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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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Generac unveils pressure washers

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Waukesha, Wis.-based Generac Power Systems is getting back into the pressure washer market.

In 1998, Generac sold its portable products business, which included pressure washers, to focus on developing home standby generators. In 2008, upon expiration of a non-compete agreement related to the sale, Generac re-entered the portable generator market, and is now re-introducing pressure washers.

The company is launching a line with three residential models — ranging from 2,500 PSI at 2.3 gallons per minute to 3,000 PSI at 2.7 gallons per minute — and three commercial models ranging from 3,000 PSI at 2.8 gallons per minute, to 4,000 PSI at 4.0 gallons per minute.

“Pressure washers are a perfect fit for Generac,” said Peter Chiello, senior product manager of Generac Power Systems. “They represent a natural evolution for us, especially given our expertise in portable generator design, and our previous work on pressure washers. We’re excited about our new line of pressure washers because we believe they really address what our customers are looking for — quality, value and ease of use.”

The company’s full line of Generac pressure washers will be available in the spring of 2011.

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Toro to help design fuel celled utility vehicles

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bloomington, Mich.-based Toro announced it has been selected to help design and build two fuel cell-powered utility vehicles with advanced hydrogen storage technology.

Toro was selected to partner with Ronkonkoma, N.Y.-based ATK, an aerospace and defense company, which was awarded the contract by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, which is collaborating with the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to coordinate hydrogen storage development efforts for the U.S. Department of Energy, the company said.

Toro recently completed a three-year demonstration of its new hydrogen-powered Workman utility vehicles for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The Workman was used at various sites, including Niagara Falls State Park, Bethpage State Park and Rockefeller Plaza Government Center. The vehicles were shown to operate reliably in shuttling workers and grounds equipment, hauling turf materials and assisting with refuse removal, the company said.

Toro’s Center for Advanced Turf Technology (CATT) will assist ATK in designing two operational machines based on the Toro Workman chassis. The group will also provide technical expertise on end-use applications.

“We’re excited to partner on this project to leverage our field experience and further our efforts in the development of alternative fuel solutions,” said Dana Lonn, director of Toro’s CATT Group. “Our motivation in alternative energy is to reduce emissions, hydraulic leaks and noise levels for our customers. Therefore, we need to remain aggressive in identifying the best technologies to deliver these results at a competitive price.”

The fuel cell utility vehicles, powered by a solid hydrogen storage system, are scheduled for delivery later this fall to the DLA for a 12-month operational demonstration.

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