The Maltese Cat is officially a business consultant. In actuality, he has been involved in corporate espionage for most of his career. He targets corrupt businessmen and politicians and makes a handsome living out of correcting their inequities.
“Escheatment”, Book 1 in the Maltese Cat Book Series continues with new exciting adventures. Enjoy:
Chapters 1 & 2, 3 & 4, 5 & 6, 7 & 8, 9 & 10, Chapter 11,
Chapters 12 & 13, 14-16, 17, 18, Chapters 19 & 20,
Chapter 21, 22 & 23, 24, 25, 26, Chapters 27-29
Chapter 30, 31-32, 33-34, chapters 35 & 36,
Chapters 37-39, 40-41, chapters 42-43, 44-45, chapters 46-47
Chapters 48-49, 50-51, chapters 52-53, 54, chapters 55-56,
Andy Cho and Governor Foley – Second Meeting
Andy Cho was back in the Governor’s office. His mood was somber.
“I have to report a catastrophe.”
There was something unsettling about the tone of Andy’s voice. Ed Foley knew his State Controller well. Andy was an accountant. He didn’t use imprecise and emotional words like catastrophe. The Governor waited for Andy to continue.
“I have been contacted by the Department of Homeland Security. They have traced large amounts of money coming from the State of California government that have been directed to various other accounts throughout the nation, all of which have been deposited in a Swiss bank account.”
“How is this possible, Andy?”
“I don’t know, sir,” replied Andy, using a formal address to the Governor. “We have been trying to track it down, but someone has been very clever. Nothing shows up on our records. Everything appears to be OK.”
“It has to be an accounting error.”
“The DHS has confirmed that these transfers have taken place and the funds have definitely come from the state,” Andy said in a tremor.
“What does Home Security have to do with this? It’s a state problem. Or a Department of Treasury, or FBI problem if it is going interstate.”
“They said the money is funding Afghanistan terrorists.”
Ed Foley slumped back into his chair as if he just had a heart attack. His face went white.
“What did you say?” he asked slowly.
“That’s what they claim.”
Slowly Governor Ed Foley had to ask the menacing question.
“How much money are we talking about?”
“They say between one-hundred-and-fifty and two-hundred million dollars.
Ed Foley experienced his second heart attack.
“I don’t know, Governor. I’ve got five people working on this. We can’t find anything out of order.”
“This will kill my career. Yours too, I’m afraid.”
“It’s not your fault, Ed.” Andy slipped back into an informal address. “It happened under my watch. I’m supposed to be the Controller”
“Andy, when the ship sinks, it’s always the captain‘s fault.”
“Is somebody setting you up, do you think?”
“Doesn’t matter. It worked. It’s over. You can’t hide two million dollars. Wait ‘til the Press gets a hold of this.”
After a moment of silence, Andy asked, “So, what do you want me to do about this?”
“Prepare a statement. I’ll have my Press Secretary go over it. We have to come clean to the public. Trying to cover it up won’t work.”
“But it wasn’t your fault, Ed. This is just wrong.”
“Of course it’s wrong, kid. It’s politics.”
“I’m so sorry for you, Ed. You would have made a great 2nd term Governor, and then? Well, who knows? Maybe even a shot at the White House.”
“You know I have always built my career on integrity and honesty.”
“Yes, Ed. I know. It just isn’t fair.”
After a moment to commiserate with his friend, Andy asked again, “So, what do I tell the public, Governor?”
“We tell them the only thing we can.”
The Governor paused, looked Andy directly in the eye, and said, “Give ‘em Grant Thornton.”
“It’s the only thing we can do, politically, Andy, and still survive. Throw him under the train.”
James Gets a Lifeline
James was haggard. He had had little sleep since the disastrous Caribbean trip three weeks prior. Only after he started taking Valium at night, thanks to Bo, could he get a night’s sleep in. But even that did not help as he arose in the morning still feeling fatigued. The stress of losing such a prodigious amount of money was taking its toll. He knew the other boys were blaming him. He probably would have done the same if he were them. But it wasn’t his fault! And it was not only the amount of money, which was indeed large. It was that all his dreams and plans were shattered and he didn’t have an alternate plan. Bo’s idea of selling drugs didn’t appeal to him. It didn’t fit in with the image he had of himself. James Van Houten, Drug Dealer. Bah! How much could they earn? Nothing like they had in the past two years. The only ones making that kind of money were the kingpins down in Colombia or whatever. The stock market wasn’t what it had once been. His father had it easy. But with the Securities Exchange Commission breathing down everyone’s throat, he had no chance. The SEC had a number of successes over the past few years. Tyco, World Com, Enron. For the first time in his life he felt that luck had abandoned him.
His secretary walked in carrying a piece of note paper, which she handed to James.
