FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The multimillionaire chairman of a publicly traded Florida company has disappeared, and it appears he may have left investors holding the bag.
Cascade International Inc., a retail and perfume company, announced yesterday that for the last two days it has been unable to locate Victor G. Incendy, who is chairman, chief executive officer, principal shareholder and company founder.
In an emergency board meeting, the Boca Raton-based company named attorney Aaron Karp temporary chairman and fired Mr. Incendy.
Mr. Incendy apparently disappeared Monday, two days before he was scheduled to talk to at least 50 stock analysts in New York City who were concerned about allegations that the company had been distorting its finances.
Until yesterday, the company denied claims that it inflated earnings and misled investors on the number of stores it has. Then it said that those reports might be true.
"At present, it appears that the financial statements of the company may not be accurate," the company said in a statement. Officials would not elaborate. The statement said that it had called in Coopers & Lybrand, a big accounting firm, to go over its books.
Cascade stock has been on a wild ride, even though the company appeared to be very profitable. As recently as August, it traded at $11.75 a share. When trading on the NASDAQ exchange was halted Tuesday, it was down to $2.75.
Mr. Incendy owned more than half of the company's 19 million shares, so in August, he was worth over $100 million on paper. By this week, that sum was down to $25 million.
Cascade sells cosmetics through retail stores that it owns, including J. B.'s Boutiques, Diana's Place, and Allison's Place.