Looks like Bart Thielbar is history. That will not come as big dissapointment to many current and former employees, certainly not to me. As I read the SEC complaint and the resulting settlements, I can't help but ponder a few questions:
If an internal audit turned up the fictious contracts, innaproprite good will transfers, and attempted cover up, why wasn't everyone involved immediately fired? One would think that Mike Hanson would be aware of the details of an internal audit. This is a serious question, as some of the possible answers are most disturbing.
Northwestern Communications was a wholly owned subsidiary of Northwestern Corporation. Therefore Northwestern Corporation's income statement would benefit directly from these transactions. Maybe I am seeing conspiracy where it isn't, but it is hard for me to believe that Bart was acting alone. Keep in mind that while acting as the head of the Northwestern Communications Solutions Subsidiary he was (I believe) also a direct employee and officer of Northwestern Corporation. But, even if he was acting alone, wouldn't that imply gross incompetence on the part of Northwestern Corporation's management and a direct and prosecutable violation of the Sarbanes Oxly Act? My understanding of SOX is that were talking about potential prison time for the CEO (Mike Hanson) even if he was unaware of the illegal activity.
Of course, these are just my opinions, but it does raise some interesting questions....... I would be very interested what others might have to say.