Save Farmer Bros. Delivers Letter To Farmer Bros. Co. Regarding The Discovery Of A Troubling Discrepancy In The Qualifications Of Director And Audit Committee Chair Christopher Mottern
Deeply Disturbed That Farmer Bros. Co. May Have Misrepresented a Material Qualification of Mr. Mottern by Disclosing that He Is a Certified Public Accountant in its SEC Filings for Three Consecutive Years, When It Appears He Was Not
FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Save Farmer Bros. announced today that the group has delivered a letter to Farmer Bros. (NASDAQ: FARM) ("FARM" or the "Company") highlighting deeply troubling discrepancies and misrepresentations the Company has made about the qualifications of current director and Audit Committee Chairman, Christopher P. Mottern in the Company's SEC filings. The full text of Save Farmer Bros.' letter to the Company's Board of Directors follows and is available for download at www.SaveFarmerBros.com:
November 10, 2016VIA ELECTRONIC MAILBoard of DirectorsFarmer Bros. Co.13601 North Freeway, Suite 200 Fort Worth, Texas 76177 Ladies and Gentlemen: For three consecutive years, beginning when Christopher P. Mottern was first nominated and elected to the Company's Board of Directors (the "Board") in 2013, the Company's proxy statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on Form DEF14A disclosed that "Mr. Mottern is a Certified Public Accountant." Unquestionably, this important biographical information was materially relevant to the Board's decision to appoint Mr. Mottern as the Chair of the Company's Audit Committee on December 5, 2013, and the Board's determination that Mr. Mottern is an "audit committee financial expert" as defined in Item 407(d) of Regulation S-K under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Unfortunately, it turns out that this material information is unverifiable and likely fabricated. When diligence and background checks conducted by Save Farmer Bros. failed to corroborate that Mr. Mottern currently is, or ever even was, a Certified Public Accountant, Save Farmer Bros. highlighted this apparent discrepancy in its Investor Presentation issued on September 29, 2016, and asked the Board the following question: "Did the Board ever bother to verify whether Mr. Mottern, the Chairman of the Audit Committee, is, or ever was, a CPA?" In FARM's preliminary proxy statement filed with the SEC on October 17, 2016, the Company did an about-face with regard to the disclosure around Mr. Mottern's CPA status, disclosing now that "Mr. Mottern was a Certified Public Accountant." Was he really? If so, when? We note for the record that Mr. Mottern's biographies in public SEC filings of Peet's Coffee & Tea, Inc., for which he served as a director from 1997 through 2004, never disclosed that he is, or ever was, a Certified Public Accountant. Unfortunately, FARM has failed to provide Save Farmer Bros. or the investing public with (i) any additional information regarding Mr. Mottern's current status as a CPA, (ii) any evidence that Mr. Mottern ever was a CPA or (iii) any explanation for including what now appears to be false and misleading information regarding a material feature of Mr. Mottern's biographical background in the Company's proxy statement for three consecutive years.