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Towers Fails to Put Lehman on Airways Board

December 09, 1987|ROBERT E. DALLOS

Towers Financial Corp., a New York leveraged buyout and collection agency firm, on Tuesday named the board of Towers World Airways Inc., a company it had set up for its effort to take over financially troubled Pan American World Airways.

Towers also announced the composition of the new company's board of directors. Its members are former Atty. Gen. John N. Mitchell; Edward M. Nixon, a business consultant and brother of former President Richard M. Nixon; Abraham Hirschfeld, a New York and Florida real estate developer who once ran for the U.S. Senate from New York, and former Rep. Thomas B. Evans Jr. (R-Del.), who once was co-chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Notably absent from the list was former Navy Secretary John F. Lehman Jr. Towers had said Oct. 12, when it initially announced that it would attempt a takeover of Pan American, that it was seeking to enlist Lehman's aid; later, it said Lehman was leading its effort.

But Towers Chairman Steven Hoffenberg indicated Tuesday that Lehman is no longer associated with the takeover move.

"We paid him a lot of money," Hoffenberg said in a telephone interview. "He still has a contract with us. But you are putting me in an embarrassing position." Lehman, who could not be reached for comment, apparently was not favored by Pan American's unions, according to a source close to Towers' efforts. Cooperation by Pan American's five major unions is regarded as crucial to any sale or reorganization of the airline.

Towers also said recently that former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul A. Volcker might be enlisted to help. But Volcker has said since that he had no plans to become involved.

Meanwhile, board members of Pan Am Corp., the airline's parent company, are scheduled to meet today to continue discussions on whether to sell the airline to Dallas-based Braniff Inc.

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