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No time to rest for Paul Bilzerian


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 15, 1999

Former corporate raider Paul Bilzerian is a busy man. Not only is he trying to sell his 11-bedroom, 37,000-square-foot estate in North Tampa's tony Avila subdivision, he also is battling federal prosecutors. They want Bilzerian to pay up on a $62-million judgment sought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bilzerian, the former chairman of Singer Co., was building his Tampa mansion when he was convicted of stock fraud in 1989. He served 20 months in prison. In 1991, Bilzerian filed for bankruptcy, a move that protected his home from seizure by creditors.

Lately, Bilzerian has been occupied running a small Utah software company called Cimetrix. As president, Bilzerian regularly explains to Cimetrix shareholders why the company is struggling. Cimetrix lost $162,000 in the first nine months of 1998, the most recent figures available. And Cimetrix's stock, trading at more than $2.50 last summer, hit a 52-week low last week of 53 cents a share.

Bilzerian controls over 3-million Cimetrix shares, or more than 12 percent of the company's outstanding shares, according to SEC filings. He also received company stock via an overseas limited partnership, while other stock goes to his children via trusts.

If the SEC wants to ask Bilzerian about his corporate stake, he is scheduled to host the Cimetrix annual meeting May 15 in Salt Lake City.

Shareholders of the beleaguered company may not get as much insight as they wish. When asked at a shareholder Q&A in December why the company's stock had fallen, Bilzerian responded: "I have no idea."

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