Personal Finance

Sprint completes purchase of a piece of U.S. Cellular’s Midwest operations

Done deal

Sprint Nextel Corp. completed its $480 million purchase of a piece of U.S. Cellular’s Midwest operations, the Overland Park-based carrier said Friday.

The deal involves about 420,000 U.S. Cellular customers in Chicago, St. Louis and other markets. They are being asked to switch to Sprint in the coming months, which will require them to get new phones compatible with Sprint’s network.

Sprint’s announcement said it is offering discounts and incentives so customers will be able to get “a similar or better” phone — including its Sprint, Virgin, Boost and PayLo brands — “for little or no cost.”

U.S. Cellular customers won’t face an early termination fee for switching to a new carrier, Sprint said. They also can continue using their current phones on Chicago-based U.S. Cellular’s network during the transition.

Sprint also is gaining wireless spectrum in the deal. Spectrum is the licensed airwaves that carry the signals used by mobile devices such as cellphones and tablets. The added spectrum will improve Sprint’s service in the areas it covers, which includes Chicago; South Bend, Ind.; Champaign, Ill.; and St. Louis.

Discrimination suit

The former CEO of Tuesday Morning has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the discount retailer, saying she was fired just months after revealing she had breast cancer.

The lawsuit by Kathleen Mason follows a discrimination filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Mason’s lawyer, Rogge Dunn, said she was fired during a phone call last June, even though she had overseen the company’s growth during her tenure.

Dunn has said that Mason informed the board of her cancer so they wouldn’t be alarmed if she began losing her hair or growing gaunt as a result of treatment. But he has said the board’s attitude toward her began to change soon after, with members contacting her subordinates directly. At one point when Mason was wearing a wig, Dunn said one board member made a sarcastic comment about how nice her hair looked.

Tuesday Morning Corp., which sells closeout housewares and home decor, stood by its ousting of Mason on Friday. The company said in a statement that Mason’s allegations are “without merit” and that it intends to “vigorously contest” any allegation to the contrary.

Bank cited

Federal regulators are ordering the Bank of Montreal to take steps to correct lapses in oversight that could allow the bank to be used for money laundering.

The Federal Reserve announced an agreement Friday with the bank, which is one of Canada’s largest and has offices in the Kansas City area. The Fed cited procedural deficiencies to prevent money laundering in the bank and its Chicago branch.

No financial penalty was imposed. The bank agreed to submit detailed plans to the Fed and to Illinois banking regulators for strengthening its programs and correcting problems.