NEWS BULLETIN: AK pulls out of chamberBy Lauren Pack,
Journal Staff Writer, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
AK Steel Corp. has left the Mid-Miami Valley Chamber of Commerce.
AK, one of the largest employers in the region, withdrew Thursday
because “the chamber was not serving our needs,” AK Vice President
of Public Affairs Alan McCoy said.
McCoy would not say why the company left the chamber, but he said
AK may consider re-joining in the future if “we believe it is
The steelmaker left the chamber on the same day Cincinnati
attorney Stanley Chesley spoke before a chamber luncheon at Forest
Hills Country Club.
In 1996, Chesley represented the families of two workers killed
in an April 1994 explosion at AK’s Middletown Works. Families of
four men who were killed in the incident filed separate suits
against AK and McGraw/Kokosing Inc. The men were McGraw/Kokosing
employees working as contractors at the plant.
The families of Middletonian James Prater Jr. and Lonnie
Stephens, of Bellevue, Ky., represented by Chesley, reached a
settlement with the two companies in August 1996. Terms were
The topic of Chesley’s speech Thursday was how “smoking gun”
documents can affect lawsuits against corporations.
Chesley talked about several well-known cases, including the 1977
fire at Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Ky., that killed 165
people and injured 16 others. He did not publicly mention AK or
litigation against AK.
The chamber represents some 600 businesses and organizations in
Middletown, Monroe and Trenton.
Chesley said he did not want to get involved in any conflict
between AK and the chamber.
“But I think it is pretty petty if it is a fact that they
withdrew because of a speech I made to the chamber,” Chesley said.
He said he gives the same speech to many groups and companies.
Chamber President David Daugherty said the chamber board of
directors was meeting Friday afternoon about AK’s action.
Daugherty said AK submitted a letter of resignation from the
chamber and that the organization was evaluating the loss of the
region’s largest employer as a member of the organization.
He declined to speculate on AK’s decision to leave or if the
selection of Chesley as a luncheon speaker was the catalyst for AK
to withdraw its membership.
Daugherty said the chamber will be looking over its mission
statement of improving the area’s quality of life, providing
leadership and enhancing the business goals of its members and doing
Daugherty said that a chamber can expect a loss of 10 percent of
member businesses each year. However, he added that losses of
businesses the size of AK “are not typical.”
“You just hate to see something like this happen, but we will
carry on with our mission,” Daugherty said. “Hopefully they will
re-join the chamber.”
Journal Night Editor Ed Richter contributed to this report.