Though his wealth was based on owning newspapers that promoted small town values, former Hollinger International CEO Conrad Black lived the life of a king, according to information revealed in his federal trial for fraud and racketeering:
As chairman of Hollinger International, Conrad Black lived a lifestyle so lavish that he needed two Park Avenue apartments -- one for him and one for his servants.
His wife, Barbara Amiel Black, had five closets for her evening gowns, $500 shoes and $7,000 handbags in their London townhouse. His chauffeur had a corporate American Express card he used to shop for the couple.
Among the other revelations in the trial:
The Blacks cut other deals for themselves, prosecutors say. Most of their routine living expenses were charged to Hollinger. Prosecutors intend to show e-mails from Amiel Black to her husband, asking him to pay her bills, and that he ordered Hollinger to pay many of them. In one case, she charged the company "$2,057 for a T. Anthony Ltd. leather briefcase," which prosecutors say her husband approved as a business expense, according to court documents.
Amiel Black invited a Vogue magazine photographer and writer in August 2002 to peek into her London closets, showing off separate storage rooms for day clothes, evening wear, sweaters, shirts and furs. "I have an extravagance that knows no bounds" Amiel Black told Vogue.
About two weeks after the London trip, prosecutors say, Black defrauded Hollinger by ordering the company to cover most of the cost of a surprise birthday dinner party he threw for his wife on Dec. 4, 2000.
Eighty guests gathered in the private room at La Grenouille, a French restaurant on Manhattan's Upper East Side, where they dined on "Beluga caviar, lobster ceviche and 69 bottles of fine wine," according to the Breeden report. The affair cost $62,000, and Black decided Hollinger should pay $42,870, prosecutors say.
Hollinger International's former U. S. newspaper unit, American Publishing, at one time owned The Carthage Press and the Neosho Daily News.