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EASTERN AIR DENIES NEW CHARGES OF FALSIFYING MAINTENANCE RECORDS

Beleaguered Eastern Airlines continued as recently as last month to falsify vital safety and maintenance records, according to a confidential informant cited in a government document unsealed Friday.

Eastern angrily denied the charges contained in the document, an affidavit to support a law-enforcement raid earlier this month on Eastern's Miami headquarters. It details a lengthy pattern of doctoring safety logs and other records to keep jets in the air.

In response to the latest allegations, Eastern's court-appointed trustee, Martin R. Shugrue Jr., said that the government has a "personal vendetta" against him and "a vendetta against the company."

According to a confidential informant, Eastern "supervisors are under so much pressure to avoid delays that record falsification is the norm," the affidavit said.

Maintenance workers at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta routinely falsified log books to hide faulty navigation, radar and other electronic equipment, as well as bad tires and windshields that leaked air, informants were quoted by investigators as saying in the document.

One confidential informant in Atlanta said "he witnessed supervisors on almost a daily basis falsifying log books to make it appear that inoperative cockpit instruments had been repaired when in reality they had not been repaired," the affidavit said.

In a point-by-point denial of the allegations, Eastern said it believed much of the information had come from 13 machinists, nine of whom have been on strike since 1989. Some of the information came from an employee who had been involved a dispute with the company over a disciplinary action, Eastern said.

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