For those of you wondering what all the fuss is about, here it is in a nutshell:
1. Cdn born Conrad Black became a self-made media baron. He is most known in Canada for starting The National Post (to which I subscribed, straightaway. For one thing, I was a lot more right-wing back then. For another thing, notwithstanding my politics, I am glad of diverse opinion in the media. Between his own op eds, Christie Blatchford and Mordecai Richler -RIP – it was a darn fine Saturday morning read.)
2. He got kicked out of Canada by a cranky Jean Cretien (presumably annoyed by a right-wing paper?) when the Brits made him a Lord.
3. Conrad and his brainy, beautiful wife Barbara Amiel (with whom he is madly in love) became nothing less than celebrity figures in London, New York, and Chicago (take that, Jean!) Gossipy note: Elton John sent the judge a letter of support for Mr. Black.
4. He took his company (Hollinger) public in the States, in 1994. Alas, the fact that the company was now no longer his didn’t completely settle in his mind (I can actually relate. I can’t imagine ever selling and handing over control of Your Money by Design. I gave birth to it. ).
5. He had parties that would make Princess Diana (RIP) blush and … they started getting attention. In fact, one investment firm with funds in Hollinger demanded payback. And then a Hollinger board itself asked Barbara Amiel, ‘ahem, could you kindly describe what work you did to warrant the $276K we paid you’ to which she declined a response. And so on and so forth. In short, it began to appear like Black was spending money right, left and centre on a really wonderful life when the funds should have been going right back into the business. Inquiring minds of investors really wanted to know stuff. Throw in law suits, attempted tax evasion, and destroying documents and to make a long story short:
6.5 year in jail is what Mr. Black has to look forward to.
Sheesh. Martha one year, Conrad another. What were you thinking? (a question I still would like to pose to Bill).