The Hollinger executive committee also approved the company's January 2001 $8 million purchase of papers of Franklin Delano Roosevelt so Black would have "exclusive and private access" to them while writing a book about FDR, the Cardinal lawsuit alleged. The Hollinger lawsuit put the price closer to $9 million and said most of the documents were stored in Black's homes. A spokesman for Black, James Badenhausen, said Black believed the papers were an attractive investment, and added that the contents of the papers were widely available to the public.
After Hollinger Digital invested money with New York financier Gerald Paul Hillman, Perle pursued a more entrepreneurial opportunity. He joined Hillman in setting up their own venture capital investment fund. Soon after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks , they formed Trireme Partners L.P., which stated that its focus was investing in technologies for homeland security. And the way they solicited capital for the fund would draw scrutiny.
Perle's Business Ventures: A look at Richard N. Perle's government and public policy-related jobs and how they relate to his business activities.
Perle's Path: Richard N. Perle has translated his Pentagon connections, first established when he served as an assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration, into an array of corporate directorships and consulting arrangements.
Hillman also joined the Defense Policy Board after Perle recommended him to Rumsfeld, Perle said. The board's charter said its membership "will consist primarily of private sector individuals with distinguished backgrounds in national security affairs." Perle said he recommended Hillman because he was a brilliant analyst with a business background and "a lot of experience dealing with complex situations."
Trireme solicited Boeing Corp., with Hillman noting in a letter in early 2002 that he and Perle were members of the Defense Policy Board, according to a Boeing spokesman. Boeing committed to invest $20 million with Trireme. Ethics rules prohibit invoking government titles for private gain.
Perle said, "If we had not related that information we would have been withholding information." He added that the status as Pentagon adviser can be a drawback in business because "it means there are . . . things you can't say and can't do."
Last year Hollinger invested $2.5 million in a Trireme entity, the company said in an SEC filing. That was part of a $25 million commitment by Black, Bloomberg News reported in January. "I think that's right," Perle said when asked about the amount.
Black made the commitment to invest Hollinger money in Trireme without the board's approval, the Hollinger source said. When the audit committee learned about those actions last year, it canceled the commitment for the balance, the source said.
And when other directors discovered that Hollinger was paying for Perle's secretary, the company ended the arrangement, the Hollinger source said. Perle said the woman, based at a long-time Hollinger office at his Chevy Chase home, was not his personal secretary, but the sole secretary for Hollinger Digital. He declined to say if she handled all of his professional activities, saying the matter could become a subject of litigation.
Hollinger's complaint "is without merit and will be defended vigorously," said Josh Pekarsky, a spokesman for Radler. The company suit "repeatedly acknowledges that many of the things Mr. Radler is being accused of were presented to the Board, considered by the Board, and approved by the Board, yet it somehow fails to implicate the board in any of the alleged misconduct," he said in a statement.
A special committee at Hollinger is still examining the performance of the board of directors. Perle, who remains a Hollinger director, is no longer at Hollinger Digital or on the executive committee.
The perpetually busy Perle knows there may be more demands on his time.
"I've said to myself more than once and my wife has said even more often than that 'you've really got to scale back.' And then something really interesting comes along and I say yes and sometimes regret having said yes, like anyone else. I've got a piece due on June 1st that I'd forgotten I'd agreed to write. It's a chapter in a book."
He said he will squeeze it in .
Staff researcher Richard Drezen contributed to this report.