The Rise and Fall of Ed Harvey's Business Empire

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Aug. 2, 2010 12:00 am  


Continental Express

With Miller gone, Harvey turned in November 2002 to longtime associates Kelly Wooldridge and Todd Tiefel to run Continental.

By the end of 2003, Continental's revenue had grown 19.3 percent over 2002, according to the numbers provided to Arkansas Business.

Wooldridge, in addition to being the president of Harvey's Gibraltar insurance company, had been on the board of Harvey's Conx Capital Corp., which was formed in 1998 in Carson City, Nev., but which maintained a Little Rock address. Conx, which was registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission, was created to originate and service loans and equipment leases to small companies, particularly regional trucking companies. But the company's only revenue came from Continental Express, according to SEC filings.

Tiefel had been the chief financial officer of Harvey Inc. since 1996 and served with Wooldridge on the board of Conx. Conx terminated its registration with the SEC in May 2005. (The company peaked in 2001 with revenue of $4.7 million and net income of $890,000. By 2004, revenue had fallen to $1.9 million and net income to $77,800.)

While running Continental, President Wooldridge and CFO Tiefel schemed to take more than $1 million from the company, according to charges brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Little Rock. Tiefel pleaded guilty in January 2008 to aiding and abetting mail fraud and was sentenced to 16 months in prison and ordered to pay $558,000 restitution. Tiefel is scheduled to be released from federal prison this week.

In January 2009, a U.S. District Court jury in Little Rock found Wooldridge guilty of mail fraud conspiracy. Wooldridge was sentenced to 22 months in prison and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution. His expected release date is in August 2011.

"The embezzlement problem caused a great deal of stress with that company," Donovan, the Harveys' attorney, told Arkansas Business.


For Sale

In October 2008, Continental failed to pay monthly rent of $15,000 to Fleet Equipment Leasing LLC of Memphis, according to Fleet's lawsuit filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court.



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