Monday, September 06, 2004

Poor Richard's Bankbook 

So why doesn't Richard Perle sue the NYT for libel? Former SEC chairman Richard Breeden delivered this verdict on Perle's term at Hollinger:
"With the notable exception of Perle, none of Hollinger's non-{Conrad} Black group directors derived any financial or other improper personal benefit from their service on Hollinger's board," the report said. "It is, of course, possible for a conflicted board member to act at least somewhat responsibly. As a conflicted executive committee member, however, Perle did not. Rather, his executive committee performance falls squarely into the 'head-in-the-sand' behavior that breaches a director's duty of good faith and renders him liable for damages."
Just how conflicted was Perle?
Hollinger would prove very, very good to Perle, paying him $5.4 million over the past six years, including an undisclosed $3.1 million "performance bonus" for running an in-house venture fund with an annualized return of negative 24 percent.

After the fund fizzled, Perle tried to persuade Black to invest in another investment group, which he proposed to start up with his pal, Gerald Hillman, a fellow traveler in defense policy circles. As he outlined the deal, Trireme Partners would pay Perle an annual salary of $500,000, while Black and Henry Kissinger, another Hollinger director, would be entitled to a small share of the fund's profits in return for lending their names and stature to the venture. It was the sort of hustle an admiring Black could spot a mile away.
Now, of course, Perle is claiming he was a poor little lamb led astray by his cagey friend Lord Conrad Black -- bamboozled, that is, into pocketing $5.4 million. Which forces Political Animal Kevin Drum to the following unflattering conclusion:
That leaves us with two possibilities. Either he really was duped by his longtime friend and business partner, in which case there's no reason to trust his relationship with his other friends and business partners. Or he's lying and he's a crook, in which case he's, um, a liar and a crook.

In either case, is there any reason to trust his judgment any further? Any man who counts both Conrad Black and Ahmed Chalabi among his friends has an awful lot of explaining to do these days.

| | Technorati Links | to Del.icio.us