There was a great novel, among others, written by legal mystery author John Grisham, called “The Firm”. A movie was also made of it where Tom Cruise played a blossoming young lawyer in a law firm that worked exclusively for organized crime and would go to unlimited lengths to protect its secrets. Many of you probably have read the book and seen the movie, as indeed I have as well. The book and the box office smash hit movie “The Firm” have some significance in its plot in relation to the TransPerfect story, except this is real life. Hold that thought.
You might remember the outrageous situation that happened during the TransPerfect saga where Chancellor Andre Bouchard appointed his former colleague from Skadden Arps, Robert Pincus, as a Custodian with unlimited power to potentially bilk this successful company. Pincus billed a whopping $25 million for himself and his firm for attending a once per month board meeting, and court-ordered over $250 million in legal Billings — all a reward for him for failing as mediator and allowing the case to drag on for years — and also drag Delaware’s name through the dirt. He and his cronies, as I understand it from my reliable resources, are a virtual who’s-who of suspected “over billers” including Alvarez & Marsal, Grant Thorton, Houlian Lokey and Credit Suisse. They seemingly, from all the vast sums of actual capital removed, set up a virtual cottage industry around emptying TransPerfect’s once-full coffers to feather their own nests?
One reason this case went on for 4 YEARS, and left this industry leader virtually penniless, from my perspective, is simply because these “prestigious firms” lined up to stuff their faces full with unchecked billing. A New York judge recently called behavior, not nearly as God-awful as the TransPerfect case, “Highway robbery without the six-gun,” for an amount involving 1/100th of what TransPerfect lost.
Further exacerbating the appearances of improprieties is the Skadden Arps $25 million, and much of the other $250 million spent that were ordered by the Court, yet were conveniently unverifiable, because in yet another shady and unprecedented move, Chancellor Bouchard allowed these bills to be paid without demanding checks or itemization. Folks, this unbelievable and unethical action really did happen, and is a matter of public record. Legitimate bills or state sanctioned theft — which is it? You can’t decide because Bouchard’s crew masked public transparency by billing only line items such as “$2 million for legal services” (and that’s for ONE month) and by getting the court to seal documents. I heard from one Chancery Court insider that the TransPerfect case has the most sealed documents in the history of Delaware and we are obviously not dealing with national security issues — just an embarrassed judiciary looking to cover their tracks.
According to my reliable sources within the company, none of what actually transpired at TransPerfect was actually necessary. And folks, a lot of people got filthy rich at the rate of $1,450 per hour because of Bouchard hooking them up. Interestingly, Pincus has now retired, and another source has confirmed that Skadden’s pension is based on a partners’ last 3 years of billing — How convenient! The good ole boy backscratching never stops and continues even in the face of scrutiny with today’s news.
There is a woman, named Mary Toscano, who was Chancellor Bouchard’s law clerk on the TransPerfect case. My research indicates that Ms. Toscano is widely believed, within TransPerfect, to be responsible for helping Bouchard in many ways and indirectly creating many of these problems. These actions in my opinion helped to justify Bouchard’s first-ever government takeover of a private profitable company — and this in turn apparently resulted in over $250 million in corporate waste that enriched Bouchard’s friends, and his friend’s friends, beyond belief.
She is also thought to be chiefly responsible for getting the custodian’s unchecked and unitemized bills in the TransPerfect Case approved by the court to be paid. The custodian, Robert Pincus, who was appointed by Bouchard had his bills approved, I’ll make this point once more — without itemization! Millions and millions of dollars went to Pincus. In exchange for rubber stamping bills often in the millions for one month’s “work” — using the term loosely, my opinion is that she is now being given a cushy job at Skadden as payback, and this presents yet another appearance of impropriety that should be investigated and stopped. Perhaps this job buys her silence?
Could this be a clever move for Skadden to lock up Mary Toscano with a higher-paying attorney job, which will probably result in shielding her from ever having to testify against Bouchard? Who knows what really happened, regarding Ms. Toscano’s employment with Bouchard’s friends?
Only in Delaware folks and just when our Chamber of Commerce rankings of Delaware’s top economic driver, the incorporation business, has plummeted based on the Chancellor’s perceived improper renderings and directives. Without legislative reform curbing their unchecked power, Skadden and Bouchard can easily use Delaware to possibly and continually to take advantage of companies to enrich themselves and their friends. Let’s not forget, Bouchard was a plaintiff attorney that sought to sue companies after every merger, saying the price was too low regardless of how it was priced — for those of you that aren’t in this circle it is my opinion: Bouchard was the corporate lawyer equivalent to an ambulance chaser.
And let’s not forget Skadden Arps — Reminiscent of the movie “The Firm”, with so much possible connection with wrongdoing attributed to this law firm by the media, is it really a stretch to believe this seemingly-suspect organization’s tentacles extend to the Wilmington office? Or perhaps they even originate there?