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Trial set for former Homestore execs

May 18, 2004

Stuart Wolff, Peter Tafeen, PricewaterhouseCoopers due in court June 14

Inman News

A lawsuit against former Homestore executives and the online real estate company's former accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers is set to begin trial next month.

A trial date has been set for June 14 against the remaining defendants in the civil litigation, the California State Teachers' Retirement System confirmed yesterday. CalSTRS is the lead plaintiff in an investor complaint against Homestore's former executives and accountants.

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in November 2002.

Homestore settled with CalSTRS in March for about $93 million. However, the pension fund still has claims pending against former Homestore CEO Stuart Wolff, former COO Peter Tafeen and PricewaterhouseCoopers. A federal judge last week rejected bids by the defendants to drop the suit.

The complaint accused Homestore and individual defendants of falsifying financial statements and engaging in accounting irregularities in 2000 and 2001. The accounting irregularities led to the restatement of several quarterly earnings reports, which prompted an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, federal fraud charges against a number of former Homestore executives and the class-action suit led by CalSTRS.

CalSTRS is the third-largest public pension fund in the United States with a total investment portfolio worth $116 billion. It provides retirement, disability and survivor benefits to California's public school teachers from kindergarten through community college and has about 735,000 members.

Homestore (Nasdaq: HOMS) operates the National Association of Realtors' Web site. The company's stock closed at $4.21 per share Monday, up nearly 3 percent from the previous day's close of $4.10.

Copyright: Inman News Features

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