Judge Tyler Stanford had first seen' the story on Chicago's station WBBM. He had stared at the television set, mesmerized, his heart pounding. There was a picture of the yacht Blue Skies, and a news commen- tator was saying, in a storm, in Corsican waters, when the tragedy occurred. Dmitri Kaminsky, Harry Stanford's bodyguard, was a witness to the accident, but was unable to save his employer. Harry Stanford was known in financial circles as one of the shrewdest ... Tyler sat there, watching the shifting images, remembering, remembering ... It was the loud voices that had awakened him in the middle of the night. He was fourteen years old. He had listened to the angry voices for a few minutes, then crept down the upstairs hall to the staircase.
In the foyer below, his mother and father were having a fight. His mother was screaming, and he watched his father slap her across the face. 63 "It', The picture on the television set shifted. There was a scene of Harry Stanford in the Oval Office of the White House, shaking hands with President Ronald Reagan. ' of the cornerstones of the president's new financial task force, Harry Stanford has been an important adviser to.. They were playing football in back of the house, and his brother, Woody, threw the ball toward the house. Tyler chased it, and as he picked it up he heard his father, on the other side of the hedge..'I'm in love with you. You know thatv He stopped, thrilled that his mother and father were not fighting, and then he heard the voice of their governess, Rosemary. ''re married. I want you to leave me alone.' And he suddenly felt sick to his stomach. He loved his mother and he loved Rosemary. His father was a terrifying stranger. The picture on the screen flashed to a series of shots of Harry Stanford posing with Margaret Thatcher ... President Mitterrand ... Mikhail Gorbachev ... The announcer was saying, ' legendary tycoon was equally at home with factory workers and world leaders.' He was passing the door to his father's office when he heard Rosemary's voice. ''m leaving.' And then his 64 father's voice, ' won't let you leave. You've got to be reasonable, Rosemary! This is the only way that you and I can ' won't listen to you. And I'm keeping the baby!' Then Rosemary had disappeared.
The scene on the television set shifted again. There were old clips of the Stanford family in front of a church, watching a coffinbeing lifted into a hearse. The commentator was saying,'... Harry Stanford and the children beside the coffin ... Mrs. Stanford's suicide was attributed to her faili pig health. According to police investigators, Harry Stanford ...' In the middle of the night, he had been shaken awake by his father. ' up, son. I have some bad news for you., The fourteen-year-old boy began to tremble. ' mother had an accident, Tyler.' It was a lie. His father had killed her. She had committed suicide because of his father and his affair with Rosemary. The newspapers had been filled with the story. It was a scandal that rocked Boston, and the tabloids took full advantage of it. There was no way'to keep the news from the Stanford children. Th? ir classmates made their lives hell. In just twenty-folir hours, the three young children had lost the two people they loved most. And it was their father who was to blame. 65 ' don't care if he is our father.' Kendall sobbed. ' hate him.", too!' "Me, too!' They through -ht about running away, but they had nowhere to go. They decided to rebel. Tyler was delegated to talk to him. ' want a different father. We don't want you.' Harry Stanford had looked at him and said, coldly, ' think we can arrange that.' Three weeks later, they were all shipped off to different boarding schools. As the years went by, the children saw very little of their father. They read about him in newspapers, or watched him on television, escorting beautiful women or chatting with celebrities, but the only time they were with him was on what he called '' - photo opportunities at Christmas time or other holidays - to show what a devoted father he was.
After that, the children were sent back to their different schools and camps until the next ''. Tyler sat hypnotized by what he was watching. On the television screen was a montage of factories in different parts of the world, with pictures of his father. '... one of the largest privately held conglomerates in the world. Harry Stanford, who created it, was a legend ... The question in the minds of Wall Street experts is, What is going to happen to the family-owned company 66 now that its founder is gone? Harry Stanford left three children, but it is not known who will inherit the multibillion-dollar fortune that Stanford left behind, or who will control the corporation He was six years old. He loved roaming around the large house, exploring all the exciting rooms. The only place that was off-limits to him was his father's office. Tyler was aware that important meetings went on in there. Impressive-looking men dressed in dark suits were constantly coming and going, meeting with his father. The fact that the office was off-limits to Tyler made it irresistible. One day when his father was away, Tyler decided to go into the office. The huge room was overpowering, awesome. Tyler stood there, looking at the large desk and at the huge leather chair that his father sat in. One day Im going to sit in that chair, and I'm going to be important like Father. He moved over to the desk and examined it. There were dozens of official-looking papers on it. He moved around to the back of the desk and sat in his father's chair. It felt wonderful. I'm important now, too! '91hat the hell are you doing? Tyler looked up, startled. His father stood in the' doorway, furious. ' told you you could sit behind that desk?' The young boy was trembling. ' ... I just wanted to see what it was like." 67 His father stormed over to him. ', you'll never know what it's like! Never! Now get the hell out of here and stay outv Tyler ran upstairs, sobbing, and his mother came to his room. She put her arms around him. ''t cry, darling. It's going to be. all right."'s ... it's not going to be all right,' he sobbed. ' ... he hates me!".
