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Tuesday, December 7, 2004


Classified Ads---Attorneys
    GE Capital Becomes Hero in NorVergence Scandal
        "What a Year!!" by Ron Caruso
            "What Lessors Are Saying About...Leasing's Future"
BB&T Moves from IDS To Oracle
    Dash on way to Hawaii for Five Day Leave
        Bank of the West Debuts in Ten New States
            Multistate Tax Up-Date
Long on Generosity, but Short on Cash?
    GATX Announces Management Changes at GATX Rail
        News Briefs---
            Sports Briefs---
                "Gimme that Wine"
                    This Day in American History
                        American Football Poem

######## surrounding the article denotes it is a “press release”


SAN FRANCISCO---In the winter of 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joe McFee put a crab pot on the San Francisco docks and asked citizens to "keep the pot boiling" by making donations so he could feed the needy at Christmastime.These days, we all know this "crab pot" to be The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle


Classified Ads---Attorneys

These are attorneys who specialize in the leasing industry, representing all sides, often within a specific geographic location.

California - statewide: CA "ELA"
5-attorney creditors rights law firm, in biz 25 yrs +, specialize all aspects of creditor representation. Primarily represent equipment lessors & funders, plus collection and creditor rep. in bankruptcy.
Email: phemar@hemar.com
Website: www.hemar.com

California - statewide: Encino, CA. "ELA"
24 Attorney AV-rated Law firm representing the Leasing Industry for over 25 Years. We specialize in Lease-enforcement, collection and representation in Bankruptcy Court.
Email: sjenkins@hemar-rousso.com
Website: www.hemar-rousso.com

Connecticut, Southern New England: EVANS, FELDMAN & BOYER, LLC Collections, litigation, documentation, portfolio sales and financing, bankruptcy. We represent many of the national and local leasing companies doing business in this state. Past chairman EAEL legal committee. Competitive rates.
Email: rcfeldman@snet.net EAEL

Law Firm - Service, Dallas, TX. ELA
Mayer regularly practices in leasing, secured financing, project development and finance and corporate finance.
Email: dmayer@pattonboggs.com
Website: www.pattonboggs.com

Los Angeles, Statewide: CA. "ELA" Aggressive creditors rights law firm specializing in equipment leasing handling collection matters on a contingency, fixed fee or hourly basis.
Email: RGarwacki@prodigy.net

Los Angeles -statewide: CA "ELA "
Practice limited to collections, bankruptcy and problem accounts resolution. Decades of experience. 10-lawyer firm dedicated to serving you. Call Ronald Cohn, Esq. (818)591- 2121 or email.
Email: rrcohn@aol.com

Los Angeles, CA.
Wagner & Zielinski, successfully representing lessees/ lessors. Not a member of any leasing organization, therefore not beholden to special interests. Richard Wagner (562) 597-0450 www.wzlawyers.com

Long Beach CA.
Paul Bent, helping settle deals that have gone bad. Attorney for 20+ years with GoodSmith & Co., now providing mediation and dispute resolution for lessees and lessors.

Full staff of attorneys and legal assistants work with Group Leader Barry S. Marks to ensure prompt, cost-effective responses to client needs:
Email: poetbarry@aol.com
Website: www.leaselawyer.com

National: Coston & Lichtman: Business attorneys serving the lease-finance industry since 1980. Transactional, documentation, corporate; workouts, litigation, bankruptcy. Chicago & Florida offices. Jim Coston, CLP (Members: ELA/UAEL/MAEL)
Email: Jcoston@costonlaw.com
Website: www.leaselawyer.com

Northern California - Statewide: CA "EAEL" "ELA"
San Francisco expertise at Marin County prices; practice limited to equipment leasing and finance with 22 years experience, testimonials. Ken Greene, Esq.
Vox: 415 461 3777
Email: keng@kengreenelaw.com
Website: www.kengreenelaw.com

To view all Classified ads, please go here:


GE Capital Becomes Hero in NorVergence Scandal

by Kit Menkin

In a surprise move, GE Capital made a settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and his staff regarding 100 approximate leases for the so-called "matrix box" and long distance telephone service from Norvergence, who filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July.

The fact is GE Capital not only agreed to forgive about $2 million in claims against businesses in New York, but also will make money available to reimburse some of these companies who have been paying over the past few months, as part of the settlement.

"I commend GE Capital for its decision to waive the bulk of the remaining payments," Spitzer said.

NY AG Eliot Spitzer

"This agreement will bring an expedited resolution to many small businesses that were struggling to meet dead-end obligations while simultaneously paying for replacement telecommunications services," he concluded.

