“Those Guys Were a Disgrace. Thank God We’re Not Them,” Say Probitium Execs
Washington, D.C. (SatireWire.com) – In a strong sign that accounting firm Arthur Andersen finally understands the extent of the trouble it has caused and is willing to do something about it, company executives today announced the firm has changed its name.
Executives of the new firm, Probitium, revealed the change prior to testimony before the U.S. House Energy subcommittee investigating the Enron collapse. Committee members, however, quickly became incensed when Probitium CEO Joseph Berardino, who until the previous day had held the same position at Andersen, refused to discuss Andersen’s involvement.
“Arthur Andersen may have acted improperly, but it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the behavior of another company,” he said. “Perhaps you should talk to them.”
“We are talking to them,” said an angry Rep. Jim Greenwood, R-Pa. “They’re you!”
“No no, not at all,” Berardino explained. “We’re Probitium. The Power of Probity3.”TM
The moment was one of several heated exchanges between Probitium executives and committee members, whose efforts to tie Andersen to Enron were continually blocked by Probitium legal counsel Nancy Temple.
“With all due respect, Congressman, I fail to see why you insist on asking my client about incidents not related to his company,” Temple said. “It’s like blaming Exxon Mobil for something Standard Oil did.”
That comment brought Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to his feet. “I see what you’re doing here,” he said. “ValuJet had a crash and changed its name to Air Trans. Philip Morris wants to change its name to Altria. And now Andersen is trying to run away as fast as it can by calling itself Probitium.”
“Probitium?” interrupted Temple.
“What? Did I say it wrong?” asked Waxman.
After exchanging confused glances with Berardino, Temple returned to the microphone. “Oh, Probitium! You mean Veritaccis! The company changed its name. Recently. We’re now Veritaccis. Truth through Accounting AnalysisTM”
Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., wasted no time responding. “You may call yourself Veritaccis, but you’re the same firm, with the same people, conducting your business in the same way as Probitium or Andersen!”
“I’m sorry, Congresswoman, but what does this have to do with Visitrustment?” said Berardino.
“Visitrustment? So now Veritaccis is gone?”
“Hardly. Veritaccis is now a chief competitor,” Berardino explained. “We’re an independent spin-off. Visitrustment: Where Vision, Trust, and Commitment merge.TM”
As the meeting neared a climax, a frustrated Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., lashed out at the former Visitrustment (now Altuous) chief executive, demanding that he come clean.
“Look here, are you or are you not Joseph Berardino, who once was the CEO of the accounting firm known as Arthur Andersen, LLP?” said Tauzin.
“I can’t recall,” answered Berardino
“You can’t recall?”
“Well c’mon, that was five companies ago.”
“It was five hours ago!”
Further questioning was cut short, however, as Temple insisted her client had to return to his office to sign the merger agreement between Veritaccis and Altuous.
“I see now why Enron relied on you,” said Greenwood as the hearing adjourned.
“You must be mistaken, Congressman. Enron has never been a client of our firm,” replied Altaccis CEO Joshua Karnopolous (formerly Joseph Berardino).
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