Was Kennametal's Reputation Dragged Through The Mud?

It would be futile to refute all unsubstantiated parts of "Was Iraqgate business as usual?" (Top of the News, July 13), but there are several issues that require elaboration.

First, despite whatever allegations the article makes against Assistant U.S. Attorney Gale McKenzie, the fundamental fact is that a federal grand jury, made up of about 20 individuals with various backgrounds and political persuasions, reviewed all documents and heard extensive testimony relating to Kennametal's operations and found no violation of U.S. law.

In addition, the federal grand jury found absolutely no connection between Kennametal and Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL). That is completely understandable since Kennametal did not have any type of banking relationship with the Atlanta BNL branch.

Finally, BUSINESS WEEK says it "consulted a myriad of independent sources, court records, congressional testimony, and documents subpoenaed by Congress." This suggests a process that would have taken at least weeks to review and follow up. However, the reporter contacted Kennametal less than 48 hours from filing the story. The company cooperated with every request the reporter sought and offered to meet with the reporter to review any and all questions and documents. The offer was turned down by BUSINESS WEEK.

Reading your story recalls a statement made several years ago by a government official after his complete acquittal on various, serious charges of wrongdoing: "What office do I go to to get my reputation back?" This BUSINESS WEEK story places Kennametal and its 5,000 employees in the same predicament.

Robert L. McGeehan

President & CEO

Kennametal Inc.

Latrobe, Pa.

Editor's note: Kennametal Inc.'s offer to meet with our reporter came after our press deadline. Over a period of three days, BUSINESS WEEK provided Kennametal with an opporunity to respond to all the issues raised about the company.

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