BAD BUSINESS: The OPM Scandal and the Seduction of the Establishment by Robert P. Gandossy

BAD BUSINESS: The OPM Scandal and the Seduction of the Establishment

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Another account of OPM Leasing's rise and fall; despite constant and earnest commentary designed to put the multimillion-dollar swindle into cautionary perspective, this version does not measure up to a June entry, Other People's Money (p. 410). Gandossy (a management consultant) covers much the same ground, recounting the peculations of the two improbable entrepreneurs (Myron S. Goodman and Mordecai Weissman) who founded OPM in 1970. In suspiciously short order, the firm became a power in the emergent computer-leasing trade with a roster of top-drawer clients (American Express, AT&T, Rockwell International et al.), and financial sponsorship from the blue-chip likes of Chase Manhattan, Goldman Sachs, and Lehman Brothers. As it happens, the two proprietors (both Orthodox Jews) engaged in less-than-kosher business practices that ranged from forgery of customer acceptance documents and commercial bribery through double dipping, i.e., borrowing on single pieces of EDP equipment from more than one source. Over a 10-year span, the frauds cost lessees, lenders, and others who should have known better close to $300 million; following exposure of the seam, six OPM plotters, including the two errant principals, wound up with stiff prison sentences. Gandossy focuses on the complicity--willing or otherwise--of attorneys, auditors, corporate employees, investment bankers, and lenders, which permitted the conspiracy to survive if not precisely thrive. He also addresses some of the major moral issues raised by the scandal, albeit without reaching any conclusion more significant than that responsible members of the business and financial communities should signal their unwillingness to tolerate unethical conduct. A second-rate effort--substantively as well as comparatively.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1985
Publisher: Basic Books