“You have a Mr. Kwan Lee of Singapore on the line requesting that he speak only with you.”
“What does he want?
“Something related to IPO’s, he says.”
James said wearily, “OK. Put him through.”
James mustered up his last reserves and greeted the ringing telephone with a cheery voice,
“Mr. Lee, how can I help you?”
A stilted voice, with an accent which was a combination of Chinese and upper class British, came on the line. “Mr. Kwan.”
James was taken aback. “Pardon?”
“My name is Mr. Kwan,” the voice said calmly, with patience.
James consulted the name on his note.
“Oh, I‘m sorry. My secretary informed me that a Mr. Kwan Lee was on the line.
“Correct,” Mr. Kwan said. “Here the surname comes first.”
“Oh. OK. What can I do you for, Mr. Kwan?”
“Our mutual friend, Mr. Beyer, has recommended you. He says that your firm is the preeminent company in technology IPO’s.”
“That is correct,” James replied. Mr. Beyer? There was a Mr. Nathan Beyer who was the Chairman of the Board of National Bank, thought James, but he didn’t really know him personally. No need to divulge that.
“Mr. Van Houten, I represent a Singapore syndicate which is interested in investing in a small technology company in your area. We see the future of investments in this field.”
James asked, “What company did you have in mind?”
“That is why we have come to you. For your expertise.”
James thought quickly and then answered. “I have several companies in the works at the moment.”
He sorted through some folders on his desk.
“There is Algorithmic eTrade, I’ve got Fundamentality, Cespin Tech, and I have Zapp, Inc.”
“Ah!” whispered Mr. Kwan.
“Ah, to which one, Mr. Kwan?”
“The last one. Zapp Incorporated. Are these not the young people who invented flash trading?”
Damn! James thought. I knew I had heard their name before. Of course!
James reached for the folder and scanned the first page after the cover letter. There it was! Mr. Hsia hadn’t mentioned a word! Steadily, James responded,
“That is correct, Mr. Kwan.”
“I would be interested in that one.”
“Very well. I’ll see what I can do. We will be making an offering this month on Zapp.”
James thought. Mr. Hsia mentioned that he expected to raise between 2 to 3 million dollars.
6% of $3 million was $180,000.
“We have one stipulation, though, Mr. Van Houten. My associates and I wish to purchase all the shares offered.”
“I am sorry to disappoint you but that is not how an Initial Public Offering works. It is not a large offering and it will go public. In addition, that would cost you a substantial amount of money.”
“How much is substantial, Mr. Van Houten?”
“You would be looking at maybe three million dollars, maybe more.”
“My associates and I are prepared to invest between forty to fifty million dollars, US. Maybe more.”
Fifty million dollars! thought James, excitedly. Commissions of three million! Now that was something else.
“Of course, if your firm cannot handle this, we can look elsewhere.”
“Oh, we can handle this. It is just that we had structured the offering differently. Could I interest you in another company, such as Algorithmic eTrade? They also do computerized trading of stocks. Very efficient.”
“Mr. Van Houten. We are interested in innovation. We want the ones who invented the concept, not someone who copies it.”
“Mr. Kwan, I am sure that we can come to some arrangement. Why don’t I fax you some of our forms, so that we can get started. We need to do a due diligence on every one of our clients first. Then we can talk further about how we proceed.”
“Perfectly acceptable, Mr. Van Houten. I can furnish you with the information you require, with references. But my associates wish to remain anonymous and desire you to act discreetly. For these amounts of capital, I am certain that you can appreciate why.”
“Of course, Mr. Kwan.”
“We are operating under the name of The Janus Group. You will receive all the information you will require. And if this transaction goes well, I can foresee further business for your firm. We will be interested in more companies,” added Mr. Kwan.
Mr. Kwan had James’s full attention.
“Excellent, Mr. Kwan. I will get out the forms immediately.”
“Thank you, Mr. Van Houten. I look forward to doing business with you.” Mr. Kwan hung up.
James still held the telephone in his hand. He was dumbstruck…and ecstatic.
Fifty Million Dollars! And his father thought that he couldn’t manage the business!
This is what he needed right now. Lady Luck, who had been his close companion since his youth, had not abandoned him. She had only taken a hiatus. But now she was back in full form. James felt a surge of energy which he had not felt for weeks.
If Mr. Kwan wanted all the shares exclusively, and was willing to pay for that exclusivity, James knew he could organize something. He could easily arrange for a 6% or 7% private commission for himself, in addition to the investment. His father’s company would never know about it. He had managed more complicated business.
James put the phone back on its base, leaned back in his large executive’s swivel chair, fingers interlaced behind his head, and smiled.
“Back in the saddle again, VH!” he chortled to himself.