Bill Bartmann's trial becomes a case of 'show and tell'

Monday, October 6th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Testimony in Bill Bartmann’s trial focused Monday on what kind of leader he was. Was the CFS founder a micro-manager who knew every detail of the company? Or did he "delegate" and rely heavily on others?

News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg says Bartmann is accused of setting up a shell company called DiMat, to buy CFS debt and make it "look" like CFS was doing better than it was. But the prosecution has to show he even had the "ability" to do such a thing.

It was show and tell in federal court Monday, as the defense had its turn doing the bulk of the questioning. They unfurled an employee flow chart for CFS that was 20-feet long, while the box on the chart for the employees handling the accounts for DiMat, the alleged shell company, was only the size of a postage stamp.

Defense attorney Pat Ryan asked the former CFS collections director Charles Welsh on the stand. "Would it surprise you if Mr. Bartmann didn't know the names of all his employees?" Welsh said "No." And Ryan asked, "Would it be fair to say he did not micro-manage your employees?" Welsh said, "Yes."

The defense said during its opening arguments last week that in 1998, CFS was so large and complex, there was no way Bartmann could have kept track of everything and everybody. Monday, they also showed an e-mail from Bartmann to Gertrude Brady, a high-ranking exec at CFS. Among other things, he asks "Gertrude, show me the numbers from these two securities" and "What have we collected this month?" and ends by saying "Help" with three exclamation marks.

During testimony, Welsh agreed that Bartmann often consulted with Gertrude Brady and relied on her advice, that she was Bartmann's right-hand person.

The defense also had CFS charts showing that the "authority" for a lot of the company's decision-making was with other executives, not Bartmann. Testimony continues Tuesday.