The founding family members of Adelphia Communications used the cable company as a “personal piggy bank,” driving it to financial collapse with greed, betrayal and lies, a federal prosecutor charged in closing arguments yesterday at their fraud trial.
“They were so greedy, took so much from Adelphia, that when the full extent of the lies and looting were revealed, it bankrupted the company,” Chris Clark, an assistant United States attorney, told jurors in Federal District Court in Manhattan.
Mr. Clark said the Rigas family “lied to people’s faces” while purchasing 17 company cars, building a golf course and buying country club memberships with the company’s money.
The federal prosecutor’s statements came on the first day of closing arguments, which are expected to last about a week, setting the stage for jury deliberations later this month.
During the trial that has lasted three and a half months, prosecutors have said John Rigas and two sons, Timothy and Michael, stole millions of dollars in Adelphia funds to buy stock and pay for personal extravagances. The defendants have said the Adelphia loans were legitimate and were taken out on the recommendation of outside financial advisers. The three chose not to take the witness stand, and their defense essentially amounted to testimony by character witnesses.
One other defendant, Michael Mulcahey, a former assistant treasurer, testified on his own behalf against charges that he was involved in a fraud. Yesterday, Mr. Clark, detailing payments that he said were approved for the Rigases, referred to Mr. Mulcahey as “Michael (O.K. to Pay) Mulcahey.”
Adelphia filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2002 and put itself up for sale in April 2004.