Tough Times for Paul Allen


paul allenPaul Allen, has never been able to match the success of his early years – Microsoft to be more precise – ever since he parted company with Bill Gates. His peter-pan like life, has been quirky, and cause of much speculation. In the boom-boom nineties, he used his vast wealth to invest in many companies, including placing a big bet on cable. That bet – Charter Communications, and what a can of worms it has proved to be for Allen. Losses, executive firings by dozens, accounting shennaigans – you name it and it was all happening at Charter. And now comes news that Allen, chairman of Charter was aware of the accounting fraud. The accuser – James “Trey” Smith III, a former VP and one of the four execs to be convicted for their role in the fraud. Allen’s people, of course deny all this. Smith points to an e-mail former Charter President and Chief Executive Officer Carl Vogel sent to Paul Allen on Nov. 12, 2001 “the way we will make the numbers is by carrying over some 86,000 disconnects, which I don’t like but I will allow until I have better visibility to the 2002 budget.” I don’t think this establishes anything, but it does raise some doubts. I think it is hard to take Smith’s word for anything – after all Charter has sued him, and his co-conspirators to recoup legal costs. Smith’s price tag: $1.9 million.

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