- The Washington Times - Monday, July 1, 2002

COUDERSPORT, Pa. (AP) Adelphia Communications founder John J. Rigas says he has battled health problems and depression since disclosure of financial problems at the company.
Mr. Rigas said he has suffered chest pains and has been to the emergency room three times as a precaution. He said he also has struggled with depression.
"I'd say I was depressed," Mr. Rigas said in an article yesterday in the Buffalo News.
"My doctor was concerned because I wasn't eating, but I think my health is getting stronger, and I hope to be out and about," he said.
Adelphia, the nation's sixth largest cable television company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday after a string of revelations about an estimated $3.1 billion in undisclosed debt, accounting problems and questionable deals by its founding family.
Mr. Rigas said he worried that he let down the "ordinary people" of Buffalo whose financial position he had hoped to improve.
He said he was disappointed that Adelphia did not plan to build his proposed office tower on Buffalo's waterfront and vowed that the Buffalo Sabres hockey team would remain in the city if he had anything to say about it.
Mr. Rigas said he spends much of his days on the telephone with lawyers. Sometimes, however, he just sits and reads hundreds of notes, cards and letters that supporters have sent him, he said.
"It has been very inspirational to me and my family," Mr. Rigas said. "I read them throughout the day. I go through them when I'm down and need a little extra support."
Mr. Rigas and his three sons surrendered control in May, stepping down from executive positions and board seats at the company he started in 1952.
The company said it overstated cash-flow and subscriber totals and expected to restate three years of financial reports. The bankruptcy will allow it to continue serving customers in more than 3,500 communities.
Adelphia is cooperating with investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and federal grand juries in Pennsylvania and New York.
Mr. Rigas told the Buffalo News that there was little he could say about the ongoing legal issues.
Instead, he recalled happier times such as the one-man operation he ran after buying the Coudersport Theater in 1951.
"I'd make the popcorn, sell the tickets and usher," he said.
After founding Adelphia and building it into a cable giant, his life has taken a far different turn. "It is a Greek tragedy," Mr. Rigas said. "It is very ironic."


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