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Sun June 06 2004, 07:18 AM
A source that doesn't wish to be named has passed the following information to me. Michail Itkis, former CEO of the now defunct company that concieved and manufactured the entertainment system (IFEN) that has been named as almost certainly causing swissair 111 to crash has changed his name from Michail Itkis, to Mike Snow. I don't even want to speculate on the reasons for this though I certainly have my own thoughts about this privately. Here is the information:

"Michail Itkis has re-surfaced as the president of an Arizona-based
company that manufactures cargo trailers.

The company is called Interstate Group LLC, which has recently relocated
its operations to the state of Arkansas, with much fanfare from Governor
Mike Huckabee.

Itkis has changed his name to Mike Snow, as did his wife Lauren
Snopkowski (who also worked at IFT) - now Lauren Snow."
(including possible photo of Michail Itkis sitting behind Arkansas Gov
Mike Huckabee)
Tue June 08 2004, 11:51 PM
Mark Fetherolf
I wonder how many CEOs of *successful* public companies change their names?
Fri June 11 2004, 10:45 PM
Wed September 01 2004, 10:28 AM
Somehow, I've overlooked this particular post; and reading it just now has filled me with cynical rage. Michail Itkis is an unusual name; Mike Snow melts away into anonymity.
Wed September 01 2004, 01:02 PM
Yes I know exactly how you feel. This is the guy who when interviewed by Gary Stoller of USA Today, made a tasteless sarcastic remark about 'acting in the movie' when presented with the FACTS that Stoller reported. Shortly after that first article appeared, Stoller reported that former employees of IFT came forward finally and lambasted Itkis (now Snow) for telling them to ignore important safety concerns they had during the approval process.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: BF,
Mon August 01 2005, 11:11 PM
First off dont jump to conclusions. I know Michael Snow (or Itkis) personally. His wife had changed her name to Snow many years ago for her job (her maiden name was too long). In events unrelated to the swissair event, Michael had a situation with his family in which they had wronged him and he no longer wanted to be associated with them. He decided to change his name for personal reasons with his family. That had nothing to do with the flight crash. I can understand how it can be concluded that he changed his name for other reasons, but this is simply not the case. I realize that this event was tragic and that bitter feelings may be felt towards Michael, but please, don't make him out to be a person who is trying to escape his past. He simply wants to be left alone by his family for personal reasons.
Mon August 01 2005, 11:17 PM
Thanks for your response and welcome to the board. Part of what I was thinking was that this name-change thing was due to a split with the rest of his family. And please note that we never say why he changed his name, nor do we pretend to know.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: BF,
Tue August 02 2005, 08:28 AM
I believe this is what ourkansassqt is referring to:

From the September 4, 1998 print edition
Internal squabbles taint firm
Ken Brown
The Business Journal

Executives at Interactive Flight Technologies Inc. once harbored dreams of designing electronic game systems to make air travel more entertaining.

Now they are in a turbulent ride of their own as mounting losses, irate shareholders and a family dispute threaten to send the once-promising Phoenix firm into a tailspin.

In addition, the company announced plans to change its name and enter the dry-cleaning business.

In a feud worthy of the 1980s prime time soap opera Dallas, IFT chief executive Michail Itkis is fending off attacks from a shareholder group that includes his own father and brother.

Representing the shareholders is Irwin Gross, the former CEO of Pittsburgh-based ICC Technologies Inc. Through his one-man limited liability corporation, Ocean Castle Partners, Gross wants to replace Interactive Flight's board with himself and two business associates.

Those intentions were made clear in a series of filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and in press statements issued through news wire services.

He has the backing of Yuri and Boris Itkis, who are Itkis' father and brother, and Donald Goldman, another significant shareholder and former employee.

Until last year, Yuri Itkis had been a director with IFT.

Gross claims to represent 33.8 percent of shareholder votes, which would give him the largest single voting block in the company.

Neither Michail Itkis nor other company officials returned phone calls, but a letter sent to shareholders last month indicated his support for new corporate bylaws that would thwart any immediate takeover. In it, he said the current board was not proposing the changes in response to any threats but instead as a precaution against situations it had witnessed in other publicly traded companies.

The company sent the letter before Gross' campaign became public.

IFT, meanwhile, has sued Gross for fraud, accusing the 54-year-old executive of illegally buying shareholder votes and misrepresenting his intentions in securities filings. The lawsuit, filed in a Delaware court Aug. 31, was unavailable, but the nature of the accusations emerged from papers filed with the suit.

The company is asking the court to limit Gross' voting power to shares owned by the Itkises and Goldman alone.

Citing securities regulations that require a "quiet period" during events that could affect the stock price, Gross declined to comment. In his securities filings and earlier press statements, however, he has made clear his frustration with IFT's direction.

In a statement filed with the SEC, Gross said he and his business partners "would be committed to increasing shareholder value for ALL shareholders."

The dispute is expected to come to a head at the company's annual investors meeting at the end of this month.

If successful, the coup would be yet another twist in IFT's already bumpy history.

The company moved to Phoenix from Las Vegas in 1996 with 110 employees but has since cut about half of those jobs as its intended market failed to materialize.

The company designs systems that allow airline passengers to gamble, play video games and watch movies from individual screens mounted to the backs of seats.

Despite signing on a few customers and persuading former U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig to sit on the board of directors, IFT has found profits elusive. (Haig's term on the board ended last year.)

For its most recent quarter ended April 30, the company reported a $274,464 loss on sales of $4.5 million.

In March, investor Barington Capital Group sued Yuri Itkis and other current and former company executives for "breaches of fiduciary duty." The suit, still pending in a New York court, is seeking $50 million and the dismissal of the company's current officers.

Two months ago, the company formally ended all marketing efforts for the airline gaming system and announced plans to enter the dry-cleaning business.

IFT has a market value of more than $17 million and a $30 million cash reserve, which executives sought for dry-cleaner acquisitions.

Gross' former company, ICC Technologies Inc., has an equally unusual background. Founded as a joint venture focused on air-conditioning systems, ICC became an independent company this year and subsequently merged with a web-design company called Rare Medium. It is in the process of selling off the air-conditioning business, a move that led to Gross' departure.

For its most recent quarter ended June 30, that company reported a $7.3 million loss on sales of $2.3 million.

Also leaving is former ICC director Charles Condy, a restaurateur who is part of Gross' proposed replacement team. Stephen Schachman, a Pittsburgh business consultant, would be the third director on Gross' crew.

If current IFT directors can fend off the coup attempt, the company will ask shareholders to approve a name change to IFT Holdings Inc. as it tries to become a chain of dry cleaners.
Tue August 02 2005, 08:12 PM
Incidentally, IFT did get taken over by Ocean Castle Partners, long ago. I don't know what its current status is, but last time I checked, it wasn't doing very well. I believe they were installing entertainment systems on cruise ships at one point.

On an old site they had that recorded the stock price, one of the posters said there had been a fire caused by one of them, though I don't recall the details as to the extent of damage.
Fri April 21 2006, 03:34 PM
Someone sent me the following link:
Mon June 26 2006, 09:40 PM
Someone wrote to me and said that Mr. Itkis has moved his business from Arkansas to either Idaho or Iowa.