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Accounting News Roundup: Congress Continues Payroll Tax Cut Tango; Madoff’s Ex-controller Pleads Guilty; Don’t Give Up on That Missing Pen | 12.20.11

Lawmakers Deadlock Over Tax Cut [WSJ]
The threat of a New Year's tax increase loomed larger Monday, as Congress deadlocked over legislation to extend a payroll tax break and unemployment benefits. The split between the parties—and among Republicans—widened as the House was poised to vote Tuesday to block a bipartisan Senate bill extending current payroll tax rates by two months and extending benefits for the long-term unemployed that are due to expire Dec. 31. Members of both parties said it was almost unthinkable that Congress would let the tax rate rise on Jan. 1, but neither side could yet see the path to a compromise. In a closed-door meeting Monday night, House Republicans railed against the short-term bill passed Saturday by the Senate and demanded more negotiations on a yearlong deal with senators who had left Washington for the holidays, believing they had cast their last votes of 2011.

House GOP to vote Tuesday on tax conference with Senate [The Hill]
House Republicans plan to vote at midday Tuesday on a measure to go to conference with the Senate on the payroll tax holiday. The House adopted this action after delaying a planned vote on the payroll tax holiday approved by the Senate that could have taken place very early Tuesday morning. The party whip, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), attributed the delay in the vote to the Republican pledge to not pass legislation in the middle of the night, as they had criticized House Democrats for doing. The votes on Tuesday, he said, will occur “in the light of day.”

MF Global Judge Considering Nine Investor Suits Against Ex-Chief Corzine [Bloomberg]
Jon Corzine, MF Global Holdings Ltd.’s former chief executive officer, is the defendant in nine lawsuits before a federal judge in Manhattan that are seeking compensation for losses from the company’s collapse. The plaintiffs, including an electricians’ union, allege that Corzine and other company officials made misleading statements about MF Global’s financial condition before its Oct. 31 collapse. U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero has been combining the cases into one, saying they make similar claims about similar facts and events, and he now has consolidated nine of them, according to a court filing today.

Madoff's ex-controller pleads guilty in NYC [WSJ]
"I did not know that Madoff and others were stealing investors' money," Enrica Cotellessa-Pitz said as she entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, becoming the sixth person to plead guilty and admit a role in a fraud that Madoff claimed he carried out alone. "For that, I am terribly sorry." Cotellessa-Pitz , 53, said she wanted investors and the public to know that she is cooperating fully with prosecutors.

Deloitte Absorbs Skura BI Group [AT]
Deloitte has brought in professionals from the group to augment its Information Management and Analytics Technology practice in the firm’s consulting unit in Canada. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Skura Business Intelligence Group is a sister company of Skura Corporation and an Oracle partner.

Swallowed pen still works 25 years later [MSNBC]
The case, which appeared in the British Medical Journal Case Reports, described a 76- year-old British woman sent to a GI specialist because of weight loss and diarrhea. She was diagnosed with severe diverticulosis, a condition that's common in older people in which small pouches bulge out from the colon. But when doctors did a scanning test of her belly they noticed something strange: "A linear foreign body in the stomach." When asked about it, the woman remembered accidentally swallowing a black felt-tip pen 25 years earlier.[…] According to her gastroenterologist Dr. Oliver Waters, who authored the case report, she was standing on her stairs using an uncapped pen to poke a spot on her tonsils. She was also holding a hand mirror to guide the pen to the exact spot. Somehow, while doing this, she lost her balance and stumbled. The fall managed to push the pen down her throat. It glided down her gullet and found a home in her tummy.


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