When victory is small and rare
This morning brought news of a rare victory for his Lordship. In a lawsuit pitting Black against Sotheby’s over the commission from the sale of his New York apartment, the judge has agreed with Black that Sotheby’s didn’t do enough to inform him that it was acting for both parties in the deal. As it turned out, the buyers ratted Black out to the Feds, who seized the proceeds of the sale as ill-gotten gains. Judge Amy St. Eve’s subsequent finding on forfeiture will likely require the government to return $6 million of the $8.9 million to Black. The Globe’s Paul Waldie reports one delicious irony buried in the judge’s finding:
“The judge cited New York law, which says real estate agents must fully disclose any conflicting relationships in a deal and they must obtain approval from both sides if they represent the buyer and seller. Sotheby’s argued it disclosed its dual representation to Lord Black’s lawyers in a document. But Judge Lynch said that disclosure was not enough. ‘A conscientious fiduciary does not make disclosure by incorporating information in the fine print of a document provided for some other purpose; neither a deliberate effort at a ‘blow-by’ nor a casual or inadvertent reference to a crucial fact constitutes a disclosure to the principal,’ the judge wrote.”
It all seems a reversal of the old saw. In the criminal trial, Black died by that sword, while in the civil case he lives by it.
Elsewhere, the always obtuse Diane Francis writes in the National Post this morning that, by snitching on Conrad Black, David Radler “took a moral inventory and atoned by testifying against his partners.” Oh, the humanity! Suggesting David Radler took a moral inventory in all this is like saying that Nero wept while Rome burned.
Black wins in suit against Sotheby’s: Source [Globe and Mail]
David Radler and Conrad Black: on squealing: Source [The National Post]