T. Belman. I followed this saga from day one. I felt that the Blacks were mistreated by the press and by the Justice Departments in both Canada and the US. When Conrad let it be known to his friends that he needed money to meet his legal bills, one such friend, or perhaps acquaintance, Donald Trump, contributed $10,000 to his defense, as I recall. Black used to be the owner of the Jerusalem Post but was forced to sell his interest due to his financial difficulties.. I remember when Lady Black outed genteel society for being antisemetic.
‘Everyone applauded our undoing,’ Amiel writes in her book, Friends and Enemies, of her and husband Conrad Black’s riches to rags story. Now it’s Amiel’s turn
By Adrian Humphreys, NATIONAL POST
Barbara Amiel and Conrad Black. PHOTO BY JOE WARMINGTON/POSTMEDIA/FILE
Barbara Amiel became a household name — in some households an obscenity — in full cooperation and coexistence with her husband, Conrad Black, in a rare and twisting riches to rags story.
Not to elevate sweet and sour reality into fairy tale or myth, but there are meaty elements of modern parable to Amiel moving from high society ballrooms in maddeningly expensive haute couture to visiting her husband in prison with guards measuring the length of her dress because female visitors could not be provocative.
‘The only revenge would be to see our persecutors guillotined’: Barbara Amiel’s knives are out in memoir
Provocative, or however that translates into Latin, could be engraved on Lord and Lady Black’s heraldic crest.
Black was a wealthy media tycoon, controlling one of the world’s largest English-language newspaper empires, with titles in Britain, the United States, Israel and Canada, including founding, and once owning, National Post. His public persona mustered zealous admirers and detractors long before he was found guilty of fraud and obstruction of justice in Chicago in 2007.
Nonetheless, by cherry picking the picked cherries, here is some of what she says.
Amiel holds grudges
“For me — soon to be 80 — the only revenge would be to see our persecutors guillotined. I have worked out 1,001 ways to see them die, beginning with injecting them with the Ebola virus and watching,” she writes.
“I do think the legal profession — and my experience of this was greatest in Canada — is a deplorable profession. If it were possible to have a society of laws without lawyers, I’d recommend disbarment for 90 per cent of them and the strangulation at birth of any infant whose parents wish the baby to go in that direction.”
Amiel blames herself for Black’s downfall
In an interview in 2002, Amiel quipped: “I have an extravagance that knows no bounds.” It set the tone and was a klaxon for investors in Black’s newspaper company, Hollinger International.
“When we sold our Manhattan apartment, for instance, I sighed with relief. Here I come, Chanel, I thought. Just one last jacket. But the cheque was seized on the spot by two FBI men.”
Most friends abandoned them
“You aren’t quite sure which friends will cut you until it happens and you find yourself with a smile and an outstretched hand falling back limply to your side,” she writes, according to the excerpts.
She describes Ghislaine Maxwell, who invited the couple to the now infamous island owned by Jeffrey Epstein before he was accused of rampant pedophilia, bolting from her.
Even service staff shunned them
“Robert Gage, my hairdresser for over ten years, fired me. When I called to make my appointment, at the salon where he’d proudly hung my photo on the wall, I was told by him: ‘It would be embarrassing for everyone to have you here,’” she writes.
“Then in early 2004, I called up my ‘good friend’ Abbey, the manager of the Manhattan Manolo Blahnik shop. (Money was already in short supply, but old habits die hard.) ‘Abbey, I think the situation calls for a pair of mood-lifting shoes,’ I said, trying to emulate an upbeat voice. ‘You’ve got quite enough,’ she replied brusquely and hung up.
“How poisonous must one be when even the New York vendeuses wish to distance themselves?”
“‘Look, Conrad,’ I said, I’m really not in the market for an affair.’
“‘I’m not asking you for that,’ he said. ‘Don’t you understand? I’m asking you to marry me.’ We had not exchanged so much as a kiss in all the time I had known him.”
She insists Black was wrongfully convicted
She said Black came to her on Oct. 29, 2003, “grey-faced with despair” and told her: “It’s finished. This is the worst day of my life.”
“Once there is an accusation that you have sidestepped the rules and ‘looted’ millions from your company, you’re done. Present yourself for execution,” she writes.
“No one wanted to know the one essential detail: the truth. And it would take years for the allegations against Conrad to be revealed as false. Losing status, money, reputation and security is a shock when it happens all within a few days. The feeling of falling down that elevator shaft is impossible to capture.
“I understood the skepticism about our innocence. No smoke without fire, and if we were innocent why did all this happen — I know. But these nightmares do actually happen to innocent people.