(AP) - Tom Petters, chairman and CEO of Petters Group Worldwide, encouraged employees at the company's suburban headquarters to move forward with their work and remain positive on Thursday, a day after federal authorities searched offices and removed boxes of documents.
"Tom Petters basically told everyone at the meeting that he was very sorry for yesterday's event and the inconvenience it caused," company spokeswoman Andrea Miller said. "He said the values that we held on Tuesday are the same values that we have today and that we should just move forward."
The federal investigation focuses on Petters Co. Inc., a financing company, Miller said. It hasn't affected the Minnetonka-based company's other entities, including Sun Country Airlines, Fingerhut and Polaroid.
On Wednesday, FBI spokesman Paul McCabe confirmed that the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the IRS criminal investigative division and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service were all part of an ongoing investigation. No arrests had been made, and the search warrant documents were not publicly available on Thursday.
"When they left, they took a number of documents with them. They will start going through those, and we're just cooperating at this point," Miller said, adding that the company wasn't provided with a complete list of what was taken.
Petters was not granting interviews Thursday, Miller said.
Little information on Petters Co. Inc. was publicly available, and Miller said she didn't know how many employees worked for that division of Petters Group. She declined to comment further on what it does, saying only that "it's a company we invest in."
A message left for an attorney for Petters was not immediately returned on Thursday.
Petters, a well-known Twin Cities businessman, has made a career of buying businesses and seeking to turn them around. Some of them were well-known and struggling, such as Polaroid, which Petters Group purchased in 2005 for $426 million.
Petters Group Worldwide, which had $2.3 billion in revenue in 2007, has investments in dozens of companies and wholly owns several, including Great Water Media (previously called Metropolitan Media Group).
Petters Aviation, a subsidiary of Petters Group, in 2006 acquired Sun Country Airlines, which has fallen on hard times along with other airlines due to high fuel prices. The company's chief executive this year took a pay cut and dozens of employees were let go.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)