81 Year Old In First Full Year of Life Sentence

rigas_alone.jpg  81 year old John Rigas is in his first full year of 15 year prison term. His actuary would call it a life sentence. But he does have reason to hope. If he serves at least 2 years and is expected to die within 3 months, he’ll be free.

In 2005 the Adelphia CEO and his VP son were caught taking $100 million from petty cash. In a scheme worthy of Tony Soprano, Mr. Rigas also forgot to tell investors and the public about the $2 billion in company loans used to support the familial lifestyle.

Even over ten years, spending billions takes a lot of work. But Mr Rigas kept his nose to the grindstone hiring $40,000/year masseuses, buying a fleet of jets and 17 cars. He also dipped his toe in the sporting life buying a $700,00 golf membership along with a NHL franchise the Buffalo Sabres.  In a breath taking display of hubris he ordered the TV network to show him at least once during Sabre home games.

Of course Mr Rigas’ greatest achievement was committing one of the greatest corporate frauds in history. Bankrupting the 6th largest cable company in the U.S. During sentencing Mr. Rigas extended an apologia without acknowledgement or responsiblity. “If I did anything wrong, I apologize. I’ll go to my grave really and truly believing that I did nothing but try to improve conditions for my employees … and [family].”

Ironically there is a 1986 article still on the Web published by something called Prime Time Living.  The piece is replete with black and whites of John the good son, John the Little League coach, John the early entrepeneur traces his ascendancy from immigrant parents to beloved social benefactor.

In a bit of blind prophecy, the President of St Bonaventure University says of his trustee. “Family is first and foremost in everything [John] does. … a model for our students … I don’t mean business success but in order to be successful in other ways.”

 Indeed.

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