The Big Snore
It was amusing to watch the hotshot audit committee members competing with one another to see who could look more foolish on the stand. But in the end, it got to be as pathetic as the first round of American Idol, where utter humiliation is the order of the day (even if the thought of Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell judging the performances of Richard Burt, Marie-Josée Kravis and Big Jim Thompson has some appeal). So, I was looking forward to last week’s testimony by David Radler.
Sadly my hopes were crushed, as Radler turned out to be a crashing bore. I wanted some bombshell, some smoking gun, or even logic as goofy as Thompson’s. Instead there was nothing interesting. We had established long ago that the executive team of Hollinger was greedy and wily and pretty much didn’t care about its public shareholders. Radler confirmed in spades that he fits that bill. Also, like the members of the so-called audit committee, he asserted that the non-compete agreements demonstrated bad behaviour and graciously apologized for having been a bad boy—big surprise there, given what the requirements of his plea bargain agreement probably are.
He got into being a smart aleck on the stand, parsing Greenspan’s questions rather than answering them directly. Who knows whether that is effective? I was reminded of Bill Gates testifying nearly a decade ago when he repeatedly quibbled with the definitions of individual words. I was half-expecting Radler to opine that his answer depended on Greenspan’s definition of “the” or “and.”
Anyway, my expectations are down, but I am still hoping for something interesting from Radler this week. Maybe they need to take a page from Lady Black. Perhaps Greenspan could get furious and call Radler “vermin”—after all, his nickname apparently is “Rat.” And in response, Radler could accuse Greenspan of being a slut. Then at least we would have some action.