Evolucia hires interim CEO

Thomas Seifert hired to lead struggling LED firm in Lakewood Ranch

cschelle@bradenton.comMay 1, 2014 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Beleaguered Lakewood Ranch LED technology company Evolucia has an interim chief executive officer in place after its previous CEO resigned amid low sales and falling stock prices.

Evolucia hired Thomas Seifert on April 24 as its interim chief executive officer and interim chief financial officer, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is still seeking a permanent CEO and CFO, according to the filing.

Seifert replaces Mel Interiano, who resigned from the company April 4. More than 30 employees were let go the same week, as the company's stock plummeted. The stock traded at $0.0021 on Wednesday.

Seifert's agreement with Evolucia has him employed for three months on an at-will basis. He will be compensated $6,000 per month, according to the filing.

Companies Seifert has associated with have had several problems with following federal securities rules.

Seifert serves as the principal of Rocky Mountain Advisors Corp., where since 2006 he gives management and financial advice. In August, the SEC fined Boulder Investment Advisors, which managed one of Rocky Mountain's funds, $350,000 and barred it from the securities industry for five years for altering brokerage statements.

Seifert also served as CFO and as a board member at World Surveillance Group Inc., from April 2007 to March 2011 where he oversaw acquisitions, corporate strategy, treasury activities, tax planning, accounting, reporting, internal audits and inves

tor relations. The company was formerly called GlobeTel, Sanswire Corp., and Worldwide Surveillance Group Inc.

GlobeTel, based in Aventura, had its three former officers charged in 2008 by the SEC for accounting fraud and unregistered stock sales. The charge led to the former CEO Thomas Jimenez being sentenced in 2010 to 50 months in prison and three years of probation for securities and tax fraud conspiracy.

Seifert was involved with the company throughout its name changes from 1998 to March 2011.

Seifert is suing his former employer, GlobeTel, in Broward County Circuit Court for $548,000 in back pay and 7 million shares of common stock. The 2012 case is still open.

He also worked for Georgetown Corp. as CFO, where the oil and gas exploration company was considered a penny stock.

Seifert also was CFO for Triad Communications Group, which installs and designs wireless equipment and project management services, for six months from June 2011 to December 2011. Triad also maintains an office in St. Petersburg's Carillon area since 2013.

SEC issues

Evolucia is having trouble with required SEC filings and notices.

Evolucia has yet to file an annual report for fiscal year ended December 2013 and has not filed quarterly reports yet for 2014. Its latest annual report reflecting 2012 numbers showed the company's losses jumped 58 percent to $6.5 million from $4.1 million in 2011, and operated with $1.6 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Its latest quarterly filing in September showed an $8.8 million loss through the first nine months of 2013. Sales were also down by 37 percent, from $2.4 million during the first nine months in 2012 to $1.5 million during the same period in 2013.

R. Craig Hall, Evolucia's founder and now on the advisory board, also faced issues with the SEC in a prior company. Hall was president of Research Capital, a Florida venture capital company, and in 2003 the SEC issued a cease and desist order to Hall and his associates for offering unregistered stock in exchange for promoting certain companies through an Internet campaign, according to a SEC administrative complaint

Hall and Evolucia officials did not return multiple calls for comment.

Evolucia had to amend its 2012 report this year after the SEC found the report was incomplete, noting the company said it did not expect to have a positive cash flow for 2012, did not include steps management would take to reverse the negative flow, why the company's sales were down and it didn't list all directors who provided working capital lines of credit.

Interiano responded to the SEC in January that the company would push its brand, sign global distribution agreements and redesign products to be more cost effective. Other parts of the report were amended March 31, days before Interiano resigned and the company laid off its workforce.

Larry Spirgel, assistant director at the SEC, wrote to the company that despite responding to the regulator's review, it does not prevent the SEC from taking action.

Evolucia's directors during 2012, according to the company's latest filing, included Thomas Siegfried, Francis J. Santiago, Burton "Skip" Sack and in the third quarter of 2012 the company hired its former executive vice president and CFO Charles Rockwood, who also received a common stock option for 15 million shares in 2012. Fred Starling, Evolucia's current landlord, is also an investor.

Sarasota lawsuits

Evolucia also has two civil lawsuits in Sarasota County Circuit Court filed against the company in 2012.

One is from BKOP1 LLC, which is suing the company for leaving its Cattlemen Road headquarters in October 2012, according to the complaint filed in court. Evolucia said in a SEC filing the building had mold. BKOP is seeking $143,916 for back rent and other charges.

The company is also on the hook for $50,000 to Sarasota County if it does not stay in business in Sarasota County until April 14.

Edward Kramer, the former director of sales and marketing, is suing the company for $12,740 Evolucia owes him for consulting services, according to a complaint. Kramer was last paid $10,000 for his services on May 16, 2013, and now the court has ordered arbitration to oversee that Evolucia pays Kramer. Also, Evolucia's counsel, Charles Johnson of Blalock Walters, withdrew from representing Evolucia "due to irreconcilable differences," according to court documents.

Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.

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