- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Amtrak sued over shares

Cincinnati insurer American Financial Group, the largest private shareholder in Amtrak, sued the railroad for failing to become profitable and declaring its stock worthless.

The lawsuit, filed May 19 in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, claims Amtrak broke its promise to become a for-profit venture in the 37 years since Congress formed it to take over U.S. intercity rail service. American Financial seeks the return of its $52 million investment, plus unspecified damages.

Congress ordered Amtrak in 1997 to redeem all outstanding shares by 2002. Shareholders in 2000 rejected a “ridiculously low” offer of 3 cents a share, according to the complaint.

American Financial owns about 5.2 million shares in Amtrak. The suit says the company made bad decisions and its stock is now worthless. American Financial Group says it wants $52 million and interest.

An Amtrak spokesman said the company hadn’t reviewed the lawsuit.

The rail line is heavily subsidized by Congress and loses about a $1 billion a year.



Fatal funeral crash probed

State police are investigating a fatal accident that occurred after county officers stopped traffic on Route 97 for a funeral procession, Anne Arundel County police said.

Traffic was stopped for the funeral of the father of a county officer. About 45 vehicles had stopped safely to allow the procession to pass when the accident occurred Friday morning, county police said.

The department has assisted at least 150 funeral processions over the past year and determinations on whether to provide assistance are made on a case-by-case basis, county police said.

A 31-year-old pregnant woman and her baby died in the five-vehicle crash, according to state police.

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