"We worked with [Spitzer] to forge a proper settlement for those harmed by Norvergence, including ourselves," a GE spokesman told the New York Daily News. "This needed to be done. We're glad we could get it sorted out."

While competitors may state GE Capital has the money to make such a settlement, they also have the most to fight it.

They evidently weighed all the sides of the issue and decided it was best to "reach an agreement.” I certainly would be influenced by their business decision if I were a lessor involved in this mess.

I think the overwhelming majority of attorney's work toward a settlement for all parties involved, rather than go to trial for a judgment.

Leasing News has stated to both lessee's and lessors from the very beginning in this NorVergence scandal, it is a better business decision to "settle."

Michael Scott Green, Class Counsel for the nationwide New Jersey class action, also working as a team with five other statewide class actions, had "no comment." Basically he wanted to read the terms of the settlement, which he had not seen at this date. Obviously those in the settlement will not become part of the class action suit.

It is certainly quite different with a powerful office such as the attorney general of New York offering a resolution, at least with one lessor. The Equipment Leasing Association (ELA), the largest and most influential industry trade organization, sent a contingent of their top people here, in person, as they could see the writing on the wall.

October 14, Equipment Leasing Association representatives met with five officials of the NY Attorney General for nearly three hours to discuss small ticket leasing practices in general in connection with the investigation of the NorVergence matter. ELA was represented by General Counsel Ed Groobert, President Michael Fleming and Paul Gamez, an executive with Great America Leasing. The meeting was held to review and reinforce certain legal principles fundamental to small ticket leasing and to discuss how small ticket leasing is conducted.

The meeting concluded with a defining question. One senior staff member asked how frequent this kind of thing (NorVergence matter) occurs. Ed Groobert who has been counsel to ELA for 35 years and Michael Fleming who has been president for 25 years agreed that they had never seen anything like it. NorVergence is unique, it is a dramatic exception to the rule.

The press release from Attorney General Spitzer on the settlement stated:

“NorVergence's sales force was trained to apply deceptive and high pressure sales tactics to prospective customers, which included small businesses, not-for-profits, and religious institutions. Nationally, the company secured approximately 11,000 customers; nearly 1,000 in New York.

“The company's customers typically signed five-year contracts, which the company then sold at a discount, to third-party financial institutions including GE Capital. The financial institutions, in turn then billed customers under the original contract terms. These multi-year commitments purported to obligate customers to pay as much as $340,000 for the matrix box, even though the market value of the devices was no more than $1,500.

“Last summer, a federal bankruptcy court declared NorVergence bankrupt. As a result, customers were left without telecommunications services, and had to purchase alternative service, on a per call basis. Yet the financial institutions continued to bill customers for the discontinued services. Many of the financing institutions sued, both in New York and in states with which the customers had no contacts to collect on the agreements.

“Pursuant to the negotiated settlement, GE Capital has agreed to honor the following conditions as they existed on July 15, 2004:

“Forgive 85% of the remaining rental agreement balances; Forgive any late fees, penalties and property insurance charges; Credit any payments made; and Withdraw any adverse credit reports.

In addition, Spitzer also formally notified 19 financial institutions of his impending legal action in connection with the fraudulent NorVergence telecommunications agreements. Institutions to whom notices were sent are:

“Alfa Financial Corporation; BB&T Leasing Corporation; Celtic Bank Corporation; CIT Technology Financing Services, Inc.; Commerce Commercial Leasing, LLC; Court Square Leasing Corporation; DeLage Landen Financial Services, Inc.; Dolphin Capital; IFC Credit Corp.; Irwin Business Finance; Liberty Bank; National City Commercial Capital Corp. (formerly known as Information Leasing Corporation); Popular Leasing USA, Inc.; Preferred Capital, Inc.; Sterling Bank Leasing, Inc.; Studebaker-Worthington Leasing Corp.; TCF Leasing, Inc.; U.S. Bancorp Leasing and Financial, Inc.; and Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc. Notices were also sent to Thomas Salzano and Peter Salzano as officers of the bankrupt NorVergence.

“Consumers wishing to file a complaint pertaining to a NorVergence telecommunications contract may contact the Attorney General's toll-free consumer helpline (800) 771-7755, or visit our website at www.oag.state.ny.us.

“This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorneys General Joy Feigenbaum, Keith Gordon, Shahla Ali and Andrew Davis under the direction of Susanna Zwerling, Chief of the Telecommunications and Energy Bureau, Thomas Conway, Chief of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau, and Terryl Brown Clemons, Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Division of Public Advocacy.”

The attorneys general in other states, including New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas are all pursuing legal action to stop the leasing companies from forcing payments.

The Federal Trade Commission started its own probe into Norvergence, claiming the New Jersey-based bankrupt telecom defrauded investors.

