To the Editor: Article ‘meandering, incoherent and obtuse’

Editor’s note: The following was sent to The Rock River Times as a letter to the editor in response to the May 26-June 1, 2004, article “Rosemont’s Rockford connections.”

Over that past month, BDO Seidman responded to several inquiries from your reporter, Jeff Havens, regarding former client accounts associated with Rosemont Mayor Donald E. Stephens. Mr. Havens contacted the firm on three different occasions with questions designed to draw our firm into a story he was developing on alleged mob involvement with the Rosemont mayor. He also attempted to create a connection between his story and litigation that BDO Seidman, and virtually every major accounting firm, was involved with regarding the IRS. We answered all of Mr. Haven’s questions, specifically refuting the imagined connection to IRS litigation, and he indicated that his story would be moving in another direction.

Therefore, you can imagine our surprise when BDO Seidman appeared prominently in a story on Mayor Stephens by Mr. Havens that was published in last week’s The Rock River Times. While careful to state that “nothing illegal has been alleged” against BDO Seidman, Mr. Havens smears the firm by association in an article that can best be described as parts meandering, incoherent and obtuse.

The following are specific points from the article we would like to address:

We are uncertain what 20 transactions the story is referring to regarding the exchange of $12,495. The article doesn’t make it clear whether these were political contributions or fees for services rendered. Both of which are legal. Mr. Havens never raised specific transactions with us, but our initial reaction is that this seems to be an insignificant sum especially over a three-year period.

BDO Seidman and Robert Farrell are currently in litigation regarding non-compete issues. This is an unfortunate everyday occurrence at national accounting firms, law firms and other professional organizations.

BDO Seidman and dozens of other national accounting firms, law firms and financial services institutions have been involved in litigation with the IRS regarding protecting client privilege. BDO Seidman has complied with all court rulings in these matters. None of the former client accounts referred to in Mr. Havens’ article has any connection whatsoever to this litigation.

Like every accounting firm, our reputation is of paramount importance to us. We don’t ask for special treatment, only a fair shake. Yet, despite our cooperation in responding to your reporter’s inquiries and a lack of any credible allegation of wrongdoing, your article was anything but fair. By publishing this letter, we would hope you have helped to mitigate any negative perceptions of our firm caused by your story.


BDO Seidman, LLP

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!