Secrecy is employed by the greedy to conceal from others their outrageous, insatiable, gluttonous appetite for money and the possessions and power it can purchase. Whenever transactions are made in which pertinent details are omitted or withheld, it is a sure bet that the reason for its concealment is an attempt to shield from view unreasonable and outlandish terms benefiting one or both parties. For any transaction that is legitimate and on the up and up, and void of excessive, over-the-top compensation, there is no need to withhold terms, especially financial, of the agreement.
Transparency in contractual matters is the honorable policy and one which best serves the interests of all. Transparency is the policy by which the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong conducts its business and to which it strictly adheres.
Unlike the Committee on Justice for Mike Nifong, the Carpetbagger families of the Duke Lacrosse defendants and their avaricious attorneys demanded that the terms of their settlement with Duke University be cloaked in secrecy. Carpetbagger attorneys were successful in shaking down Duke University for a total of $60 million for their clients because they imposed upon Duke University a vow of secrecy regarding its financial settlement until the financial transfer had been completed and it was too late. At the crossroads, Duke elected to abide by its agreement with the Carpetbagger attorneys even though adhering to that agreement was in conflict and violation of its agreement with its insurance company and resulted in a breach of contract with its insurers. As a proximate result of withholding terms of its settlement from its insurance company, Duke University forfeited coverage which it might have been entitled had it reached a reasonable agreement.
Due to Duke Lacrosse defendant Reade Seligmann’s attempt to evade paying taxes on his windfall settlement, the Internal Revenue Service slapped a $6.7 million plus tax lien against him, and it was only through this public filing that tax experts were able to accurately calculate the payout that Duke University made to the Duke Lacrosse defendants nearly four years earlier… $20 million per defendant… a $60 million total.
Greed, unfortunately is widespread, and arm in arm is the secrecy that is in place to conceal it. A prime example is the recent dispute between players and owners of the National Football League. The owners of the teams, who are basically nothing more than parasites living off the gridiron gladiators who destroy their bodies and brains in a brutal sport, risk strangling the lucrative enterprise in order to squeeze every last cent they feel that they can. The owners want billions of dollars off the top of $9 billion annual revenue claiming that they need it for “operating expenses.” However, when the players ask to actually “see” the operating expenses, secrecy jumps into the mix and the owners refuse to open their books. The same secrecy employed by attorneys for the Duke Lacrosse defendants (Joseph B. Cheshire V, James Cooney, and Wade Smith).
I would have more respect for the owners of the NFL teams if they just came forward and admitted that they want all of that money because they are greedy. Instead, they expect the football players, the football fans, and the public in general to believe that they are really not greedy… that cost of living expenses, oil problems in Libya, natural disasters, and other expenses which they have no control over, have raised costs of operations to the point that they need all that money in order to barely break even with just a minimal profit. In other words, the NFL owners believe that the American people are idiots. For the most part, Americans aren’t idiots… they’re just apathetic. They know the owners are in it, not for the love of the game or to provide family entertainment… but because they’re greedy. That, greed, is why they do not invest any of their excessive profits in supporting the wounded and injured players after they retire or are forced by injury to retire. The owners care not a whit about the Alzheimer’s or other debilitating brain damage that the players suffer. The owners will continue to demand as much money as they can from the hardworking ticket buying fans. And the owners will continue to extort from cities taxpayer money to build palatial stadiums with luxurious skyboxes and offices which deprives cities of revenue for the services and programs most in need to help the poor and disenfranchised.
Of all of the teams in the NFL, the current world champions, the Green Bay Packers, have the best model… a team that is not owned by one person or one family in the private sector, but by a community. I believe that all sports teams should be owned by municipalities, and that profits should be used to help support its citizens through social programs and help its fans by providing tickets at reasonable prices.
The owners should open their books, but they won’t because they have something to hide… proof of their greed. Just as in the Duke Lacrosse case, when Attorney Jim Cooney refused to divulge the amount of the settlement payment given to the Duke Lacrosse defendants by the university, he wanted to hide from the public proof of the greed of the Carpetbagger families and their attorneys. Shameful.
Transparency is the answer in all issues… whether you’re talking about legal settlements, arbitration in professional sports, or contracts involving the purchase of an automobile through financing by the automaker.
Below is a link to Part 11 of Episode V of “The MisAdventures of Super-Duper Cooper.” Be sure to view the Commentary that follows the strip which can be accessed by clicking the upper left blue button. We welcome comments with an e-mail link that is present at the conclusion of the Flash commentary.