OfficeMax investigates vendor’s claims

OfficeMax is investigating a vendor’s allegation that certain company employees falsified invoice documents to the value of $3.3 million, it disclosed in December.

The company said its investigation stemmed from claims by a vendor, the identity of which was not disclosed, that certain employees "acted inappropriately in requesting promotional payments and in falsifying supporting documentation for about $3.3 million in claims billed by ‘Max during 2003 and 2004".

Spokesperson for the firm, Bill Bonner, told OPI: "We are currently working with our audit committee to characterise the source of the claims, which we expect to be in our merchandising department, and we are committed to investigating fully what has happened."

As a result of the investigation, the company has decided to delay plans to use proceeds from its sale to Boise Cascade in December 2003, as well as the equity contract conversion to buy back common shares of between $775 million and $815 million.

‘Max has also stated that it would delay the release of its Q4 and full year earnings until the investigation has been completed.

Meanwhile, EVP/CFO Brian Anderson resigned from the company at the beginning of January after just two months in the role.

As a result, former CFO Ted Crumley has returned to the post on an interim basis.

It was ‘Max’s second high profile resignation in a week, following the departure of Gary Peterson, president of the company’s retail division. The firm stressed that Peterson’s decision was unrelated to the firm’s current investigation.

Itasca (IL)