According to the New York Daily News, “Sen. Hillary Clinton had asked the FTC to investigate and, when the commission announced its probe, said she was ‘confident the announcement will result in justice being served'." She is following up on this in Washington, DC.

NorVergence is in bankruptcy with all creditors given to basically the end of the year to make their claims on any assets that may be available.

For Leasing News readers who have not been following our stories for the last two years about NorVergence, here are current articles:



“What a Year!!”

by Ron Caruso

Something for everyone in the leasing industry-perhaps that is the best summary for the year that is rapidly coming to a close. Of course that “something” wasn't always good news.

Just look at the big ticket segment. Due to perceived excesses (at least in the eyes of certain members of Congress), new rules were promulgated. This effectively closed down certain types of leasing, specifically sale/leasebacks involving municipal assets, which had become an attractive investment opportunity for big ticket lessors. Additionally lease accounting is again under scrutiny, on both sides of the pond.

The middle market continued to provide something for everyone, except not as much-at least from a spread or ROI vantage point. The vendor-oriented small ticket segment provided increased volume opportunities, but in this segment as well the competition was intense. How intense? Well, several players exited from all or various parts of it. Noteworthy in this regard were American Express Business Finance and Citigroup.

Similarly, the service providers were given new opportunities, but the capabilities required to compete limited the playing field, especially among the software providers. Even the equipment manufacturing side is being impacted, with rumors (see story below) of IBM exiting the PC landscape changing that playing field, perhaps dramatically.

So how do we read the proverbial tea leaves? Two significant business issues have been spoken about many times before, but will continue to occupy the planning of the senior management of leasing companies into the new year:

1) What is my position relative to my competitors?

2) Can I make money in this business (many parent entities have asked and more will continue to ask this question). The answer to this question, make no mistake about it, will delight or haunt lessors in the coming year. Will they be able to continue to compete, both internally for fund allocation and externally for new business?

For most lessors, equipment financing continues to be a question of lease rates vs. money costs. The majority have not been able to differentiate themselves significantly, in order to avoid this. Some have-by offering vendor financing on a national or international basis, or effectively combining several different types of financing to meet a lessor or lessee's divergent capital requirements. This has enabled them to compete on a basis that is not as rate intensive.

It is probable the new year will see more restructuring within the leasing industry. Look for smaller bank lessors to re-evaluate the desirability of maintaining a full-service leasing operation. A combination of reporting and equity requirements courtesy of Oxley-Sarbanes may result in the outsourcing of some of these operations. Additionally, the scale of leasing operations has increased: big is cheaper from an operational standpoint and thus also more competitive. The minnows will continue to survive, as long as they stay close to shore and don't venture into the deep waters where the whales are. Knowing your niche and sticking to your knitting should be the mantra for the new year. Stay tuned.




Sr. Underwriter - Don't Pass This One Up. Key position. Unique opportunity. Requires
5-7 yrs+ small ticket lease underwriting w/both credit assessment & equip valuation expertise. Portsmouth, NH office.
Please send resume to: RHenderson@DirectCapital.com

Direct Capital is a leading provider of financing solutions for businesses, nationwide. Recognized five times as one of NH's top 100 employers and named to the Inc 500, Direct Capital has become known in the industry as an employer of choice…and one of its fastest growing companies.

"What Lessors Are Saying About...Leasing's Future"


As another year closes and lessors prepare for 2005, ELT E-news, published by the Equipment Leasing Association, thought to check in with a few industry leaders to gauge their level of optimism or pessimism for the industry's future. Overall, most lessors appeared positive about leasing's outlook for 2005 compared to the last two years.

Pedro Wasmer of Somerset Capital Group, Ltd. agreed that most people were "cautiously optimistic. They were glad to see interest rates edging back up, and pretty confidant for a strong 2005."

Dave D'Antonio of Diversity Capital LLC agreed. "We see a high level of optimism. It is definitely a good time to be in the business. Lessors are realizing dividends from the last year or two when they invested in technology, invested in people and tightened their credit. They are now enjoying the benefits of that as they process demand for equipment."

Ken Collins of Susquehanna Patriot Commercial Leasing Company said, "Overall small ticket and middle ticket are doing really well, which is part of the reason for such optimism. Now that the election is over and rates were held down leading to low cost of funds in addition to charge-offs being low, times are good."

He added, "The economy is doing better and smaller businesses are spending again. That's not true of larger companies, but smaller businesses are moving forward with their purchasing."

