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Freddie Mac will pay $50 million to settle with SEC

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance company known mostly for its government-subsidized loan programs for low-income buyers, will pay $50 million in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) following an investigation into improper earnings management.

The SEC argued Freddie Mac, officially known as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., fraudulently misstated earnings over a four-year period.

The accounting scandal came to light in June 2003, when Freddie Mac said it misstated earnings by $5 billion between 2000 and 2002.

The $50 million penalty likely will be distributed to investors hurt by the misstatements, according to news reports.

Under the terms of the settlement, which still is subject to final court approval, Freddie Mac “neither admits nor denies allegations of federal securities law violations,” the lender said in a statement.

“We take these charges seriously, and that’s why the Freddie Mac of today is a very different company than the Freddie Mac of the past,” said Richard Syron, Freddie Mac’s chairman and CEO. “[The] agreement would resolve the last investigation related to the company’s legacy restatement issues.”

The scandal led to the ousting of several of the company’s top executives, including then-CEO Leland Brendsel. Four of the company’s former executives have settled with the SEC while admitting no wrongdoing, including president and COO David Glenn, former CFO Vaughn Clarke and former senior vps Robert Dean and Nazir Dossani.

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Kmart launches Martha Stewart bed, bath decor line

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New York As part of a previously announced rebranding effort for Sears Holdings’ Kmart stores, the retailer introduced a new line of Martha Stewart bed and bath home decor items at a Manhattan store this week

The home goods area of the Astor Place Kmart store was roped off and labeled the “Bluelight District,” playing host to journalists and Sears Holdings representatives.

The day-long event highlighted a new line of higher quality Martha Stewart bed items, furnishings, decor, window treatments and other items.

A“Mr. Blue Light” mascot was on hand, further illustrating Kmart’s retro brand campaign to focus on its classic “Blue Light Special” in-store promotions. Additionally, the company introduced new house label “Abbey Hill” home decor items as part of the event.

Kmart is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings, which operates 3,800 full-line and specialty retail stores in the United States and Canada.

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Tim-Br Marts names new vp-merchandise

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Canadian buying group Tim-Br Marts has named Randy Martin vp–merchandise.

Martin formerly served as director of hardlines and imports for Tim-Br Marts. In his new position, he will lead buying teams in the company’s Calgary, Mississauga and Halifax offices, and he will be overseeing all facets of vendor programs in purchasing.

Martin has worked in the retail lumber, building materials and hardware industry for 30 years, having served in positions at Home Depot and Totem Building Supplies.

Tim-Br Marts represents more than 600 member locations in Canada.

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