will do more than unload a public relations headache when it spins off its 80.7% stake in Associates First Capital Corp, it also will post a $16.5-billion, one-time non-cash gain in the first quarter as a result of the tax-free transaction. As a result of the deal, Ford will distribute about $3.1 billion in cash to shareholders who hold Ford stock in U.S. employee-savings accounts. On April 7, those who own Ford stock as of March 12 will receive 0.262085 shares of Associates for each Ford common and Class B (what the Ford family owns) share. Meanwhile, Associates takes a beating at a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Aging for pushing loans and credit cards to high-risk borrowers, often the poor or elderly. Associates is one of several firms under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Dept. Both bodies are looking at the practice of "flipping," in which lenders extend a succession of loans to the same customer with each new loan refinancing the previous one with higher interest costs. Associates officials decline to comment other than to say they will cooperate with the investigations.