I hope you’re following the Moshe Porat trial.

The brazen, inexhaustible nature and variety of his mendacity is something to see. When you read what he does and says, having been caught making up numbers for Temple University’s business school in order to score a US News number one ranking, you have to admire the sheer endurance/agility/creativity of his lying.

When caught by Temple administrators, he simply says Give me more time. I can fix it back. Now in a court of law, he has blamed all of his assistants, who turn out to be vicious prevaricating scum, for the wrongdoing.

For sure, his next move will be to announce to the court that he is profoundly mentally and physically ill, cannot be held responsible for anything he’s ever done, and needs to go home and lie down.

Seventeen years in prison meets ten years in prison.

In this 2010 photograph, entrepreneur Shawn Baldwin, 2015 recipient of the Boy Scouts of America Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award, stands next to Michael Milken. Milken was sentenced to ten years and fined 600 mill for violating securities laws, while Baldwin was just sentenced to seventeen years for doing a Bernie Madoff.

UD thinks it’s always nice to get a sense of the real people behind these posed, expensive suit, MBA-type photos…. I mean, who are these people, really? Once you get to know them, they’re just like you and me!

‘This Article is More Than 2 Years Old’

Yeah I know but if you read it alongside this article, a mere babe at twenty-four minutes old, it spices up somewhat the dully predictable guilty sentence that America’s own Jay Gatsby – John Wilson, Harvard MBA – just received for bribing people and lying through his teeth to get not one, not two, but THREE of his rich, dim, klutzy spawn into fancy universities. Because Wilson himself is no stranger to … uh…

Says he played football at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. No record of it.

‘[S]ales quadrupled during Wilson’s tenure [at Staples, but] did not come close to the “10X” growth he touts. Over the same period, net income increased by 481 percent, according to the securities filing, not 800 percent.’

‘Wilson claims in his online resume that his success at Staples led him to be “selected by CFO magazine in 1994 as one of the Top 50 CFOs in the United States.” The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Vincent Ryan, was unable to find any record of Wilson’s recognition in the publication’s archive.’

Getting tired of quoting. There’s more.

Should the non-profit sector consort with “the banality of evil, MBA edition”?

No. Duh.

But it still will, of course.

************

And then there’s the federal government:

“McKinsey’s abhorrent conduct also demands that Congress consider broader action. McKinsey earns billions of dollars from contracts with the federal government. No firm that proposes paying kickbacks for overdose deaths should receive a single cent from U.S. taxpayers.”

“No other corporation distributed more opioids in those years than [John] Hammergren’s McKesson … Over his first 16 years as CEO, notes Bloomberg, Hammergren pocketed $781 million. His final months in the McKesson chief executive suite brought that total near $800 million. Upon his retirement, he walked away with a pension package worth $138.6 million.”

Massively fatal drug distribution, to alter the quotation slightly, been berry, berry good to John Hammergren, whose rancid immorality has been cleaned up nice and good by outfits like CSIS, which allowed him to buy his way onto its board of trustees.

Every now and then an article appears that brings back the beautiful Hammergren way of life, in which you direct floods of killing substances into clueless hollers in West Virginia and suck up hundreds of millions of dollars for yourself while everyone dies and entire municipalities wither.

Yesterday’s New York Times told of a recommendation by the consultancy McKinsey that Purdue (Hammergren’s now-notorious supplier) keep the drugs flowing like crazy, and its distributors happy, by handing them cash whenever someone in their distribution territory overdosed. Overdoses after all are so… awkward. So unpleasant. So… actionable? I mean, a lot of these people die. Some of them have very compellingly grieving mothers who talk to newspapers and attorneys and all.

It’s the old drug dealer problem: You want addicts of course, cuz that’s where your big reliable bucks come from; but you don’t want dead or spasming or frothing at the mouth or almost dead addicts. You want nice functional non-deadbeat addicts. McKinsey’s solution to growing numbers of dead and dying addicts that might make the distributors… uncomfortable… is to compensate them for each and every OD. A good faith gesture:

If you’re a pharmaceutical-company CEO who is making an opioid that is killing people, you already know it’s a problem, and you already have a pretty good idea of how you have to handle it. You hire a firm like McKinsey, in this hypothetical scenario, to make it look as if you’re not the one coming up with the unsavory options. It gives you some numbers and some options on paper (actually, at least traditionally, a hardbound blue book). It also gives you plausible deniability. “I didn’t come up with this idea, Your Honor. It was the consultants!”

