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Year in Review: 10. KPM CPAs enacts two mergers, defends lawsuits

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SPRINGFIELD, JAN. 1—The Queen City’s second largest accounting firm kicked off the new year by finalizing a September 2013 merger with Davis, Lynn & Moots PC — but it didn’t stop there.

Final Nov. 1, the firm also merged with Springfield-based Hlavacek Morris McIntyre Yates & Danielson PC, the area’s seventh largest accounting company, according to Springfield Business Journal research. In both deals, company officials said no cash changed hands and the merged entities operate under the name KPM CPAs.

The mergers came following notable exits from KPM. In April, Larry Ellison, a former 17-year employee, filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against KPM’s shareholder group, BTC Partnership LLP, claiming he faced age discrimination at the company, prompting him to leave in July 2013.

In the case, Ellison is asking to be paid for his ownership share in BTC, plus $500,000 in punitive damages – or the lesser of five times his actual damages – to deter the company from similar conduct in the future. On April 30, Ellison followed up with a civil suit in Greene County Circuit Court, claiming he was blocked from serving on the firm’s executive committee and overlooked when client lists were distributed to shareholders. Both cases are ongoing.

Eleven-year KPM employee Brooke Liggett also filed claims against her former employer in April with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights, claiming gender discrimination.

The two launched EllisonLiggett Litigation Consultants, a certified public accounting firm geared toward business valuation and litigation services, on Aug. 1, 2013.

In June, another KPM shareholder left to form his own firm. Bill Miller led seven KPM professionals forming Miller & Associates CPAs and Advisors LLC.

In November, the new KPM of roughly 90 employees underwent a physical move as well. The firm occupies about 33,000 square feet – 108 offices – on the first two floors of the $6 million, three-story, 49,500-square-foot building at 1445 E. Republic Road, leasing space from Bill Beall Co.

Officials are eyeing expansion into larger markets such as, St. Louis, Kansas City or Tulsa, Okla. “I’ve got a vision of being outside Springfield, but I don’t want to put any limits on it,” said KPM Managing Shareholder Jim Lewis, in October. “We’ve got the infrastructure now.”[[In-content Ad]]


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