Shady characters – Business done in stripclubs – Dinners in steakhouses with busty hookers. Booze. Cocaine. Fraud. Sodomy. Sports Cars. Other People’s Money. A saga so decadent and depraved, so abhorrent, it could only involve The Captains of Industry. Although, in the Modern Age, the Captains of Industry no longer resemble the robber barons, or Thomas Edison, or Adam Smith, at least not how we chose to remember them. They are Bernie Madoff and Conrad Black, and, at the bottom of that list, there is Nazim Gillani.
More of this is true than I, or You, would like to believe:
It was September 10 2009. A friend of mine, Gord, was eating at the Harbour 60. Gord appears to be a well to do man, but he is a stock broker, the most vicious sons-of-bitches in the world, next to Lawyers, Mechanics and Tow-Truck Drivers. Gord was a couple of tables down from a dinner that, over the next few months and some unlucky extenuating circumstances, would resolve in severe reprocussions for all parties involved.
It was the big-breasted hookers that caught Gord’s eye. It wasn’t that they were out of place (believe me, a couple of escorts at the Harbour 60 is no fish out of water story), but they were obviously drunk, and one of them kept going to the bathroom with one of the gentlemen. Anyone who’s ever been held up in one of the bathrooms at Guvernment knows what they were doing.
Gord wasn’t offended, he knew the score; this was serious business. The man who picked up the tab, Nazim Gillani, had sprung for some seriously high-class wenches. He was wining and dining the way it’s really done in Downtown Toronto, in this Brave New Century. The other man at the table was former conservative MP Rahim Jaffer, husband of the Tory minister for the Status of Women Helena Guergis. Guergis was recently criticized for going into a drug induced frenzy at a Halifax airport, where she screamed that she wanted out of “This hell hole!” – totally acceptable behavior for someone on speed in an airport.
A lot was talked about that night. Gord told me he overheard Jaffer assuring the table that he had unimpeded access to copious amounts of Government money, “all unaccounted for of course”. A great deal of buzz words were used; “green business initiatives”, ” green loans” etc. This business talk is really just filler in between courses and cocktails. Every once in a while Gillani would turn to his court and say “Isn’t this the life guys? Good food, good wine, good bitches… what else are you wanting?” then he would continue to grind his teeth and look around mischievously.
Mike Mihelic, former offensive lineman for the Toronto Argos and Gillani’s vice-president of business affairs (body guard), said very little. Gord told me he always had a girl on his lap and a bourbon in his hand, as he slyly peered around the room, looking for some poor sap to fuck up (in the parking lot he got his wish when the valet, a slight asian boy who spoke little english, brought him the wrong porsche, “You yellow faggot!” he yelled in a steroid-induced rage blackout. Luckily Jaffer was in a hurry or the poor boy would have surely been castrated).
When all was said and done, when the $3200 bill was settled by Gillani, Jaffer got into one car, and Naz got in another. Naz went home to his rented million dollar mansion in Etobicoke, Jaffer went home to his wife, but was interrupted by the OPP.
While Gillani was writing a late night email to his closest associates where he said “As most of you may have heard, we had a rather earth moving experience last night at dinner with Rahim Jaffer and Dr. Chen. Mr Jaffer has opened up the Prime Minister’s office to us […] (real quote), Jaffer was being pulled over by officer Kim Stapleton. Jaffer was searched, and given an alcohol test, which he failed. Cocaine was found in his pocket, although the exact amount was never released by police (Gord told me he must of snorted most of it off that hooker’s buttocks).
There was no trial for Jaffer. In a back room deal he plead guilty to careless driving, paid a $500 fine, and gave a voluntary $500 donation to a cystic fibrosis charity. Some say he used his old government connections to escape the charges, others claim he rolled over on Gillani in exchange for a break. Either way, it is irrelevant. This is the status quo. This is the kind of behavior that sunk the economy in 2008 – the business of business, making money from money, just paper exchanging hands: fraud on a massive scale.
The days of the late-night war room, the eureka moments of ingenuity, even the travelling salesmen, are over. Thomas Edison is dead, and so are the Ford’s,and the Eatons and so on. We are a culture of Great Gatsbys and Willy Lomans.Our Captains of Industry are Tom Buchanans, out in sleazy motels with hookers and booze, talking themselves up. We make the Snuggie and the Sham-wow, and even those aren’t manufactured on home soil. What have we become?
When Gordie told me the story I was shocked, he replied harshly, “don’t be, you pussy”, he said I just don’t have the stomach for commerce, I don’t have the balls for real business – intellectual types like me just don’t get it. We’re idealists. It’s not unconscionable to do business this way (drugs, fraud, misinformation, bold face lies) it’s reality, it’s fast paced – balls out, fuckingbusiness. I thought about digging deeper here with my old friend Gord, but that bastard scares me.
But what really scares me, as I’m sure it scares you, is that my previous understanding of the business world, which entailed these 50’s Madmen style business-savvy-gents, who worked like dogs and really knew the game, getting things done, is totally false. Business happens in restaurants, hotels, motels, golf courses, opium dens, brothels, and scores of other non-business-like environments. It’s the business of fun, and they’ re having too much.
It’s the slow decline you know. The beginning of the end. This story, about a shady business man, an ex-linebacker, and a former MP of the Conservative Party of Canada, is only a glimpse into the shamelessly decadent and hopelessly depraved world ofBusiness. The really foul stuff, the stuff that caused our most recent collapse, we might never truly know about. Which begs the question, would you even want to know?