June 17, 2008
Oregon Politician Liable For Breach of Contract, Inter Alia
According to The Oregonian, Craig Berkman "cut quite a figure" for years in Oregon politics. Jeff Mapes reports that Berkman was a big donor in national Republican circles, the chair of the Oregon Republican party, and the great hope for the future among moderate Oregon Republicans until a string of electoral defeats in the 1990s.
Alas, even in Oregon (an underrated state, in my view), politics can have its seedy side. Last month, Berkman took the stand and tearfully admitted that he lied to investors about the assets of his venture capital fund in order to attract new funds. He told investors that he personally had $25 million in assets when he was in fact in debt to the tune of $5 million. Today, he claims to be nearly $12 million in the red, according to The Oregonian, but that claim might be to Berkman's benefit now, since he faces a $28 million judgment, including punitive damages, for theft, negligence and breach of contract.
Plaintiffs were trying to recover $75 million invested in Berkman's ventures. They probably won't be recovering much from Berkman himself. Fortunately, there was also a judgment against the non-defunct accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, that may be a source of some recovery.
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