DELAWARE, Ohio (From news reports) -- Greif Inc. denies that there was anything questionable about stock sales by two of its board members last year after a Milwaukee newspaper had contacted the company about conditions at a plant it co-owns in that city.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a story showing that Greif's board chairman, Michael Gasser, sold shares worth more than $1 million, and a board member, Daniel Gunsett, sold shares worth $206,000.
The sales occurred after the newspaper had contacted Greif in December about a report on environmental conditions at a Milwaukee plant that is co-owned by Greif. The story was published in February, after the stock sales, and it contained details provided by a whistleblower.
Now, the whistleblower, a former safety consultant who had done work at the plant, is alleging that the stock sales might constitute insider trading.
Greif, which is based in Delaware, Ohio, says the two board members had no knowledge of the Journal Sentinel's investigation before the sales occurred.
The company "had not received a full picture of the newspaper's allegations ... and had not disclosed this information to the two individual directors," Greif said in a statement on Tuesday.
The Journal Sentinel's reporting focused on Container Life Cycle Management, a business that recycles chemical containers. Greif is the majority owner of Container Life Cycle Management. The report was about environmental and safety practices at the company.
The whistleblower says he has filed a complaints with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., has called for an investigation.
Greif says it is in full compliance with SEC rules.
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