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TheStreet Open House

The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: May 3

4. So Long Sheldon

We here at the Dumbest Lab perfectly grasped why KPMG relinquished its lucrative Herbalife (HLF) audit business. It had no choice but to step aside once that schmuck Scott London admitted to feeding inside information to an equally asinine acquaintance.

That conclusion we understood.

On the other hand, PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PWC) decision to cut loose Las Vegas Sands (LVS) from its client roster late last Friday, well, that one has us flummoxed. And we're not alone judging from the casino stock's 1% selloff on an otherwise bullish Monday in the market.

"It's been 25 years, and in business vendor relationships change and evolve over time," said Sands spokesman Ron Reese about PWC's choice to end its 25-year relationship with Sands founder and chairman Sheldon Adelson. Reese added that it also was "not the result of any non-public information" concerning the company's recent admission that it violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act when it was bribing Asian bureaucrats to get its casinos up and rolling.

OK. So it wasn't a big falling out with Adelson that led the Big Four accountant to drop out. It also didn't have anything to do with the company's Macau mishegas.


Hmmm. This truly is a puzzler. Is it bigger than a breadbox? What about a breadbox filled with dollar bills under the arm of a Chinese official? Is it bigger than that?

Unfortunately, PWC offered even less information as to why it was bidding Adelson adieu. All it said in its letter to the SEC was that it agreed with the Las Vegas Sands' public filings regarding the end of their affair.

Thanks a lot guys. You've been very helpful. Not.

One serious possibility is that Adelson's crew are seeking a Chinese or Hong Kong-based accounting firm to sign off on its books now that Asia's high rollers are puddle jumping to Macau instead of jetting all the way to Vegas to place their bets. Of course, a drastic move like that would undoubtedly unnerve Sands' shareholder base considering the widespread distrust of Chinese auditors in the wake of all those reverse merger blowups.

As to whether Adelson personally gives a GAAP which pencil pusher signs off on his company's financials, we highly doubt it. Sheldon plays by his own rules and he has no qualms paying big bucks to do so. In the last election cycle the 79-year old billionaire spent $98 million on at least 34 different candidates and groups.

In other words, Sheldon is accountable to nobody but Sheldon because in his mind he's the biggest breadbox around.

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