Indianapolis businessman Paul Skjodt said today he is resigning from the board of National Lampoon Inc., a move that follows the Monday arrest of its CEO on charges of securities fraud.
In a statement, Skjodt said he was stepping aside "to better focus on my other business interests."
Skjodt, owner of the Indiana Ice, teamed with fellow Indianapolis businessmen Dan Laikin and Tim Durham to buy a major stake in Los Angeles-based National Lampoon nearly a decade ago.
His departure from the board comes five days after the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission unveiled charges that Laikin, National Lampoon's CEO, participated in a scheme to fraudulently pump up the company's slumping stock price.
"I was completely surprised by the allegations," Skjodt said in the statement. "Dan is a long-time friend and I would remind everyone that these are just allegations and Dan is entitled to his presumption of innocence."
Neither the U.S. Attorney's Office nor the SEC has accused Skjodt or Durham of wrongdoing.
The company yesterday announced that Laikin had resigned as CEO and that Durham, a board member, had become interim president and CEO.
Skjodt, a former professional hockey player, is the son-in-law of Mel Simon, co-founder of Indianapolis-based shopping mall giant Simon Property Group.
The SEC's lawsuit against Laikin also names National Lampoon as a defendant. The company has launched an internal review of the allegations.