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Suffolk Bancorp switches accounting firms

Suffolk Bancorp's new president and chief executive, Howard

Suffolk Bancorp's new president and chief executive, Howard Bluver Photo Credit: Handout

Suffolk Bancorp, the Riverhead-based parent of the 30-branch Suffolk County National Bank, announced late Wednesday it was switching accounting firms.

Suffolk said it was not displeased with the performance of its outgoing auditor, Grant Thornton LLP, despite a disagreement in 2010 on accounting that was subsequently resolved.

Suffolk faces at least three shareholder suits and a low-level Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry regarding its late filing of certain financial reports. The bank said in a statement its board’s decision to replace Grant Thornton with BDO USA, LLP was “not a result of any disagreement” with the firm “on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure, or auditing scope or procedure.”

In a filing Wednesday with the SEC, Suffolk said Grant Thornton had disagreed with management's method of calculating a component of its allowance for loan and lease losses in 2010 but that the bank’s management ultimately agreed to change its method. The company said its board has told Grant Thornton that this disagreement was not a factor in the decision not to retain it to audit the books for 2011.

The filing said management and Grant Thornton concluded that Suffolk had not maintained effective internal control over financial reporting in 2010.

Suffolk announced Dec. 21 that it filed overdue results for the third quarter of last year showing a profit of $3 million or 32 cents a share, compared with a restated loss for the period in 2010 of $3.1 million or 32 cents a share — and also filed results for last year’s first and second quarters, as well as restated results for 2010’s third quarter.

"Suffolk is now current in its filings,” it said.

The company said it plans on Jan. 31 to release earnings for the fourth quarter and year ended Dec. 31, 2011.

Pictured above: Suffolk Bancorp's new CEO, Howard Bluver

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