The following post is from Mr. Larry Rezentes in response to an attack levied against him by an anonymous commenter on July 10:
In a recent blog to the topic “The Right to Be Heard”, anonymous said, “Mr. Rezentes would like to have you believe he is a local CPA, but he isn't. He is not licensed in the State of Montana to call himself a CPA.” The individual posting the statement has not revealed their identity, and so there is no way for me to confront and challenge the individual personally as to the position he or she has taken.
The facts, however, are these:
· I am a CPA, correctly represent myself as such, and have been a CPA for 34 years, with an active license in Texas, where I first became certified. I joined the U.S. department of Justice, Office of the United States Trustee four years ago. To become so-employed, I submitted to an extensive background check of my educational and professional credentials; including my status as a CPA; my educational background with an undergraduate degree in accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business; a criminal and general character background check; credit check; employment history check, etc.
· As my practice as a CPA is strictly in my employment with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the U.S. Trustee, I have no need or requirement to be licensed in the State of Montana. Any individual with the knowledge to post such an allegation would know this.
· I am a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and have been a member for over 14 years. To become a member, obviously, one must be a Certified Public Accountant.
· I began my career by working for three years in public accounting with Arthur Andersen and Company.
· I also hold a membership in Financial Executives International; an organization whose membership is limited to those holding senior financial management positions. I qualify because of a 25 year background serving in Chief Financial Officer roles; including 17 years serving in such positions in Public, Venture Capital and Private Equity financed businesses. I also hold memberships in the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors and the Society for Human Resource Management.
· I possess extensive experience in dealing in complex financial and accounting issues, including those in turnaround and bankruptcy settings. I have served as CFO of two businesses in bankruptcy.
· The designation of me as a “local” CPA and “local” accountant has come from others; including the Great Falls Tribune and KFBB.
· In all cases where I provide statements to the media, I ask that the following legend be provided stating my background: “Lawrence Rezentes is a Certified Public Accountant with experience as CFO in public, private, venture-capital and private equity financed companies. He currently works in the public sector for the US Department of Justice, Office of the United States Trustee. The views expressed herein are his own and are not intended to represent the views of the US Department of Justice, nor those of the Office of the United States Trustee.” As a compromise, I agreed in my interview with KFBB to a designation as CPA; KFBB chose the alternative title as “local CPA”. I have never introduced myself as “Local CPA”, and did not do so at last Tuesday’s meeting. Given my background and experience, why would I “like to have you believe that I am a local CPA”, as indicated by our anonymous blogger.
No, the accusation is a scurrilous and malicious attempt to malign me by those in, or allied with, city government, who object to my having brought to light the misrepresentations by those in city management and elected city officials, of the large losses sustained, and that continue to be sustained, by the city’s operation of Electric City Power; the cause of those losses; the questionable accounting used now to hide them; and of the city’s flagrant violation of Electric City Power’s founding ordinance. It is a retaliatory attack against me by such individuals in or allied with a city government that has abused its power, selectively applied and knowingly violated its own laws and harassed those, such as myself, who oppose its actions and the incompetence, misrepresentation, and illegality of its entry into and continued operation of Electric City Power, and its involvement in the Highwood Generating Station program. It follows other such attacks against me by the city, and those allied with its views.
I have challenged elected officials of the city, the City Manager, the City Attorney, City Finance Manager, any or all, to debate me on the issues surrounding the establishment, financial results, and legality of the operation of Electric City Power and its involvement in Highwood Generating Station. I did this most recently in a letter that I sent to the Great Falls Tribune with copies to the Mayor, City Commissioners, City Manager, City Finance Manager, and City Attorney dated February 17, 2009. The attacks upon me personally are a cowardly substitute by those without the character, courage or integrity to face me to defend what they know is their indefensible use of taxpayer money in support of the ill-conceived, and incompetently managed Electric City Power and associated Highwood Generating Station ventures.
My statements of the facts surrounding Electric City Power at last Tuesday evening’s City Commission meeting, where the Commission approved the hiring of a consulting firm and the wasteful expenditure of $60,000, in knowing violation of Ordinance 2925, in an attempt to acquire a consultant to whitewash their actions, is what led to Mayor Stebben’s interruption of my talk.
Lawrence C. Rezentes,