WASHINGTON - Price-fixing indictments were handed down June 26 against two firms and their presidents in the latest part of a two-year Justice Department investigation of the disposable plastic cutlery industry. Accused of conspiring to set prices on their polystyrene and polypropylene knives, forks and spoons sold between November 1991 and April 1992 were Amcel Corp. of Watertown, Mass., and its president, Lloyd Gordon, and Dispos-O Plastics Inc. of Fountain Inn, S.C., and its president, Peter Iacovelli .
``We're certain that in a trial in a court of law we will prevail,'' William Kierstead, Amcel marketing manager, said June 26 .
Robert Welsh, a lawyer in Philadelphia and a company-designated spokesman for Dispos-O, was unavailable for comment.
The one-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia notes most of the major U.S. cutlery manufacturers announced price increases in October and November 1990, and again in May 1991.
The indictment reads that, prior to those price increases, Gordon and Andrew Liebmann, a vice president of Polar Plastics Manufacturing Inc. of Allentown, Pa., had contact and ``Gordon asked Liebmann to agree to increase Polar's prices on certain cutlery items.''
Liebmann was convicted Feb. 28, 1995, in Philadelphia and sentenced to four months in jail, four months in a halfway house and fined $50,000. The company, a subsidiary of Polar Plastics Ltd. of Montreal, also was fined $460,000.
The indictment also mentions a meeting of Iacovelli, Gordon and Liebmann at an industry trade show in October 1991 to discuss the need for a price increase, and a secret meeting at New York's LaGuardia Airport to discuss and agree on price increases for ``certain plastic products.'' They then ``attempted to conceal the conspiracy by taking steps to leave no record of their attendance at the LaGuardia Airport meeting,'' according to the indictment.