Justice Comes To Wine As The Fat Man Goes Down
Real justice, the kind that provides an appropriate response to a dastardly act, feels good. And it makes you believe that civilization is a good thing, despite its occasional tendencies to roll off the rail.
Today, it appears, some justice was meted out. And I'm feeling good.
Back in 2005 a fire destroyed a wine warehouse in Vallejo, California. More than $100 Million in wine was destroyed. At the time one of my clients was the great Saintsbury Vineyards, a California Pinot Noir pioneer and producer of outstanding wines. They lost their entire library of back vintages in the fire. Everything. And they were not alone. Numerous wineries lost not only their library wines but also their current and their about-to-be-released vintages.
It turns out that fire was set by a fat, unattractive man named Mark C. Anderson.
At what must have been the sentencing hearing for Anderson, Ted Hall of Long Meadow Ranch in Napa, who lost two vintages and his library of wines had this to say:
"This was a crime against families: those that owned the businesses and many everyday working men and women who helped us produce these irreplaceable wines. It has taken us years to recover from the fire… We nearly lost a lifetime of work… May his sentence reflect the havoc he wreaked and may it be long to reflect the lasting damage to our lives.”
The fat, pony-tailed Mr. Anderson started the fire in the Vallejo warehouse where he was storing his clients' wines. He began a wine storage business in Sausalito, but eventually moved the wines to the Vallejo warehouse. The tale is quite sordid.
The rotund Mr. Anderson has been in a Sacramento jail since 2009 when he could not pay the $500,000 bail that had been set. It looks like he'll be staying there or in some other accommodation with bars.
The Court sentenced him to 27 years and ordered him to pay $70 million in damages. While it's unlikely that the $70 Million will ever get paid, we can at least rest happy with the knowledge that he will likely spend the remainder of his life behind bars with only a bed, a toilet and a pretty cellmate to keep him company.