Monday, December 10, 2007

Conrad Black Checks Into The Big House

Lord Conrad Black, your three hots and a cot await you.
Former media mogul Conrad Black has been sentenced to six and half years in jail for ripping off the company that once owned the Chicago Sun-Times and a bunch of other newspapers. The court didn't throw the book at him, but this is no mere slap on the wrist, either.
Looking from the outside in, it appears the court handed down a fair judgement. Considering the U.S. judicial system's mixed record toward penalizing white-collar criminals, it would not have been a shock if Black had been sentenced to less time. In the 1980s, such thieves practically got off with little or no jail, but in the post-Enron era, courts have become more circumspect.
Still, to paraphrase Vito Corleone aka The Godfather: A media mogul with "a brief case can steal more than hundred men with guns."
You bet.
Ironically, a contributing factor in giving this sentence may have been the complexity and deviousness of Lord Black's byzantine scheme. Not even the court knows how much money was lifted by Black, 62, and his sticky-fingered co-horts, who await sentencing. Prosecutors say $32 million but the probationary officials say its more like $6 million.We'll never really know.
There is one indisputable fact: The Black regime did heavy damage to the Chicago Sun-Times, which continues to dig itself out of a financial mess and is fighting for its very survival.
Meanwhile, the silver-haired Lord Black--who never admitted any guilt--is headed for the slammer on March 3.
A word of advice, M'Lord: Leave the brandy and cigars at home.

(Photo courtesy of Suzanne Berton on Flickr)