Haas' legal issues won't affect company--GM.

Position:News & analysis

Machine tool builder Haas Automation Inc. is in no way affected as a business by the recent indictment of its founder, Gene Haas, according to a letter released by the company's general manager.

With regard to "any potential fiscal impact" from the indictment of Haas for alleged federal tax fraud, general manager Robert Murray states that "Gene has already personally paid the taxes that are the subject of the allegations, leaving Haas Automation free to conduct business as usual. And that really is the bottom line: business as usual."

Speaking for senior management at the Oxnard, CA-based company--the largest dollar-volume builder of machine tools in North America and the largest unit-volume builder of CNC machines in the world--Murray acknowledges that the events surrounding Haas' indictment and arrest have been "difficult." Nonetheless, management "remains confident that his innocence will be proven when these matters are finally cleared up," with Murray adding that "the case against [Haas] is based on speculation and conjecture."

Haas, 54, was arrested June 19 on federal tax-fraud charges for "allegedly orchestrating a scheme in which approximately $50 million of bogus expenses were put on the company's books in an attempt to avoid the payment of more than $20 million in federal income taxes," according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Haas, who was released from custody after posting a $10 million bail, entered a plea of not guilty on June 26. The trial is set to begin August 15, according to the Department of Justice.

"Even before the charges were filed," Murray notes, "Gene's primary focus was on the engineering aspects of the business, rather than the day-to-day management. The management team that is in place is exceptionally strong, with a proven track record of successfully guiding the company. The average time on the job at Haas Automation for our 13-member senior-management team is more than 12 years. Indeed, many of our senior managers have been with the company even longer.

"There is one final fact that should reassure you about our strength as a company: Haas Automation is entirely debt-free," Murray says. "Haas Automation has this remarkable record through the hard work and dedication of its employees, and by constantly seeking out and applying new technologies, and always searching for better ways to meet the needs of our customers. This will not stop.

"Another thing that will not stop is our dedication to the community,"...

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