The Ethical Take

Published: August 5, 2013

By Jim Lichtman
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Before  The E.T. goes on vacation, a few words.

It’s Snowden in Russia –

NSA leaker Edward Snowden finally comes out from a cold… Moscow transit lounge, but don’t get rid of the snow clothes yet, Ed! Let’s see if a year in this country will change his outlook on government intrusion on privacy. Feel free to speak out on government oppression. I’m sure Valdimir, wink, won’t mind.

But wait! Now that Bradley Manning was found guilty of snatching information from U.S. databases, and uploading it to WikiLeaks, maybe we’ve found the best punishment for hiscrimes… roommate to Snowden in Club Nowhereistan!

From Fabulous to Fatuous –

A New York jury found former Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice “Fabulous Fab” Tourre liable of misleading investors.

Upside: Finally, the SEC gets it right in prosecuting and winning a case against an individual with the scruples of Madoff. He may be only one, but still it’s a start.

Downside: He may only get off with a fine and limits on his work in finance.

After living a “Fabulous” life at the expense of others, he should have received a life sentence.

Penn State Redux –

With Penn State’s costs linked to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal approaching $48 million, word comes that three more will stand trial on charges of covering up their failure to report to police about a 2001 allegation that Sandusky molested a boy in a university locker room shower.

Ex-President Graham Spanier, former Vice-President Gary Schultz, and ex-Athletic Director Tim Curley are accused of a “conspiracy of silence,” says lead state prosecutor Bruce Beemer.

“The key testimony centered on a series of e-mails,” The Washington Post reports, “among the three defendants that discussed the 1998 and 2001 cases and the testimony of Mike McQueary, a former team assistant and quarterback who said he had immediately told Schultz, Curley and the late longtime football coach Joe Paterno that he had seen Sandusky molesting a boy in the shower in 2001.”

Message to Penn StateNow is the time to adopt and implement a meaningful University-wide ethics program with consequences.

Message to colleges and universitiesNow is the time to adopt and implement a meaningful organization-wide ethics program with consequences. You’ll save yourself millions in liability and unknown millions more in loss of reputation.

Mostly Martha –

Previously on Real Martha, Macy’s was battling J.C. Penney for the exclusive right to carry Martha Stewart branded products. Last March, I wrote, “According to the Christian Science Monitor (Mar. 5), ‘Martha Stewart and Penney are using what they believe is a loophole in the agreement between Macy’s and Martha Stewart to move forward with their deal. It’s a provision that allows Martha Stewart to sell some of the products that it offers in Macy’s stores at Martha Stewart shops, as well.

“According to Martha Stewart lawyers, because the Macy’s agreement doesn’t specify that Martha Stewart stores have to be ‘stand alone’ locations, the mini shops within Penney’s stores would not violate the contract.”

Based on the precise wording of the contract, Stewart may be on solid legal ground. However, from an ethical standpoint, Stewart knows exactly what she is doing, and actively went about trying to loophole and leverage her brand because the Macy’s contract, apparently, wasn’t profitable enough for the struggling Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

Bottom Line: Stewart lied about the insider trading of approximately $40,000 in stock, now she’s attempting to loophole her way toward selling more product based on a flimsy rational. I wonder what Stewart’s response would be, if an exclusive supplier tried a similar tactic.

Is it so, Joe? –

A recent Wall Street Journal report (Aug. 2), asks, “What happened to the long-lost signed confession of White Sox player ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson?”

Word comes that Josh Evans, founder of auction house Lelands, is posting a $1 million reward for anyone who brings forth from hiding the infamous signed piece of evidence that proves the player colluded with gamblers to fix the 1919 World Series.

“According to the legend,” The Journal writes, “Jackson’s signed acknowledgment that he agreed to take a $20,000 bribe to throw the World Series was stolen before his 1921 criminal trial, possibly by the mob figure Arnold Rothstein, who figures prominently in the story of the 1919 World Series. As the tale goes, the theft scuttled the prosecution’s case, leading a Chicago jury to acquit the Black Sox on charges of defrauding the public.

“The evidence has been sought ever since. This week in Chicago, Evans hopes that his seven-figure offer will smoke out what he calls the ‘Dead Sea scrolls’ of baseball.

” ‘There are no signed confessions,’ said Jacob Pomrenke, chairman of the Society for American Baseball Research’s Black Sox committee.”

Further, “leading Black Sox researchers,” the Journal says, “are in consensus about Jackson’s missing confession: It’s a myth. It doesn’t exist and, in fact, never did.”

Whether a signed confession did or did not exist, the controversy regarding this black stain on baseball continues; which leads us to The Take’s final story.

Rodriguez Close to a Deal –

As of this writing, word comes that Yankee star Alex Rodriguez may be close to a deal on a suspension in order to hold off a complete ban from baseball resulting from his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

In light of evidence that Rodriguez arranged to purchase documents from the clinic [Biogenesis] to keep them out of the hands of baseball officials, according to two people briefed on the matter,” if Commissioner Bud Selig gives Rodriguez anything but a lifetime ban, it will be nothing less than another black mark against the integrity of the game.



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