NOVEMBER 1989 - VOLUME 10 - NUMBER 11
N A M E S I N T H E N E W S
The Come Back Kickback
The catchy "Come Back to Jamaica" advertising campaign has been a boon to Jamaica's tourist economy and has earned industry awards for Young & Rubicam, the New York advertising agency responsible for the advertising program. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are now charging that the promotional campaign is notable for another reason too: Young & Rubicam are being indicted under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and also, in one case, on perjury charges related to the graft involved in their landing of the Jamaican tourism account The firm, three of its top executives and two Jamaican public officials have been indicted on bribery, racketeering and other charges of alleged misconduct relating tc the account.
Court documents describe a kickback scheme dating back to October, 1980, when Edward Seaga replaced Michael Manley as Jamaica's Prime Minister. Seaga'E Minister of Tourism, Anthony Abrahams, allegedly approached the advertising firm then holding the Jamaican tourism account and demanded to know what the existing kickback arrangements were. When he was told there had been no kickbacks paid under Manley, he allegedly replied, 'Things may be difficult in the new administration."
Young & Rubicam took over the tourism account shortly thereafter; in exchange, the firm reportedly paid bribe totaling nearly a million dollars to Abrahams and ar associate. The total billings for the Jamaica account were $29 million and Young & Rubicam received a 15 percent commission on that amount.
Toxics in the Great Lakes
The build-up of toxic substances in the Great Lake, ecosystem has become so severe that human health in the region is at significant risk, according to a report jointly issued by Canada's Institute for Research on Public Policy and the Washington, D.C.-based Conservation Founda. lion. Environmentalists have long held that the toxic build-up is responsible for birth defects and other problems affecting wildlife in the area. The new report, how. ever, is the most dramatic warning yet of the danger! posed to humans by the degraded state of the Great Lake environment.
"Millions of people [in the region] are exposed tc hazardous chemicals," said a Conservation Foundatior official. "You drink them in contaminated water. You eat them in the flesh of fish. You breathe them in the air. WE know that these continuous exposures have a serious adverse effect on the wildlife of the region. We fear increasingly that humans, especially pregnant women, and children, may be affected as well."
No individual companies are named as culprits, bui the report singles out heavy industry, chemical companies and transportation companies which ship and spill oil and other chemicals into the Lakes.
The report recommends wide-ranging pollution reduction and cleanup measures to attack the problem. But estimates as to the cost of a cleanup effort are vague, ranging as high as "hundreds of billions of dollars." The report also calls on the Centers for Disease Control and state-level health departments to examine the human health risks posed by the accumulated toxins.
The Conservation Foundation is a conservative environmental organization which counts Environmental Protection Agency chief William Reilly among its former presidents. Reilly applauded the organization's Great Lakes report, but said it is unlikely that the federal government will finance the remedial measures suggested.
SmithKlineBeechman Clinical Laboratories Inc. agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a federal investigation of alleged kickbacks to physicians who referred Medicare and Medicaid business to the company, federal officials announced. The Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services found that more than 100 physicians were investors in three California laboratories managed by the company.
The Inspector General said that under the scheme, doctors were recruited as investors and lab profits were distributed to those same doctors. The IG said that this violated a federal law prohibiting payments intended to induce referrals of Medicaid and Medicare patients. The settlement was the largest ever under that law.
Disney Zoo Kills Birds
Walt Disney World likes its grounds in Orlando, Florida to be orderly and clean. So when wild, migratory birds passing through the giant park made too much noise, defecated on park walkways and benches, and were otherwise disruptive, Disney fought back.
According to criminal charges filed against the company in Florida, employees of Walt Disney World's Discovery Island killed, maimed, or captured and improperly confined a variety of protected migratory birds, including vultures, hawks, owls, falcons, egrets and ibises. Federal and state prosecutors involved in the matter alleged that vultures were trapped and either beaten to death or confined to small, overheated and underventilated pens without adequate food and water; that the eggs of nesting egrets and ibises were destroyed; and that falcons, hawks, and other birds were shot.
Discovery Island is an 11-acre zoological park where millions of tourists each year view exotic animals in a serene, "natural" environment.
Disney pleaded guilty to one charge of violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and was fined $10,000. Disney was also ordered to pay an additional $10,000 to the Florida Audobon Society's Center for Birds of Prey and agreed to contribute $75,000 to Florida State fish and game programs promoting conservation.
- Garth Bray