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"Speak no evil of the dead," is advice that many newspapers follow in a non-paid obituary. However, many of the credible daily papers, such as the New York Times, strive to do balanced reports on the life of a person who has died. (Note that in many publications today, Margaret Thatcher is getting anything but a panegyric.) Charles "Red" Scott was a well-known San Diego businessman/financier whose life was celebrated in a recent U-T obituary.

Scott had many excellent qualities that were justifiably lauded in the obit. But objectivity demanded that some facts be put in the story. The obit notes that Scott headed the conglomerate Intermark. But it does not point out that Intermark and a companion company, choking with excessive debt, went bankrupt in 1992. Similarly, the article mentions that Scott gained control of Atlanta's Fuqua Industries, renaming it Actava Group. The story could have mentioned that Actava's losses ballooned under Scott, the stock plunged, and the founder of the company blamed Scott for the debacle.

Indeed, the obit quoted San Diegans lauding Scott for his cheerfulness and optimism. One said that Scott "always saw the glass half full, never half empty." Unfortunately, Scott's unhesitating optimism was his business weakness. Scott would only hire people who were optimistic. But he may have been more successful if he had hired some people who saw the glass as half empty, and weren't afraid to tell that to Scott -- before the companies he ran plunged into bankruptcy or near-bankruptcy.

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Comments

Visduh April 15, 2013 @ 4:42 p.m.

Another of his missteps was buying Liquor Barn out of bankruptcy and handing it over to a couple clowns to run. That happened about 1990, and LB was out of business and all the money lost by the late 90's. Optimism is great, but it needs a dose of realism and intellectual honesty.

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Don Bauder April 15, 2013 @ 5:19 p.m.

Visduh: Yes, Liquor Barn was one of the losers. Red Scott was a very good inspirational speaker, a glib conversationalist, a writer of motivational words of wisdom, a man of insatiable energy. But he needed someone to rein him in. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell April 15, 2013 @ 7:26 p.m.

Red Scott was a very good inspirational speaker, a glib conversationalist, a writer of motivational words of wisdom, a man of insatiable energy. Don Bauder

It sounds as though Scott was a bullsheet artist of the first order.

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Don Bauder April 15, 2013 @ 7:48 p.m.

Burwell: Stockholders in Intermark and Fuqua Industries (Actava Group) described him in such words. And such words describe some of the brokers at Roberts, Scott. Norman Roberts founded the brokerage firm and Roberts came in and took a slight majority interest. Roberts, one of San Diego's great businessmen, financiers, and civic leaders, had no use for Scott. Roberts left in disgust; the firm didn't last. Best, Don Bauder

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