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USA Today Demands Apology From Goldome

April 12, 1989

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ Gannett Co. Inc.’s USA Today newspaper said Tuesday it has asked Goldome, one of the nation’s leading thrift institutions, to publicly apologize for using a likeness of the paper for its annual report.

″No organization with Goldome’s visibility has ever appropriated our format in such a large way,″ said Sheila Gibbons, a USA Today spokeswoman at Gannett headquarters in Arlington, Va.

In addition to a public apology, USA Today wants Buffalo-based Goldome to send letters to its shareholders and news organizations explaining that the bank’s use of the likeness was unauthorized.

USA Today also wants the bank to include a similar notice on any copies of the report distributed in the future, she said.

Ms. Gibbons said Goldome has already indicated it would apologize.

But Goldome spokesman Marc Chodorow said lawyers for the two companies were still discussing the situation and ″we’re hopeful that there will be a resolution of the problem soon.″

″In no way did we intend to cause confusion or do a disservice to USA Today,″ he said.

Chodorow said earlier that the bank considered the design of its annual report to be its own.

Goldome lost $119 million last year and is having difficulty meeting regulatory requirements. The bank has also made major management changes.

A banner headline in the annual report read: Goldome Posts Loss, Writes Down Real Estate.

The lead story detailed the bank’s restructuring program, which includes divestitures and writedowns of non-performing assets. Inside, the report included stories from wire services and business publications on the problems confronting the thrift industry.

The report included colorful graphics in a layout style that made it look like a copy of USA Today.

Goldome said it saved about $1.25 per copy in printing costs by using newspaper presses and newsprint for the annual report. The company printed about 50,000 copies.

Goldome, with assets of $15 billion, has operations in two dozen states.

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