Matt Shieman of Matsco Companies said, "I heard plenty of optimistic comments from those that I spoke to during the ELA convention. It seems that companies will do well in 2004 and are projecting to have even better results in 2005. Many of the issues that plagued the industry in 2000 and 2001 have self corrected to some degree. There is plenty of liquidity today, portfolio performance is strong, business valuations are up, and the economy appears to be getting stronger. All of which help contribute to a strong and growing equipment leasing industry."

Not everything in the industry will be wine and roses, however. "If there was one concern I had, it would be where yield were headed," said Collins.

Shieman concurred saying, "Margins continue to shrink, to some degree due to ‘too much money chasing too few deals.'"

Jonathan Fales of the Alta Group also added, "It looks like we are moving into a period of potentially major changes to the tax code over the next couple of years. We, as an industry, will need to monitor these, and work closely with the ELA to make sure our legislators are clear on the ramifications of the changes on the leasing industry and on capital spending as a result."

"The playing field has shifted due to regulatory changes," said Shieman. "So now we need to see where we want to go as an industry over the next three to five years. The time is right to think about this. Where could we go? Where could we be?"

It appears to be a good time to think about the answers.



BB&T Moves from IDS To Oracle

Bank Technology News

New regulatory demands, technological advances, and data-sharing expectations have led equipment leasing companies to seek software upgrades for their leasing contract databases. BB&T Leasing recently decided to upgrade from International Decision Systems' (IDS) InfoLease program to the more advanced ProFinia accounting program, which uses an Oracle database.

BB&T President Joel Rutledge says the new system will allow the company to provide clients with customized invoices more easily and will improve the efficiency of the firm's buyout quotes.

The Equipment Leasing Association reports that bank-affiliated leasing companies like BB&T currently make up about 132 of the association's 800 members. As bank lessors' originations have risen, it has become more important for leasing divisions to keep track of contract details.

"The bottom line is you have to be able to go back to the original source of data and make sure it's accurate," says Mike Noonan, head of Lease Management Consulting.

IDS' ProFinia program is based on an "asset-centric" model that allows users to look at all the information pertaining to a particular lease in order to determine the value of a piece of equipment at any given time.

While the program has its benefits, it is significantly more expensive than InfoLease, which starts at around $25,000; IDS prices ProFinia on a per-client basis.


Dash on way to Hawaii for Five Day Leave

In this one, he is the one in the middle:

“Hey dad... the first pic was just taken last week when we were finishing up with shorepower...leaving Singapore (Singapore in the background...)”

Back row, second from the right:

“The other was taken in the Red Sea a few months ago coalition ops with the Pakistan navy...”


#### Press Release ####################

Bank of the West Debuts in Ten New States;
Former Community First Sites Now Part of Bank of the West

SAN FRANCISCO------Bank of the West introduced its distinctive bear brand in 133 markets in 10 more states as the San Francisco-based bank completed its integration of Community First National Bank. Former Community First locations in 12 states opened today as Bank of the West locations -- including 46 in Colorado, 26 in Wyoming, 27 in Minnesota and 16 in Arizona. Former Community First locations were also converted to Bank of the West in California, the Dakotas, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah, and Wisconsin. Adding 166 new locations in all, Bank of the West now operates 463 banking locations in 16 states.

"This is an exciting day as we introduce our brand and the personalized service that has been the hallmark of Bank of the West for 130 years," said Don J. McGrath, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bank of the West. "New Bank of the West signs are on the branches, and customers will find the same familiar folks that have been serving their banking, financial and insurance needs. Our new customers will also have some new choices of consumer and business banking products and services to fit their specific situations."

Community First Bankshares, Inc. was acquired by Bank of the West's parent company BancWest Corporation, in a $1.2 billion transaction that concluded in November. As a result of the acquisition, Bank of the West becomes one of the four largest Western-based commercial banks in the United States. Along with the expanded branch system, Bank of the West adds an administrative center in Fargo, North Dakota as well as a regional administrative center in Denver. "Our strategy is to add more locations to our network, especially in our new 10-state territory, both by acquisition and by locating new branches in high growth communities," McGrath added.

In January, Bank of the West will further increase its presence in California's Central Valley with its integration of Stockton, California-based Union Safe Deposit Bank. Union Safe operates 19 bank branches in San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties and had total assets of $1.2 billion at September 30, 2004. After the Union Safe Deposit integration, Bank of the West will operate 480 banking locations in 16 Western and Midwestern states.

