Protecting David-Christopher Grows Up 12
Nick and the boys had headed over to the stable to introduce Tyler to one of Andrew’s favorite things, riding horses, but thankfully my dad had rescued me from that fate and pulled me into his office.
He pulled his office chair to the side of his desk and sat with his heels on the edge of the desk while we talked.
He said, “So were good with the Morgan properties?”
I nodded. “My guys say it’s good. Of course we’d never be able to do this this fast if George hadn’t been so involved with it. He knows those properties so well. And the couple of properties that he wasn’t involved with aren’t really that important.”
Alex nodded. “Subject to your agreement we’re planning on borrowing half the money. The interest rates are so crazy low it’d be a shame not to and your grandfather found buyers for the paper in like two seconds.” I was weakest on the financing side of things, but fortunately my dad and grandfather were both truly expert in that area.
“All you have to do is tell your guys to transfer the money to her attorneys.”
I nodded. “Already done, Jack is coordinating with Connie.”
“The other thing is you’ll want Jeff to make up a security plan if they don’t already have one. Oh and especially the farm since you’ll be using that yourself.”
“You really think I need security there? Nobody even knows I’m the owner.”
“They will know. These days nothing stays secret for any length of time. The general public may not know but the people you least want to have that information will have it. Besides, when the big project downtown gets underway you want to have the security infrastructure in place. Some of those buildings you’re planning well be iconic and they will draw a few nuts.”
Then he smiled at me and said softly, “You’re doing a great job.”
That simultaneously made me feel good and embarrassed me, so I just ended up nodding and saying, “Thanks, but George really…”
He held up his hand and said, “It doesn’t work that way. You get the grief and the glory. It’s your money at risk. Believe me, George knows that better than anyone.”
So I just shut up.
A few quiet moments passed and I kicked off my shoes and curled my legs up underneath me and then sighed. “So whadya think of Tyler?”
He smiled. “Crazy good looking. I can see how he’d turn anyone’s head and Andrew does look smitten. I’ve never seen him look like this.”
“How does Aiden feel about it?”
Alex laughed loudly. “Aiden is too busy with his new girl friend to pay much attention to what his brother is doing.”
“Is she nice?”
He nodded yes. “Long blond hair, stunning, and from a rich family. The family is in mining, all over the world. But she’s really down to earth and I think she’ll be good for Aiden. Her dad made her come here to study mining, to give her a grounding in the family business. I think you’ll like her. She’s very outspoken, but doesn’t trying to beat anyone up. If I had to guess I’d say you two will be friends.”
I smiled. “That would be way better than the alternative. Are they sleeping together?”
My dad smiled slightly and tilted his head. “Sure. Isn’t everyone? We thought about not letting them do it here, but they’re old enough to make those decisions and I’d rather have them safe here in the house. But she rents a house in the city for the duration of her education and they go there too. Her parents live in New York, but Aiden says she’s got a full staff of people at this house and he’s got the feeling that they report to her mom and dad. But when you meet her I think you’ll come to the conclusion I did that she doesn’t give a damn what anyone might think about her.”
“Oh, by he way, her name is Lauren Caine, her dad’s name is Laurence Caine and the company is Caine International. David says they met a couple of times years ago. He even thinks the London office of his old company put together some financing for them. That would probably have been before you were born.
He said that was mostly handled by your Uncle Jamie in London, but he met the guy and he seemed okay.”
“How long have they been going out?”
“About six months. It’s been good for him. He was a little all over the place before he met her but she got him to start taking things seriously. It made a difference at work. It’s like he went from not really wanting to be there to really participating and trying to be part of the team.”
I said, “You think they’ll get married?”
He shrugged. “I dunno, maybe. I wouldn’t want that to happen just yet cause they’re really too young, but in a year or two, that’d be good.”
“Andrew says you’ve given them some of their money.”
