4 Adelphia directors to ankle

Ties to Rigas family causes shareholders to act

Four directors of bankrupt cabler Adelphia Communications said Wednesday they plan to step down once replacements are found for the nine-member board.

Erland Kailbourne, Leslie Gerber, Peter Metros and Dennis Coyle were targeted by a shareholder group, which has sued to force a new election of directors. The committee claimed that some of the current directors were too closely tied to the Rigas family, which founded Adelphia and ran it until last spring.

John Rigas and two of his sons were arrested a year ago and charged with multiple counts of fraud, including pillaging the company’s coffers for personal use. The scandal hit the stock and pushed the company into bankruptcy.

A trial date for the Rigases has been set for early January. Several former executives of the cable company who aren’t family members have cut deals with prosecutors and agreed to testify.

Adelphia said the four directors felt the cabler’s operations are now stable enough to allow for their departure.

Kailbourne served as chairman and interim CEO after John Rigas resigned and led the search for new management. Longtime cable execs William Schleyer and Ron Cooper were recently installed as CEO and chief operating officer, respectively.

Adelphia is still working on a restructuring proposal to present to the bankruptcy court judge and has asked for several extensions.