James Zimmerman, who retired last year from the top executive spot at Federated Department Stores, was indicted on perjury charges yesterday by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer.
The indictment accuses the former chairman/CEO of lying under oath April 9, 2004, during an antitrust investigation. Federated is the parent company of Macy's and Bloomingdale's.
As a result of that investigation, Federated and May Department Stores were accused of conspiring with prominent tableware manufacturers Lenox Inc. and Waterford Wedgwood USA to prevent another national retailer, Bed Bath & Beyond, from entering the tableware market.
Federated, May, Lenox and Waterford Wedgwood settled that case in August and paid $2.9 million in civil penalties.
During the investigation, Zimmerman was asked whether he called Sir Anthony O'Reilly, chairman of the board of Waterford Wedgwood PLC, to dissuade him from selling Waterford products through Bed Bath & Beyond. Zimmerman repeatedly told the assistant attorney general taking the deposition that he never discussed Bed Bath & Beyond in any way with anyone at Waterford, including O'Reilly. The indictment charges that Zimmerman knew these denials were untrue.
According to a Reuters report, Zimmerman's attorney, Thomas Fitzpatrick, said in a statement that the former Federated chief pleaded not guilty to the charges.
“Jim Zimmerman has been indicted for failing to recall a portion of a single, brief telephone conversation that occurred almost three years before his testimony,” Fitzpatrick said in the statement.
Zimmerman was arraigned yesterday in state Supreme Court in New York County, charged with first-degree perjury, a felony. The maximum sentence is 2 1/3 to seven years in state prison.
Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters