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The People v Lance Armstrong Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
 
25
jan
2013
The People v Lance Armstrong
 
 

Recent headlines have been dominated by sports scandals.

The first was about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who finally admitted he was a cheater and had been doping for most, if not all, of his career. Lance's confession confirmed what many of us unfortunately already believed to be true, accurately as it turns out.

The second was about Manti T'eo. The Notre Dame linebacker admitted that the girlfriend who was his inspiration for waking up in the morning and who allegedly died of Leukemia was the product of an elaborate hoax. You just can't make this stuff up.

To judge from the headlines, you would think that deceit and deception are the rule of the day, and not just in sports. Whether it's Armstrong's seven misbegotten Tour de France titles, or the 73 home runs that Cardinals First Baseman Mark McGuire hit in a single season with an assist from regular steroid injections, or the 12% annual investment returns Bernie Madoff routinely delivered by playing an endless game of Friends with Cash, time and again we are confronted with the reality that if it's too good to be true, it usually is.



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The Brown Couch Principle: A Parable of Great Customer Service Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
 
18
jan
2013
The Brown Couch Principle: A Parable of Great Customer Service
 
 

I like to use stories and anecdotes to make a point or explain a business principle. The Brown Couch Principle is one of my favorite parables of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

In the spring of 2007, my wife Tracy and I were getting ready to move into a new home in Nassau County, Long Island. We were shopping in a store on the East End of the Island, and met the owner, Elizabeth Dow. We wound up ordering a brown custom-designed couch. When the couch arrived that summer, it was just not what we expected. The order was absolutely correct, but when we saw it in our new home, it just wasn't right. Through no fault of Elizabeth's, we were dissatisfied with our purchase.



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Chris Christie 1, Congress 0 Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
 
11
jan
2013
Chris Christie 1, Congress 0
 
 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie understands what leadership is. For him, it's the willingness to put politics aside to stand up for what's right.

When President Obama declared New Jersey a disaster state within 24 hours of Hurricane Sandy, thus clearing the way for desperately needed federal aid, Christie had no compunction about crossing the aisle to publicly laud —and even to hug – him. And that was just six days before the presidential election for which Christie had actively campaigned for Mitt Romney.  No matter. The Democrat-in-Chief stepped up for New Jersey, and the Republican governor did not hesitate to reciprocate.


When Speaker of the House John Boehner failed to bring the disaster aid bill to a vote, Christie laced into him. Never mind that the Speaker is the majority leader of the governor's own party. “The House of Representatives failed the most basic test of public service. It was disappointing and disgusting to watch,” he said, placing the blame squarely at Boehner's feet.


This is a man who speaks and acts his conscience. And more importantly, he does what he's paid to do:  put his constituents' well-being before his own political aspirations. If more people in Washington followed his example, maybe Congress would rate higher than cockroaches and traffic jams on the Public Policy Polling survey.  Although I don't live in his state, I would welcome the opportunity to cast my ballot for Chris Christie one day for national office.



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Still on the Precipice Marcum LLP | Accountants and Advisors | New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, California and Florida Certified Public Accountants
 
4
jan
2013
Still on the Precipice
 
 

The eleventh hour deal struck by the White House and Congress on New Year's Day to avert the fiscal cliff keeps the country from pitching into the abyss, at least for now, but leaves us gripping the edge with our toes.

The compromise provides for a mixed bag of new tax legislation, but postpones the hard decisions that still must be made on the debt ceiling, deficit reduction and federal spending cuts. Thus the real economic impact remains a great unknown.

The failure of our national leaders to resolve these big issues puts us in a position of untenable uncertainty – the most fragmenting and inefficient position to be in as a business manager.


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Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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