October 16, 2018

by on January 24, 2011

Always Bet on Black

It seems a shame to group Conrad Black together with such run-of-the-mill scam artists as Enron CEO Jeff Skilling and disgraced Alaska legislator Bruce Weyrauch. Yes, all three were convicted of fraud. But Black, heck, he’s Canadian! Well, sort of.

The three were linked by the U.S. Supreme Court last year when it consolidated the appeals of the men’s separate convictions under the “Honest Services” fraud statute. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned all three convictions and Black was released from Florida prison shortly thereafter. Last week, Black received more good news when federal prosecutors announced they would not re-try him. Today, the district court judge set a resentencing date of June 24 for related fraud and obstruction of justice convictions. Having already served 2 years of his 6 and 1/2 year sentence though, and having petitioned the Supreme Court to review the remaining convictions, it is possible that Black will remain free. Meanwhile, Black’s co-incorrigibles have languished. Skilling is serving a 24 year sentence for additional wrongdoings and in Alaska, Weyrauch faces a new corruption trial.

Among the egos that have taken the Perp Walk down Wall Street these past few years, none stand out like Black. The reason is not the amount he supposedly plundered – his conviction centered on a paltry $60 million worth of non-compete fees — but rather it is the learned air about him. Leaving the Illinois court house today, Black made a woeful attempt at self-deprecation, commenting that he did not know why there was so much interest in his case. Yeah, right. Whereas American crooks are seemingly born with a gene that causes them to lawyer up and respond with “no comment” at the first sign of trouble, Black routinely stepped up when beset by the Press and waxed eloquent and erudite about how his trial and conviction were the real crimes. Reporters thronged at every court appearance, armed with their thesauruses, for this very reason. The one successful aspect of Black’s apparent trial strategy was to convince everyone that being a high powered CEO was just a day job and the business of making money, legally or not, was beneath him. Here was a blue-blooded baron, not a white collar criminal.

Yet, Black seems to have bettered himself in prison. As his incarceration progressed, his regular missives to the National Post became less self-centered and less right-leaning and more statesmanlike. Black has come a long way since his salute of Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis. His recent articles have avoided the minutia of political party fisticuffs and calls for social or fiscal conservatism. Instead, he has turned his attention to the strength of Canada as a nation, the qualities of Canadians as a people and their future global influence (peppered, understandably, with the occasional jab at the U.S.).

 In this sense, Black has a lot in common with the subject of one of his biographies, Richard Nixon. As he was leaving the White House, Nixon famously remarked “it is only a beginning — always.” Nixon took those words to heart and went on to achieve that most desirable of appointments: respected elder statesman. For Black, the same fate possibly awaits. While a run for political office is no doubt out of the question, Black is certainly keen on staying in the arena and his ideas would and certainly should be welcome in Canada. When his stay as a guest of the U.S. government is over, Black’s next battle will be regaining entry into his native country. Here is hoping that with time, and time served, Canadians will no longer just take Black for a snob, they will just take him back.

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Always Bet on Black5.054
Comments: 4

  1. by John on January 24, 2011

    I can’t believe you have fallen for this guy’s B.S. Of the three cons you mentioned, he is the worst. He preys on people just like you by somehow convincing you that he was born with a better pot to piss in. If he saw you walking down the street, yours would be the first wallet he would lift. He can rot in U.S. prison, which is where he belongs. If not, then England can take him.

  2. by Cdajones on January 25, 2011

    I hope he comes back to Canada. Thesaurus, LOL, His writing is hard to understand. He is entertaining to watch on the news though.

  3. by Alphacino on January 26, 2011

    To me, Black is now a sad figure and your post is sypathetic and hopeful. I think he does have something to add to the discourse, even if he is a conservative.

  4. by TRosemary on January 27, 2011

    Conrad Black gave up his Canadian citizenship based on bad advice given to him from Jean Chretian. What Canadian can’t relate to that?

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