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Indian Motorcycle Estate Beneficiaries from Viewing New Prototype

10 November 1998

Receiver Blocks Indian Motorcycle Estate Beneficiaries and Press from Viewing New Eller Indian Motorcycle Prototype
    DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 9 -- About 200 members of the Indian
Motorcycle receivership estate were prohibited yesterday by court order from
viewing the new Indian Motorcycle prototype developed by Eller Industries,
Inc. ("Eller") (OTC Bulletin Board: ELRI).
    And some 20 members of the business media who came to a press conference
here today also did not get a promised view of the prototype heritage-cruiser
based on the Indian legacy.
    According to Eller President Leonard S. Labriola, a last-minute injunction
halted the presentations of a motorcycle which would revolutionize the
    "In furtherance of its commitment to rebuild the Indian Motorcycle
Company, Eller has invested over $1.5 million in a prototype that some members
of the motorcycle press believe will set the new standard for motorcycles," he
said.  "Designed by James Parker and engineered and fabricated by Roush
Industries of NASCAR fame, this was the motorcycle most members of the estate
had been anticipating for more than five years."
    John Petitto, already a major motorcycle dealer and a beneficiary of and
major investor in the Indian receivership estate said, "How dare this receiver
tell me what I can and cannot see.  These are our trademark assets he is
selling, not his.  I don't understand how the man who is supposed to be
focused on protecting our interests can act in a way so contrary to what the
members of the estate want him to do.
    "I speak for most members of the estate when I say that we believe that
Eller is getting railroaded here, and we are not going to sit by and watch it
happen.  We want the Indian Motorcycle Company to be American owned, we want
the Eller plan, and the Eller Indian.  Don't forget, the receiver does not own
the trademark assets, we do.  And we want the company to move forward under
the Eller contract."
    Eller Industries was the uncontested purchaser of the Indian Motorcycle
trademarks until recently when the receiver terminated the contract.
    "As there has yet to be a hearing on the matter, there is no way to know
what the receiver's reasons were for trying to terminate the Eller contract.,
said Labriola.  "It's kind of like losing a lawsuit before learning you have
been sued."
    Robert Lutz, Chrysler Corporation vice chairman (retired) and Eller
advisor said, "We're stunned.  This event has been planned for six weeks, and
the motorcycle has been under intensive development for eight months at a cost
of over $1.5-million.  Why the court waited until the last minute to quash the
unveiling is a mystery to everyone."
    Despite many estate members being notified prior to the gathering the
motorcycle would not be shown, nearly 200 still traveled to Detroit from as
far away as Southern California.
    The order prohibiting the motorcycle's display was received by fax the
evening of Thursday, November 5th.  This left Eller and its attorneys one day
to convince the receiver that his beneficiaries should be allowed to see the
    "Unfortunately, he did not give his final word, which was in effect
'Absolutely Not,' until late Friday afternoon," reported Labriola.  "This kept
our staff on the phone until after midnight trying to warn people to allow
them to change their travel plans."
    The Eller Prototype is designed to echo the styling themes developed by
the legendary Indian Motorcycle Company before it ceased 52 years of
production in 1953.  Since then, the Indian name has retained a unique cachet
-- America's original motorcycle company predating Harley-Davidson -- with
restored Indian motorcycles selling for as much as $50,000 or more, and the
immediately recognizable Indian script and headdress logo appearing on a wide
assortment of consumer goods.
    Labriola described to both gatherings the plans to resurrect the name as
well as those of manufacturing the motorcycles in a factory near Myrtle, OR,
on land owned by the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.
    "The Cow Creek Band is a major investor in this project," said Labriola.
"This program is seen by Tribe leaders as a means of investing casino earnings
into broadening the economic infrastructure of the Cow Creek Band.  Its
establishment would go a long way in helping a region beset by economic
hardships due to downturns in the mining and forestry industries."