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Kmart Sends Subpoenas to 5 Former Executives

The Action Is Part of The Retailer's Review of Management Practices Leading Up To Its Chapter 11 Filing

Nov 12, 2002 | Dow Jones Kmart Corp. has sent subpoenas to at least five former executives as part of its review of the management practices leading up to the company's bankruptcy protection filing.

Former Executive Vice President David Montoya; Senior Vice Presidents John Owen, Hector Dominguez and William Wulfers; and Vice President Leo Anguiano have received subpoenas, according to recent filings with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, where Kmart filed for bankruptcy protection in January.

Dominguez left the retailer in February and Montoya, Owen and Anguiano departed in March. Wulfers left in May.

The content of the subpoenas wasn't disclosed. Dominguez, Montoya, Owen and Anguiano filed what's known as a certificate of service indicating that responses to the subpoena had been turned in to Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, the Chicago law firm representing Kmart in the bankruptcy proceedings.

But based on documents submitted by Wulfers about a week ago, it would appear that Kmart's attorneys are curious about several different areas.

Wulfers was asked how often he used the corporate jet, whether he or his family got gifts related to his job with Kmart, how much he was reimbursed for relocating to Michigan and whether he made outside contacts with anyone working for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Wulfers also was asked to produce copies of his 2001 and 2002 calendars and whether he had any contact with Wayne Hood, an analyst at Prudential Securities who first raised the possibility of a Kmart bankruptcy filing.

Scott Remington, Wulfers' attorney, declined to comment.

Kmart's board of directors in May said that it had initiated a review of former senior executives, including former Chief Executive Charles Conaway, for possible wrongdoing. The review, which is expected to wrap up by year's end, was spawned by a number of anonymous letters the company received purportedly from former employees.

Kmart in August got court approval for the authority to obtain documents and conduct a more in-depth investigation. The firm has indicated that it could file lawsuits against former employees to recover salaries and loans, among other benefits.

More than 25 executives, including several of the subpoenaed executives, received $28 million in potentially forgivable loans during their tenure at the retailer.

Kmart spokesman Michael Freitag declined to comment on the subpoenas.

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