Thursday, November 17, 2005

Grand Old Police Blotter: Black Letter Law Edition

There must be a lot of weeping and wailing at David Frum's house today. Frumpy's sugar daddy is facing serious prison time.

At Hollinger, the owner of the Chicago Sun-Times and other papers, Black and a cadre of other company officials were legally obliged "to safeguard the shareholders," U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald said at a press conference.

But instead, he continued, they "made it their job to steal and conceal."

What happened at Hollinger represents the "grossest" type of abuse by corporate officials, Fitzgerald said.

Black's transgressions extended far beyond the media concern's offices, prosecutors say. The indictment claims Black ripped off the company's stockholders by using Hollinger's corporate jet to take a personal vacation to Bora Bora in Polynesia. And it says he "fraudulently" billed Hollinger for his wife's birthday party at a high-priced New York restaurant by calling it a business-related expense.

The alleged frauds "were blatant and pervasive," said Robert Grant, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Chicago office. "They extended from back rooms to the board room, and from Park Avenue to the South Pacific."

Black is charged with eight counts of fraud, each carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison. From the House of Lords to the big house. Maybe Lord Archer can give him tips on how to make friends in the slammer.

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