My dad smiled. “Had to. You gotta learn sometime. There were a few nutty purchases the first month or so, but then they both settled in to having it and being comfortable with it. My original fear was that there’d be an endless parade of prostitutes or something, but that didn’t happen. Either that or they’ve really learned to hide it well.”
Alex reached over and grabbed a piece of paper off his desk and glanced at it. He grinned. “Connie tells me that you’re now the proud owner of a herd of Guernsey cows.”
This was news to me, well, kinda. “The farm? How does she find this stuff out before anyone else? Jack told me about their cheese business and while it never occurred to me it makes sense that they’d have cows.”
My dad leaned forward. “A hundred and fifty head. That’s a pretty big herd. It must be quite an operation.” He glanced at the paper again and added, “Plus sixteen horses and miscellaneous goats and sheep.
“It’s supposed to be to be a big operation, according to Jack. They apparently sell lots of high-end cheese, kind of an artisanal thing. Anyway I was thinking we might market it through the olive oil company. I mean the people who buy expensive olive oil are probably the same people who buy expensive cheese.”
My dad leaned forward and said, “That’s not a bad idea. And actually there might be other things that you could bring into the mix. How’s the management at that company?”
I shrugged. “They’re doing well. Steady improvement in sales anyway.”
My dad said, “Check with Nick, we’ve got a company that we use to evaluate things like this. You might want to find out if the management you’ve got in place would be able to take things to the next level. Better to find out before things get bigger on their own and mistakes start happening.”
He dropped his feet to the floor and began to get up, but then stopped and said, “I almost forgot. Give some thought to the idea of in-house counsel. For one thing it can save you money, but more importantly it’s easier to bring the lawyers in before mistakes get built into things. Anyway, just give it some thought. I’ve never regretted doing it. You’ll still need your law firm but you’ll find that your getting more bang for each buck you spend with them.”
I said, “Wouldn’t the best lawyers be with the big firms?”
He shrugged. “That was my first thought too, but not everyone works well with the pressure of billable hours and going to court. Some guys handle that with no problem at all but not everyone is wired that way. My in-house guy is the perfect example of that. I don’t think there’s a better legal mind on the planet than Harold, but he doesn’t deal well with all the other crap. Just think about, or maybe even talk to Larry.”
I got up to leave and asked, “Grandads will be here tomorrow?”
Alex nodded. “About ten o’clock. Wanna meet em at the airport?”
I nodded and said, “I’ll take Nick.”
Alex smiled and said, “By the way, David just got elected to the board of the Bank Hausman.”
That stopped me. “Really? I didn’t know he wanted to do something like that.”
Alex nodded. “He’s been buying up their stock for years. It’s just that there isn’t much floating around. Most of the families that own it never sell it. But when Gerhardt died he had specifically set aside a substantial block to be offered to David first. Apparently with Didier running the place and David on the board he didn’t feel he’d have to worry about his relatives. I guess none of them are very interested in the bank or even in business in general. Mostly they’re just interested in spending money, not making it.”
“Isn’t that gonna suck up a lotta time?”
He shook his head. “Except for the occasional special meeting it’s only once a quarter. Of course, you know your grandfather, he may end up getting sucked in, at least more than he’s thinking at the moment.”
I grabbed my coat and headed for the stable while my dad got behind his desk and started attacking emails.
The next morning Nick and I got to the airport a little late because of a tie up on the freeway and David’s plane was already parking. I could see my granddads walking around inside and the SUV that would take the crew to where they’d be staying nearby.
Finally the door lowered and David’s security guy popped his head out and gave us a quick wave. This wasn’t the huge bruiser I was used to, but nonetheless the guy looked like he could handle himself.
Then David appeared in the doorway, he was dressed in his favorite jeans and a blue button down shirt. He was carrying a garment bag, which the security guy took from him and brought down to the car. David smiled at us and waved.
Mark appeared behind David while he was pulling on a navy blazer. He bent his head down and said something to him that we couldn’t hear and David went back into the plane for a second and returned carrying his briefcase.