Bank of the West offers a full range of products and services, among them:

-- Consumer banking -- full retail and small-business deposit, credit and investment services emphasizing personalized customer service and decentralized decision-making

-- Consumer finance -- loans and leases for automobiles, recreational vehicles and marine pleasure boats and home equity loans and lines of credit

-- Commercial banking -- lending and deposit services for middle-market companies

-- Specialized expertise includes Agribusiness, Real Estate & Construction, Church Lending, Government Banking, Title, Escrow & Property Management, Financial Institutions and Health Care

-- Cash Management, Capital Markets, Foreign Exchange, International Trade & Trade Finance, Corporate Deposits, Loan Syndications and Equipment Leasing services

-- Small business lending -- including SBA-guaranteed loans

-- Wealth Management -- full range of trust and investment services and investment management

-- Insurance -- through its subsidiary, BW Insurance, Inc., the Bank offers auto, homeowners, worker's compensation and general liability insurance

Part of a Global Enterprise

Bank of the West (http://www.bankofthewest.com), with $37 billion in assets, is part of BancWest Corporation, a bank holding company wholly owned by BNP Paribas. BancWest Corporation (http://www.bancwest.com) has approximately $ 48 billion in assets and now serves 3.4 million accounts through more than 500 branches in 17 states, Guam and Saipan. BancWest's other principal subsidiary is First Hawaiian Bank. BNPP is a global financial services group, with its heritage in Europe, leading positions in Asia and an active presence in the United States.


### Press Release ######################


*** Announcement******************************

Multistate Tax Up-Date

Attached is NCSL Task Force correspondence regarding Multistate Tax Commission control of the Streamlined Sales Tax central registration system.

Dennis Brown
Equipment Leasing Association



**** Announcement ***************************

Long on Generosity, but Short on Cash?

Don't Let the Economy Curb your Giving Impulses

BBB Wise Giving Alliance Suggests “Alternative” Giving Possibilities

Arlington, VA, – Many charities are counting on the generosity of the holiday season to bring in a significant portion of their contributions revenue, despite a slowly recovering economy. If you're not able to give as much as you would like this year, you may wish to consider “alternative” giving possibilities. And, you'll definitely want to ensure that your donation, no matter how big or small, does the greatest good.

“The current economy may put the bite on both donors and charities at precisely the moment when contributions and the ‘safety net' provided by charities are needed the most,” said Art Taylor, president and CEO, BBB Wise Giving Alliance, “Those able to give should take extra care to make sure that their dollars end up in the hands of well managed charities. Those who are not able to donate cash should explore creative ‘alternative' giving opportunities.”

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance emphasizes that whether donating cash, goods, or services, donors should check out charities before they contribute.

“Even if you scale back your contribution, it is no less imperative that you take prudent steps to make certain the charity is worthy of support. The BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers detailed reports on hundreds of national charities, and donors can contact their Better Business Bureau for information on local and regional charities,” Taylor said.

The BBB Wise Giving Alliance offers the following tips for donors interested in making their contributions count this holiday season.

1. DO A LITTLE “DETECTIVE WORK.” Researching the charity beforehand can help avoid dollars being siphoned off by poorly managed charities in a period of greatest need. Visit give.org for giving tips and free access to detailed Alliance reports on national charities that specify which charities meet or do not meet the Alliance's comprehensive charity standards. During 2003, individuals visited give.org over 2 million times to view an Alliance national charity reports. (For information on local charities, go to bbb.org to contact the Better Business Bureau in your area.)

2. CONSIDER DONATING TOYS, FOOD OR OTHER ITEMS. Many community charities are seeking donations of food, toys, clothing or other items during the holiday season. Consider contacting a charity to find out what donated items it needs if your cash is tight this time of year. The latest edition of the BBB Wise Giving Guide quarterly magazine features a cover story on Food Donation Programs and includes a summary of the latest evaluation results of the Alliance's national charity evaluations in relation to its comprehensive standards. To receive a complimentary copy, write to: BBB Wise Giving Guide, 4200 Wilson Blvd., Suite 800, Arlington, VA, 22203.

3. DONATING YOUR CAR, BEFORE THE 2005 TAX RULE CHANGES. Upcoming 2005 changes in the tax rules for car donations will, in many cases, result in lower charitable deductions for such gifts. As a result, donating a car before the end of 2004 may present another alternative giving option. Be mindful, however, to check out the charity's activities and also find out how it will benefit from the donation of your car. In some cases, the charity may receive a flat amount ($100 per vehicle) or a small percentage of the re-sale of the car. For additional car donation tips go to www.give.org/tips/usedcar.asp.

4. VOLUNTEERING YOUR TIME. Volunteering your time can be personally rewarding and just as important to the charity as a cash contribution. Nevertheless, it is wise for potential volunteers to find out more about the charity before making a commitment. Volunteering need not involve directly assisting those in need (such as ladling the soup at the homeless shelter). Assisting the charity with office activities or other needed tasks can be just as helpful. While the value of your time is not deductible, some out-of-pocket expenses directly related to volunteering (such as transportation costs) might be deductible.

