updated 3/17/2004 4:20:50 PM ET 2004-03-17T21:20:50

Adelphia Communications Corp. paid for Rigas family purchases that ranged from beauty services to naming rights at a university and mortgage payments on a multimillion-dollar condominium, an accounts-payable manager at the company testified Wednesday.

The company's founder and former chairman John Rigas, his sons Timothy and Michael Rigas, and former executive Michael Mulcahey are on trial in federal court in Manhattan on charges of conspiracy and fraud. Each has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say they misled creditors, investors and the public as they plunged the nation's fifth-largest cable company into bankruptcy reorganization.

Seeking to prove their allegation that the Rigases treated Adelphia as a "personal piggy bank," prosecutors presented an unsigned letter dated October 1999 addressed to St. Bonaventure's president of university advancement that committed $1 million to the Rigas Family Theater. The letter was on Adelphia letterhead and indicated that John Rigas, Timothy Rigas and Mulcahey received copies.

An Adelphia check covered at least one $100,000 payment toward the Rigas Family Theater at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y., government witness Linda Pekarski testified.

Separately, in February 2001, Michael Rigas approved a $100,000 payment to St. Bonaventure for "support of the basketball program" and for naming rights to the basketball court eventually, Pekarski testified, reviewing documents presented by the government.

Two years earlier, former Adelphia financial chief Timothy Rigas authorized the company to make monthly payments of $17,682.54 for a 30-year mortgage on his condominium in Beaver Creek, Colo., Pekarski said.

Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Adelphia also covered bills for the personal credit cards of John Rigas and Timothy Rigas, she said.

Charges by John Rigas that were covered by Adelphia included a $3,000 beauty consultation, while Adelphia wrote a $228.85 check to pay for 100 pairs of bedroom slippers that Timothy Rigas purchased.

Prosecutors mentioned the slippers in their opening statement. Timothy Rigas asked employees of a hotel where he could buy the slippers they furnished and was told they could only be ordered in batches of 100, prosecutors said.

The check for the slippers presented in court Wednesday was dated March 27, 2002, which was the day Adelphia disclosed it guaranteed $2.3 billion that wasn't on the balance sheet, triggering an accounting scandal and lending crisis that led the company to file for bankruptcy three months later.

Also listed among the charges on John Rigas' personal credit card that Adelphia covered were the CDs "Hit Parade 1942" and "Hit Parade 1943."

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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