Several class action lawsuits have been filed against Harley-Davidson Inc. and two of its officers alleging securities violations and false and misleading accounting practices that caused the stock of Harley-Davidson to be inflated.
The lawsuits claim that former CEO Jeffrey Bleustein and his successor James Ziemer and the company used “false” accounting measures to hide the fact that sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles were slowing and to inflate the price of Harley-Davidson stock.
The lawsuits further claim that Bleustein and Ziemer then sold 740,000 shares of Harley common stock for approximately $45.9 million prior to making a public announcement of the softening motorcycle sales on April 13.
In a sudden sell off following the announcement, Harley-Davidson stock dropped nearly 20% in two days on a volume of more than 50 million shares.
At least five class action lawsuits have been filed since May 18 on behalf of investors who purchased Harley-Davidson stock between Jan. 21, 2004, and April 14, 2005.
In a prepared statement, Harley-Davidson denied the accusations. “The company believes the allegations in the lawsuits are without merit, and it intends to vigorously defend against these actions,” it said.
The U.S. District Court in Milwaukee where the suits have been filed has not ruled on whether or not a class action is proper in this situation.
Copyright 2005 Powersports Business