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Fine proposed for Walter subsidiary

Federal officials have proposed to fine a subsidiary of Tampa's Walter Industries up to $236,000 for alleged safety violations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday it found eight repeat problems and 19 "serious" ones at the U.S. Pipe & Foundry factory in Birmingham, Ala., including some that expose employees to such risks as falls, amputation or electrocution. U.S. Pipe is part of the water-products group that Walter will spin off in an upcoming public offering. Spokesman Michael Monahan said U.S. Pipe is considering whether to appeal some fines and has resolved most of the underlying issues.

Vonage becomes Grand Prix sponsor

Vonage Holdings Corp. said Tuesday it has become a sponsor of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Terms weren't disclosed. Vonage of Holmdel, N.J., will become the official Internet phone service provider of the Grand Prix, which will be March 31 through April 2.

MeriStar agrees to sale to Blackstone

Hotel real estate company MeriStar Hospitality Corp. said Tuesday it has agreed to a $2.6-billion buyout by an arm of the Blackstone Group, the latest in a string of large lodging buys by the private investment firm. Blackstone said it will offer $10.45 per share of MeriStar, a roughly 5 percent premium over MeriStar's Friday closing price of $9.93 per share.

RadioShack CEO to get at least $1.03M

Former RadioShack Corp. chief executive David Edmondson, who resigned Monday after questions about his resume's accuracy, will receive a cash payout worth at least $1.03-million, the company said Tuesday in a regulatory filing.

Times names new marketing director

Vipan Seth has been named marketing director of the St. Petersburg Times. Seth most recently served as marketing and sales director with Comcast Communications, and previously worked in various marketing and operations roles with Time Warner Communications and PepsiCo, among other companies. Seth, 44, formally joins the Times in early March.

T-bill rates rise

Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Tuesday's auction to the highest levels in five years. The Treasury Department auctioned $20-billion in three month bills at a discount rate of 4.450 percent, up from 4.440 percent last week. An additional $18-billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 4.545 percent, up from 4.540 percent.

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