Dead Solid Pluperfect

A Hot Buttered Guff™ Production

Arbortext Royalty Fraud #29: One Flew Into The Cuckoo’s Nest

Chapter Twenty-Nine

One Flew Into The Cuckoo’s Nest


The Judge gave Mary a month to find an auditor and get the audit under way. He scheduled another conference call in early May to assess her progress.

No problemo. She immediately began sleuthing the Internet searching for a suitable auditor to pry into Arbortext on our behalf. Not just any auditor, though. A Forensic Auditor. Forensic auditing was a relatively new field in the CPA world and involved not only adding up the figures to see if everything was accurate, but digging down behind the figures to investigate their origins and stretch marks.

She came up with a fellow named Mike Kessler, who owned a company called Kessler International. He was even a Certified Forensic auditor. Boffo!

Naturally, after acquainting me with her research and acquiring my dullard nod of approval, Mary simply picked up the phone and called Kessler. Where do these Bold genes come from that she possessed in abundance and I possessed not at all? Were they learned or inherited? I would add it to the list of questions I was keeping for presentation to St. Peter on the Inevitable Day, hoping that a very long list could be used for a defense of Severe Confusion, should a defense be necessary. And surely one would.

Mr. Kessler was very warm, sympathetic, humorous, and actually wanted to undertake our case. Mary was thrilled. Slightly astounded, even. Because Mr. Kessler was not the least bit surprised by Mary’s list of Arbortext infamies. Apparently it was, in his vast experience, more or less business as usual in corporate America.

A hundred years ago, inventors were revered and remunerated in this country. Maybe even got a Highway named after them. But no more. Now they were cheated out of their inventions and thrown along the side of the road like anonymous litter while dogbreaths like Jim Sterken laid claim to their work and roared down the road with a trailing gangster limousine of hired gun lawyers firing shotgun blasts at anyone who dared follow them.

Essentially, regarding Arbortext, we’re talking about a company where almost, if not all, of the top level management were aware of and participating in a blatant accounting fraud and deliberate royalty underpayment. The Controller, the Owner, the CEO, the CFO, the CIO, the Director of Product Management and who knows who else? The Systems Analyst was a guy named Philip Van Allen who coincidentally enough was married to Cherie Van Allen, the crooked Controller. When the contract with Blueberry was signed, Jim Haggarty had emailed these two Van Allens so Philip could set up the “logic” of the royalty payments – payments which eventually oozed out of Cherie’s office and, as we have previously proved, were blatantly fraudulent (see Exhibit B). Arbortext was beginning to look like The Dalton-Younger-James Gangs.

One might fairly surmise that this vast collection of white collar crooks sitting atop the horse of twenty million dollars in yearly revenue might hold an occasional family barbecue where more than little old Blueberry Software was the featured roast. They did, after all, have contracts with other vendors.

At any rate, it was definitely a relief to Mary and I at finally hearing an opinion from a reputable outside source that we were not paranoid delusionists. After a steady diet of skeptical and accusatory garbage from Dwan, Bernheim, Blair, Dave Peralta, and everyone in Ann Arbor, Michigan regarding our Arbortext suspicions – Dwan had even assured us the folks at Arbortext were “Rotary Club” fellows – it was psychologically soothing to hear Kessler’s matter-of-fact assurances, from a man who had performed countless forensic investigations, that white collar crooks were not rare so much as they were common place.

While we awaited the May conference call with the Judge, Mary gathered up her evidence and faxed it to Kessler so he could begin looking it over.

Dick Blair in the meantime had wrapped up his attempts to collect the $120,000 from VistaSource. He announced this amazing breakthrough in a very short letter to the Judge (see Exhibit J).

Well, the VistaSource matter itself was not wrapped up – just Blair’s involvement in it.

Without any consultation with Mary and I, confirming our status as mere spectators in the poignant puke of Dick Blair’s Receivership, he had appointed our dear old adversary gas bag Larry Bernheim to take over the VistaSource collection matter on a 20% contingency fee! Dick shares the wealth! Here, Larry, have some of the pie yourself. All lawyers in the room now fully squatting in the spa of Dwan and Beigel’s money. Bask away boys! Hey, Count Dweeble, do you see the steam rising in the air from the spa? That’s your money evaporating. See it waft to the sky and float away. Is anyone at home in Dweebleville any more?

