USC alum returns to speak about white-collar crime


first_imgFew USC graduates picture themselves ending up in prison, but that is exactly what happened to alumnus Justin Paperny, who became involved in unethical business practices and is returning to campus Monday to caution students against making the same mistakes he did.Paperny, a former Trojan baseball player who graduated from USC in 1997 with a degree in psychology, was sent to federal prison in 2008 and served an 18-month term for crimes stemming from unethical business actions committed while working as a junior partner at UBS Wealth Management, a financial management firm in Century City.This problem is not unique to Paperny.Kenneth Merchant, Deloitte & Touche LLP chair in accountancy and professor of accounting, said at least one Leventhal School of Accounting graduate each year experiences problems associated with illegal business decisions.“The worst is felonies, and then they’re getting sanctioned,” Merchant said. “It happens to at least one [former student] a year.”Paperny, however, has decided to use his experience to help warn others.Inspired to turn his life around by a fellow inmate, Paperny started a blog from prison in October 2008. Paperny would write blog entries and mail them to his mother, who would retype them and post them on the Internet. The blog became “Lessons from Prison,” which was published as a book in 2009 and is now required reading for business classes at several universities, including USC.Paperny, who now tours the country to speak to business students, said he had never intended to become involved in illegal activity.“My bad behavior, or unethical behavior, really started slowly. Nobody wakes up and says, ‘Today is the day I’m going to commit a white-collar crime and commit fraud,’” Paperny said. “I had this singular focus toward work and making money. I wasn’t able to discern the sort of person I was turning into.”Paperny said he made his first unethical decision six or seven months into his career, when a senior broker advised him to pad his sales numbers so he could qualify for a $10,000 bonus.“I can’t blame my senior brokers ­— I don’t blame anybody — but my senior brokers were teaching me the practical aspects,” he said. “I didn’t have enough patience or enough discipline at the time to decide there was a better way to do things. I knew it was wrong, but I figured the culture allowed it, so it must be OK.”Arvind Bhambri, associate professor of management and organization at the Marshall School of Business, said, like Paperny, most people who become involved in illegal business dealings have no intention of doing so initially.“People don’t set out to break the law,” Bhambri said. “It starts incrementally. It’s like riding a tiger, and you don’t know how to get off without getting eaten.”Bhambri said it is vital that students who enter the business world have full awareness of what they are doing at all times.“What I’ve found in my conversations [with former students] is that a lot of people will be engaged in unethical behavior, rationalizing it in their own mind, ‘This doesn’t benefit me, it’s for the company, if everyone else is doing it, it must be okay,’” he said. “And that’s a dangerous path. Just because something has been done a particular way before doesn’t make it right.”Bhambri said USC business students discuss ethics in almost every course, and the university also offers a course strictly on ethical behavior.“The debate that has gone on for a long time is whether we should have a separate course for ethics or if we should integrate it in [to all the courses]. We try to do it at both levels,” Bhambri said. “In the MBA program in particular, we try to get some exposure to ethics in the first couple of weeks.”Nathan Lowenthal, a freshman majoring in business administration, is currently taking a philosophy course called the Professions and the Public Interest in American Life (PHIL141), taught by Professor Dallas Willard. Lowenthal said the class is a popular choice among business students.“We talk about situations professionals are put in that require them to make tough ethical decisions,” he said.Paperny said it is possible for students entering the business world to succeed while holding on to their morals, despite an environment that “tacitly approves” of unethical or even illegal practices that would benefit a company’s bottom line.“I’m convinced you can,” he said. “You have got to be prepared to be different and know that it’s okay to say no to people.”Paperny said the ability to make the right decision in tough situations requires daily effort.“When I was a baseball player, I played every day and I got good. It’s no different being ethical. If you cultivate those habits daily and do it and not just talk about it — evaluate whether your words and actions correlate with the kind of person you want to become,” Paperny said. “When you practice doing the right thing, it will be so easy to make the right decision. But if you don’t cultivate those habits, it’s so easy to cross the line.”last_img read more

Handball: BiH cadets in qualifications for European Championship


first_imgBiH women cadet handball team has gathered yesterday in Sarajevo before the qualifications for European Championship which will be held in Poland in mid-August, reports FENA.After three days of trainings, young BiH handball players are going to Slovakia to participate at the tournament of the Seventh Qualification Group which will be held from 22 to 24 March.BiH is in group with Slovakia, Greece and Norway, and the two best teams will qualify to European Championship.First match will be played on 22 March against Greece, day later against Norway and on 24 March against Greece.Manager of BiH team Mersiha Beganović selected 16 players to play at the upcoming matches:Marta Gudelj (Kosača), Matea Šumelj (Ljubuški), Amina Oputar (Goražde), Josipa Bracić (Grude), Mira Jošanović (Knežopoljka), Edina Demić (Lokomotiva), Matea Nosić (Ljubuški), Ivana Krešić (Katarina), Nikolina Čutura (Kosača), Martina Šumelj (Ljubuški), Sumeja Mujkić (Krivaja), Marija Vučić (Kosača), Jelena Boto (Ljubuški), Semira Bukvić (Bosna), Ivana Sikimić (Leotar) and Lucija Pršlja (Katarina).last_img read more

The A’s will stop paying minor league players; will they become free agents? Nope.


