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Kroger exec among 3 acquitted in labor fraud case

BY CSA STAFF

Los Angeles A former Kroger Co. executive and two former Ralphs managers were found not guilty late Monday of federal labor fraud charges linked to the 2003-2004 supermarket strike and lockout.

Scott Drew, a former executive with Cincinnati-based Kroger, former Ralphs manager Karen Montoya and former Ralphs VP Patrick McGowan were acquitted of all charges by a Los Angeles jury.

The three were named in an indictment accusing them of conspiring to rehire hundreds of locked-out workers using fake Social Security numbers and names during the strike. Two others named in the indictment have pleaded guilty.

The four-month-long supermarket strike and lockout began in October 2003. Union leaders ordered a strike against Vons and Pavilions stores. Albertsons and Ralphs responded by locking out their employees.

Prosecutors said the defendants encouraged the hiring of locked-out workers and falsified documents as part of the conspiracy.

In 2006, Ralphs pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy, concealment of facts from an employee benefit plan, and identity fraud, and agreed to pay $70 million to settle the charges and cooperate with prosecutors.

Drew and his co-defendants were fired when the charges were revealed.

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‘American Idol’ album exclusive to Walmart

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK A new album featuring the top 10 finalists from the most recent season of American Idol will be available exclusively at Walmart and Walmart.com on June 30.

The album, titled “American Idol Season 8,” was produced by 19 Recordings and RCA Records and features two tracks from American Idol champion Kris Allen — his hit single “No Boundaries” (written By “Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi, Cathy Dennis and Mitch Allan) and his version of Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard For The Money.” There are also two tracks from runner-up Adam Lambert — his version of “No Boundaries” and his acoustic take on Tears for Fears “Mad World,” based on the arrangement by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules from the “Donnie Darko” soundtrack. The album also features one track each from all of the other Top 10 contestants before culminating with runner-up Adam Lambert’s recording of “No Boundaries” as well.

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New prototype ready for Texas

BY CSA STAFF

The town of Huntsville, which is about an hour north of Houston on I-45, soon will be home to one of Target’s new fresh prototype stores. A 131,000-sq.-ft. discount store with an expanded offering of fresh products is scheduled to open in Huntsville on July 26. The “P-fresh” Target stores are seen as an important element of the company’s strategy to attract increased customer traffic because customers will be able to satisfy a broader range of their food needs. The store will offer top-selling produce items and a limited assortment of meat, in addition to frozen and refrigerated products, baked goods and dry grocery items. The store isn’t technically a SuperTarget, but it will undoubtedly feel that way to some shoppers unaccustomed to finding such a large selection of food in a Target store.

 

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