Court won't hear appeal from Adelphia founders

The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from a father and son who built Adelphia Communications into a cable television powerhouse and were convicted of fraud after it collapsed into bankruptcy.

The high court refused on Monday to hear an appeal from John and Timothy Rigas.

The Rigases were prosecuted after Adelphia collapsed in 2002 following the company's announcement that it had more than $2 billion in liabilities it had not previously reported. At the time, it was the country's fifth-largest cable TV company.

At trial, the government said John Rigas, who started the company with a $300 investment, used its financial ledger like a personal piggy bank, paying for expenses as small as massages and withdrawing $100,000 from the company whenever he wished.

The family was accused of buying a Gulfstream III jet from the king of Jordan and using it as a taxi service for trips to New York City and to see the Buffalo Sabres hockey team, which the family had owned.

Prosecutors said the family spent lavishly on itself, ordering 100 pairs of slippers for Timothy Rigas and using more than $3 million to produce a film by John Rigas' daughter.

The Rigases in their appeal said the government should have turned over to them notes taken during prosecutorial interviews with some witnesses.

They also said their prison sentences were too long, with their lawyer arguing that the father's 12-year sentence and the son's 17-year prison term were more years in prison than some terrorists serve.

But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said that the prison terms were appropriate.

The case is John J. Rigas and Timothy J. Rigas v. United States, 09-1456.