Last week kinda blew by and we sorta forgot that this mysterious new Arthur Andersen was supposed to hold a press conference about…well something. In any case, it never happened and I didn’t even get a press kit I was promised.
Accounting Today reports that they didn’t get anything either:
The new Arthur Andersen told Accounting Today earlier this month it planned to hold a press conference on March 15 in New York where its lawyer would answer questions about the dispute. “Mr. Vorsatz tells lies and we will share evidence at the press conference,” Laffont-Réveilhac said in a statement emailed to Accounting Today by spokesperson Samantha Kemp.
Kemp said the firm would also provide a press kit with quotes from Arthur Andersen alumni, from the associate to senior partner level, who worked at Arthur Andersen offices all across the world and have now rejoined Arthur Andersen. However, a few days later Kemp said the press conference had been postponed and a press release would be issued instead. The press release was never sent and Kemp has not responded to further requests for comment, although Laffont-Réveilhac did post an announcement last week, again on LinkedIn, on the day the press conference was scheduled. In it, he announced plans for integrating new member firms in the Americas. They include the four locations in the United States, in New York, Houston, Chicago, and Monterey, California, along with four locations in Brazil.
Funny thing about these new locations — International Accounting Bulletin reports that it called the 26 offices listed on the Arthur Andersen website and only one office — Nepal — said that it was part of Arthur Andersen.
Then there were the weird responses:
[T]he contact listed as the member firm in Saudi Arabia responded to our email: “I am Mustafa Tahboub, director of assurance services with INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTANTS – a member firm of HLB International. INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTANTS are not associated with Arthur Andersen.”
We followed up asking: “Have you ever been a member of Arthur Andersen? Could this be that you left their network and the directory hasn’t been updated yet?”
At the time of writing we didn’t receive a response.
Similarly the member firm listed for Houston Texas has the contact address: “1 rue des champs élysées, 77002 Houston, Tx, U.S.A.”. An address that does not exist in Houston, Texas.
Isn’t that weird? The IAB report also states that some people they spoke to “suspected the operation coming out of France to be a legal blackmail.” That’s even weirder.
I tried calling Samantha Kemp in Chicago but she wasn’t available, so I talked to the receptionist for a bit. He couldn’t comment on the dispute between Arthur Andersen and Andersen Tax but did tell me that most people work on site and there aren’t many people in the Chicago office. He also said that the US headquarters is in Monterey, California so I tried calling Monterey and only got voicemail.
This story continues to fascinate and confound, so if you know anything, get in touch.