Barry Minkow strikes again.
This time the felon, turned fraud investigator found a top executive at Jacksonville, Fla. railroad company CSX Corp., claiming a bachelor’s degree he did not have.
Clarence Gooden, chief commercial officer, who makes millions of dollars a year, went to the University of Georgia but did not graduate, school records confirmed.
Click here to read my story on the matter.
When I alerted CSX, the company responded with a statement from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Ward, addressed to fellow employees:
Dear Fellow Employees:
We recently learned that CSX has been overstating the academic credentials of Clarence Gooden in various documents over the years. Mr. Gooden’s corporate biography states that he has received a college degree from the University of Georgia when, in fact, he has not.
I have told you many times that CSX’s reputation matters. It is unacceptable for any employee – no matter how valued or successful they are – to provide, or fail to correct, inaccurate information. For Mr. Gooden’s failure to do so, the company has imposed a substantial financial penalty on him.
When we find problems, we fix them, and expect accountability. I appreciate and, in fact rely upon, your continued commitment to the highest ethical standards.
After the story ran, Gooden offered this statement:
As Mr. Ward informed you earlier today, my CSX professional biography states that I received a degree from the University of Georgia. That is not correct. I attended the school for nearly four years but did not receive a degree.
My failure to provide accurate information not only hurts my credibility, but also the reputation of the company that has given me extraordinary opportunities over the years. I want you to know that I take full responsibility and hope that you will accept my sincere apology.
And here’s what Minkow had to say:
“So this means that if you pay enough money, then you are able to buy your way out of these types of things?” Minkow said. “Lying for 35 years both in the community and in SEC filings …. proves that the guy is too valuable to do what the company ought to do and that is set an example of zero tolerance.”