WorldCom Executives To Appear Before Congressional Committee

The key figures in WorldCom's $3.85 billion accounting scandal saga have remained out of the limelight following the company's disclosure two weeks ago that expenses were improperly accounted.

But they won't stay silent much longer.

On Monday the House Financial Services Committee begins hearings to determine who knew what about the company's finances. Five people have been subpoenaed by the committee, and another four have been invited to testify.

Subpoenaed to testify are:

Company founder Bernie Ebbers, who was ousted in April after the company's stock had fallen 90 percent in 12 months. Though he hasn't talked to reporters, he told his church congregation he didn't "knowingly commit fraud.''

Former Financial Officer Scott Sullivan, who came to WorldCom in 1992. By 1996 he was a member of its board of directors and was guiding the company through its purchase of MCI. In early 2001, as the company's fortunes began to decline, WorldCom officials say Sullivan began accounting for day-to-day operating expenses as capital expenses.

New boss John Sidgmore. WorldCom bought his company through its purchase of MFS Communications in 1996. Sidgmore stayed on as the vice chairman of WorldCom's board and an active member of the firm's acquisition team. Sidgmore replaced Ebbers in May, promising to restore faith in the company. He has been the company's most vocal defender as details of its accounting problems have surfaced.

Analyst Jack Grubman, a financial analyst for Salomon Smith Barney in New York. He drew fire for recommending WorldCom stock as it fell. Shareholder lawsuits blamed Grubman for encouraging investors to buy into the firm when it was on its way down. On June 24, the day before Sidgmore announced WorldCom's accounting problems, Grubman issued a report urging investors to sell shares of the ailing company.

Company controller David Myers. Apart from Sullivan, Myers was the only person to have direct control of WorldCom's books. Myers resigned to avoid being fired by WorldCom when the board learned of the accounting issues.

Invited to testify are WorldCom chairman Bert Roberts and the company's former auditor Arthur Andersen.

WorldCom internal auditor Cynthia Cooper, who discovered the first accounting problem, and Max Bobbitt, head of the board of directors' audit committee, had been invited to testify but will not appear, reportedly because the Justice Department wants to question them first.

The hearings are scheduled to begin Monday at 1 p.m. in Washington.