Last year in this space, I admitted to more than a passing feeling of schadenfreude, when accounting problems surfaced at Long Island-based media and entertainment conglomerate Cablevision.
At that point in time, Cablevision's Rainbow Media division, the manager of several high-profile national cable channels,including AMC, Fuse, The Independent Film Channel, and WE: Women's Entertainment, jettisoned some 14 people including division president Kate McEnroe, after an accounting scandal -- safely into seven digits -- came to light.
To understand my joy at Cablevision's malaise, you have to live in the tri-state area and be lucky enough to have this company as your cable provider.
For the privilege of paying an obscene amount of money (compared to providers in other areas for monthly service), you get a very mediocre picture and a rather constrained choice of channel packages that includes only some of your preferences but not of course, the ones you really want.
And don't even tempt me to regale you with my experiences of trying to schedule a service call.
Small wonder that there's been an exponential rise in satellite dishes in the region.
In addition to providing spotty cable service, the company owns Madison Square Garden, which, by proxy, includes the Knicks and Rangers. You need look no further than the recent won-lost records of these two squads to get an idea of Cablevision's expertise at running things.
In another life, they could easily be the federal government.
But best of all, when another star Knick or Ranger signs a gazillion-dollar contract, care to guess to whom the cost is passed on in the form of a "service fee?"
But I digress.
And while the accounting irregularities at Cablevision were not on the scope of Enron and WorldCom, somehow I don't think this is the end of it.
How do I know?
Well I don't for sure.
But then again, when you have to pore over a federal filing from a company this size to discover that three high-level executives abruptly resigned, it wasn't because they were unhappy with the off-season trades of the Knicks -- although perhaps they should have been.
Andrew Rosengard, executive vice president of development; Raymond Andersen, controller and senior vice president; and Luigi Cestra, vice president and divisional controller of cable operations, left without explanation.
Now of course this could be simple speculation and the executive exits chalked up to a periodic C-level housecleaning.
But like those "service fees" that keep cropping up on my cable bill, there's a lot more just below the surface.
Now the ultimate consumer payback would be if regulators promised they would visit Cablevision's offices between either 8 am. and noon, or between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Register or login for access to this item and much more
All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.
Community members receive:
- All recent and archived articles
- Conference offers and updates
- A full menu of enewsletter options
- Web seminars, white papers, ebooks
Already have an account? Log In
Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access