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FranklinCovey Announces Agreement to Sell and Lease-Back Headquarters

The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced on Friday it would pay a record $11 million to settle a civil investigation by U.S. authorities into allegations it knowingly hired floor-cleaning contractors who employed illegal foreign workers.

The deal resolves a more than four-year-long Department of Justice investigation into the employment practices of the company's former floor-cleaning contractors. The government will not pursue any criminal charges against Wal-Mart or any of its employees.

"This case breaks new ground - because this a record dollar amount for a civil immigration settlement" and because Wal-Mart has to set up an internal compliance program, said Michael Garcia, a Department of Homeland Security official.

Wal-Mart agreed to set up a way to make sure that its independent contractors are taking reasonable steps to comply with immigration laws, and to provide training for store managers to prevent the hiring of illegal workers.

"Our compliance program did not include all the procedures necessary to identify independent floor cleaning contractors who did not comply with federal immigration laws," Tom Mars, Wal-Mart's general counsel, said in the statement.

The $11 million deal is about four times larger than any other single payment received by the government in an illegal alien employment case, federal officials said.

"It is a lot of money, but we think that the amount is designed to get attention, and to remind businesses everywhere that they have a duty to ensure their outside contractors are following federal immigration laws," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams said on a conference call.

Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart has annual sales of $256 billion, equivalent to the gross domestic product of Austria. In February alone, its total sales were $22.37 billion.

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