Up to now, Blair had sought court approval for each and every decision or thought process of his. Apparently feeling he, as Receiver, needed to get permission each time he was required to simply do his court appointed job. This accomplished the illusion that he was a meticulously careful, fair and square guy. And also allowed him to ring up a whole day of $350 an hour charges. Dick was no amateur when it came to padding his Time Card.

Now, however, Dick was passing the torch to Larry quietly, without court approval (or our approval), at all! He also took the opportunity to pretend that the Judge had not already ruled that we could perform the Arbortext audit and suggested the Judge reconsider Dick’s position that we should accept the Buy Out proposal instead. Dick’s greed now was firmly focused on a whole new pie.

Perhaps this quietness was mere embarrassment. Because all his careful and skilled $350 an hour eight month wooing of a sure-fire $100,000 payment from VistaSource had disappointingly resulted in an actual offer from them of only $29,000. You da man, Dick! Only 71% wrong in your guaranteed outcome. Probably a little lower than your normal client failure rate. But eight months to the good on the Time Ledger. Eight months to accomplish Squat. And still be paid. Still have the GALL to charge a fee for this production of Squat!

Mr. Average American Worker, what sayest thou? Do you get paid, and retain your job, when you produce Squat for eight consecutive months? Squat with an Attitude?


Dick could not continue at this point, obviously, since it would require actual lawyering skills. Papers would have to be filed in court and a legal process started. Over Dick’s head. Onto Larry’s platter. What a team. Keep the spa steam in house. Some sort of Time Share arrangement.

So, eight months after Mary had VistaSource prepared to pay the bill, we now got to see Larry Bernheim start the process all over yet again.

I took a small break at this juncture in life, which Mary did not disapprove of. I called 911 one afternoon and had myself committed to the nearby Contra Costa Health Services ward in Martinez a euphemistic title for The Looney Bin. Being strapped down in the ambulance that came to fetch me was temporarily soothing and peaceful, so I felt I had made the right decision. A return to health and sanity was just over the horizon inside the straight jacket.

This might seem a tad over the line in solution providing, but that’s the point. I self-diagnosed myself as being in a tad over the line situation. There were hyenas in my brain chewing on all the wiring.

Unfortunately, this trip resulted in a rendezvous with the old Catch-22 syndrome. The wire splicers determined that if my wiring was bad, I couldn’t make logical decisions to get it fixed. And if it wasn’t bad, I shouldn’t be there. My mistake was in self-diagnosis. I should have bribed a neighbor to turn me in. Only people who didn’t want to be here could be admitted. Everyone else had to go buy a shrink.

After a pleasant night’s sleep (courtesy of several Valiums), I awoke, nourished myself with a Dead Bread and It Might Be Meat sandwich and a pint of milk, which I noticed another patient using as hair cream, and was then ushered out the exit door to a small area next to the street that had very comfortable cement benches to sit on. Good, solid pondering blocks.

I assumed the pose of The Thinker and toyed with the idea of walking the ten miles between me and home. However, it was cold and raining and I had not bothered to exercise for several years. I also had not thought to bring any cigarettes or money with me when I began this excursion. This seemed a possible clue that my wiring was indeed bad, not logical, and that maybe I could get back inside and convince them to give me a second chance. The exit door did not have any entrance knobs, though.

Reluctantly, I located a phone and dialed up Mary to come and get me. She declined. So did Liz. I deduced that I was being sent a Message. Eventually, Katie was tracked down exiting her afternoon JC classes and she mercifully accepted the burden of retrieving her stepfather from the Looney Bin. She did not bring any of her friends along for the ride.

Needless to say, there were no Welcome Home banners awaiting my return.


To be continued . . . Free Hit Counter

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July 24, 2008 - Posted by | Business, Life, Stories, Writing | , , , , ,

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