Conrad Black: Our legal system is failing us every bit as severely as journalism is

Reporters might be held to a less exacting requirement than legal representatives, though a free press is hardly lesser to democracy than a reasonable justice system. As a party to, in legal parlance, “the matter of Hollinger Inc.,” I got recently, together with lots of other individuals, a notification that the “matter” was now concluded: there disappear resources or problems impressive including the company and the corporation will be ended up. This suggested that the legal and accounting occupations, with the self-satisfied approval of the commercial courts, had not just selected the last meat and flesh off the bones of a once- and long-prosperous company, but had crushed the bones, put the powder in their champagne, and downed that too. Among the legal recipients of this financial orgy signed off to all his fellow specialists, forgetting possibly that they were not all fellow bloodsuckers:

“It was a magnificent run.” This assertion, absolutely nothing but the outrageous reality, put me in mind of the question that I often ask myself, of whether my dissatisfaction is higher in thinking about the existing state of the legal occupation or that of the craft of journalism. I have credentials in both fields, as a law graduate and regular factor to many publications and previous media co-proprietor. It is a grippingly close race. In 2005, my partners and I proposed the privatization of Hollinger Inc., keeping a litigation fund for anybody who wished to sue us. We very thoroughly exercised with Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) staff a plan that would take public investors out, securely and relatively. The director of the OSC promoted our proposal at the general public hearing that a few of the independent directors asked for, scared (with factor) about the future of their $100,000-a-month directors’ charges.

Commissioner Susan Wolburgh Jenah administered at the hearing. Nevertheless, our chief tormentor in the United States, previous Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Richard Breeden, “lectured” our local commission, as he happily informed The Globe and Mail. Jenah overlooked the OSC staff and declined our proposal. The directors had been implicitly helped with by then-justice Colin Campbell, of the Ontario Superior Court, despite the fact that their costs made up an emolument of unheard-of overindulgence. Campbell had forced out practically all the directors who had any understanding of the company’s business (papers), and revealed convenience in the existence of previous junior provincial cabinet minister Gordon Walker, with that $100,000 month-to-month director’s charge. The new management, led by Newton Glassman and the impractical Wes Voorheis, drained pipes the treasury, quarrelled (as such people normally make with each other), and Hollinger Inc. entered into bankruptcy 2 years later on. Accounting company Ernst & Young gathered well over $20 million from Campbell’s visit of them as inspectors and, later on, receivers, carrying out totally redundant activities and cannot discover one wasted cent under our program. A skilled accountant might have achieved the exact same job at one percent of the expense.

I gathered a historical $5-million libel settlement from Breeden and his fellow authors of the notorious unique committee report, and routines of legal and accounting saprophytes took up until recently to move to their own pockets the last cent of what had truly been the investors’ money. Jenah has grown, in spite of her function in what educated observers have referred to as the stupidest and most unjustified choice of modern-day Canadian securities guideline.