On the hook for Conrad Black’s legal bills
There’s a thick vein of irony running through the tortuously long odyssey of United States v. Conrad Black, et al. And with the final chapter to be written June 5 (when oral arguments are made before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals), Judge Leo Strine of the Delaware Court of Chancery offers one of the richest paradoxes to date. Strine, you might remember, effectively blocked Black’s efforts to sell the Telegraph out from under Hollinger International shareholders. Regarding that case of corporate litigation, Strine wrote: “It became almost impossible for me to credit his word…. I found Black evasive and unreliable. His explanations of key events and of his own motivations do not have the ring of truth.”
It is now four years later and Strine, sitting in judgment on Sun-Times Media’s application to be relieved of their obligation to pay Black’s legal bills, appears to be intervening on Black’s behalf—even as his Lordship sits in a Florida prison, convicted of having defrauded that same company. Bloomberg reported Friday that Strine called the Sun-Times’ position on the legal fees “‘bizarre,’ saying it ‘would offer only a patchwork of coverage that doesn’t make any sense.’”
While he’s reserved judgment on the matter, Strine’s bias in favour of Black couldn’t be much clearer. Despite the consensus that Black has a better chance of being struck by lightening than winning this appeal, it seems likely his former rubes will continue to pay the piper.
Still, I can’t imagine that this is what Black had in mind when he used to preach on the wonders of other people’s money.
• Sun-Times Seeks to End Black’s Legal-Fee Payments [Bloomberg]