After five extensions, Enron presented its plan for emerging from Chapter 11 status Friday. The proposal, which must be approved by a federal bankruptcy court, calls for paying 20,000 creditors as little as 14.4 cents on the dollar for the $67 billion they are owed by the troubled company. It also divides Enron into domestic and international companies: CrossCountry Energy Corp. and Prisma Energy International. Enron's 2001 filing was the first in a series of highly publicized corporate accounting scandals.
Federal prosecutors are investigating Coca-Cola, the soft-drink giant acknowledged Friday. The inquiry involves allegations by an ex-manager, Michael Whitley, that the company inflated earnings, rigged a marketing test of its Frozen Coke product, and sold frozen drinks containing metal residue - a claim Coca-Cola calls baseless. Whitley is seeking $44.4 million in a wrongful-termination suit.
New tension developed between the largest telephone company in the US, Verizon Communications Inc., and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) after the former was ordered to rehire 2,300 people whose jobs it cut late last year. An arbitrator Friday ruled that Verizon wrongly interpreted the language of its contract with the union in laying off the employees because of the weak economy and increasing competition with rivals. The decision affects CWA members in New York State, who must be given back pay, minus any severance they received. In addition, any who were transferred involuntarily can demand a return to their original bases. A Verizon spokes-man said the company was "obviously disappointed" by the ruling, which came as the two sides are negotiating a new contract. CWA vice president Larry Mancino called it "the greatest victory in my lifetime" and claimed it would cost Verizon $100 million. The company put the figure at about $25 million.
Another 300 workers will be laid off by TeleTech Holdings Inc., a leading provider of customer service for major multinational corporations, a spokeswoman said. The Englewood, Colo., company is restructuring its operations and cut 600 jobs in January after losing a lucrative contract with the US Postal Service.