Recently one of our star European executives was the victim of a strange blackmail scheme. Our man’s father-in-law demanded a total of $11 million in exchange for never contacting him or his wife ever again. Authorities charged the father-in-law and his lawyer with harassment.
Despite its questionable legality, what’s not to like about that deal? I paid $125 million to the Jehovah’s Witnesses to keep them away from my property. I spent $10 million of my own money keeping trick-or-treaters away from my Park Avenue building last year. It was money well spent. Do you know how long it takes me, even using my Segway scooter, to get from my living room to the front door of my penthouse? I lose $4 million worth of my valuable time every time I go to the bathroom.
Nuisances such as in-laws are best kept away, and since it’s against the law to have them killed (at least in the U.S.A.), it’s better business to pay them to keep quiet. We do it all the time in the private equity world. When someone leaves a big private equity firm that sucks, like KKR, they usually get a payment to keep quiet and not bother anyone for a while.