Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

Black Watch: Today’s Top Stories

One of the more bizarre spectacles in the Black debacle has been the revolving door in the executive offices of the Hollinger Empire. Lawyer Wes Voorheis is the latest in a string of CEOs (remember Gordon Paris and his fabulous hair?) to take the helm at one of the beleaguered companies. Whereas his predecessors may have been more focused on the day-to-day operations, Voorheis makes no bones about his task. In this morning’s Globe, Jacquie McNish reports that under his direction “…the company is transforming into a virtual litigation machine. A former Bay Street mergers and acquisitions specialist, Mr. Voorheis has earned a reputation as a legal attack dog for activist shareholders.

In the past five years he has earned more than $120-million for shareholders of YBM Magnex International Inc. and other scandal-plagued companies by spearheading investigations and civil lawsuits for aggrieved investors.

Hollinger is currently enmeshed in more than 20 legal actions and more lawsuits are planned.

‘We intend to hold all third parties accountable for any misconduct that they engaged in,’ he said.”

Other than the obvious, Voorheis’ targets include a former director named Ralph Barford and Hollinger’s former law firm, Torys, who’ve already coughed up $30 million in a settlement with Hollinger International’s shareholders.

It seems whichever way this story turns, somewhere, somehow, there’s a lawyer getting paid.

This morning’s Globe also featured an opinion piece by Barrie McKenna pointing out that Canada is something of a weak sister when it comes to prosecuting corporate crime, as if somehow, because Conrad Black is Canadian (sort of), we have an obligation not to allow ourselves to be shown up by the Americans. This line of reasoning falls into the “If pigs could fly” category. Canada simply doesn’t have the resources to seriously investigate malfeasance at the level of a Conrad Black, and even if we did, what would be the point of competing? So that we can put our own spin on the perp walk? Mounties all decked out in red, cuffing Conrad and parading him down Bay Street?

Finally, this morning the mighty Caledon Citizen features a piece by longtime conservative hack Claire Hoy denouncing those who would even suggest a long sentence for his Lordship:

“Pending a different outcome from his appeals, as things stand, Black does indeed deserve to do some time, just as Martha Stewart did for her relatively minor fiscal indiscretions. A couple of years perhaps. But 30 years? Come on! He wouldn’t get that if he’d murdered somebody. He is, despite the understandable hype over his trial, a non-violent first-time offender.”

I’m sure that on reading this, Eric Sussman did a spit take at the breakfast table and rushed to the office to revise the government’s recommendations accordingly.

Cruel and unusual punishment for Black? [Caledon Citizen]The U.S. sends a message with Black verdict [Globe and Mail]Black verdict gives new hope to Hollinger lawsuits [Globe and Mail]