September 18, 2018

CFOs that disappear without a trace

Thankfully, Dillard’s Disputes with Audit Firms Haven’t Resulted in Anyone Disappearing into Thin Air

Your mother’s third favorite department store, Dillard’s, has fired PwC as their auditor over a dispute related to the timing of a “tax benefit related to its new real estate investment trust.” The Little Rock-based company replaced P. Dubs with KPMG (who will take every chance they can get to stick it to Team Autumn). Basically the two didn’t see eye on this matter (here’s the 8-K that explains it), Dillard’s asked the IRS for their opinion, who said the treatment was kosher and next thing you know, the audit committee was on the hunt for a replacement.

Anyway, this isn’t really news until you consider the fact that PwC had only become Dillard’s auditor in 2009. Deloitte had been the auditor of the company for 20 years and in many auditor-client relationships, that’s just the honeymoon phase. So that seems a little odd. And couple that with the most recent firing of PwC and you’ve got to wonder what’s the scoop is over at DDS. But all that pales in comparison to this:

In 2008, [Dillard’s] had a dispute with CDI Contractors LLC’s chief financial officer [Ed. note: Link is broken], John Glasgow.

At the time, Dillard’s owned half of CDI. It has since bought the half that it didn’t own.

Glasgow objected the way Dillard’s CFO James Freeman was conducting an audit of CDI. Glasgow disappeared during the dispute and was declared dead [Ed. note: Ditto] more than three years later, although no trace of him has been found.

After Glasgow’s disappearance, Dillard’s restated earnings for several previous years, blaming an accounting error by CDI.

The last thing we want to see are pictures of auditors on milk cartons.

Dillard’s Fires PWC After Accounting Dispute, Hires KPMG As Auditor [AB]