****************************

“How do the C.E.O.s of these companies sleep at night?” Bob Ferguson, Washington’s attorney general, said at a recent news conference.

Sleep at night? John Hammergren, from his CSIS perch, is currently handing out how-to-stay-healthy tips to the American public. Take long walks, try the Mediterranean diet, and cram twenty oxys a day down your gullet.

To help get you through these…

… dark covid days (altering a Joni Mitchell phrase here), the Economist promises many corporate scandals once they’re over.

‘The social services cuts that America’s free-market ideologues have pushed for decades are coming back to infect them. Chronically underfunded hospitals, companies competing over who can profit the most off novel testing and vaccines, millions uninsured, and people forced by financial necessity to go to work while infected are all part of the vision many companies and their representatives have spent billions lobbying to create.’

As with their private jet–aided appeals to lower emissions, the 1 percent’s virtue signaling about social distancing during this outbreak obscures the fact that they’ve helped make the crisis worse. Even starved of their chefs and personal shoppers, the rich might be able to weather Covid-19 in their summer homes. Their worldview, on the other hand, may not be so lucky—and could face an angrier, more organized public on the other side.

Ah cmon. You like this as much as I do, no?

The Before and After; the Hi Di High and the Hi Di Low; the Mother-Teresa-to-Maserati in Ten Seconds Flat… You gotta get a kick out of this recent article about CEO of the Month Larry Gerrans, who

considers Mother Teresa as the person whose life contribution is the most inspirational, because of how selfless and pure of intention she was.

Larry — now, er, formalized in court papers to Lawrence

has been convicted of wire fraud and money laundering for “siphoning millions of dollars” from his company to buy a $2.6 million home, a diamond ring and a Maserati, federal prosecutors said.

LOL. ME LIKE!

Talk about punishing success!

When one of your most ruthless traders turns out to steal pretty much everything he encounters in his daily life, he is displaying exactly the grasping arrogant psychopathology you’re after. Despite his millions in compensation, he finds nothing too small to steal – bike parts, commuter train tickets… and now, cafeteria food. The boy can’t help it.

The response to this compulsion is not oooh you’re immoral and we’re a saintly hedge fund so satan get thee hence. The proper response is a nice fat bonus.

Listen Up, Kiddies: If you’d been smart enough to follow the Gabriel Bitran story on this blog…

... (scroll down; read the whole page) you’d be SO not surprised at the Jeffrey Epstein story! Boys’ clubs will be boys’ clubs – they’ll ignore bad boys forever cuz they kinda like them.

Teva.
 Once upon a time there was a business
Where we used to raise a price or two
Remember how we settled suits for peanuts
And dreamed up all the dirty deals we'd do
Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
Inflation schemes, price fixing, bribery
We'd gut the lives we'd choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were rich and sure to have our way
 Now generic prices are in tatters
For distribution too we'll have to pay
Our current debt load's
twenty seven billion
Ruefully we smile and weep and say
Yes I remember well
We were corrupt as hell
And now our smiles have all turned into frowns.
But then you take my hand and tell me Here's the plan
We're gonna take our cash and double-down

“B-schools offer [ethics courses] as electives, which is always just window dressing. Ethics has never gained any traction at business schools. I doubt that you would see evidence of them teaching about how income inequality is created.”

A blog like this one, which features a much-used category titled Beware the B-School Boys, welcomes a bunch of new books with titles like Nothing Succeeds like Failure: The Sad History of American Business Schools and Leadership BS. Also a bunch of new opinion pieces with titles like We Should Bulldoze the Business School. Very nice.

