The Marriage Is Over: Newly Merged Top 100 Firm(s) Calls It Quits

When Walnut, Calif.-based Moore Stephens Wurth Frazer and Torbet joined forces with Little Rock, Ark.-based Frost, PLLC last year, the new Frazer Frost was born and the future of the combined firm looked bright.

Frazer Frost entered the IPA Top 100 in 2010 at No. 59 with combined net revenues of $48.7 million. Now, eleven months into the merger, the two firms are calling it quits, according to published sources.

Financialinvestigator.com reports that Frost MP Dan Peregrin said in a prepared statement, “The partners of both firms have been friends for years and believed we could best build our business as one firm. Our combination agreement called for a trial period, which began on January 1, 2010, for us to ‘test the waters’ and we have been operating our businesses under the Frazer Frost, LLP name during this time.”

(Editorial Note: According to IPA’s records, there was no mention of a Trial Period.)

Peregrin told FI.com that a ‘culture clash’ led to the break up and that, “There is a lot of [issues] right now in [Chinese reverse mortgage] practice area and we just felt it would be smarter to wish them luck and stick to our practice areas.” Both firms will resume operations under their previous names, according to reports.

FI.com reported that the Moore Stephens Wurth Frazer and Torbet side has been “in hot water for a series of audits in its Chinese reverse-merger client base that appear to defy both common sense and financial probability.”

Going Concern posted additional information and the following quote from Citron Research, “If you call Frost today in Arkansas, they answer ‘Frost & Co.’ and say they’re no longer associated with Frazer. Citron spoke to Peregrin and twice he told us that the two firms have gone their own way – but if you call Frazer, they answer “Frazer Frost” and in a brief conversation with Susan Woo, the RINO auditor, she told Citron that Frazer Frost is still an operating entity.

Citrin Cooperman Continues Expansion Sweep With Two Firm Acquisitions

New York-based Citrin Cooperman (FY09 net revenue of $90 million) acquired Wlodinguer, Erk & Chanzis, New York, (two partners, 14 staff and $3 million in net revenue) and Rose, Dratch & Gilbert, New Jersey (two partners and eight staff).

WEC partners Victor Wlodinguer and Arthur Erk joined CC as partners in the New York City office and RDG partners Edward Dratch and Stacy Gilbert joined the Springfield, N.J. office on Nov. 15.

The WEC deal expands the firm’s entertainment, media and sports practice to seven partners and 30 staff. RDG offers traditional accounting services, tax planning and preparation, and management advisory services to businesses, partnerships, individuals, estates, trusts, and exempt organizations. CC is strengthening its business valuations, forensic accounting, expert testimony, and litigation support services. By joining with CC, the partners of RDG will further expand their restaurant and hospitality industry areas.

This is the fourth deal that the firm has announced in the past three weeks.

PwC Ireland Executives Busted for Inappropriate Sexist E-mail

PricewaterhouseCoopers, Dublin, is roiling in controversy after a group of executives distributed an e-mail ranking the top babelicious workers in the Dublin office.

“We are taking this matter extremely seriously and are launching a full investigation,” said a company spokesman of the e-mail, distributed among 17 male workers.

“We will take all necessary steps and actions in line with our firm’s polices and procedures.” The e-mail includes headshots and information about 13 women, seeking suggestions for the “top ten” most attractive.

The women, graduates of top universities, recently joined the firm and are undergoing training for executive positions. The e-mail has since been circulated to countless firms throughout Ireland, reports the Irish Independent.

PwC employs 2,000 workers in Ireland. The company’s website lists “behaving professionally” and “respecting others” among expected conduct. For more on the e-mail, check out Gawker here.

Crowe Expands Its Texas Market

Oak Brook, Ill.-based Crowe Horwath (FY10 net revenue of $481.3 million) expanded its national presence with the admission of two new partners, one relocated partner and a new office in Dallas/Fort Worth.  

Catherine Fox-Simpson, Wayne Williams and Marc McKerley join Crowe’s existing partners in the firm’s Dallas/Fort Worth practice.  Fox-Simpson, who specializes in tax, and Williams, who specializes in audit and financial advisory, were previously with another national firm in the Dallas area.  McKerley, who specializes in audit and financial advisory within the construction industry, relocated from the firm’s Nashville office. Combined, the three partners have practiced for more than 50 years.

Strengthening our expertise and services in the Dallas/Fort Worth area is another means for us to reach our vision of becoming a national firm that is globally recognized,” says Chuck Allen, Crowe’s CEO.

“Expanding our presence in the Dallas/Fort Worth area through Wayne, Catherine and Marc enhances our ability to serve the needs of our Texas-based clients. Continued expansion of this office is contemplated in the near future through more partner relocations and the hiring of more personnel.”

