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

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Chapter 9

New York, Monday, 3:00 P.M.


Waves of emotion, fear and worry tormented Kerri on her flight back to New York. Questions and doubt swirled in her mind. In addition to the enormous effort required to rebuild the New York division of Iacardi, a high priority was to compile the gigantic list of the names and addresses of the estates. That would take time and time was in critically short supply. She took some comfort in the knowledge that her money would eventually be distributed to the estates, and that it would help. She worried, however, that it wouldn’t be close to enough, and that it wouldn’t be on time. The families of the Iacardi victims would need income and health care almost from day one. She worried about replacing the office, furniture, equipment, and computers required to make the business to function. Of primary concern was replacing the staff and management, the heart and soul of any business. She concluded that under no circumstances could she do all of it alone. She needed help, but knew of nobody she could trust enough to do the job the way she wanted it done. Visions of airplanes colliding with buildings continued to plague her. Visions of collapsing buildings brought tears to her eyes.

Within minutes of entering her Tribeca apartment she called Marsha Cooper, Iacardi’s outside attorney. Marsha, a forty-eight year old corporate law specialist and partner in the firm of Kaplan, Mendoza and Cooper, had been on retainer with Iacardi since Kerri’s appointment as president. She delegated to Cooper the enormous job of contacting the families and attorneys and trustees representing the families and estates of the Iacardi victims. “I want a complete and accurate list, Marsha, and I want it as fast as you can prepare it,” she ordered. “I’m trying to make arrangements to have a significant amount of money distributed to the estates and I don’t want anyone to know that I did it, or where it came from. I want lawyer client privilege on that item. Any questions?”

“Where are you going to get a significant amount of money?”

“I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”

“Okay, then I’ll get right on your list. Let me know if I can do anything else.”

“You can.”

“What?”

I own a trading account with Iacardi. I plan to have it liquidated as soon as possible. It shouldn’t take long because I expect all of our trading accounts to be up and running before the end of this week. I want you to set up an unsecured loan to Iacardi and Sons with the entire cash value of the account. I want it to pay zero percent for the first year and prime plus one percent thereafter, and callable only in the event I’m no longer president of the company. I’ll call you with the details of the account.

“How much is it?”

“Approximately a hundred and two million. I want to keep two, so please do the paperwork on a hundred million.”

“Holy shit, Kerri! Where on earth did you get that kind of money?”

“Long story. I had a boyfriend a long time ago. He died and left his entire estate to me,” she said, neglecting to mention that she killed him while he was raping her. “I was in love with him until I found out he was a nutcase. I put that money into a trading account with Miles Dennis a little over ten years ago. He did an amazing job with that account. That’s the short version. I’ll give you the long one later.”

“Are you sure you want to do this?”

“A very large number of people are going to need continuing income from Iacardi. That won’t happen unless the company survives and thrives. It’s going to need money to do that, and I happen to be in a position to provide it.”

“You’re a saint, Kerri King. I’ll talk to you soon.”

Next, Kerri called four commercial real estate companies, gave each her specifications, and asked for presentations. She wanted to avoid the tedious and time consuming process of appointments and touring buildings, particularly those that wouldn’t qualify under any circumstances. She planned to visit only those buildings that had a chance of becoming the new Iacardi headquarters.

Her next call was to Martin Petrie, president of Selections Inc., a head hunter used exclusively by Iacardi for over ten years. She told Petrie she needed a vice president of human resources, a no nonsense individual capable of hiring a lot of good people in a hurry.

“I presume you would like me to move quickly on this,” Petrie said.

“I want to start interviewing yesterday,” Kerri replied.

She moved to her kitchen to prepare a cup of tea, then sat on a stool to wait for the kettle to boil water. She allowed her mind to wander back to a lovely autumn afternoon on the Health Club dock in Muskoka. Her thoughts were of Steve Monteith, that incredibly handsome stranger with intoxicating hazel eyes. Her heart wept for his loss. She wished she could find the time to attend the memorial for his father, to tell him in some way that she understood his pain. There was so much to do, so many demands on her time, yet her heart demanded priority over those concerns.

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