*****************

UPDATE: Right on cue. A perfectly timed news item on the subject just broke, and it’s being widely covered for all the wrong reasons. Everyone’s hyperventilating about a photogenic go-getter abundantly and shamelessly lying her way into a high-profile job in the current… troubled federal government. Said she went to schools she didn’t go to. Bought her degree from a diploma mill. (Read this page while you can.)

But as you know if you read this blog in its infant days, diploma mills (see that UD category) are a permanent structural reality of all countries. It’s a quirk of the United States that when people here find out you bought your college or graduate degree they actually get upset and do something about it. Most countries don’t care. This is why you want to wait til you get back to the States for that surgery.

So the fact that Mina Chang is a diploma mill grad who claims on her cv to have graduated from Harvard is a ho-hum revelation. Generous chunks of the military, fire departments, and public education are all milled up. Why those locations in particular? Because if you demand an advanced degree for job advancement, people will, er, advance them.

No: The real story lies here:

According to her educational history on LinkedIn, Chang writes that she took part in an “Executive Nonprofit Leadership” program at Southern Methodist University in Texas.

The Non Profit Leadership Certificate Program is a six-day program with a $900 fee.

That’s right, kiddies: Leadership BS at nine hundred (with travel, etc. let’s make it an even thousand) for SIX DAYS. Can you imagine the amazing leadership bs you’re getting for that moolah? Reminds ol’ UD of this 2011 six day New Zealand bs leadership seminar (run by a diploma mill grad – beginning to see the synergy?) that cost around $13,000 dollars in American currency. Or, closer to home, there’s this (quoting meself in a 2010 post about leadership bs seminars paid for by the federal government):

The Center for Creative Leadership doesn’t just have a great name.  It’s located on ONE LEADERSHIP PLACE, Greensboro, North Carolina.  Its street is a leader. This alone perhaps warrants a certain premium for leadership trainees who, even as their rented cars pull up to CCL headquarters, can sense that the very ground upon which they motor is imbued with leadership.

A five-day leadership course at the CCL will cost you between $6200 and $10,600.

And that’s not all, folks! Here’s another example of your tax dollars at work, again from a 2010 post:

[Let’s see what] the Kennedy School is charging these days for their Senior Executive whatever — all of it paid by the government.  The school has just raised the tuition.  It now costs almost $20,000 for four weeks… The costs for this and similar four-week courses offered by other outfits the Office of Personnel Management uses are 460% higher than all costs for one month at an average private American university.

As Michael Kinsley once wrote, the scandal isn’t what’s illegal; the scandal is what’s legal. That a hyper-ambitious young person would survey Trump University World and come to certain conclusions is no scandal. That the federal government enables, and schools like Harvard exploit, the leadership racket is, if you ask UD, scandalous.

******************

Oh, whoops. Forgot the big shocking news item about Chang and that leadership program. Shockingly, she didn’t really attend it. Shockingly, she listed it on her resume but actually did not attend.

UD finds this admirable. I ain’t saying I’d hire the woman! But she definitely shows good sense here.

It’s funny. You figure in certain subcultures almost everyone’s corrupt…

… and everyone sort of maneuvers a life around being corrupt… So that if you, say, get arrested for corruption, and even if you go to jail for a year or eight for corruption, okay. Occupational hazard, and maybe you’ve even anticipated and mentally adjusted to the possibility. You have a terrific attorney; you’ve acquainted yourself with the nicest lockups in your country, etc. You’re a man, after all, and men man up and face the music if they have to. UD has always, along these lines, been very fond of Enron’s Andrew Fastow, who, you know, did his time, and came out sardonic and stoical about it. He gives amusing lectures to business ethics classes.

But every now and then you encounter a figure of pathos, like Alan Garcia.Clearly not willing to play the game.

‘He served as a Director of Arresto BioSciences, Inc.’

Which is fitting, because he might be getting arrestoed.

‘The annual multi-billion-dollar exercise in nonsense known as the Leadership Industry.’

UD‘s only on the second paragraph, and already she’s cheering. Thanks, dmf, for the link.

For my own modest contribution to the Leadership thing, go here, here, and here.

Oh, and here.

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