Citrin Cooperman Acquires Connecticut Firm

New York-based Citrin Cooperman (FY09 net revenue of $90 million) acquired Schwartz & Hofflich (net revenue of $4 million), Norwalk, Conn., effective Nov. 1, continuing CC’s expansion and growth in Connecticut. 

Joining CC are partners Neil Bayer, Lawrence Feldman, Barry Newman, Eric Prescott, Pasqualino Spagnoli and Gilbert Watkins, in addition to 14 staff.   

The firm announced that it will close its Southport, Conn., office and will move into the S&H office in Norwalk, Conn.  CC has offices in New York City, White Plains, N.Y, Springfield, N.J., and Philadelphia. The Connecticut office now has seven partners and 20 staff.

“Connecticut is a very important market to our overall growth strategy and we will continue to expand the resources we offer to companies in the region,” says Alan Badey, the partner, who together with Mark Fagan, will oversee the Connecticut operations.

Florida CPA Firm Settles Suits for $10 Million

Scott Rothstein has agreed to settle two malpractice lawsuits connected to the scandal for $10 million.

Coral Gables, Fla.-based Berenfeld Spritzer Shechter & Sheer (FY09 net revenue of $22.3 million) provided tax accounting for Rothstein, his now defunct law firm, and for the top feeder in Rothstein’s $1.2 billion fraud, one of the funds led by George Levin.

Accoarding to the South Florida Business Journal, the settlement amount marks the limits of BSS&S’s malpractice insurance policies. The agreement was filed November 10, in the bankruptcy case of the defunct Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler law firm.

Settling parties include the bankruptcy trustee overseeing the defunct firm, Berenfeld’s insurer Lexington Insurance Co. and investors represented by Fort Lauderdale attorney William Scherer.

Those parties have agreed to a bar against further claims against the firm. The settlement also resolves all claims by the settling parties against Berenfeld employees Tracy Weintraub, Gary Berkowitz and Brian Leitstein, or any other employees or successors to the firm.

Investors, including Fort Lauderdale venture capitalist Doug Von Allmen, had alleged that the firm’s role should have made it apparent that Rothstein’s money was dirty.

But the accounting firm said it did not provide traditional book audits for the firm and stopped doing RRA’s taxes in 2009, when Rothstein declined to answer questions about the previous tax year. Rothstein’s crimes came to light a year ago, when he temporarily fled to Morocco with law firm funds. He was sentenced last summer to 50 years in prison.

In April, Berenfeld partner Emery Sheer called the investor lawsuit “a campaign of misinformation, misdirection and innuendo.” A firm spokesman said the company would not comment on the agreement.

Citrin Cooperman Adds Partner to Philadelphia Office

Joseph Barbagallo joined New York-based Citrin Cooperman (FY09 net revenue of $90 million) as partner in the firm’s valuation and forensic services department, in the firm’s Philadelphia office.

A frequent lecturer for accounting and forensic organizations, Barbagallo possesses more than 25 years of public accounting experience. Prior to joining CC, he served as a partner with Marcum, LLP in Philadelphia.

Walthall, Drake & Wallace Acquires Ohio Firm

Cleveland-based Walthall, Drake & Wallace (12 partners), acquired the four-person Mayfield Village, Ohio firm of Enterprise Business Advisors on November 2.

EBA will move into Walthall’s Mentor, Ohio offices by the end of November, according to Christine Bade, director of marketing for WD&W.

Two New Jersey Firms Combine Practices

Cranford, N.J. based Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa (FY09 revenue of $8 million- seven partners and 65 staff) is pleased to announce that Jersey City-based Cohen, Doren, Addeo & Co. (three partners and 6 staff) joined the firm in November.

The firm will practice under the name of Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, with offices located in Cranford, N.J., Bayonne, N.J. and Jersey City, N.J.

Deloitte To Open Office in Iraq, Early 2011

Accounting giant Deloitte plans to open its first office in Iraq and is working on an add-on acquisition to grow its Middle Eastern presence, according to report from Reuters.

Omar Fahoum, chairman and chief executive of Deloitte Middle East, told Reuters that the company will open a branch in Baghdad in the first quarter of 2011.

“We have many clients, mainly in the oil and gas industry, that are in Iraq, but we are also looking to serve the local economy,” Fahoum says.

Deloitte employs 2,200 people in the Middle East, and was an advisor to state conglomerate Dubai World on the restructuring of its nearly $25 billion in debt.

According to Fahoum, Deloitte has hired around 1,000 people in the past two years alone in the region and aims to continue to grow at that rate. It is currently in talks for the acquisition of an advisory firm active in the region, which could be completed in the first quarter of next year, he added.