So, here’s what I wonder.
Maximillian Katzman, who was the manager of Alan Couture, testified that Paul Manafort spent almost a million dollars in his store over five years, and paid by wire transfer from overseas accounts. Right?
That GQ story I linked to says that Alan Couture had around three million dollars in sales, annually, toward the end of that period. That seems to indicate that Mr. Manafort was responsible, personally, for more than 5% of the revenue for the whole business. Right? That seems unusual from my point of view, but at that level a couturier is probably more comparable to an art dealer or a brothelmaster than any tailor I’m used to. Friend-of-Tohu-Bohu Tom Mahon of English Cut probably has had years where one family contributed 5% of his revenue, but it was a hell of a family. And presumably they weren’t paying from overseas accounts.
See, I was wondering—it was probably obvious to Mr. Katzman that Mr. Manafort was a crook. Right? I mean, right? OK, maybe it wasn’t, or maybe when you sell high-end suits in Manhattan you just assume that all the rich people are crooks, I dunno. But if, hypothetically, you were in a business where 5% of your sales (or, alternately, 5% of your supplies) depended on someone that was clearly a crook, how would you go about making a business plan?
When you sit down to estimate your potential sales for the next few years, do you just assume that your Paul Manafort won’t get convicted? Do you just hope that he keeps walking around looking for ways to bring rubles into the country? What if he succumbs to some Putin Special Sauce—do you figure there will always be some other rich dope who will drop a couple of hundred thousand on vicuna? Or do you estimate your receivables based on the understanding that this crook is hanging by a thread, and the shears of justice are inevitably closing?
It just makes me wonder, you know? I’m not worried about Mr. Katzman, who is probably either doing just fine or worried about being prosecuted for money-laundering, depending at least in part on whether he was in fact money-laundering. And I’m never going to be making a business plan myself—it’s possible that the institution that employs me will lose 5% of its expected income unexpectedly, but I’m not involved in estimating that income and never will be. But it seems like an interesting problem, you know… after the first two or three years, I’d be awfully tempted to just ride along on the assumption that the money would keep rolling in.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,