“Dining at The Westin”

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CHAPTER SIXTY-NINE

DINING AT THE WESTIN

Frazier had arranged for Certificates of Deposit of $500,000 each for our purchases in Cincinnati and Nashville. These were like “non-loan-loans”.
If we didn’t go ahead with the deals, the bank would spring for a million dollars in forfeiture and Frazier would have to somehow make it good.

On the 23rd of December, we were driving to Cincinnati. We would close that morning on the purchase of WSKS, now WBVE. Simultaneously, the Republic/Jacor merger would be finalized in the same room. Timing was everything. It was all very exciting.

We were heading south on I-75 at eighty miles-an-hour in Frazier’s BMW, radar detector engaged. We had just passed Dayton. Frazier spoke quite casually, as though discussing cows.

“Peter, there’s something we should think about.”

“Hmm?”

“I’ll do all the talking.”

“Hmmmmmm?”

“We don’t have the money yet.”

WHAT????? “WE don’t have the money yet.?” I sure as fuck didn’t have the money yet. I had about a hundred bucks on me and and a Visa card. With luck, I might be able to cover lunch, if I shorted the tip.

I suddenly flashed that classic “Lone Ranger” joke. The Lone Ranger and Tonto are surrounded by Indians. The Lone Ranger says, “This could be the end, my friend.” Tonto replies; “Friend?”

It was no time to panic. It never is.

The closing was scheduled for 10 a.m. in an elegant, oak-walled Conference Room on the 23rd floor of the Central Bank Building. The carpeting was several inches deep. The view of Cincinnati’s downtown skyline was spectacular. The windows were quite sturdy and thick. I checked. A merciful jump was out of the question.

There were over thirty participants in attendance, mostly attorneys with individual hourly rates easily twice the contents of my wallet. Closing documents were everywhere. There was heavy, rich, energized tension in the air. The transactions about to be executed involved more than forty million dollars in properties. Excruciating care had been exercised in fitting every last piece into proper order. There would be no mistakes. It would be perfect. This was big-time boogie!

Frazier had decided to wait until the meeting started to drop his goodie. He had a playful spirit and loved surprises.

The shrieking silence defies description. For the only time in my life, I actually believe I heard hearts stop. No one said a word. One could not even detect breath being taken. Frazier’s eyes roamed around the table with a patient stare of perplexed wonder, as though something was curiously wrong with everybody else. The Treasurer of Republic finally loudly gasped and stood, moaning with chagrin and despair.

“Frazier, you told me yesterday you had the money!!”

“Well. I thought I did!”

Frazier had raised his deep, baritone voice ever so slightly on the word “did!“. It seemed to shake the room. Within the somber, suddenly darkened atmosphere which prevailed, Frazier had effectively just told the Treasurer guy he could go fuck himself. Jesus.

Time-Out!

As things were, Frazier had everyone by the balls.

Nothing could proceed until the WBVE issue was resolved. There was no turning-back. Everything had been filed with the FCC. It had taken three months to get approval. Damn! With forty million bucks hanging in the air, any prolonged delay could cost a fortune. Shit! Jacor would be better off funding Frazier’s purchase themselves. It was really the only sensible option. Fuck!

This all took about five hours. Frazier’s only seriously expressed concern was where we would have dinner that night.

They told him how it would have to be.

No problem.

They’d lend him the money for one hundred and twenty days at fifteen percent interest.

That sounded fair.

He would have to sign with both corporate and personal guarantees and everything he owned anywhere as collateral.

Who’s got a pen?

He would have to pay for all additional legal expenses at horrendous overtime rates sure to be incurred in preparing new drafts on a billion- trillion documents over the Holiday Season because everything needed to be finished before the end of the year for major tax reasons which Frazier certainly had known about and thanks-a-lot-you’ve-fucked-up-everybody’s-Christmas-you-asshole.

Fine.

It was DONE!

I detected a barely discernible sigh of relief. I knew Frazier had finally found peaceful resolution in his mind. It would be shared. He leaned over and whispered in my ear. We would be dining that evening at the Westin overlooking Fountain Square.

I called Neil Kearney at the WLW Sales Offices of WBVE and asked him to join us. Neil had already been in place for four weeks preparing for our transition. WLW’s General Manager had told him it was rumored that Frazier had shown up “without any cash”. Neil had spent the day wondering if there were any late-night bartending positions open back at “The Light” in Flint. I told him everything had been arranged. For the moment.

If Cincinnati had barely made it, where were we with Nashville?

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