swisher still in trouble due to choice purchase

Posted on by mcooper

Swisher Hygiene is getting confidential treatment from the Securities and Exchange Commission on an exhibit it excluded from an 8-K filing on Nov. 1.

The filing involved Swisher’s sale of Pompano Beach-based Choice Environmental Services to Waste Services of Florida and some other matters.

“Based on representations by Swisher Hygiene Inc. that this information qualifies as confidential commercial or financial information under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4), the Division of Corporation Finance has determined not to publicly disclose it,” according to an SEC order issued last week.

Exhibit 10.1 would remain secret to the public until July 31.

The website for the law firm of Qashu & Schoenthaler LLP says there are nine exemptions under the Freedom of Information Act under Rule 24-b2 cited by Swisher. The most common is “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged and confidential.”

The 8-K also announced the departure of Senior VP Hugh Cooper, who will receive $225,000 in severance, paid out over 52 weeks. According to Forbes, Cooper was Swisher’s treasurer.

Cooper’s LinkedIn page says he started in August as an executive VP and CFO at VinKing Marine Enterprises in Canada. Cooper has registered VinKing.us as the website for the St. Johns, Newfoundland-based company, but it didn’t appear operational.

Swisher Senior VP and CFO Brian Krass resigned in September after less than four months on the job. William T. Nanovsky is the interim senior VP and CFO. Nanovsky is a founding partner at SCA Group LLC in Boca Raton.

In early December, I reported that Swisher said it doesn’t expect restatements for the first three quarters of 2011 will be more than the previously announced $4.6 million.

Swisher (NASDAQ: SWSH) traded at $1.56 after that news broke, and was down 5 cents, or 2.69 percent, $1.81 in Monday midmorning trading. The 52-week high was $3.89 on Jan. 26. The 52-week low was $1.10 on Nov. 15.

Swisher is based in Charlotte, N.C., but its chairman is H. Wayne Huizenga of Fort Lauderdale, and it has many South Florida shareholders. Huizenga and former Swisher CEO Steven R. Berrard previously teamed at Blockbuster and AutoNation (NSYE: AN).

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