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Judges Refuse to Rehear W. Pa. Ex-Nazi Guard Case/Profile of his U.S. Employer, Sharon Steel

Alex Constantine - August 29, 2008


PITTSBURGH (AP) — A federal appeals court has refused to rehear the deportation case of a retired western Pennsylvania steelworker who served as a Nazi concentration camp guard during World War II. The only recourse now for Anton Geiser, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia ruled in June that Geiser, 83, of Sharon, should have his citizenship revoked and be deported because his work as a guard meets the type of persecutory conduct banned under the Refugee Relief Act, which was in effect when he entered the U.S.
His attorneys had wanted the three-judge appellate panel or the entire 3rd Circuit to rehear the case. The appeals court refused last week. Geiser's attorney, Adrian Roe, declined to comment Thursday.

Geiser, an ethnic German born in what is now Croatia, was drafted into the German army at 17 and served as an armed SS Death Head guard at Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin for much of 1943.

He later was transferred to an SS officer training camp at Arolsen, where he escorted prisoners to and from the Buchenwald camp, where tens of thousands of Jews and others were exterminated. He was at Arolsen until April 1945.

Geiser has denied harming any prisoners, though he said he had orders to shoot prisoners who tried to escape.

He was granted a United States visa in 1956 and became a citizen in 1962. He did not cite his Nazi ties on his U.S. visa application, but has said he was never asked about them. Geiser is not accused of lying about his Nazi ties. Files from the period have been lost and it is not clear what questions he was asked.

Roe argued to the 3rd Circuit this year that guards not deemed war criminals were sometimes allowed into the U.S. He said the Justice Department, in its efforts to expel former Nazis, was revisiting decisions made five decades ago.

Geiser told federal authorities he told his family of his wartime service only after the government filed its civil lawsuit in 2004. Geiser has lived in Sharon, about 60 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, since June 1960. He and his wife have three sons. He retired from Sharon Steel in 1987.

Victor Posner & Sharon Steel, Geiser's employer

Wiki: Posner "is perhaps best known for his hostile takeover of Sharon Steel Corporation in 1969, one of the earliest such takeovers in the United States. ... His investment would be the forerunner of the leveraged buyout and junk bonds business of the 1980s. Meanwhile, the Fairmont coke plant [owned by Sharon Steel] was one of the worst polluters in the Monongahela Valley and Posner stopped investing in it. It closed in 1979.

Victor Posner (September 18, 1918 - February 11, 2002) was an American businessman, millionaire and philanthropist. He was known as one of the highest paid business executives of his generation. He was a pioneer of the leveraged buyout. ...

Said by Forbes magazine to "have the arrogance of a banana republic dictator" and by the New York Times to be the "dean of the corporate takeover", Posner was a maverick player in the world of corporate finance. Many of his dealings were alleged to be illegal and he was closely watched by the Securities and Exchange Commission from the mid-1980s on. ...

The late 1980s were the start of his downfall:

In 1987, Sharon Steel operated in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
DWG was the target of a takeover attempt by Granada Investments.
Evans Products, operated in Chapter 11 and did not emerge until vendors and lenders were assured that Posner would leave the company.

In 1988 he pleaded no contest to tax evasion and fraud for inflating the value of land he donated to Miami Christian College in 1975. He was ordered to pay more than $6 million in costs and fines and to devote 20 hours a week for five years to working with the homeless.

Also in 1988, the SEC sued Drexel Burnham Lambert and charged Victor Posner and Steven Posner with scheming to conceal the Posner's purchase of stock the electrical contractor, Fishbach Corporation.

Again, in 1988 a bankruptcy judge ordered him to return several original Norman Rockwell paintings to the Sharon Steel Corporation, which he had removed from the company's headquarters when he acquired the company.

In 1993 both he and Steven were barred from being an officer or director of a public company by the SEC.

In 1995, Steven sued his father over alleged mismanagement of his company, Security Management Corporation, claiming that the elder Posner was paying himself too much money and had wrongly removed Steven as a company director. They settled the suit by flipping a coin over the share of more than $200 million worth of property.


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