P-I-E OWNER TIED TO AILING FLORIDA REALTY FIRM

P-I-E OWNER TIED TO AILING FLORIDA REALTY FIRM

The president of the investors' group that bought trucking giant P-I-E Nationwide Inc. earlier this month is an officer in a Florida real estate company that has been sued for alleged fraud and is now under bankruptcy reorganization.

Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that Manuel Ferro Jr., president of Olympia Holding Corp., the new owner of P-I-E Nationwide, is also the senior vice president of finance for the Royale Group Ltd. Royale is a Miami company that develops and manages hotel and resort properties.Three of Royale's creditors sued to force the company into involuntary bankruptcy proceedings on Aug. 14, 1989. Royale later converted the action into a Chapter 11 filing under the Federal Bankruptcy Act, which allows for reorganization.

Royale's 10-K financial report filed with the SEC also lists more than a dozen outstanding civil lawsuits filed against the company, some charging fraud, racketeering and securities violations in connection with land deals. The company is defending itself against the allegations.

Royale and some of its subsidiaries also had assets seized by the Internal Revenue Service last year for allegedly failing to pay some $740,000 in federal taxes. Royale is contesting the IRS action in court.

Olympia, based in Miami, acquired P-I-E on April 12 by purchasing 65 percent of the company's stock from Maxitron & Co., a Chicago investor group. An affiliate of Olympia - Growth Financial Corp., also of Miami - purchased Transcon Lines Inc., another major trucking company, on April 1.

Olympia, Growth and Royale all list the same Miami Beach address in various government filings.

Jay J. Miller, a New York attorney representing Mr. Ferro, said he had no knowledge of Royale and was unaware of any connection with Olympia or with Mr. Ferro.

He described Mr. Ferro as an accountant who worked formerly for a large national accounting firm.

"Olympia is a private company and the people there tend to favor their privacy," he said.

Mr. Miller said Olympia is chaired by Edmund Abramson, a Florida real estate developer. Mr. Abramson also is chairman of the board of P-I-E.

Mr. Miller also confirmed that Jacob D. Hagopian was among several new directors selected to P-I-E's board by Olympia and that Leonard A. Pulello was serving as a consultant to P-I-E.

Mr. Pulello is listed in Royale's 10-K as chairman and president of the real estate company; Mr. Hagopian is the executive vice president and a director.

On Friday, the Interstate Commerce Commission gave Olympia and P-I-E temporary rights to take control of Transcon. Transcon is losing more than $500,000 a week, according to a filing at the commission by Olympia, Growth

Financial and P-I-E. P-I-E began running Transcon over the weekend and Monday filed an application with the ICC to make the takeover permanent.

"The integration of Transcon's freight into P-I-E went very well when P- I-E systems took over, once the freight was secured," said Harold Doyle, P-I-E's president.

"This was not a merger of two trucking companies but the absorption of one company's business into another."

"The transfer went fantastically well," William Tickle, senior vice president of sales and marketing for P-I-E, said in an interview.

Transcon's freight bills were entered into P-I-E's delivery network over the weekend, the company said, and Transcon's shipments were sent to P-I-E terminals for delivery.

P-I-E, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., said it expected the ''majority" of Transcon's freight to be delivered to customers "within their normal transit time."

"We don't have the problem of trying to make two separate, incompatible systems work," Mr. Doyle said. "Thirty-thousand shipments were billed into our system over the weekend. Our people and the computerized billing system performed flawlessly."

Transcon Lines, headquartered in Los Angeles, effectively is out of business.

"As a trucking company, it no longer exists," said John Hollingsworth, the company's former vice president for finance, now serving as a consultant to the new owner, Growth Financial.

P-I-E and Transcon both employ Teamsters union members to handle and deliver freight. Teamsters officials Monday said most of Transcon's workers were laid off.

But P-I-E said Transcon employees "are being brought into P-I-E in sufficient numbers to handle the additional influx of business."

P-I-E, the nation's eighth-largest trucking company, generated about $500 million in business in 1988, the last year for which complete data is available. Transcon, the nation's 20th-largest freight line, handled about $226 million in freight in 1989.

Olympia Holding and Growth Finance, which have the same five shareholders, are new names to the trucking industry. Mr. Miller said both groups are interested in managing P-I-E and have no plans to close the company.

Royale's financial filing with the SEC also shows that Royale was served with subpoenas on July 25, 1986, and Sept. 25, 1986, to provide testimony and documents before a grand jury in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

As a result of the grand jury inquiry, Royale's 10-K says certain company officers declined to testify in some civil actions, citing their constitutional rights against self-incrimination. On March 6 of this year, an unnamed officer of Royale was subpoenaed in connection with the grand jury investigation.

The subpoena said the grand jury was investigating possible violations of federal criminal law.