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ID NEWS: Kaiser breaks silence, responds to 'smear campaign'

Mark Kaiser, former head of marketing for U.S. Foodservice (USF), Columbia, MD, who was fired with Tim Lee, head of purchasing, because of alleged accounting fraud, has broken his silence.

Kaiser, a USF veteran executive, was identified as sharing responsibility with Lee for some $880 million in overstated vendor income over three years, according to results of an internal investigation conducted by USF parent, Netherlands-based Royal Ahold (ID web news 5/8/03). The investigation is still seeking to determine if other personnel were involved (ID web news 5/12/03).

Until the latest turn of events, Kaiser and Lee had declined comment. However, an attorney for Kaiser, Richard Morvillo of Crowell & Moring LLP, has stepped up to the plate to say that any wrongdoing connected to revelations of recent weeks was the result of "actions by others, not Kaiser," Reuters has reported. The news organization further quoted Morvillo as saying that "Ahold has chosen to wage a public smear campaign against Mr. Kaiser to further its own agenda" and that this strategy "is apt to backfire when all the facts are known."

Ahold's supervisory board is meeting tomorrow (May 13) to consider what actions to take concerning the woes of its $17.5-billion broadliner subsidiary.

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