jurors left the courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

But before the trial resumed Thursday, Sand asked the government to show that the payments were allocated to different entities, including some owned wholly by the Rigases.

It's still not clear from testimony whether any of the Adelphia payments charged back to the Rigases were ever reimbursed.

Thursday, her third day on the stand, Pekarski testified that between 2000 and 2002, $12.89 million in Adelphia payments were tagged for construction of a golf course.

Wednesday, Pekarski enumerated a variety of Rigas charges that Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Adelphia paid, including more than $500,000 on antiques, several hundred thousand dollars in dues for golf memberships, $705,000 for mortgage payments on Timothy Rigas' condominium in Colorado, and $1.15 million for renovations on that condominium.

Some of the mortgage payments on that condominium were allocated to Highland Holdings, a Rigas-owned business, she said.

Others were allocated to Timothy Rigas, she testified during cross examination. Some property taxes Adelphia paid in South Carolina were also allocated to the Rigases or their businesses, she said.

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