According to a Sept. 12 story in the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether L.S. Starrett (Athol, MA) sold Rapid Check coordinate measuring machines to NASA, the Pentagon and other customers knowing that the machine had flaws. The story is based on allegations filed by a technician at an independent contractor hired by Starrett to trouble-shoot customer problems.

The L.S. Starrett Co. has denied the claim and has responded to the allegations with a statement that reads:

"The Company emphatically denies the allegations in the article, attributed to a former independent contractor, that it defrauded its customers or the government. The Company, on its own initiative, and as part of its review of its Rapid Check product line, made certain improvements to the machines, and incorporated these improvements in new machines. The Company informed its customers of these improvements, and in March 2002, began a program to replace all of its Rapid Check machines at no cost to customers. This replacement program has continued to the present date.

"The Company is fully cooperating with the government's investigation, and is confident that after all the facts are reviewed, it will be determined that the Company acted in a lawful and responsible manner."