Dead Solid Pluperfect

A Hot Buttered Guff™ Production

Arbortext Accounting Fraud #41: Picking Our Poison

Chapter Forty-One

Picking Our Poison


Paul Cimino, Parametric’s corporate counsel who had refused to return any of Claudia’s follow up phone calls during the past year, phoned us a few days after we filed our Arbitration papers.

Gee, that was easy.

He exchanged pleasantries with Mary and asked if she knew why he’d called. She said she did, that it was to check her out. See if she had any brains. Tee hee. Again he offered $100,000 to settle the matter. Mary again refused and informed him that our evidence indicated they owed much, much more. He said we’d never get any more. But if we were owed money, the Parametric stockholders would want him to pay us. Since these two sentiments were diametrically opposed statements, Mary responded by some exorbitant eye-ball rolling for my benefit. Scaled up lip spew.

A short time after the phone call, we were introduced to Lawyer Number Ten – oops, Eleven. I forgot to add Cimino to the list. Michael Palizzi was a Michigan lawyer whom Parametric hired to handle their side of the Arbitration case. He and Mary were introduced to each other in a phone call with Hannah Cook, the Arbitration Association representative who would be moderating our case.

The first order of business was picking an Arbitrator from a list provided by Ms. Cook. Each side was to select three and then come to agreement as to which one they could both settle on. A few days before the deadline for providing our selections, Palizzi phoned Mary and the two of them agreed, after very little discussion, on Mary’s second choice, Kathryn J. Humphrey, to be the Arbitrator. She was a lawyer from the Michigan law firm of Dykema Gossett.

Hannah Cook had mentioned that each party could begin the Discovery process without waiting for the initial conference call with Humphrey. When Mary told Palizzi she would like to request Mark Robinson to send his Working Papers, however, Palizzi did not agree to this and said there would be plenty of time later.

Then Palizzi and Mary discussed the matter of having twins, which his wife had just done and Mary had already done quite a few years earlier. Mary gave him some parenting advice, which he thanked her for since he was tearing his hair out trying to keep up with the new found largesse in his family.

And so it came to pass that Lawyer Number Twelve entered our life in the form of Kathryn J. Humphrey. This fine upstanding Michigan attorney was submitted to Hannah Cook as the chosen Arbitrator for Blueberry vs Parametric, and the first telephone conference session among the parties was scheduled for the early days of February, 2007.

“Well,” I remarked to Mary, “we did it. We finally did it. We’ve fought our way through Kevin Dwan, Larry Bernheim, Judge D. Lowell Jensen, Dick Blair, Jim Sterken, Joyce Svechota, Cherie Van Allen, Jim Haggarty, Ray Schiavone, Dave Peralta, and Mark Robinson. The only thing we have to worry about now is a crooked Arbitrator. She’s the only ringer left in the deal.”

“Please don’t say that,” Mary replied.

“It’s true.”

“She’s going to be fair. This is her audition for becoming a real judge. She has no reason to do anything weird.”

“That’s what we thought about Mark Robinson and Plante Moran. What if they dangled the magic hundred grand in her face?”

“They wouldn’t do that.”

“They do it all the time. Judges are no different than politicians. They’re all for sale. Easiest way to get justice is to buy it.”

“You’ve been watching too many movies.”

“That’s what the Mafia always says. Before they’re indicted.”

“Great. Now you’re going to tell me they’ll put out a contract on us.”

“I was thinking about checking out the price of Kevlar vests. But they’d probably shoot us in the forehead or blow up our car. No sense wasting money.”

“Steve. Please. I’m going crazy. I’m already scared to death. Please stop.”

“Okay. I’m sorry. Don’t be scared, though. This case is pretty simple and you’ve proved they’re crooks beyond a shadow of a doubt. Hell, they’ve proved it themselves by all their actions to thwart us from performing the audit. That’s not the way honest people act. If this arbitrator can’t see the truth, then she’s just another crook herself. And I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she is and that’s how it turns out.”

“Then why are we doing it?”

“Because it’s the right thing to do. Life isn’t about getting rich. It’s about doing the right thing. You know that better than me.”

She shook her head and smiled. “We’ve given them a hellava run for their money, haven’t we?”

“Yes you have, Mary. Yes you have. And we’re not through yet. When all is said and done, no matter what happens, you’ll be proud of yourself. And so will I and so will your kids. The rest of these cockroaches will have to live with who they are and what they did. They’ll be running for cover the rest of their lives every time the lights come on.”

“More like running for their lawyers.”

“Amen to that.”

It was almost over.

How many times in the past five years had I had that thought only to see the end grow farther away, not closer. And the picture get murkier, not clearer. In some ways it was a microcosm of life, shoved down my throat resoundingly to close out my last five years in my fifties. The pursuit of Understanding and Wisdom, the chosen foundation that I had built my life upon, at the expense, if necessary, of any other worldly gain or achievement, seemed no closer to fulfillment now than it did the first time I put my hand in the fire and learned that it burned and it hurt.

Six months ago, I had turned sixty. Wow. No way around it. I was now an old man. A Senior Citizen. From here on out, I would be an irrelevant member of the bustling young world I had thrown my weight around in for oh so many years.

I had thought to cruise into this awesome plateau, absorbing it slowly as it neared, putting myself and my life into some sort of historical and philosophical perspective. Instead, it had swooshed in upon me, almost hidden amidst the most intense and brutal period of my entire life. 

It was therefore fitting that the final hand of this awful game of fate would now at last be played.

To be continued . . . Free Hit Counter website statistics


August 27, 2008 Posted by | Business, Law, Software, Stories, Writing | , , , , | Leave a comment