BroadSign Shrug Off Any Links To Petters Problems

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

aka.TV last week wrote ‘BroadSign Shrug Off Any Links To Petters Problems‘ and took shot at us in the article when they said, we quote “The blogs were quick to raise the connection between Petters and BroadSign and wonder what this might mean for the company going forward – particularly as BroadSign’s President was previously CFO of Petters Group”

We didn’t actually say that (i.e. ‘wondering what it mighty mean for the company’) BUT we were the only ones in the industry doing our job in pointing out the link between Petters and BroadSign.

It was then up to BroadSign to clarify the situation which they did with a statement on their web site – strangely enough though they never thought to send it to us and ask us to publish it.

We did publish it of course and if you haven’t read it you can read it here ‘Broadsign International’s Official Statement

Perhaps our relationship with BroadSign is intended to go the same way as ours with Scala (no newsletters, no press releases, no contact) but surely you would send an official statement of clarification at least to the publication that raised the matter in the first place?, who by the way were at one time sponsored by BroadSign to the tune of UK PDS 36,000 per annum (and yes that figure is correct) repeated the official line when they said “BroadSign has today confirmed that Petters is a less than 20% shareholder in BroadSign, that it has played no part in the funding of the group, and that it remains only a passive investor”

We are not in a position to dispute the actual shareholding – someone close to the company told us that it was at one point 50% but as we said in our last post on this matter, only last year in July 2007 BroadSign were more than happy to trumpet in their press release that Petters was a ‘primary’ shareholder…

“Rick Engels has a wealth of knowledge and experience in bringing success to a variety of companies ranging from small private start-ups to large public corporations and has been a valuable addition to the BroadSign team,” said Tom Petters, chairman and CEO of Petters Group Worldwide and primary shareholder of BroadSign.

It was also widely reported at that time and we quote “In May the company also announced that it would move its headquarters from Idaho to the Twin Cities, where it can be closer to Petters Group Worldwide, its chief shareholder”

If Petters is no longer the primary shareholder a year later then something must have changed and we guess there will undoubtedly be a public record.

We also questioned in BS’s official statement the mixed use of companies described as BroadSign US and BroadSign International, something that was picked up by one of our readers who wrote in a comment earlier this week…

The truth is vexed by time, when Broadsign simply failed to immediately and publicly deny all rumors and associations as false last week.

The Broadsign US headquarters is in the Petters corp office building. Broadsign’s customers are forced to deal with both Broadsign business units in Canada and the US.

The original investors in Montreal are probably pretty edgy and not happy to see snooping by FBI, IRS, USPS, SEC… even in the best of situations. Simply the implication of association during such an investigation can dry up the best of credit lines. Not the type of information one likes to include on a financial disclosure form.

Anyway, we don’t believe that the whole sorry saga is closed, it’s definitely not closed for Petters as the latest news in, is that the ‘Petters inquiry reverberates globally‘ and details a number of law suits.

The most damning claim surely most be “The government is pursuing allegations that Petters and his group raised funds from investors for the purchase and resale of electronic goods that actually didn’t exist, then used the money for other purposes”

Two things should worry folks most (1) the line ‘used the money for other purposes‘ – err, like investing it elsewhere and (2) who was the CFO of Petters Group Worldwide whilst all this was going on?

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