CFO Resigns After Five Days

Until recently, Joseph Pooler had served as senior vice president and CFO of troubled Pegasus Communications Corp.
Stephen TaubJune 15, 2005

Journal Register Co. chief financial officer Joseph W. Pooler has resigned just five days after beginning his new job.

The owner of 27 daily newspapers and more than 300 other publications announced that Pooler resigned as senior vice president and CFO “by mutual agreement.” In a terse press release, the company added that president and chief operating officer Jean B. Clifton, who was the company’s finance chief until only a week ago, will resume those responsibilities on an interim basis.

The Journal Register did not provide further information about why Pooler abruptly resigned.

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Until recently, Pooler had served as senior vice president and CFO of Pegasus Communications Corp., a direct broadcast satellite television provider that has had troubles of its own in recent months.

Last month, Pegasus announced that it had received notice from the Nasdaq Stock Market that the company’s common stock would be delisted for failure to file its 2004 annual report on time. The company appealed, arguing that the findings of fact reported to the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel were incorrect.

The company attributed the filing delay to the resignation of its outside auditor on December 29; Pegasus didn’t hire a new auditor until February 14. The company was also hampered by the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings of its subsidiary Pegasus Satellite Communications Inc.

Earlier this month, Pegasus announced that its request for reconsideration was denied.

In addition, late last month several major investment firms controlled by American International Group Inc. sued Pegasus, chief executive officer Marshall W. Pagon, and Pooler for allegedly making materially false and misleading statements from July 2002 to May 2004 concerning Pegasus Satellite Communications.

The plaintiffs claimed that Pegasus failed to disclose that the subsidiary’s exclusive rights to distribute satellite-television programming services within certain territories could be terminated prematurely without cause and without the consent of PSC as early as 2004. The plaintiffs also claimed that they relied on these statements and omissions to purchase more than $50 million of securities of the parent company and its subsidiary, which have since decreased in value, resulting in losses of more than $20 million.

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