Tuesday, April 26, 2005

April Love

I’ve decided to start a campaign to get Brian Roberts, Comcast chairman and CEO, to marry my daughter. He’s not unattractive and now that she’s twenty-five, I figure it could work. Maybe I’ll invite him over for dinner and let her do most of the cooking so he can be impressed by her culinary skill. Or I’ll arrange a chance meeting at some charity benefit or another. Yeah I know the ticket price will probably be high but it will be worth it. Brian got an 18% raise last year and now he’s pulling down over $21 million a year. At those prices I’d agree to marry him if it weren’t for the fact I kinda like the husband I have.

The Big “B” also got restricted stock awards valued at $3.3 million and stock options for 800,000 shares of Comcast valued at $9.1 million. He’s just the kind of son-in-law I’ve been looking for: family oriented, ambitious, a neat appearance and rich, rich, rich!

A couple years ago I actually contemplated going after one of the Rigas boys, but what a disappointment they have turned out to be. You can never tell with these rich people, one minute you’re cruising the golf course (the one you built on your own estate) and the next minute you’re wearing a government issued orange jumpsuit and staring down some real time. Not the “I sold crack cocaine on the street corner” kind of time, but 215 years worth of time. I mean if I had actually moved on the idea of marrying off my daughter to Timothy Rigas (Little Timmy as he is called) when I first thought of it, we’d be spending all our weekends traipsing up to some federal prison for visitation. That wouldn’t have been fun.

And it’s not like we could have kept this all within the family to avoid the embarrassment of having a criminal for a son-in-law, it’s been all over the papers about what Timmy, Mikey and their daddy did. The Attorney General of the United States himself held a press conference yesterday joined by some heavy government types at which he said:

“The evidence also showed that the defendants systematically looted the corporation’s assets for their own benefit, using the company’s money to buy real estate and other assets for the Rigas family and causing the company to issue hundreds of millions of dollars worth of securities to the Rigas family, for which the company was never paid.”

Now that shows a certain level of ignorance. Pappa John Rigas was a Greek immigrant who worked his tail off to create and build Adelphia. It was the American dream especially when they took the company public and issued stock. Then he and his kids, including Timothy, who by this time is Chief Financial Officer, sit around the kitchen table and come up with wacky schemes to run it into the ground. Not only were they willing to destroy all those years of hard work so they could go on African safaris, move into swanky New York apartments, fly guests for sister Ellen’s wedding in on company planes, but they actually convinced themselves they wouldn’t get caught. Rotten apples don’t fall far from the tree I suppose.

So they are going to prison for stealing billions of dollars from stockholders and the old man has agreed to a deal that obligates all members of the family to forfeit to the federal government over 95% of all the family’s assets. Being able to hang on to less than 5% of your assets doesn’t leave you with much except the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet. Sure am glad I never figured out a way for the Riedels to become part of the Rigas family but I wouldn’t mind finding out when and where the seizure sales are going to take place. Bet you could find some good stuff up on the auction block.

Yeah, I’m gonna stick to pursuing a lasting partnership between the Riedels and the Roberts. It’ll work on several levels, the Roberts seem a little smarter so they might not mess up the gene pool, as with the Rigas arrangement I won’t have to change the monograms on my towels and I’ll have a son-in-law with the same initials as I have and that’ll be convenient.

I haven’t let my daughter in on this plan yet. There’s a possibility she could object even after I painstakingly lay out the extraordinary financial benefits of owning a cable company. Not to worry, I have a back up strategy that includes one or more of my nieces.

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