Price in a Fight

Robert Price, president of the Price Co., operators of more than two-dozen Price Club discount retail warehouses, took to the stump Monday night, urging Alhambra city officials to let his firm develop 18.4 acres of land in that city's redevelopment area.

A report by an outside consultant has recommended that Costco, a Seattle-based Price Club competitor, be awarded a contract to develop the Alhambra Commerce Center.

A decision was expected to be reached late Monday night.

The Alhambra flap isn't the first time that Price Club and Costco have gone head to head, although they've never squared off for the same piece of property. The two companies compete in the Santa Clara-Sunnyvale area, and Costco is about to open an outlet in Riverside, near Price Club's Colton store.

Luce, Gavin Go Way Back

The election last week of former U.S. ambassador to Mexico John Gavin to the board of Great American First Savings Bank was of little surprise to those who know either Gavin or Gordon Luce, Great American's chairman and chief executive

The two go back--way back.

In fact, it was Luce who pledged Gavin for membership in Chi Psi fraternity at Stanford in the late 1940s. The two have been close friends since.

Catch 22

State Banking Dept. officials have been at best silent and at worse evasive and elusive about publicly explaining their position on whether dissident Crown Bancorp shareholder Ed Schmidt can vote his proxies at Crown's annual meeting, scheduled for Friday.

Deputy superintendent of banking Ron Coleman has steadfastedly refused to return repeated phone calls from The Times.

On Monday, a reporter attempted to call an attorney with the department in San Francisco but was told that only Coleman could talk to the press from San Diego.

Coleman's secretary informed us that he wasn't taking calls from reporters.

More Crown News

Area bankers are chuckling over the continuing legal squabbles at Crown Bancorp, where officials have sued dissident shareholder and former officer Ed Schmidt (see story on Page 1).

Last Thursday, Crown attorneys waited to take a deposition from car dealer Roque de la Fuente Jr., the Bank of Commerce chairman who reportedly has purchased a sizable block of Crown stock.

De la Fuente showed up all right, but it was the elder Roque de la Fuente.

Crown attorneys didn't think the switcheroo was very funny; they're trying to serve the younger Roque de la Fuente with a new subpoena.

Caveat Emptor

Federal budget cuts for investigative and regulatory agencies have left white collar fraud fighters a bit frustrated--so much so that one area fraud expert suggests doing away with various agencies to let the citizenry get a taste of caveat emptor.

"The public thinks that because you have the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that they're protected. But they're not."

For just a spell, he suggests, "people ought to protect themselves."

For the Record Los Angeles Times Tuesday August 19, 1986 San Diego County Edition Business Part 4 Page 2D Column 4 Financial Desk 1 inches; 18 words Type of Material: Correction Area car dealer Roque de la Fuente Jr. is chairman of Pacific Commerce Bank, not Bank of Commerce, as reported in The Times on July 29.
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