Dead Solid Pluperfect

A Hot Buttered Guff™ Production

Arbortext Accounting Fraud #34: Caught In The Loon’s Muckle Neb

Chapter Thirty-Four

Caught in the Loon’s Muckle Neb

 

Mark Robinson was not just any old auditor at Plante Moran. He was an actual Partner. His Internet bio explained his expertise thusly (bold added):

 

“Mark has professional experience in litigation services, valuation services and management consulting projects with significant experience in the following areas: damage quantification in breach of contract, business interruption, construction, dealer/distributor termination, and intellectual property infringement litigation matters; business and intangible asset valuation; fraud and forensic investigations, expert deposition and trial testimony in arbitration, state and federal court.”

 

It appeared to us that he was certainly qualified to go into Arbortext and find the answers to where a multi-million dollar company had hidden $4,000,000 in Intermarket sales and quantify how many other sales were being excluded from our royalty reports. We did not expect him to weigh in with his opinion about the 80% discount Arbortext had applied to our contractual terms in order to shrink our reported royalties to microscopic levels.

One step at a time. First, we had to prove they were committing fraud. Second, we would give them the chance to rectify their thievery or have it dragged into an Arbitration hearing.

With his significant experience, Robinson should be able to sleuth in there, pop the hood on the Thiefmobile, and easily diagnose and quantify the fraud. Surely he would, wouldn’t he?

Oh, ye optimistic and gullible idealists. Have ye nae yet learnt the warld’s gied gyte and nae richt? Wrang and dooble wrang. Caught in the loon’s muckle neb.

Mary provided him with a list of some of our more basic concerns. And could he please check on those pesky zero dollar give-aways. Or, as Jim Haggarty liked to call them, Scaled Up Opportunities. As though this wondrous bit of business-speak butchery somehow addressed and exonerated the issue of giving us away for free – without payment of required royalties. Haggarty was Chief  Information Officer, which like many phrases in the business world meant exactly the opposite. His effective responsibility was Chief Disinformation Officer.

Scaled Up Opportunities. What the hell was that supposed to mean? What was the key to decipher this code phrase? Making opportunities larger. What opportunities? And in what way did giving Blueberry away for free, in clear violation of the contract, help create larger opportunities? Certainly not for Blueberry, whose “opportunity” was ZERO. Intellectual Property Theft is what it was, plain and simple.

Robinson began his audit in November of 2004, just as we were settling into RV Living. Thanks to the previously chronicled excellent blotter nodding from the Judge, Blueberry was allowed to proceed with the audit on the condition that Blueberry (Mary and I) footed all the costs (good choice, us), while Dwan got a free ride for half of any rewards that might occur (bad choice, Judge).

Where the logic of Dwan’s participation in the rewards, while not participating in the expense of gaining the rewards, was located on the Judge’s blotter will forever remain a mystery of the judicial process and the meandering brain waves of an occasional mind. Dwan, through Bernheim, had fought the audit tooth and nail from day one. Insisting all the while that Arbortext was a clean, Rotary Club type company. But if he was wrong and they did owe us money, he sure wanted a hunk of it. Shame had ceased to hold value in Dwan’s world.

So, there was quite a crowd gathered around the trough panting hungrily for the results. Dick Blair was straddling the trough, as he prepared to either jump in face first with full support of our efforts which he had tried so mightily to squash, or to enthusiastically pull the guillotine lever on our outstretched necks. Dwan and his faithful Geyser Spout were on either side of the trough, steadying Dick’s balance, and prepared to follow his lead wherever it led. The Judge probably had no more than prurient interest in the outcome. Dave Peralta and Jim Sterken were no doubt busy, very busy, performing whatever evil machinations were necessary to escape indictment.

Mary filled the time by continuing her Arbortext Internet investigations.

I filled the time by staring out the RV window at a trailer court filled with one hundred and twenty-six other lives that had their own shit-happens tale to them. Ungodly sagas of the twists and turns of fate that could heave one off the paved road of America and into the marginal byways in the blink of one bad choice or one bad break.

I was tired. Dead tired. Mentally fried. Almost five years now of nothing but one catastrophic event after another. Jerking our life around on a daily basis. Relentless, bulldozing insanity. My brain and psyche were not built for speed. I digested life slowly. Even somewhat ponderously.

Mary, on the other hand, whether by nature or years of motherhood, could cope with ideas and events almost instantaneously. She rarely broke a sweat or seemed flustered by any of the endless shocks zapping us day after week after month. But it was wiping me out. As some of my previously mentioned behavior most surely indicated. I was not now the man who had before pretty much handled the bulk of my life with aplomb and enjoyment.

There were two types of people in life. Those who turned to the Lord to pray for help and those who turned to the Lord to complain. The Beigel/Tarantino household represented both types of people. I’m sure I need not burden you with identifying which of us was which.

But, for once, despite my overwhelming sense of outrage, I forswore my swearing. I didn’t want to contaminate this Louis P. Saia inspiration emanation that seemed to have taken root in our souls. Just in case, you know. Just in case. Bet hedging, I suppose.

“Will you please stop muttering to yourself?” Mary suggested. “It’s driving me crazy.”

“How’s Julie these days?”

“Fine.”

“How about Jenni?”

“Fine.”

“Maryjoan?”

“Stop it. They’re all fine. Take a walk or something.”

“How thrilling.”

But I did it anyway.

At the back of Sunny Acres, there was a hole in the chain link fence you could climb through and find yourself on the Contra Costa Canal Trail. If you were a serious Bike Duding Any Gender type, this was your baby. It was an eight foot wide asphalt bikeway that started in north Concord and wound southward along the base of Lime Ridge and down through Walnut Creek and then came back north through Pleasant Hill, concluding at the south end of Martinez. Fourteen and a quarter miles of mostly flat terrain. The trail wound through suburban home areas, with an occasional City Park junction. A must peddle deal.

Or you could walk on it and stay out of the way to the left or right side of the trail.

I walked along to the point where a path went across the low point in Lime Ridge and came out on the north side precisely at the top end of our old street. Court Lane. I walked over at this point and then downward far enough so that I had an overlook view of our old home. Right about at the area where Mary and I had done some serious necking during our courting days. Before new dwellings had been built to erase this sweet little spot’s allure.

There it is. Or was. The white birch trees in the front yard, along with the olive tree, the maze-like hedges, the rose bushes, the rolling terrain ¾ all were gone! The yard had been leveled out and covered with lawn and surrounded with a four foot high chain link fence. It now looked precisely like all the other front yards. Basic blah. Fifteen years of our hands in the dirt landscaping utterly erased in less than one month.

They kept our swing right where we left it on the front porch. Placing their imaginationless butts where ours belonged.

I believe there’s a message here, Steve old boy. Just for you.

But, I have to admit, my message unraveller was superseded by my eyeball reactors. They sprung a leak. Real tears. Big slobber blobs. Right on the curb where I sat, drooling between my knees. Sometimes, when nobody was looking, this unbelievable shit was really grinding me down. It hurt like hell. Oh, God, it hurt. And there wasn’t a humorous band aid anywhere to be found.

I wanted to kill every one of the sonsabitches who had done this to us, I swear I did. Right then and there.

With a fucking sledge hammer.

A Paul Bunyan one.

 

To be continued . . . Free Hit Counter website statistics

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August 5, 2008 - Posted by | Business, Life, Stories, Writing | , , , , ,

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