A fantasy ending for Atlas Shrugged... Enjoy!
CHICAGO & LOS ANGELES (IP News Service) - In an early morning raid on its Chicago headquarters, 18 members of the senior leadership of Rearden Steel were taken into custody by Federal officials charged with a wide range of criminal activity including failure to pay Federal corporate income taxes, failure to pay employee payroll taxes, numerous insider trading violations, wire fraud, 297 OSHA violations at their South Chicago steel mill and repeated failure to comply with rulings of the NLRB. Specifically, Rearden executives conspired to block worker's attempts to organize at the South Chicago plant, spied on workers in their homes and illegally wiretapped union leadership.
It's rumored that the Rearden Steel leadership will be indicted under the Federal RICO statute as well. Those indictments are expected to be unsealed later next week.
District Attorneys across the nation are lining up to bring charges against Rearden executives on a number of class A felonies.
Carmen Solidad, US Attorney for Northern Illinois said, "The states will just have to wait their turn. These Federal charges are significant and wide ranging and will likely result in lengthy prison terms if these folks are convicted, which they will be. The evidence is overwhelming."
Details are still pending, but sources inside the Illinois Attorney General's office hint at charges up to and including murder for CEO Hank Rearden for the deaths of 22 workers in the South Chicago mill. The workers died when a cauldron overturned and doused them with molten steel killing them instantly. Rearden executives had been warned repeated about safety issues at the mill and chose to ignore the warnings claiming that they interfered with freedom. Whether or not the state elects to turn this evidence over to Federal authorities as part of a comprehensive civil rights case has yet to be determined.
Work at the Rearden Steel mill continued uninterrupted this morning as mill workers showed up for the day shift. No disruption is expected according to plant managers and labor leaders. Shop foreman Nicholas Twomey was confident that work at the mill would continue as before. His confidence was echoed by plant manager Miguel Torres.
"Without the tyrannical hand of Hank Rearden meddling at every level of the business, workers can finally focus on their jobs and not worry about Hank giving his 'input' at every step of the process. His constant meddling at all levels of the organization, from telling marketing how to market to telling the janitor how to sweep, made it impossible to get things done. Everyone here at the mill is just glad he and that bunch of crooks are gone."
Additionally, federal terrorism charges were brought against Rearden consultant John Galt for the partial destruction of the Indiana town where Galt's factory was located. Galt is charged in the deaths of 144 people, the injury of 372 others and the destruction of nearly 1,000 homes which caught fire after Galt set his factory ablaze. Galt is still at large.
Officials speculate that Galt may have fled the country. It is rumored that he suffers from a rare liver cancer and may be seeking treatment in the United Kingdom. Since the elimination of all government support of healthcare in the United States, no physicians remain who will treat this type of cancer. The United Kingdom has become the premier center of medical research and treatment, especially for difficult and aggressive cancers. Authorities in the UK have been alerted to Galt's condition and are on the lookout for him.
As two Federal Marshalls led him to a waiting car, Hank Rearden, President and CEO of Rearden Steel, said, "I swear by my life and my love of it I will not live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine!" The US Attorney for Northern Illinois, Carmen Solidad who accompanied law enforcement on the dawn raid responded, "Whatever, Mr. Rearden. Whatever. You have the right to remain silent. Please avail yourself of that right."
In Los Angeles, a similar raid on the the headquarters of Taggart Transcontinental was less successful. The executives of the troubled transportation conglomerate fled to Brazil the night before the raid, apparently tipped off. Extradition is expected to be difficult as Taggart and 9 other executives escaped with approximately $45 million in negotiable bearer bonds, enough to buy their way out of extradition. Taggart executives face a similar suite of charges as those brought against Rearden executives. Taggart Transcontinental has a long history of poor safety, both for workers and passengers.
In 2002, a Taggart Transcontinental express train collided with a schoolbus that had stalled at an intersection in Waukesha, Wisconsin killing 38 elementary school students. It was later determined that mandatory maintenance on the braking system was not performed. Dagney Taggart, CEO of Taggert Transcontinental and a longtime advocate of tort reform, refused to even meet with the families of the children saying "Public schools should be abolished. If those children were properly home schooled, this wouldn't have happened." The case is still in litigation.
Business records not shredded and computers not sabotaged by the fleeing executives were seized from the headquarters building on Sunset Boulevard. Federal officials will be searching for additional evidence of wrongdoing at other Taggart offices across the nation.
Despite the absence of executive leadership, the transportation system run by Taggart Transcontinental continued to operate normally as workers showed up for their shifts at depots across the country. When asked whether or not the absence of the executives would impact the company, Joe Smith, an engineer on the Golden Crescent line in Stockton, said
"They never did much when they were here, just hung around the office talking and going to expensive parties in Malibu and Beverly Hills. Now that they're gone, we can really clean things up around here. Dagney isn't here to block us from spending a few dollars on safety equipment and important inspections. Not all the way from her hidey-hole in Brazil, anyway. I always knew she'd end up running away from this place. She was always such a coward."
Transportation Worker's Union Local 3382 President Ong Nguyen believes the abandonment of the company by the executive staff presents a unique opportunity for workers to make significant improvements in the company operations which were widely viewed as top-heavy and inefficient.
"With the recovery of those obscene executive salaries Taggert and her cronies were stealing from the company, Taggert Transcontinental can really fly now. Workers and shareholders are united in their expression of 'Good Riddance to Bad Garbage.' Taggert and her crew will not be missed!"
Officials expected to locate funds raided from the Taggert Transcontinental Pension Plan within the week and return those funds to the employees. The plan, which has struggled in recent years under poor management by Taggert executives is expected to return to a fully-funded status within the year.
Nobody from the Taggart Transcontinental leadership team was available for comment.
Balph Eubank and Gwen Ives contributed to this story.
© 2011 The Independent Press News Service