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Mattel settles lead paint case

WASHINGTON – Toy maker Mattel Inc. and its Fisher-Price subsidiary have agreed to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty for importing and selling toys with excessive levels of lead.

The penalty is part of a settlement the companies reached with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which announced Friday that the toy maker had knowingly violated a 30-year-old federal ban on lead paint in toys.

The companies deny having willfully violated the ban.

The penalty stems from a series of recalls by Mattel and Fisher-Price in 2007, when the companies recalled nearly 2 million popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and other toys because of excessive levels of lead found in the paint on the toys.

Marketing, media topic of forum

Inland Northwest Partners will host a daylong session in Clarkston on Thursday devoted to using digital media to promote growth during a tough economy.

“Marketing Your Community in Tough Times” will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Clarkston Quality Inn.

Several area speakers and business leaders will discuss the use of social media and the Web to promote economic development. The keynote speaker will be Mark James, of ED Solutions, based in Powell, Ohio.

Inland Northwest Partners is an economic development agency promoting growth in smaller communities in Washington and Idaho. Cost is $30 for members and $50 for others.

To register, go to

Filene’s attracts bid of $67 million

BOSTON – An affiliate of the Houston-based Men’s Wearhouse was the successful bidder for the 100-year-old Filene’s Basement chain after bidding $67 million for the off-price retailer at a bankruptcy auction.

The K&G Acquisition Corp. will buy the Basement name, 17 to 20 of its 25 stores, all inventory, the lease for the flagship Boston location, and leases for the company’s headquarters and warehouse.

The bankruptcy auction, held Friday in New York, had fielded at least two other offers. The bid requires bankruptcy court approval.

Gates Foundation draws donations

SEATTLE – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s annual report says it brought in $10.4 million in individual donations in 2008, without making an effort at fundraising.

That dollar amount does not include new money from Bill or Melinda Gates or their friend Warren Buffett, who gave the world’s richest foundation’s trust about $1.8 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock last year. The foundation had an endowment totaling $27.5 billion as of April 1.