5. IS THE CHARITY REGISTERED TO SOLICIT? Whether the solicitation is by mail, phone, in-person, or through coin canisters, charities are usually required to file information with government agencies. About 40 states require charities to register with a state government agency (usually the state's office of the attorney general or the secretary of state.) You can contact these agencies for available information about the charity and to verify if the organization is appropriately registered. Although regulations vary from state to state, keep in mind that registration in and of itself does not mean the state “approves” or “endorses” the charity.

6. CAUSE-RELATED PROMOTIONS. During the holidays you will see advertisements announcing that the purchase of certain items in retail stores will benefit a specified cause. Such purchases present another option for helping charities during the holidays. One of the Alliance's charity standards recommends, however, that you look for a disclosure that indicates the actual or estimated amount of the purchase that will go to the specified charity. In most cases, this will be less than 10% of the price.

7. DOES THE CHARITY MEET ALLIANCE STANDARDS? The BBB Wise Giving Alliance's Standards for Charity Accountability go beyond what the law requires of charities and address issues such as charity finances, governance, charity effectiveness, fund raising, and donor privacy. Visit give.org to learn more about these criteria. If the soliciting organization is a national charity that is not already the subject of an Alliance report, encourage them to visit give.org and voluntarily participate in the Alliance's evaluation process. The Alliance does not charge charities for its evaluations and the resultant reports are free to the public.

A final suggestion: if you can't give this holiday season, make plans to do so next year. “Honest charities will welcome your donation next month, next year, or whenever you are able to contribute,” Taylor advised.


**** Announcement ***************************

### Press Release #####################

GATX Corporation Announces Management Changes at GATX Rail

CHICAGO, -- GATX Corporation today announced that David M. Edwards has elected to step down as President of GATX Rail. James F. Earl was elected by the GATX Board of Directors as Executive Vice President - Rail of GATX Corporation and will be GATX's senior Rail executive. Mr. Edwards will remain in an advisory capacity to assist in the transition for a period of time.

Mr. Edwards stated, "I have enjoyed working with the talented, dedicated team of employees serving the company and I am gratified to leave the GATX rail group well-positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities in the improving economy."

Ronald H. Zech, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GATX stated, "Dave has been a valued member of the GATX leadership team, serving us well in a variety of operating, financial and strategic roles. I respect his decision to pursue a new course in his career. We wish him well and thank him for his many years of valuable service."

On the election of Mr. Earl, Mr. Zech stated, "For over 15 years Jim's insight and expertise has been invaluable to us as we have grown our rail business. The leadership that he has displayed during his tenure with GATX will continue to be a valuable asset as he assumes this senior role at GATX Rail."

Mr. Earl joined GATX Capital's Rail Group in 1988 as Director. Since 2001, Mr. Earl was responsible for the North American commercial activities of the company, including sales, marketing, fleet management, customer service, and locomotive operations. In addition, he has responsibility for GATX Rail's global structured finance activities. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Earl served as Director - Service and Equipment Planning - with Soo Line Railroad, and with Southern Pacific Railroad as a Terminal Superintendent, Assistant Terminal Superintendent and Assistant Trainmaster. Mr. Earl received his BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis in 1979 and his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 1981.

Mr. Edwards was elected President of GATX Rail in October 2000. Previously, Mr. Edwards served as President of GATX's Integrated Solutions Group from 1999 to 2000 and Chief Financial Officer of GATX Corporation from 1994 to 1999. Mr. Edwards joined GATX in 1981 and served in a number of management positions.


GATX Corporation (NYSE: GMT) is a specialized finance and leasing company combining asset knowledge and services, structuring expertise, partnering, and capital to provide business solutions to customers and partners worldwide. GATX specializes in railcar, locomotive, and aircraft operating leasing.

Investor, corporate, financial, historical financial, photographic and news release information may be found at www.gatx.com .


### Press Release ######################


News Briefs---

LaSalle Bank Building in Chicago Fire

Dollar Hits a Record Low Against Euro

Electronic Transactions Beat Checks for First Time, Fed Says

More U.S. home buyers fall prey to predatory lenders



Sports Briefs---

Seahawks can't keep up with Jones

Hawks lose seesaw battle with Cowboys, 43-39

Cal coach gets five-year contract



“Gimme that Wine”

Largest Champagne Harvest Ever—Plenty for Everyone

High court decision could greatly affect profits of some local vintners

SF Chronicle's Top 100 Wines of 2004

Wine School Wars

Two of the best enology programs in the country are right here in California, but which makes a better winemaker, Davis or Fresno?

