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Florida lumber dealer named as finalist to interview President Bush

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Don Magruder, CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply in Leesburg, Fla., has been chosen as one of five finalists in a national contest to interview former President George W. Bush about his upcoming memoir, “Decision Points.”

Magruder and the other four finalists were picked from among 3,100 entries who also submitted five questions to ask President Bush. The top 100 finalists were then asked to upload a two-minute video explaining why they are the most qualified to conduct the citizen interview.

If selected, Magruder will receive a round-trip airfare to Dallas; the opportunity to interview Bush about his book; and a personalized, signed copy of “Decision Points.”

Magruder, who operates a five-location LBM chain in Central Florida, proposed the following questions:

• Was there ever a time in which a political decision was made for the good of all that hurt a political friend? • At any point in your presidency did you wish you had never run for office? • After making tough decisions, how did you handle self doubt? • During your term and afterwards, you have been reluctant to defend yourself. Do you believe history will ultimately judge you better? • Did hard decisions while in office bring you to a point of questioning God?

In his video, Magruder stressed the importance of discussing President Bush’s choices within a historical context in order to find out the reasons behind certain policy decisions.

“I think to ask questions like ‘Why did you make this certain decision?’ is pointless. The decisions were made, and it has been hashed over many times. What’s more important to me, and I think a lot of Americans, is learning what were the historical circumstances, political environment and who were the people involved. That’s a story that has not been told yet.”

Magruder’s video has been posted on President Bush’s official Facebook page; the video that receives the most votes will win the contest. The deadline is Saturday, Nov. 6.

To vote for Magruder, visit the George W. Bush Facebook page and click “Like” in order to vote. Find the tab that says “Video Contest” to view the entries and voting selections. Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply also has a link to the page posted on its website.

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Lowe’s raises offer to drywall victims

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lowe’s has substantially raised its offer to customers who claim they bought defective drywall at its stores in Georgia after coming under criticism for its previous offer, according to a report by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Pro Publica.

In Lowe’s latest offer, filed on Oct. 28, affected homeowners are now eligible for up to $100,000 in cash, instead of gifts cards in the amounts of $50, $250 or $2,000, with a maximum payout of $4,500 in combined cash and gift cards. The previous settlement had been offered as part of a class action lawsuit that is being negotiated in a Georgia state court.

The earlier settlement set aside $6.5 million for victims and $2.1 million for the attorneys who negotiated the agreement. This resulted in an outcry from public interest attorneys and consumer advocates, who also criticized the payout as being too low. The cost of removing and replacing tainted drywall and corroded electrical wiring can cost $100,000, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The newly amended settlement was negotiated by a separate team of attorneys on behalf of a Florida corrections officer. Lowe’s has set aside an additional $2.25 million for the homeowners in this case. The original attorneys will still get $2.1 million in fees. The new attorneys will receive a separate fee based on how many $100,000 claims Lowe’s eventually pays.

The North Carolina retailer has stated that it does not believe the drywall it sold was defective because Lowe’s vendors assured the company that they never sold it any Chinese drywall. Lowe’s entered into the original agreement “as part of our commitment to serving our customers,” according to a company statement.

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Sentence for former Depot buyer

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A former Home Depot product category merchant was sentenced to more than two years in prison for participating in what has been described as a $1.5 million fraud scheme in the retailer’s flooring department.

According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Ronald Douglass Matheny II, 43, of Chattanooga, Tenn., was sentenced to two years and three months after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and additional charges.

The trials of those involved in the kickback scheme that occurred from 2002 to 2007 have been slowly working their way through the court system.

In April, two of the three figures involved were sentenced. James Robinson, a former divisional merchandise manager for hard flooring at Home Depot received a sentence of 63 months in prison. Ronald Johnston, the company’s global product merchant for rugs, was sentenced to 46 months in prison. Both men were also ordered to pay $1.8 million.

In June, former buyer Anthony Tesvich was sentenced to six and a half years.

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