Friday, March 23, 2007

Not-So Sweet Sixteen


This post has absolutely nothing to do with March madness whatsoever.

Unless, of course, you count madness of the non-hardwood kind.

Madness like, say, this:

Appearing puzzled by the financial details, the jurors (in the Black trial) sat up when (prosecutor) Cramer told them how Lord Black used a corporate jet for a holiday on the Pacific island of Bora Bora at a cost of $US500,000.

He projected a slide of Lord Black’s US Customs declaration on returning to Seattle from French Polynesia, on which he had ticked “Personal” when asked the purpose of his trip.

Which, I'm sure, is all very fine grist for the mill.

But here is the really bizarre part.

The prosecutor introduced an email in which Lord Black, questioned about the jet, said: “I am not prepared to reenact the French Revolutionary renunciation of the rights of nobility . . . We are proprietors after all, beleaguered though we may be.”

Beleaguered, indeed.

Especially when you find out that the self-proclaimed proprietor, beleaguered or otherwise, actually only owned 16% of the company.

(Hollinger International's former chief executive Gordon) Paris testified for more than two hours yesterday and today, telling jurors about Hollinger's corporate structure, which allowed Black to control the company while owning only 16 percent of the stock.

Now, far be it for us to question the good Lord's knowledge of history but, to the best of our knowledge, there was never a time during the French Revolution when the peasants owned 84% of the nobility's stock.



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