Imperial Reserve: Collected for czars, saved by Stalin, sold by Sotheby's



This Day in American History

    1661--Under pressure from the British Parliament, the American Colony of Massachusetts suspended its Corporal Punishment Act of 1656, which had imposed harsh penalties on Quakers and other religious Nonconformists.
    1787-The Federal Constitution was signed by all 30 members of the Constitutional Convention. Thomas Collins, who was president of Delaware at that time, automatically became the first state governor.
    1787 - Delaware became the "First State" when it was first to ratify the proposed United States Constitution. As a result of their quick action, it was admitted first into to the Union. Also known as the Diamond State, Delaware is the smallest of the Southern states and is the second smallest of all 50 states. The state bird of Delaware is the blue hen chicken.
    1801- Abigail Hopper Gibbons birthday- U.S. prison reformer and whose New York home was a stop for runaway slaves. Raised in the Quaker tradition of good works, she was instrumental in established reform in women's prisons in New York, personally assisted and aided a number of assistance programs including a home for indigent infants and children. She nursed for 3.5 years during the civil War and her criticisms and reforms of hospital and surgical conditions earned her the enmity of many Army officers and medical men. Her pre-war anti-slavery campaigns translated into compassionate care for the freed slaves; her home had been a stop for runaway slaves. Her fight for police matrons rather than men guards who often abused and raped women prisoners was one of her most significant campaigns and at age 91 she was victorious in the creation of a women's reformatory in New York City.
    1808-James Madison was elected president of the United States. George Clinton, Republican of New York, was elected vice-president. The electoral vote was Madison, Democratic-Republican of Virginia, 122, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a Federalist of South Carolina, 47' George Clinton, 6. In the vice president race the electoral vote was Clinton, 113; Rufus King, Federalist of New York, 47
    1836- Martin Van Buren was elected president of the United Sates. The electoral vote was Van Buren, 170; William Henry Harrison, Anti-Masonic candidate, 73: Sen. Hugh L. White of Tennessee, anti-Jacksonian Democrat, 26; Daniel Webster, Massachusetts Whig candidate, 14,; and William P. Mangum of North Carolina, 11. The popular vote was Van Buren, 761,549; Harrison, 549,567; White 145,396; Webster, 41,287. None of the four vice presidential candidates received a majority of the electoral votes. The Senate, for the first and only time, had to choose, naming Richard M. Johnson of Kentucky to the office.
    1842 --New York Philharmonic's first concert
    1848- father and son who were senators at the same session were Henry Dodge of Wisconsin and his son Augustus Caesar Dodge of Iowa, who sat this day together to February 22,1855, in the 30 th to 33 rd Congresses. They had previously served as delegates to the House of Representatives in the 27 th and 287 th Congress, From March 4, 1941, to March 3, 1945,prior to the statehood of their territories. Henry Dodge continued to serve in the Senate until March 3, 1857.
    1865-The Stetson hat is introduced as John Stetson opens one-man hat factory in Philadelphia, Pa. Stetson, the son of a hat maker, had previously attempted to establish himself in the business, but ill health had forced him to travel to Illinois, Missouri, and Colorado. During his travels he had noticed the style of hat favored by westerners and, after a slow start in Philadelphia, he began to design new hats based on the western styles. His business began to expand rapidly. By 1906, he employed 3500 workers and was selling 2,000,0000 hats a year. The Stetson hat had a broad brim and its crown was tall, enough to sport ten ornamental braids, known as galloons. It was the mispronunciation of the word galloon, that gave the world the term ten-gallon hat.
    1868-- Jesse James gang robs bank in Gallatin MO, kills 1, take is $700.
    1873-Birthday of American author Willa Cather born at Winchester, VA. Died at New York, NY, April 24,1947. Best known for her novels about the development of early 20 th -century American life, such as “Pioneers/ and My Antonia. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1922 for her book One of Ours.
    1874-About 70 blacks were killed when they attacked the courthouse at Vicksburg, Miss. The blacks rioted over the intimidation and ejection of a carpetbag sheriff by the white of Vicksburg. ( history does not record whether they were born here or where, thus they a "blacks" to historians )
    1909- bandleader Teddy Hill born Birmingham, AL.
    1911-Singer/trumpet player Louis Prima Birthday

