Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

With Radler’s cross-examination set to finish today and the defence contemplating the possibility of a rebuttal from Black, we look quickly at the off-days coverage, which featured the usual bric-a-brac of armchair quarterbacking and other assorted summaries and marginalia. The best of the lot came from the Globe’s Paul Waldie, who described from court documents Lord Black’s behaviour in the midst of selling his Park Avenue apartment, a deal that went sour:

“The court documents portray a nasty spat between the Blacks and New York developer Martin Berman and his wife, Phyllis. The Bermans eventually paid $10.5-million (U.S.) for the Park Avenue property but only after weeks of delays. The filings show that Lord Black became so angry at one point he left Ms. Patterson [his real estate agent] furious voice mails.

“‘Conrad Black had left her some messages that were, you know, yelling and screaming about the fact that these people were trying to back out on the sale,’ Serena Boardman, the Bermans’ broker, said in the court filings. ‘One of those messages she once played for me, you know, not the whole thing. She was, like, ‘listen, he’s screaming.’ …He was screaming and yelling, ‘I’m not going to sell it to them’ and everything.’”

On reading this, I was instantly reminded of Toad from The Wind in the Willows. I shall explore the similarities between Black and Kenneth Grahame’s masterful rendering of the stereotypical upper-class twit in subsequent postings.

Elsewhere, Black’s British biographer-cum-assassin Tom Bower managed to publish summary pieces in both the Times and the Observer, and The New York Times’ Richard Siklos, reporting on a 2002 correspondence between Black and Radler, discovered yet another of this trial’s rich veins of irony:

“‘I have to tell you that I don’t think this entire subject has been handled with the candor and openness which has been the most distinguished characteristic of our relationship for 33 years,’ Mr. Black wrote. He went on to concede that he had recently apologized to Mr. Radler ‘for not having informed you adequately’ about something Mr. Black himself had done, which was to allow the chief executive of The Telegraph, whom Mr. Radler did not get along with, to become a shareholder in Ravelston.

“By the end of the letter, Mr. Black was conciliatory and even endearing: ‘I can see no reason why we should not look forward to 33 more great years,’ he wrote. If found guilty, Mr. Black could face that much time, or perhaps even more, in prison.”

Like a Marriage That Ended Up in Court [NY Times]Were the chandeliers Lady Black’s to take? [Globe and Mail]The ant and the grasshopper [Toronto Sun]After 6 weeks of being up close and personal with U.S. courts, Greenspan pines for Canada [Globe and Mail]My week: Tom Bower [Guardian]Radler sticks the knife in Black [Times of London]Paperwork places attorney in middle of Hollinger mess [Chicago Tribune]