Massey Energy Company CEO Donald Leon Blankenship is currently a member in good standing of the American Institute for Certified Public Accounts -- the equivalent of the Bar Assocation for CPAs. My father, Gerald A. Polansky, was not only a member of the AICPA and a top executive for Deloitte Touche, he also served as AICPA Chairman from 1991-1992. If not for his accidental death in 1998, he'd likely still be with us today at age 75, and would undoubtedly back me 100% in my view that Don Blankenship's AICPA membership should be revoked immediately, for demonstrating a clear lack of ethical and moral behavior, possibly reckless endangerment, risking the lives of his dedicated employees on a daily basis, knowingly, even arrogantly. My dad's career in accounting embodied and epitomized the highest moral and ethical standards. He couldn't have been a more decent guy, and, if he were still alive and came to dinner tonight to hear me rant and rave about Massey and Blankenship, he'd be on the phone with Richard Harris, AICPA's current Chairman, within the hour, calling for the appropriate censure, and immediate termination of his membership.
Born April 10, 1935 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, my father lived the life of a small-town boy and managed to escape his fate as a life-long furniture salesman to become a CPA, graduating from the University of Wisconsin with honors in 1957, and securing a position with an accounting firm then known as Touche, Ross, Bailey, and Smart. "Touche Ross" (pronounced toosh ross) was where my dad lived and breathed. It was his life, from the moment a man named Mr. Brassfield hired him until he retired, shortly before he met his fate doing household chores on a ladder, at the age of 63. My dad was everything to me, as many daughters will attest. The point is, he climbed the professional, proverbial ladder from age 21 to death, relying on his own keen skills as a manager, people person, and off-the-charts intellect (and photographic memory) to become a Partner, then Partner-in-Charge then a PIC of the eastern regional portion of Touche Ross which, in the 1990s, merged with Deloitte to become Deloitte Touche.
OK -- to the point. I am preparing a letter to the current Chairman, Robert Harris, to ask him to consider removing Don Blankenship from the AICPA membership rolls, for reasons of unethical and immoral and reprehensible behavior as a public company CEO. I plan to keep the letter private for now, as I plan to disclose information too detailed and private for the blog.
But here's why I am doing this. I feel that Blankenship, as a CPA -- as well as a coal mine company CEO -- is shaming my dad by shaming the institution that my father so passionately and meticulously devoted his life to. I've commented publicly before now that I believe Blankenship should to go to jail for his reckless endangerment of human life, leaving aside the entire moral issues with coal mining in the first place. But on this one point, Blankenship should be censured and asked to leave the AICPA. If not, daddy rolls in his grave, one more time.