For a long time the granddads just seemed to look older and older, but now it seems like they’ve reached a point were they’ve leveled off. It’s like Mother Nature has said, “Okay, we’re gonna give you a break now.” They seem to have settled in at being kinda distinguished looking gray haired guys.
The granddads got into the car with David sitting in the back seat with me, and Mark riding shotgun in the front. Their security guy followed us in another SUV. Seriously, my dad must have ten SUV’s.
Mark turned around in the front seat and said, “The twins make it?”
I nodded. Andrew’s got his boyfriend with him and Aiden has Lauren.” I shook my head. “I still can’t believe they’re not both in prison.”
David laughed. “They couldn’t have been that bad.”
I shook my head. “Yeah they were. But all that energy now seems to be turning towards good stuff. Andrew’s boyfriend says he works like a dog on his schoolwork. And dad says basically the same thing about Aiden.”
Mark turned back to us and said, “It’s the energy. They were both always supercharged. It takes a lot of energy to get in that much trouble and the same to do positive things. It’s like they’re both nuclear powered.”
David looked at me, smiled and said, “I see you’re learning how to make money. This Morgan deal will be very good. You’ll see, there will be many ancillary deals that come up because of it. Helen never really leveraged what she had because she was always rich and never saw the need of it. Talk to George about it. Years ago he used to rant to me about the lost opportunities.”
I grinned at him. “He doesn’t talk much and even when he does it’s all so low key. I’m never quite sure how he really feels. The most I ever get out him is that small smile of his.”
David laughed. “Yes. I forgot about that. Anyway it’s worth taking the time with him. Take him out to lunch and just listen to him. Once he sees you’re really willing to listen you’ll get an earful.
Did your dad talk to you yet about the trust?”
I shook my head. “You mean about Aiden working there? We talked about that.”
“No, what we were thinking is that since you’re permanently in Milwaukee, well, at least for a while, some of the money from the charitable trust should be used in Milwaukee and Wisconsin in general. It can do you a lot of good. What we’d suggest is a small office and bring someone in from Denver to manage it, someone who understand the intricacies of it. I mean you could do it yourself, but it’s more complicated than you might think. To be effective you can’t just throw money around it’s got to be structured and every place is a little different. Anyway, give it some thought and talk to your dads.”
I nodded and said, “Since we took over that upper floor we’ve got plenty of space and I’d be able to keep up with what they’re doing.”
Back at the house Nick changed into his swim suit while I went through my email. Jack had emailed a bunch of things that he either needed my approval on or he just wanted me to be aware of. Like the contract having been let to tear down the old warehouse buildings at the site of our new project. It was a big first step. Now things would begin to move quickly.
I saw the email from Charlene but I wanted to get through some of the business email because I knew that whatever was in hers would upset me. But finally there was no place else to go, so I clicked on it.
For God’s sake talk to me! I’ve got to get out of here before my husband finds me. At least talk to me. I’ve got no money and no way to leave. I know, I really do know, it’s my fault and I’m a horrible person. JUST TALK TO ME!!!!!!!!
I looked across the room at Nick pulling up a pair of swimming trunks. It was a sight that would normally make me very happy, but I barely noticed it.
Nick was looking down at his crotch and said, “What’s the matter? Normally you’d be over here pawing me. Wha…….” He looked over and must have seen the look on my face.
“It’s her?” He sighed. “What the fuck does she want?”
I said, “Didn’t you say you were leaving on Saturday?”
He got an odd look on his face and said, “Yes. I’ve got meetings in Minneapolis on Sunday. I’ve got our guys there working a good part of their Thanksgiving weekend and I gotta be there for some of it. It’s a big deal.”
I nodded my head and said, “I know, maybe I’ll leave early too.”
He studied me for a moment and then said, “But you’re not going home.”
“I have to see what her problem is. I’m not ten anymore and it’s stupid to be running from this. I’m doing it more for me than for her.”
He looked at me and smiled. “Okay, that’s what we’ll tell anyone who asks.” He didn’t believe a word of it.