Ex-Honda Exec Says Payoffs Seen as Perk

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A former American Honda Motor Co. executive testified Wednesday that he learned early in his 12-year career with the company that dealer kickbacks were considered a perk.

David Pedersen, testifying against two former colleagues in a federal racketeering, fraud and conspiracy trial, said that he was told it was OK to accept pricey gifts from dealers. He received more than $17,000, as well as a car.

Pedersen testified at the trial of John Billmyer and Dennis Josleyn. Billmyer, Josleyn and other former American Honda executives were accused of accepting $15 million in cash and gifts from dealers in more than 30 states in exchange for supplies of popular cars.

Twenty people, several from Orange County, have pleaded guilty, including Laguna Hills resident Stanley James Cardiges, who was American Honda's top sales executive from 1988 until he resigned under pressure in 1992.

Torrance-based American Honda has denied any knowledge of the scheme.

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