After Enron, it's become all the rage to kvetch about the parlous state of company's books. But some market figures have long been raising concerns about accounting. Take Albert Meyer, an analyst for David W. Tice Associates, the Dallas-based investment firm known for its bearishness. The firm manages a short-selling mutual fund called the Prudent Bear Fund and runs an institutional research service called Behind the Numbers, which Meyer has contributed to for three years. In conversation, the 50-year-old South African native doesn't come over as a born crusader. But his work has thrust him into the limelight over the years. As an accounting professor at Spring Arbor College in Michigan, Meyer took a critical look at the Foundation for New Era Philanthropy, a now-collapsed charity that was essentially a Ponzi scheme. He then hit the headlines for work scrutinizing Coca-Cola's relationship with its bottlers. He's back in the spotlight today for being a persistent critic of Tyco (TYC).
TheStreet.com: So, when did you start looking at Tyco, and what was it about the company that caught your interest? Meyer: It was a Barron's article in 1999. The article referred to the company's financial statements as being a "rat's nest." That caught my eye. Also, when a company makes it on to the cover of business journal, it's often the end of the story. TheStreet.com: What did you find once you started digging in?