Conrad Black’s tangled finances provoked sharp questioning Wednesday by a federal judge who wondered how the former media baron pays his $200,000-a-month living expenses — without having an income.
Judge Amy St. Eve grilled Black’s lawyer on discrepancies between a financial statement Black filed in November and one filed this week. The recent statement shows stock and a bank account of greater value than disclosed last year, for example.
“The value of these investments has gone up substantially,” St. Eve said.
Black, 61, faces charges he helped steal $84 million from Hollinger International, the company that owns the Chicago Sun-Times and other newspapers. When charged last year, Black put up his Palm Beach, Fla., mansion to cover part of his bond. But last month, prosecutors asked for additional bond, saying Black overstated the mansion’s value and lied about his finances.
St. Eve held off ruling on Black’s bond Wednesday. Instead, she gave Black’s lawyer until July 21 to explain the discrepancies and list all assets of Conrad Black Capital Corp., his personal holding company.
Black has denied all wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include racketeering and conspiracy.
Discussing Black’s revised financial disclosure, St. Eve wondered how he met his monthly expenses — including $9,000 for gardening — even with loans from his wife.