Risk Management

Mystery Swirls over Missing CFO of Clinton-Library Firm

His family joins officials in searching for John Glasgow, of Little Rock-based builder CDI Contractors. Was his role in a dispute between partners ...
Stephen Taub and Kate PlourdMarch 17, 2008

The chief financial officer of the company that built the Clinton Library has been missing since late January. And as the investigation continues, questions deepen about whether business pressures might have played a role in his disappearance.

Police say John Glasgow, the CFO of Little Rock-based CDI Contractors LLC, left no clues about his whereabouts. As a result, according to the Associated Press, speculation centers on whether he may have left voluntarily, or against his will.

In an E-mail response to a CFO.com inquiry, Glasgow’s brother Roger wrote: “There has been no new solid information developed concerning his disappearance — why, where, or how — since his vehicle was found at a state park in Arkansas some 6 weeks ago.” Law enforcement officials, joined by the Glasgow family, “have continued to actively investigate a number of leads that have been uncovered since then, but without any definitive explanations so far. We will continue with this effort, and have added your information to our media list to contact with any new significant developments,” Roger Glasgow said.

Privately held CDI is partially owned by the retailing giant Dillard’s and the estate of co-founder Bill Clark, the AP reported. Among the many projects that it built or remodeled was Clinton’s library.

According to the The Arkansas Business Journal, the relationship between the management of CDI and Dillard was seriously strained shortly before Glasgow disappeared on Jan. 28. Exactly 10 days earlier, according to Glasgow’s wife, Melinda, she had seen her husband in tears after a purported difficult meeting with Dillard’s executives. “He told me, ‘Today has been the worst day of my life,’” she said, according to the paper.

According to the report, on Jan. 25 — three days before the disappearance — Glasgow completed a draft of a letter to Dillard’s CEO William Dillard II on behalf of William Clark, CDI’s CEO since the death in May of his father, company founder Bill Clark. It referred to a meeting that had included Clark, Glasgow, William Dillard, and Dillard’s CFO James Freeman. “For Freeman to come down here and say we are dishonest, and for you [Dillard] to sit there and not say anything, hurt us to the core. We have never been so offended in our lives,” Glasgow reportedly wrote on Clark’s behalf.

The letter also said: “Now I’m concerned that our foundation is on shaky ground. I want to keep this partnership together and continue building on my dad’s legacy, and I believe that is what he would want me to do. Will you please let me do that? If we can move forward, then I have a plan for how to do it. First, you have to call off the dogs.”

“Neither Dillard’s nor CDI believe any money was misappropriated by John Glasgow or any other member of CDI’s management,” stated a joint response to the paper’s questions.

In any case, the Arkansas Business Journal claimed that Glasgow’s draft letter said, in part: “Freeman’s accountants have been down here for the past two weeks looking through everything we have, and that’s fine because we have nothing to hide and never have.”

Melinda Glasgow also told the paper that a forensic audit of John Glasgow’s company-issued laptop computer, his office desktop computer, and the company’s books came up clean.

Meanwhile, the paper pointed out that just days before he went missing, Glasgow put a $300,000 annual bonus in the bank.

Glasgow earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Central Arkansas and his MBA from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He began his career as a CPA with the Baird, Kurtz & Dobson accounting firm in Little Rock, where he remained until 1990, when he joined the accounting team at CDI Contractors construction firm in Little Rock. In 1992, he was promoted to controller and in 1995 was appointed CFO. He subsequently became a vice president of the company as well as CFO.

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