The Buzz

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Size apparently does not matter when it comes to scandals. Martha Stewart's court case involves a mere $250,000 worth of Imclone stock shares that she allegedly sold on an inside trading tip, but her trial commands a wealth of media attention. On the other hand, John Rigas, 79, founder of Adelphia and his two sons Timothy, 47, and Michael, 49, stand accused of looting more than $1 billion from Adelphia, the cable company they founded, and yet in comparison there is a paucity of news crews outside the Manhattan Federal Courthouse where they are being tried. The Rigas family is accused of using the cable company as its own private ATM. Family members are alleged to have withdrawn $13 million to buy a golf course; $3 million to finance the film "Songcatcher," produced by John's daughter Ellen; $45 million was advanced to finance a few of John's "private businesses"; and several more million was tapped to buy and operate a fleet of corporate jets, including a Gulfstream III previously owned by the King of Jordan. Prosecutors called the jets a "personal taxi service" that ferried family from the Rigas home in Coudersport, Pa., to New York City for shopping sprees. And finally, about $150 million was pulled out of the cable company to keep afloat John's money-losing hockey team, the Buffalo Sabres.
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