CBL & Associates Properties respond to reports of accounting fraud
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – One of Chattanooga’s top companies is paying the price today for national reports on their accounting.
The Wall Street Journal reports that CBL & Associates Properties INC. is being investigated for accounting fraud.
CBL is the leading mall management company in the nation.
The company’s stock price has dropped between 11-12% on Wednesday after the report.
The report claims that the FBI and Securities Exchange Commission have talked to an ex-employee who says CBL inflated rental income and occupancy rates in reports to banks.
On Wednesday, the company issued this statement on what they call baseless allegations in the media.
“Tuesday night’s story referencing our company in The Wall Street Journal included serious allegations from unnamed sources. We believe these allegations to be completely baseless and take very seriously any questions regarding our accounting and financial practices. We strongly deny and will seek to understand the origin of these allegations. As we told the reporter – who contacted our company for the first time on Tuesday regarding this matter – neither the company nor its executives have been contacted by the FBI, the SEC or any regulatory agency regarding our company’s accounting or financial practices. At all times, our company operates with the utmost integrity and holds itself to the highest ethical standards. We have stringent policies and procedures in place to ensure all of our accounting and financial processes and reporting comply with applicable laws, rules and regulations.”
The Journal also reports that federal investigators are also asking about the relationship of CBL to Senator Bob Corker.
He has personal relationships with company executives and has made millions trading CBL stock.
But the report says investigators have not found evidence of any wrongdoing by the Senator.
Senator Corker’s office blames a political smear for the report.
Communications Director Micah Johnson says “A politically-motivated special interest group that refuses to disclose its donors continues to make baseless charges against Senator Corker, and we know that any effort to examine his actions will result in their smear campaign being discredited.”
“I also think it’s very important to note this line in the Wall Street Journal story that posted last night: They have found no evidence to suggest that Mr. Corker has committed wrongdoing”.
The reports are surfacing just as the Senator’s name is being floated for a high profile role in a possible Trump administration.