TORONTO – Conrad Black hosed down shower stalls and earned the respect of “Mafia people” during his time in prison and is currently worth about $80 million, the disgraced media baron reveals in a forthcoming interview in Vanity Fair magazine.
And while he says he’s “humbler” now than he was before his world began to unravel, he’s not embarrassed by his experience in jail and wants his Canadian media critics to know they were wrong to predict he’d be unable to handle being behind bars.
“I quickly developed alliances with the Mafia people, then the Cubans,” Black said in a wide-ranging interview that will appear in the magazine’s October edition. A segment of the interview is featured on Vanity Fair’s website.
“I was friendly with the ‘good ol’ boys’ and the African-Americans. They all understood I had fought the system, and I do believe I earned their respect for that.”
Black and his wife Barbara Amiel spoke to the magazine for a tell-all article that’s meant to coincide with his court-ordered return to prison on Sept. 6. He was freed last year pending an appeal, but was ordered back behind bars.
Prison has been little more than “a temporary vocation,” Black said.
“The myth, in all the Canadian papers, was that I would not hold up in prison, that I would be physically and sexually abused ….I realized, well, it would be a little tedious, but it wouldn’t be difficult to endure.”
The Canadian-born Black also blamed media baron Rupert Murdoch for starting the rumour that led to his downfall.
“The myth is that the price war put so much pressure on our profits that I was forced to steal money to maintain my opulent lifestyle,” Black told the magazine’s Bryan Burrough.
“It was Rupert, you know. He originated that one. He certainly parroted it. Rupert always says reasonably
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