WorldCom's Accounting Errors Too Big For PR

"We've believed from the start that the perception of these negative items has been overstated," PR Week reports WorldCom CEO John Sidgmore telling shareholders at the company's June 14 annual meeting. "We must convince customers, employees, and investors of that fact." Sidgmore, who took the CEO job in April, was referring to WorldCom's growing debts, stock price plunge, and recent layoffs. But less than two weeks later, the Wall Street Journal reports that WorldCom may have on its hands "what could be one of the largest accounting frauds in history, with the discovery of $3.8 billion in expenses improperly booked as capital expenditures." It's unclear whether WorldCom's "new commitment to PR," which included "a major customer tour and investment road show," will continue as planned.