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Probe of Big Lots CEO's trades roil shares

Dec. 08, 2012 @ 12:12 AM

NEW YORK -- Shares of Big Lots Inc. have slumped nearly 10 percent over the past three days after news that federal officials are investigating stock trades by its CEO.

In a Wednesday Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the Columbus, Ohio, company said that it received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York on Nov. 29 requesting information on trades by CEO Steven Fishman. The SEC has also begun its own probe on the matter.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter, that the Federal Bureau of Investigations and federal prosecutors were looking at whether Fishman had sold $10.3 million in stock in March based on an insider's knowledge of a coming negative corporate announcement.

The Journal said that investigators were interested in the March trades because they occurred outside of Fishman's "10b5-1" plan. The SEC's 10b5-1 rule lets executives trade company stock, even when they have insider knowledge, according to a pre-set plan for certain stock transactions over a period of time.

Ohio salvage industry: bill could cost jobs

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- Ohio's salvage industry says proposed state legislation that would open the auto salvage auction market to unlicensed buyers could cost up to 2,500 salvage jobs and eliminate consumer protection.

Opponents of Senate Bill 273 say allowing unlicensed in-state and out-of-state buyers to purchase vehicles from Ohio salvage pools and auctions could cost jobs by creating unfair competition for the salvage businesses that are heavily regulated.

Salvage vehicles are typically ones that have been wrecked or damaged and deemed too expensive to repair. Salvage yards usually buy them to sell the parts.

The Ohio Auto and Truck Recyclers Association opposes the bill, which is says would drive up the price of vehicles, increasing costs for smaller salvage yards by 20 to 30 percent.

Commissioner: State police against hemp

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer said his agency opposes proposals to grow industrial hemp in Kentucky even though he sees the benefits for the agriculture industry.

Brewer said after a meeting of the newly restarted Kentucky Hemp Commission that state police are concerned the agricultural pluses will be offset by law enforcement minuses such as distinguishing between hemp and its cousin, marijuana.

The commission, led by Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, held its second meeting since it came out of a decade-long dormancy. Comer is aggressively pursuing state legislation that would allow hemp, which is illegal to grow in the United States, to be grown in Kentucky with federal approval.

The commission was created in 2001 to oversee industrial hemp research in Kentucky and make recommendations to the governor. Last month, Comer convened the 18-member panel for the first time in a decade.

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