KERRI'S WAR (Volume 3 of The King Trilogy)

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Chapter 17

New York. Same day. 4:30 P.M.

Tavaris, cell phone pressed to his ear and dressed only in his red and green flowered boxer shorts, nearly choked on his first martini du jour as he outlined the details of Kerri King’s outrageous demands. “Believe me, Ken, I tried everything in the book and couldn’t get the broad to change her mind. She’s not going to sign anything unless Enerco makes that concession.”

“What about the wives of the Iacardi brothers? Have you talked to them? You told me they own eighty-five percent of the stock.”

“Not worth the effort. It wouldn’t matter if they agreed to the deal or not. The Shareholders’ Agreement requires one hundred percent approval of a sale of the company. Bottom line, Kerri King’s got us by the balls. We have to convince her to accept your deal. If she does, Walter and I are confident we can get the rest of the shareholders on board. If she doesn’t, well...”

“This is not what I wanted to hear, Peter. We can afford to pay a little more for Iacardi, but nowhere near what your president wants.”

“So what are you telling me? Is the deal dead?”

Layton chuckled. “Quite the contrary. We’re just getting started. I told you before and I’ll tell you again. We have ways of inducing attitude adjustments.”

“You mind telling me what you’re going to do?”

“I’d rather not. Then if anyone asks if you know who’s doing certain things, you can truthfully answer that you don’t...Meanwhile, I strongly suggest that you and Walter get busy and talk to the people representing the estates of all the other shareholders. Get them to support the offer. Maybe the threat of litigation will change your little sweetheart’s mind.”

Greenwich, Connecticut. Same day. 7:00 P. M.

Sally Ricci-Iacardi had come a long way since Charles Iacardi started dating her in the mid eighties. At the time of their first fateful meeting in a Manhattan piano bar, she was blond, single, buxom, and no mental giant. Charles, lonely and unmarried, was instantly attracted to her. The strange union quickly became the talk of the Iacardi water cooler. A kind and self-effacing individual, Charles had often referred to her as his ‘bimbette from Queens’. For reasons known only to Charles, he loved her and eventually married her. To keep her in the style, he purchased a modest, twelve room mansion on the shore in Greenwich, where the two lived happily until the disaster of September eleventh.

The years had not been kind to Sally’s appearance. She had added considerable weight, sagged in all the wrong places, her eyes had become surrounded by darkened circles, and no amount of makeup could hide her wrinkles. She welcomed Peter Tavaris into her home, made coffee for both, then sat facing him in her tastelessly decorated living room. “You said you had something important to tell me,” she said, then smiled with lipstick encrusted lips.

Tavaris tightened his lips and nodded. “Yes, but first let me tell you again how sorry I am that you’ve lost Charles. He was a great man, Sally. We all loved him and miss him dearly.”

“Thanks. I miss him too.”

“I’m sure you do...Now, the reason I’m here is to tell you that I’ve recently received an offer to purchase Iacardi and Sons. It’s from a great company. Have you ever heard of Enerco?”

“Sally displayed a puzzled expression. “No. What does it do?”

“It’s a very large and successful company based in Houston. It buys and sells energy, primarily in the forms of electricity, natural gas, and oil. It does other things, but trading energy is its primary business.”

Her mouth partly open, Sally nodded, pretending to understand.

“So I’m going to explain this offer to you, and if you like it, I’m going to ask you to sign this form I have in my hand.” He held it forward, allowing her a brief glimpse, then continued. “Basically, it’s simple. If you allow Enerco to purchase Iacardi, you’ll be an extremely wealthy individual. Enerco’s offer makes your share of the company worth one and a half billion dollars.”

“Wow! Charles always told me we had a lot of money, but I had no idea.”

“Well he was certainly right about that. You should be very proud of him.”

“I am. Well, I was. He’s gone now, but I can still hear him calling me his little bimbette. He also told me never to sign anything without first talking to our lawyer.”

Tavaris had hit a bump in the road, one he had anticipated, one requiring a seamless shift in his approach. “Absolutely. I wouldn’t allow you to sign anything without your lawyer’s approval. It wouldn’t be fair to you or any of the other shareholders”

“Have you talked to them? I mean about the offer.”

“Ah, no. You’re the first. I wanted you to be the first because you are the largest single shareholder. You own half the company. I also thought since you’re the largest shareholder, your approval might make the others more comfortable about going along with it.”

“Shouldn’t you talk to Kerri? She’s the president you know.”

Another bump in the road. “I did have a conversation with her a short while ago. We were discussing various ways to rebuild the company. In that conversation, I suggested that one of our options might be to find a buyer for the company. She agreed that it was an option, and that she would go along with it if all of the other shareholders agreed. So my plan is to talk to all of the other shareholders first.”

Sally gave Tavaris an approving smile. “So when should I talk to our lawyer?” she asked.

“I’ll let you know. Enerco hasn’t put the offer in writing yet, but they should be doing that soon. When they do, I’ll call you.”

Sally thanked Tavaris and walked him to the door.

His next stop was at the home of Rose Iacardi, wife of the late Mario Iacardi, who died on September eleventh. The result of his visit was essentially the same as his previous visit. Relieved and encouraged that neither of the wives expressed any serious concerns or opposition, he concluded that he and Deaks should proceed to obtain the verbal approval of the two hundred and twenty-one shareholders representing the twelve percent not owned by Kerri and the Iacardi wives. With ninety-seven percent of the shares under their wing, they would then be in a position to apply maximum pressure on Kerri King to accept the Enerco offer.

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