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

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Chapter 54

New York. Same day.

Mortimer and his three clients left the new Iacardi headquarters and climbed into a taxi. They were still empty handed, but euphoric. Mortimer’s attention to detail and quick thinking had succeeded in turning what could have been a disastrous meeting into a triumph. His discovery that the Iacardi Shareholders’ Agreement had been unchanged by the Iacardi brothers was a master stroke. The clause he had identified had created a super highway to victory for the disgruntled shareholders.

The taxi driver stopped his vehicle in front of The Gramercy Park Hotel on Lexington Avenue, then turned to Mortimer, beside him in the front seat. “Thirty-five, sir.”

Mortimer handed the driver a fifty. “Keep the change,” he said, then turned to his clients, jammed uncomfortably in the back seat. “Lunch is on me, gentlemen.”

The four entered the hotel and took the elevator to Gramercy Terrace, a beautiful breakfast and lunch eatery overlooking Gramercy Park. They were promptly led to a table for eight. “What’s with the big table?” Billy Dukes asked.

Tavaris placed his huge hand on Dukes’ shoulder. “Watch and listen, son.”

Within seconds the power and glory of Enerco arrived at the restaurant. The four watched in awe as Ken Layton, Jeffrey Wheeler, and Andrew Speers approached the table. Like a moth to the flame, Tavaris hurried to shake hands with Layton. “Sorry, Ken, we didn’t get it done today, but I think we’ve got her, right where you want her.”

“I know. Sydney just phoned and told me,” Layton said with a cold and dismissive tone. “Let’s eat and talk about it.”

Everyone took a chair, drinks were ordered, then Layton turned to face Mortimer. “What’s next, Sydney? Give us the drill.”

“Sure. The universe will unfold as it should in this case. The Defendant will plead no contest, McCarthy will rule for The Plaintiff, he’ll award in the area code of a billion, plus costs, Kerri King will declare personal bankruptcy, we’ll hold a shareholders’ meeting, she’ll be voted out, Peter Tavaris will be voted in, he’ll amend the Iacardi Shareholders’ Agreement, the shareholders will sign the Enerco Offer to Purchase, and you’ll have your prize.”

“Terrific. What’s your estimate of the time frame?”

“A month, maybe two.”

“Unacceptable. Enerco is not prepared to live with that delay,” Layton said, withholding Enerco’s dirty little secret and struggling to avoid showing any signs of anxiety. He had no way of knowing how much longer his company could continue to hide its colossal trading losses from the market. He knew it was short, and that the clock was ticking. Now the acquisition of Iacardi was no longer an elective. It was an imperative. The move would not only give strength to Enerco’s balance sheet, it would deflect attention from its covert and patently illegal offshore hiding places for the losses. “I suggest you contact Judge McCarthy and stress the urgency of this situation. Tell him you’re concerned about how much longer Enerco will remain interested in acquiring Iacardi, and remind him that if Enerco goes away, your clients will end up with a big zero.”

“Not exactly zero, Ken,” Tavaris said. “In the event of Kerri King’s bankruptcy, the shareholders will get some fallout. Her loan to Iacardi and her Iacardi stock are worth about a hundred and ninety million.”

Layton gave Tavaris a frigid penetrating stare. “Her stock is only worth ninety million if Enerco buys it. Who knows what it’s worth if Enerco walks away? Besides, which would you rather have, droppings off Kerri King’s table, or three billion from Enerco?”

“Certainly the latter, but I...”

“No buts, Peter,” Layton interrupted. “I want this case ended quickly, and I want you gentlemen to do everything in your power to get Kerri King out of the way. Call a shareholders’ meeting right away. Inform them of everything we’ve just discussed. I’m sure that under the circumstances, they’ll be prepared to turn her into road kill.”

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