Media, Boeing, and Quote

Media

We recently complained about public KCTS-TV keeping secret the identity of someone described as "a longtime friend and supporter of the station who at this time wishes to remain anonymous," who loaned the fiscally challenged PBS member station $7 million to pay off and consolidate debt (see Buzz, April 14). But did we dig further? No. The Puget Sound Business Journal did, however, and what do you know? "There's a paper trail for some of the money," the Business Journal reported in its April 30 edition, "and it leads to a post office box used by several businesses and charities established by Bruce McCaw and his wife, Jolene." The relevant addressee in this case, the paper said, is a recently incorporated company called Mercer Building LLC—as in the Mercer Street headquarters for KCTS, which has been put up as collateral for part of the $7 million bailout. But spokespeople for McCaw, a cellular billionaire, say neither he nor his wife are involved in rescuing Channel 9. Craig Stewart, who heads the McCaw-backed Apex Foundation, told the Business Journal: "We have a number of entities and organizations that we support or work with" that might use the post office box, but he doesn't know who that could be. Likely not viewers like you. CHUCK TAYLOR

Boeing

As part of a settlement that will enable the Sleazy B to bid on contracts again, Boeing has agreed to hire a special compliance officer, answerable to both the ethically challenged aerospace giant and to the Air Force, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, May 4. That's no surprise. The company was caught cheating in efforts to win a rocket contract and an aerial-tanker deal. What's surprising is that Boeing is apparently so chastened that it's willing, the Journal says, "to forgo asking the military to reimburse a portion of tens of millions of dollars in expenditures related to fixing its much-publicized ethics problems." The former Seattle company's slogan is "forever new frontiers," and its new challenge is humility. This concession to taxpayers is lame, but it's a start. CHUCK TAYLOR

Quote

"If I had been more deeply involved in some of these things and thought through them more, maybe there would have been different outcomes."—Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen of Mercer Island, on how less-than-attentive investing and management contributed to his fortune shrinking from $30 billion to $18 billion in five years (BusinessWeek, May 3)

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