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Putting aside squabbles for 'a great cause'

By SCOTT BARANCIK

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 2, 2001


What do you get when you put Sykes Enterprises Inc., Ernst & Young and a group of lawyers in the same room?

What do you get when you put Sykes Enterprises Inc., Ernst & Young and a group of lawyers in the same room?

You might except a row. In March, Sykes dismissed Ernst as its auditor after some bitter accounting squabbles. Ernst had pressured the Tampa technical-service outsourcer to make a series of embarrassing financial restatements that drove down its earnings and, subsequently, its stock price.

But there were no fistfights when Sykes, Ernst and the Fowler White law firm joined forces last month for a charity drive.

Employees of the three companies gathered to donate clothing to the Spring of Tampa Bay, a Hillsborough County shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children. Women there will wear the suits, dresses, blouses, shoes and slacks for job interviews or work.

Andrea Burnett, director of community relations for Sykes, said Sykes' and Ernst's employees got along famously.

"It's hard to have tension against somebody when you're doing something for such a great cause," she said.

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