Wal-Mart Knucklehead Facing Jail

Nov 19, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

As those who saw the recent CNBC documentary, The Age of Wal-Mart, know, the company’s chief executive, Lee Scott, calls associates who stray from the retailer’s rules of conduct: knuckleheads.

In the context of his CNBC interview, Mr. Scott was referring to store personnel who simply didn’t get what Wal-Mart was all about or who lacked the moral conscience to do what was right for the customer and co-workers.

But, as it turns out, Mr. Scott doesn’t have to go out to his stores to find knuckleheads. In at least one case, the knucklehead had workspace right in the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

Clifford H. Pruitt Jr., a former regional vice president for Wal-Mart, admitted in federal court to taking kickbacks from a supplier, reports The Associated Press.

“Earlier this year, we discovered that Cliff Pruitt was taking kickbacks from a supplier, totaling about $80,000,” said Wal-Mart spokesperson Mona Williams. “We investigated it, terminated Pruitt, and referred the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office for a criminal investigation.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is the practice of asking for and taking kickbacks and gifts from suppliers a problem in the
retail business?

We don’t know Clifford Pruitt but, at this juncture, we’re sure he’d disagree with the sentiments of the Gordon Gecko (Michael Douglas) character in the
movie, Wall Street, that “greed is good.”

Mr. Pruitt faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
George Anderson – Moderator

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