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I-Team: Mavcon Investigation

Updated: Saturday, August 3, 2013 |
I-Team: Mavcon Investigation story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Last week, Newschannel 3 told you how MAVCON Construction, the development company responsible for several projects in downtown Kalamazoo, is being fined by the state.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says MAVCON did not properly remediate or document toxic and known cancer-causing substances inside the Metro Center.

Now, we're learning that MAVCON has subpoenaed the contractors from our story.

We met up with those contractors to discuss the ongoing battle and why they are willing to risk everything to keep fighting.

The first two allegations claim that Schwartz HVac and Midwest Roofing did incomplete and poor work.

Marla Schwartz says the work done by her family business was never questioned until they brought up health concerns.

She told Newschannel 3 that their contract was terminated after they contacted us and we, in turn, contacted MAVCON.

Kevin Goff, of Midwest Roofing, told a similar story.

"I did 99 percent of the project, and they would not pay," he alleges.

Goff further alleged that he was told by the company that their lawyers would bankrupt him before he could get the balance of the money.

MAVCON's suit says both contractors "hatched a scheme" to "defame the Metropolitan Center and MAVCON," which "damaged business relationships," and "incited fear," yet both contractors received settlement offers from MAVCON.

Goff told Newschannel 3 that he had to take the settlement, which he claims was less than half the amount he was owed, or risk losing his assets and his house.

MAVCON's suit also alleges a number of false statements by the contractors.

According to Mike Schwartz, the offer was about 10 percent of what he was owed, and the offer demanded a retraction of all allegations his family made to state agencies.
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Last Update on November 24, 2014 18:22 GMT

EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- A member of the European Central Bank's rate-setting council has said monetary policy cannot boost long-term growth and called instead for reforms by governments to make the weak economy more investment-friendly.

Jens Weidmann said in the text of a speech in Madrid on Monday that low interest rates and stimulus measures can boost short-term demand but that central bank action "cannot permanently boost growth prospects."

Weidmann, who also heads Germany's Bundesbank central bank, said that long-term growth depended on countries' willingness to lower barriers to investment by streamlining bureaucracy and rules on hiring and firing.

His remarks follow a speech last week by ECB President Mario Draghi in which he said the bank was ready to do more to boost the struggling economy.

GREECE-JOB PROSPECTS

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greece may be exiting a cruel six-year recession, but it will take at least 20 years for employment to regain pre-crisis levels without concerted action, the United Nations' labor organization says.

An International Labor Organization official says a series of ILO recommendations could speed up the process by about eight years.

ILO research department head Raymond Torres outlined the proposals in a new ILO report presented in Athens on Monday. They combine emergency measures -- including a 1 billion euro youth employment program and improved commercial credit conditions -- as well as structural reforms.

Greece nearly went bankrupt in 2010 after years of profligate public spending, and took harsh austerity measures to secure international bailouts. Unemployment is 26 percent, with most jobless people at least a year out of work.

Meanwhile, the Greek finance ministry says the country's debt inspectors will meet with Greek officials in Paris on Tuesday to move ahead with the stalled review of the nation's financial reforms.

UNITED TECHNOLOGIES-CEO

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Louis Chenevert (Shen-eh-'VAIR), the chief executive officer of aerospace and building systems giant United Technologies Corp., is retiring abruptly after six years and will be succeeded by the company's chief financial officer.

The Hartford, Connecticut, conglomerate announced the change of leadership on Monday. It promoted CFO Greg Hayes to the top job.

Chenevert steered United Technologies' $18.4 billion purchase of aerospace parts maker Goodrich Corp. in 2012. It was the industry's largest deal and gave the company a stronger presence in the aerospace industry.

Chenevert iinformed the board of directors of his retirement as chairman and CEO effective immediately.

Edward A. Kangas, lead independent director, has been elected non-executive chairman of the board.

The 54-year-old Hayes has been with United Technologies for 25 years and has been hief financial officer for the past six years.

BRITAIN-GOOGLE LAWSUIT

LONDON (AP) -- Google has agreed to a settlement with a former Morgan Stanley banker who sued the search engine over defamatory Internet posts.

Daniel Hegglin, a Hong Kong-based investor, went to Britain's High Court to force Google to ensure posts falsely labeling him a murderer, pedophile and Nazi didn't appear in search results.

Hegglin's lawyer, Hugh Tomlinson, said Monday that the case had been settled. He didn't disclose details, but said the settlement "includes significant efforts on Google's part to remove the abusive material."

Google lawyer Antony White said Hegglin had received an "exceptional" amount of Internet abuse.

He said Google wasn't responsible for policing the Web, but would "continue to apply its procedures that have been developed to assist with the removal of content which breaches applicable local laws."

STOPPING CAR HACKERS

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Where consumers see an advantage in cars that connect to the Internet for entertainment or use computers to parallel park, hackers see an opportunity.

In staged tests, hackers have shown that they can penetrate cars' networks and cut the brakes -- or lock them up -- or even kill the engine.

While there are no publicly known instances of a car being commandeered outside staged tests, neither industry nor the government is waiting.

One Defense Department-funded program seeks to reconceive the most critical lines of computer code that control the car in a way that could make them invulnerable to major known threats. The model code would be distributed to automakers, who could adapt it to their needs.

FIBROID TREATMENT-CANCER

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. regulators have strengthened their warning against use of a once-popular device for gynecologic surgery that can spread unsuspected cancer, saying its risk is only justified in a fraction of patients.

The Food and Drug Administration is updating its April safety warning, now saying doctors should not use the devices, called laparoscopic power morcellators, for performing a hysterectomy or removing uterine fibroids "in the vast majority of women."

The FDA's Dr. William Maisel says there are safer options for the procedures for most patients -- but he said the device may be appropriate for some women.

One manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, directed surgeons to stop using its device for the procedures in April, when concerns about inadvertently spreading cancer inside women's abdomens first arose. It's now conducting a worldwide recall.

US STEEL-PENGUINS

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- United States Steel Corp. has announced it will build its new world headquarters in Pittsburgh as part of the NHL's Penguins' redevelopment of the former Civic Arena site.

Company, team, city and state officials made the announcement Monday.

The steel giant has been in talks with local leaders about whether to remain in Pittsburgh, as the current headquarters in the 64-story U.S. Steel Tower -- downtown Pittsburgh's highest building -- has shrunk in recent years as other tenants have occupied more space in that building.

The Penguins reached an agreement last fall with local officials about the scope of the $440 million redevelopment.

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