    1925 - In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, swimmer Johnny Weissmuller set a world record in the 150-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 25 and 2/5 seconds. Johnny went on to star as King of the Jungle, Tarzan, in movies, and setting records with women he met.
    1926-The first gas refrigerator to be successfully introduced into the American market was the Electrolux, which was sponsored by the Electrolux Refrigerator Sales Company of Evansville, Illinois. A tiny gas flame and a tiny flower of water in the refrigerator took the place of all moving parts, circulating a liquid refrigerant that was hermetically seal in rigid steel.
    1927- Ben Pollack records “Waitin' for Katie, “Memphis Blue.” Boom-chick-a-Boom beat is born.
    1935 - Severe flooding hit parts of the Houston, TX, area. Eight persons were killed as one hundred city blocks were inundated. Satsuma reported 16.49 inches of rain. The Buffalo and White Oak Bayous crested on the 9th.
    1941- At 7:55 local time in Hawaii, “ a date that will leave in infamy,” nearly 200 Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, long considered the US “Gibraltar of the Pacific.” The raid, which lasted little more than one hour, left nearly 3,000 dead. Nearly the entire US Pacific Fleet was at anchor there and few ships escaped damage. Several were sunk or disabled, while 200 aircraft on the ground were destroyed. The attack on Pearl Harbor brought about immediate US entry into World War II, a Declaration of War being requested by President Franklin D.. Roosevelt and approved by the Congress, December 8, 1941. On December 10, the Japanese invaded Luzon in the Philippines, where Gen. Douglas MacArthur commanded the defending U.S. and Philippine forces. December 11, Germany and Italy, in a pact with the Japanese, declared war against the United States. Misinterpreting the anti-war sentiment in the U.S., they thought we would not want to enter two separate wars, particularly with a decimated U.S. Navy and would leave Asia and Australia for Japan to conquer. They thought American's weak and without the will, particularly without the weapons to fight back.
(lower half of http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/dec07.html
    1952---Top Hits
Glow Worm - The Mills Brothers
Because You're Mine - Mario Lanza
Why Don't You Believe Me - Joni James
Back Street Affair - Webb Pierce
    1952 - On CBS Radio, "My Little Margie", starring Gale Storm and Charles Farrell, made debuted. The television version of the show began on June 16, 1952. "My Little Margie" lasted 3 years on radio. Storm got her own show, titled "The Gale Storm Show" and recorded several hit songs, including "I Hear You Knocking" and "Ivory Tower" between 1955-1957.
    1956-Birthday of Larry Bird, Hall of Fame basketball player, former coach, born West Baden, In.
    1957 - For the first of 6 weeks, Pat Boone was at the top of the pop charts with "April Love". His other number one hits would include "Ain't That a Shame", "I Almost Lost My Mind", "Don't Forbid Me" and "Love Letters in the Sand".
    1960---Top Hits
Are You Lonesome To-night? - Elvis Presley
Last Date - Floyd Cramer
Poetry in Motion - Johnny Tillotson
Wings of a Dove - Ferlin Husky
    1965-- The Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches formally reconciled themselves by reversing a mutual excommunication of each other, dating back (over 900 years!) to July 1054.
    1968---Top Hits
Love Child - Diana Ross & The Supremes
For Once in My Life - Stevie Wonder
I Heard It Through the Grapevine - Marvin Gaye
Stand By Your Man - Tammy Wynette
    1974 - "Kung Fu Fighting", by Carl Douglas, reached #1 on the pop charts, staying there for two weeks.
    1974 - Barry Manilow's recording, Mandy, entered Billboard's record charts on this date. It was Manilow's first hit, becoming Number 1 for a week and staying on the charts for 12 weeks. It was later certified gold.
    1976---Top Hits
Tonight's the Night (Gonna Be Alright) - Rod Stewart
The Rubberband Man - Spinners
You Don't Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show) - Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. Good Woman Blues - Mel Tillis
    1980- Considered one of the greatest comeback in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers, trailing the New Orleans Saints, 35-7, at halftime, scored four consecutive second-half touchdowns to force overtime. Ray Wershing then kicked a 36-yard field goal to give the 49ers a 38-35 win, considered by sports historians as the greatest come-from-behind victory in NFL regular-season history. Perhaps the Seattle Seahawks losing Monday, December 6, 2004, may also make the record books.

    1984---Top Hits
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - Wham!
Out of Touch - Daryl Hall & John Oates
Better Be Good to Me - Tina Turner
Your Heart's Not in It - Janie Fricke
    1986 - Basketball coach Pat Riley got his 300th coaching victory when the Los Angeles Lakers downed the Golden State Warriors, 132-100. It only took Pat 416 games to reach the milestone.
    1988 - An outbreak of cold arctic air brought up to 18 inches of snow to the Colorado Rockies, with 14 inches at Boulder CO, and seven inches at Denver. Heavy snow blanketed New Mexico the following day, with 15 inches reported near Ruidoso.
    2004-Happy Hanukkah


American Football Poem

Silver Lining To The Clouds Of Doubt

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow-
You might succeed with one last blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to be to a faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late, when night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out.
The silver lining to the clouds of doubt-
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may appear when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit-
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit!


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