disgraced former chief financial officer was rebuffing internal pressure to fix the company's accounting since 2000, a congressman alleged.
Scott Sullivan, who was fired in July when it was revealed the company had improperly classified some $3.8 billion in operating expenses, ignored the accounting concerns of at least two employees, Rep. Billy Tauzin (R., La.) said.
Tauzin, who is heading a congressional investigation into the WorldCom debacle, cited internal documents that showed Sullivan's intransigence dated back to April 2000. Previously the company had said the irregularities began in early 2001.
"The documents ... reveal a strange pattern of people inside the corporation discovering it, trying to do something about it, and ultimately failing until recently," said Tauzin, who chairs the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.
Sullivan has stood by his accounting decisions, which, among other things, involved treating money paid to third-party telecommunications companies to connect calls as long-term investments.
According to Tauzin, finance department employee Troy Normand flagged an accounting problem in 2000 to Sullivan and controller David Myers but was told there was nothing wrong. And a British employee named Stephen Brabbs told auditor Arthur Andersen of a potentially problematic expense reclassification in April 2000.
"There's quite an insight in these documents as to how corporate greed took over, and how, beginning in the year 2000 actually, the company began shifting ordinary expenses over to capital accounts," Tauzin said.