first_imgAccording to Baseball America, as of Friday morning, 15 teams have committed to paying their minor-leaguers the standard stipend of $400 per week — on average, that was a raise for Single-A and Double-A players, and a reduction for Triple-A players — at least through the end of June. Some teams, like the Mariners, Padres and Marlins, have already committed to paying their minor-leaguers through the scheduled end of the season. MORE: David Price pledges $1,000 to Dodgers minor-leaguersIt’s not yet known what the other 14 teams will do, but to this point, the A’s are the only team that has decided not to pay its minor league players. How much is that saving the A’s? Just some rough math. Say there are 200 players in a minor league system. Paying each $400/week for July, July and August is $5,200 per player. To pay every minor leaguer would have cost the Oakland A’s a hair over $1 million.Owner John Fisher is worth an estimated $2 billion.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 27, 2020The A’s, as noted by Passan, are owned by John Fisher, who has a reported net worth of $2.1 billion, according to Forbes. He’s the youngest son of Gap founders Doris and Donald Fisher. So when we say it’s a choice, it’s just that. John Fisher’s hand is not being forced. He’s not facing insolvency if he pays his club’s minor-leaguers what they’re owed, or what other teams are paying their minor-league players. He’s just choosing not to pay his minor-leaguers — and others in the organization — anything to save a few bucks while baseball is stopped. Seems like a poor human choice, but it’s not my money and he didn’t ask me how to spend it. The A’s aren’t the only team cutting minor league costs, it also should be noted. This week was a disaster for minor league players, as hundreds of players across the sport were released on Wednesday and Thursday. But here’s a question that immediately came to mind with Oakland’s news: If the A’s are no longer paying their minor-leaguers, shouldn’t those minor-leaguers now be free agents? Logically, that makes sense, and it would be the case for pretty much any other person impacted by the coronavirus. And that’s the case for far too many Americans, as the U.S. unemployment rate hit 14.7 percent in April and is almost certainly higher now. MORE: A’s soil ‘lovable underdog’ image by not paying minor-leaguersI already knew the answer to that question, and I’m sure you do, too. Here’s an email from A’s general manager David Forst to the club’s minor-leaguers. Here is the email David Forst sent to players today: https://t.co/rwHqiAeKla pic.twitter.com/rEZK2RC1eZ— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) May 27, 2020Basically: “We’re not going to pay you, but you’re still prohibited by the terms of your contract from seeking employment elsewhere.”I asked Garrett Broshuis, a former minor league pitcher who is now an attorney with a long history of advocating for the rights of minor-leaguers, for his thoughts on the subject. “No other industry in America operates like this,” Broshuis said. “It’s such an unreasonable expectation, to think that even though I’m not paying you anymore, you can’t go and take your skills that you’ve worked so hard to develop and earn a living somewhere else. It highlights the complete ridiculousness of this contract, which is a contract out of the 1920s still, with the fact that they own your rights for so long, and there’s very little the player can do about it.”The A’s are using Paragraph 23 of the Uniform Player Contract, a section that addresses suspension of a contract. Here’s the standard contract; scroll down to XXIII.So do the A’s minor-leaguers have any real legal recourse?“It would take a Curt Flood-like player to actually challenge it,” Broshuis said. “It would be a variabled action, most likely would take an actual legal action in court, because it’s difficult to see how the commissioner’s office would come out with an alternative interpretation. It would take a very brave player to challenge something like this.”First of all, only a handful of players would even make sense. It would have to be someone who doesn’t figure to be in the mix at the big-league level this year, even with the expanded rosters. But, it also would have to be a minor-leaguer good enough that the A’s wouldn’t want to just cut him to end the hassle (allowing him to be a free agent). And it would have to be someone not concerned how his legal actions would impact how other baseball teams see him. MORE: Explaining the controversial pay cuts owners want players to accept But here’s the biggest thing: It’s probably not worth the effort because the timeline just doesn’t make sense. It seems likely that minor league baseball will resume in 2021, which means we’re really only talking about three months of pay the A’s minor-leaguers are missing (the minor league regular seasons finish at the end of August). The legal process would certainly take much, much longer. Flood’s case started in 1969 — he refused report after an October trade sent him from the Cardinals to Phillies — and wasn’t resolved until the United States Supreme Court ruled in MLB’s favor in June 1972.  So, basically, the A’s ballplayers have no real recourse.  Even though the club isn’t going to pay them, they can’t become free agents and there’s really nothing they can do about it. The MLBPA isn’t primarily concerned with players until they reach the majors, and the MLBPA has other pressing matters to deal with at the moment. Minor league players don’t have their own union, though Broshuis is part of Advocates for Minor Leaguers, a new organization founded to help represent minor league players. Broshuis has long been leading the charge to raise salaries for minor league players, and this is an extension of those efforts. “It just goes to show the root of the issue, which is the lack of representation. Minor-leaguers have never had a union, they’ve never had somebody looking out for their interest” Broshuis said. “This contract has changed very little in the last 100 years. That is the void we’re stepping into. This situation highlights why an organization like ours is so desperately needed, and why we need to grow this organization, and why we need to be out there advocating on behalf of these players. They need it more than ever.” The Oakland A’s have decided not to pay their minor league players for the rest of the season. That’s their choice, first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday.The A’s, along with every other MLB team, initially committed to paying their minor-leaguers $400 per week through the end of May as the sport deals with the impact of the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. last_img read more