Ex-media mogul Conrad Black back in Canada

May 4, 2012, 9:47 PM

Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) – Former media mogul Conrad Black arrived in Canada on Friday and was spotted kissing his wife, playing with their dogs and roaming the grounds of his sprawling Toronto estate on Friday just hours after being released from U.S prison.

His wife, Barbara Amiel, later approached the front gates of the estate in Toronto’s posh Bridle Path neighborhood to collect her two dogs. She said it was difficult to comprehend the lost years but said she was very happy.

“It has not been easy. We’ll be fine,” Amiel said.

Black left a federal prison outside Miami early Friday after serving about three years for defrauding investors.

Black, whose empire once included the Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Telegraph of London, The Jerusalem Post and small papers across the U.S. and Canada, had returned to prison last September to finish serving his sentence.

A former member of the British House of Lords, he had been sentenced to more than six years in prison after his 2007 conviction in Chicago, but had then been released on bail two years later to pursue an appeal that was partially successful. A judge reduced his sentence to three years and he returned to prison last September. With time off for good behavior, he has completed his sentence.

Despite the fact Black renounced his Canadian citizenship in 2001 to accept a British peerage, the Canadian government granted his application for a one-year temporary resident permit, which allowed him to return to Canada.

Earl Cherniak, Black’s Toronto-based lawyer, said Black just wants to rest.

“The man’s been in prison for I don’t know how long. He wants to decompress,” he said. “I mean he’s been in a cell with two other people and one toilet. Would you want to be out partying tonight? I don’t think so.”

Black, 67, and his wife have long been a prominent couple on the social circuit, partying with such celebrities as Elton John and Donald Trump.

There’s a chance he could be seen partying soon. Black’s memoir, “A Matter of Principle,” is a finalist for Canada’s National Business Book Award. The book details his legal fight against U.S. authorities. The award will be presented at the Ritz Carlton Toronto hotel later this month.

Postmedia chief executive Paul Godfrey, who has Black write for Postmedia’s National Post newspaper, hopes Black will continue to write columns for the paper as he did when he was in jail. Black founded the National Post.

Godfrey expects Black to be in Saturday’s edition as he usually is.

“If he misses a week for any reason, he doesn’t miss many I’ll tell you that, we get calls. He’s a very well read columnist. People who like or don’t like him read him,” Godfrey said. “He’s been a colorful individual even throughout his troubled times. Even in quieter times I’m sure there will be a level of controversy that he will stir up by what he says, what he writes and what he does in business.”

Richard Siklos, author of “Shades of Black” and “Shades of Black: Conrad Black _ His Rise and Fall,” said Black will probably do more writing and be on the speech circuit for some time and will likely do business more privately.

“He’ll be more a pundit,” Siklos said.

Black’s big chance to quash his convictions arose in June 2010, when the U.S. Supreme Court sharply curtailed the disputed “honest services” laws that underpinned part of the case against him.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago tossed out two of Black’s fraud convictions last year, citing that landmark ruling. But it said one conviction for fraud and one for obstruction of justice were not affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling. The fraud conviction, the judges concluded, involved Black and others taking $600,000 and had nothing to do with honest services. It was, they asserted, straightforward theft.

Black _ who received the title of Lord Black of Crossharbour _ was known for a grand lifestyle, including a $62,000 birthday party for his wife, a swanky apartment on Park Avenue in New York and a trip to the island of Bora Bora.

Black’s three-month trial drew international attention, heightened by his sometimes haughty comments. When shareholders grumbled about the cost of the Bora Bora trip, he wrote a memo saying: “I’m not prepared to re-enact the French revolutionary renunciation of the rights of the nobility.”

At the core of the honest-services charges against Black was his strategy, starting in 1998, of selling off the bulk of the small community papers, which were published in smaller cities across the United States and Canada.

Black and other Hollinger executives received millions of dollars in payments from the companies that bought the community papers in return for promises that they would not return to compete with the new owners.

Prosecutors said the executives pocketed the money, which they said belonged to shareholders, without telling Hollinger’s board of directors.

At his resentencing hearing last year, several inmates wrote letters to the judge saying Black had changed their lives through lectures he gave on writing, history, economics and other subjects. But one prison employee claimed in an affidavit that Black had arranged for inmates _ “acting like servants” _ to iron his clothes, mop his floor and perform other chores. Another employee told her Black once insisted she address him as “Lord Black.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

FILE - Hershel "Woody" Williams, center, the sole surviving U.S. Marine to be awarded the Medal of ...
Associated Press

Last remaining WWII Medal of Honor recipient dies at 98

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Herschel W. “Woody” Williams, the last remaining Medal of Honor recipient from World War II, died Wednesday. He was 98. Williams’ foundation announced on Twitter and Facebook that he died at the Veterans Affairs medical center bearing his name in Huntington. As a young Marine corporal, Williams went ahead of his […]
9 hours ago
Associated Press

Essence Fest is back in New Orleans after two-year hiatus

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Black culture, in all its glory, will be on display over the 4th of July holiday weekend in New Orleans as thousands converge on the city for the in-person return of the Essence Festival of Culture. The multiday event begins with a Thursday performance by comedian Kevin Hart in the Smoothie […]
9 hours ago
Erica Mancini, an accordionist, poses before taking the stage to perform in a Ukrainian avant garde...
Associated Press

A viral reprise: When COVID-19 strikes again and again

For New York musician Erica Mancini, COVID-19 made repeat performances. March 2020. Last December. And again this May. “I’m bummed to know that I might forever just get infected,” said the 31-year-old singer, who is vaccinated and boosted. “I don’t want to be getting sick every month or every two months.” But medical experts warn […]
9 hours ago
Tropicana Field is viewed after a baseball game, June 5, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The mayor of...
Associated Press

St. Pete mayor reopens talks on future of Rays stadium site

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, is reopening talks about the future of the Tropicana Field site where baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays play their home games. Mayor Ken Welch said Wednesday that two previous proposals for the 86-acre (348,000-square-meter) downtown location are being scrapped, with a new round of plans […]
9 hours ago
FILE - The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a media ...
Associated Press

WHO chief: U.S. abortion ruling ‘a setback,’ will cost lives

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday criticized the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. calling the decision to no longer recognize a constitutional right to abortion “a setback” that would ultimately cost lives. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing that decades of […]
9 hours ago
Follow @KTAR923...
Sponsored Content by Arizona Department of Health Services

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Ex-media mogul Conrad Black back in Canada