Who's Filing Now?

Once again, as Wall Street waits for happy hour, we Fools wade into 8-K filings that, if the timing is to be believed, executives would rather you not read.

Filings like this one, from real estate investment trust Equity One (NYSE: EQY  ) , which revealed that, on March 12, chief accounting officer David Briggs agreed to leave the company.

Does that parachute come in gold?
But it gets better. Equity One accelerated vesting for all of Briggs' outstanding options and restricted stock -- roughly 19,000 shares in total as of the latest proxy -- and granted him an unspecified separation payment. (Anyone want to bet it isn't at least in the hundreds of thousands?)

And Briggs isn't alone. On Friday, March 9 -- minutes before market close -- Equity One revealed that its director of transactions, Alan Merkur, had resigned two weeks before. His deal was strikingly similar to Briggs', in that it included accelerated vesting for 19,100 shares of previously granted restricted stock and 60,000 options.

Equity One also revealed the size of Merkur's severance payment: $116,000. Nice. I suppose there's no chance of me getting that deal, right?

Quick! Hide the earnings!
Of course, Fridays aren't just for personnel news. They're also for rotten earnings reports. Carmike Cinemas (Nasdaq: CKEC  ) and Vector Group (NYSE: VGR  ) announced two of the worst after market close.

Let's start with Carmike, which gets just one star from the amateur and professional stock pickers participating in our Motley Fool CAPS investor intelligence database. This ailing theater operator reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $0.46 a share, down substantially from a $0.09 gain in Q4 2005.

Sales, too, were down by 6%, to $122.8 million. Management blamed Hollywood for the shortfall. "During the fourth quarter, with the exception of Happy Feet, the film slate was weaker than we have experienced in previous years, and the top grossing industry films did not perform successfully in our markets," Michael W. Patrick, Carmike's chairman, president, and CEO said in a statement.

How convenient.

Though, to be fair, Vector Group didn't do much better. Like Carmike, the cigarette maker realized lower net income in its fourth quarter. But it's this statement from the press release that reveals the real weakness of the report:

Income from continuing operations was $42.7 million for 2006, or $0.71 per diluted common share, compared to income of $42.6 million, or $0.86 per diluted common share, for 2005. [Emphasis mine.]

No wonder this release was pushed to Friday night. According to Vector, management did worse than nothing during 2006 by extracting less per-share on higher income. Thanks, guys. Want to come over and kick my cat, too?

No, really, I'm not a terrorist
But my favorite filing this week comes courtesy of Sun-Times Media Group (NYSE: SVN  ) , which said in an 8-K that, while he hasn't yet, president and CEO Cyrus Freidheim could become implicated in a Justice Department investigation into payments to Colombian terrorist groups.

Seriously.

Turns out the payments, which were essentially protection money for Chiquita Brands (NYSE: CQB  ) executives operating in the region, were made from 1997 to early 2004. Freidheim was CEO of Chiquita from 2002 to 2004.

Sun-Times isn't saying whether there's evidence that Freidheim knew about or authorized the payments. But the 8-K says the feds could knock on his door soon. "Mr. Freidheim has advised the Company's Board of Directors that, if there is a continuing investigation, he is a member of a group of present and former directors, officers, and employees of Chiquita Brands who would be subjects of this investigation."

How unsurprising. Former looter-in-chief Conrad Black is on trial now. And just a month ago, Sun-Times Media was profiled in this column for a shameful head fake when Chief Financial Officer Gregory Stoklosa left for "personal reasons."

Which, frankly, compels me to ask: Is there anyone among the executives at the Sun-Times who wouldn't also qualify for a new career as a rodeo clown? Sheesh.

That's all for this week. Think you've found a late filing we Fools should see? Let me know.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers, who is ranked 1,333 out of more than 24,700 in our Motley Fool CAPS investor intelligence database, usually favors two scoops of ice cream over the inside scoop. Tim didn't own stock in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. His holdings can be found at Tim's Fool profile. His thoughts on SEC filings, Foolishness, and investing in general may be found in his blog. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy may be filed under "F" for fair, or Foolish.


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