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Parker Automotive Disputes Report of Visit by FBI Agents


SANTA ANA — An official of Parker Automotive Corp. said Wednesday that a Times report that the company had been visited by FBI agents this week was inaccurate.

The official, who asked not to be named, said that none of the more than a dozen men who visited the Costa Mesa company Monday morning to review financial records were FBI agents. The Times reported Wednesday that armed guards had been posted at the company and that several of the men were agents.

Parker Automotive officials had declined to comment earlier in the week.

Lawyers and accountants of another company founded by Parker Automotive Chairman Michael E. Parker appeared at an unusual closed hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana Wednesday afternoon.

Creditors of the other company, Parker North American Corp., which is in bankruptcy proceedings, are trying to persuade Bankruptcy Court Judge John E. Ryan to appoint a receiver to keep watch over Parker Automotive's affairs.

Parker North American, before it filed for bankruptcy, had some financial ties to Parker Automotive through founder Michael Parker. It lent money and performed free services for Parker Automotive.

All records of the proceedings concerning appointment of a receiver are sealed, and Ryan closed Wednesday's hearing to the press. Another hearing is set for Monday.

Parker Automotive is a publicly held maker of cleaning devices for engines. Trading of the over-the-counter stock was halted Tuesday, a day after lawyers for creditors of Parker North American visited the company.

The company said Wednesday that it had asked the National Assn. of Securities Dealers to stop trading pending an announcement the company has yet to make. The announcement, the company said, is unrelated to the legal struggle over the receiver.

The FBI routinely doesn't comment on investigations and wouldn't comment earlier this week on whether agents had visited the Parker Automotive offices. An FBI spokesman couldn't be reached late Wednesday.

Parker North American, the company in bankruptcy proceedings, leased banking equipment to banks and thrifts.

It filed for bankruptcy protection in March, 1989. Columbia Savings & Loan Assn. of Beverly Hills has sued the company and Parker, its former chairman, saying the thrift was defrauded of $13 million in phony investment deals.

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