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Investors Sue Kidder, Peabody Over Limited Partnerships

April 9, 1996

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Investors have sued Kidder, Peabody & Co. for selling them risky limited partnerships in the 1980s, the latest allegations of misleading sales practices by Wall Street brokers.

The lawsuit filed in Sacramento County Superior Court by more than 100 investors contends that Kidder, Peabody brokers, enticed by 8 percent commissions, misled conservative investors into believing the risky limited partnerships were safe. The limited partnerships were sold from 1985-91.

Kidder and Polaris, general partner of the Polaris Aircraft Income Fund, were owned by General Electric Co., also a target of the suit. Kidder was sold to PaineWebber Group for $670 million in late 1994.

In a separate case, PaineWebber, the nation’s fourth largest brokerage, agreed in January to pay $292.5 million to investors and $10 million to regulators. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged PaineWebber with misleading investors by understating the high risks and the low returns of limited partnership investments to an estimated 200,000 people nationwide.

Polaris used money from Kidder, Peabody investors to purchase used passenger and cargo jets and then leased them to such airlines as Continental, TWA, Pan Am, Piedmont and Eastern, according to the lawsuit.

In many cases, the aircraft were purchased from an airline and then leased back to the same carrier, despite alleged representations that the aircraft would be purchased from independent third parties, the lawsuit contends.

The suit also contends that investors were led to believe there was a substantial demand for used commercial aircraft, and that hefty distributions would be made. Instead, distributions were meager and the value of the aircraft has plummeted, the suit said.

A New York-based Kidder lawyer did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

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