SEC SETTLES ITS ENFORCEMENT CASE AGAINST VENATOR, FORMER EXECUTIVES

Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — The Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday that it settled enforcement proceedings against Venator Group Inc., formerly Woolworth Corp., based on “material” misstatements in filings with the SEC for the first three quarters of 1993.
The proceedings are also based on financial results reported for the fourth quarter of 1993 in a company press release.
A spokesman for Venator said Monday that the matter “relates to certain actions by former employees.”
He noted that the company is “delighted to see it come to a close.”
Venator settled without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations.
The SEC also reached a settlement against four former Woolworth senior officers: Charles T. Young, who was senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer of Woolworth; Selig Adler, who was chief financial officer of the Kinney Shoe Corp. U.S. unit; E. Ronald Gamble, who was chief financial officer of Woolworth Canada, and Laura T. Kirsner, who was assistant controller of Woolworth.
None of the four could be reached for comment.
The SEC charged the former officers with engaging in a “scheme to manage the company’s reported earnings” by inflating profits in early quarters and then adjusting the results in subsequent quarters so that results would be accurate by yearend.
The SEC also filed a complaint against Young and Adler on Monday in Manhattan federal court, and simultaneously entered settlements with them. The SEC said the complaint “alleged that the fraud was accomplished at the direction, or with the knowledge, of Young.”
Without admitting or denying the allegations, Young and Adler consented to an entry of an order barring them from “violating the relevant provisions of the federal securities laws,” according to the SEC.
Adler also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $25,000.
The SEC said no penalty was entered against Young due to his “demonstrated inability to pay.”
Young did consent to an order barring him for a period of five years from appearing or practicing before the SEC as an accountant.
Gamble and Kirsner consented to an order that “Woolworth violated and Gamble and Kirsner caused” federal securities law violations. The order requires that they “cease and desist from committing any violation and any future violation” of the federal securities laws alleged against them.

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