Is Lord Black waiting in vain?
Another day, another day. With Conrad Black’s jury taking today off for Independence Day, he is left to wait in his Chicago hotel room and plan his next moves: when I win, pursue my suit against Uncle Sam for the hundreds of millions they’ve cost me. If I lose, appeal the verdict and hope to return “home” to my former country, Canada, unless they block me from entering as they do so many other convicted felons (see post “Winnie Mandela, Snoop Dog and Conrad Black“, June 6-07).
A week seems like a long time to me, but the raft of information that piled up over the months at the trial of Conrad Black might not be as easy to digest as one would think. The medley of defendants might require that you deal with them in lockstep fashion – one at a time. Then there’s the likelihood that some of the jurors will feel more strongly about the case than others, and be trying to convince their colleagues of the wisdom of the position: first there was the request to review a transcript of a prosecution witness, which was followed up by more four more notes to the judge, some of which were more interesting than others.
There are, I suppose, three key scenarios: each passing day makes a conviction more certain, an extended deliberation can only mean deadlock, or the sheer volume of material spread across multiple defendants requires a couple of weeks to process and means absolutely zippo.
For all of the sympathetic writing in our local papers, complete with the “no smoking gun” line, I’m glad I’m not the one trying to explain how I bought a condo from Hollinger at an 8 year old price the very same day I sold my smaller condo to the company for current market value. Renovations may have been done, and a portion of the difference recorded, but the lack of a methodical process around this single transaction is galling.
As for the same of community newspapers by Hollinger to Messers Radler and Black, at rock bottom prices (see Tom Bower’s book for these details; Lord Black is suing Mr. Bower for libel), many were flipped soon thereafter for millions of profit. The report prepared for Hollinger’s special committee says that the board was not aware that these two fellows were the buyers (while also being the sellers).
The list goes on, but these two items particularly chafe those of us who are also custodians and stewards of investor funds.