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Executive at Wickes Division Put on Leave During Carpet Probe

May 07, 1987|MARTHA GROVES | Times Staff Writer

The head of the Wickes Cos. carpet-manufacturing unit in Dalton, Ga., has been put on an indefinite leave of absence in the wake of disclosures that some of the division's employees submitted phony test results to customers.

James Gilligan, who had been president of Collins & Aikman's floor coverings division for about a year, was put on paid leave two to three weeks ago, a spokesman for Santa Monica-based Wickes said.

However, the spokesman stressed: "We have no reason to believe that there was any misconduct or impropriety on his part whatsoever. Because of the extraordinary circumstances that were occurring, we wanted to have a senior corporate officer from C&A take charge of that division on an interim basis."

Gilligan was replaced by Brook Johnson, a Collins & Aikman group vice president from the New York headquarters to whom Gilligan had reported. Reached by telephone at his home, Gilligan had no comment Tuesday.

Wickes, a retailer and manufacturer, disclosed April 15 that it had learned that the Collins & Aikman mill in Dalton over the last decade had shipped about $360 million worth of carpet, an undetermined amount of which violated certain local fire and smoke tests. Since then, the company has released information about its investigation into the matter only on a piecemeal basis.

So far, Wickes said it has been unable to quantify the problem but has indicated that the costs of resolving it are likely to be "a material amount."

A Wickes director confirmed last week that four employees had been fired after the company found that false safety test results had been submitted to some carpet customers. However, he did not at that time mention Gilligan's departure.

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