He doesn't hate you." I did was to sit in his chair."'s his chair, darling. He doesn't want anyone to sit in it.' He could not stop crying. She held him close and said, ', when your father and I were married, he said he wanted me to be part of his company. He gave me one share of stock. It was kind of a family joke. I'm going to give you that share. I'll put it in a trust for you. So now you're part of the company, too. All rightt There were one hundred shares of stock in Stanford Enterprises, and Tyler was now a proud owner of one share. When Harry Stanford heard what his wife had done, he scoffed, ' the hell do you think he's going to do with that one share? Take over the company?' Tyler switched off the television set and sat there, adjusting to the news. He felt a deep sense of satisfaction. Traditionally, sons wanted to be successful to 68 please their fathers. Tyler Stanford had longed to be a success so he could destroy his father. As a child, he had a recurring dream that his father was charged with murdering his mother, and Tyler was the one who would pass sentence. I sentence you to die in the electric chair! Sometimes the dream would vary, and Tyler would sentence his father to be hanged or poisoned or shot. The dreams became almost real. The military school he was sent to was in Mississippi, and it was four years of pure hell. Tyler hated the discipline and the rigid life-style. In his first year at school, he seriously contemplated committing suicide, and the only thing that stopped him was the determination not to give his father that satisfaction. He killed my mother. He's not going to kill me. It seemed to Tyler that his instructors were particularly hard on him, and he was sure his father was responsible. Tyler refused to let the school break him. Although he was forced to go home on holidays, his visits with his father grew more and more unpi_(@sant. His brother and sister were also home for holidays, but there was no sense of kinship. Their father had destroyed that. They were strangers to one another, waiting for the holidays to be over so they could escape. Tyler knew that his father was a multi billionaire but the small allowance that Tyler, Woody, and Kendall had came frqm their mother's estate. As he grew older, 69 Tyler wondered whether he was entitled to the family fortune. He was sure he and his siblings were being cheated. I need an attorney. That, of course, was out of the question, but his next thought was, rm going to become an attorney. When Tyler's father heard about his son's plans, he said, ', you're going to become a lawyer, huh? I suppose you think I'll give you a job with Stanford Enterprises. Well, forget it. I wouldn't let you within a mile of id' When Tyler was graduated from law school he could have practised in Boston, and because of the family name he would have been welcomed on the boards of dozens of companies, but he preferred to get far away from his father. He decided to set up a law practice in Chicago. In the beginning, it was difficult. He r&fused to trade on his family name, and clients were scarce. Chicago politics were run by the Machine, and Tyler very quickly learned that it would be advantageous for a young lawyer to become involved with the powerful central Cook County Lawyers Association. He was given a job with the district attorney's office. He had a keen mind and was a quick study, and it was not long before he became invaluable to them. He prosecuted felons accused of every conceivable crime, and his record of convictions was phenomenal. He rose rapidly through the ranks, and finally the 70 day came when he* received his reward. He was appointed Cook County circuit court judge. He had thought his father finally would be proud of him. He was wrong. '? A circuit court judge? For God's sake, I wouldn't let you judge a baking contest!' Judge Tyler Stanford was a short, slightly overweight man with sharp, calculating eyes and a hard mouth. He had none of his father's charisma or attractiveness. His outstanding feature was a deep, sonorous voice, perfect for pronouncing sentence. Tyler Stanford was a private man who kept his thoughts to himself. He was forty years old, but he looked much older than his years. He prided himself on having no sense of humor. Life was too grim for levity. His only hobby was chess, arth once a week he played at a local club, where he invariably won. Tyler Stanford was a brilliant jurist, held in high esteem by his fellow judges, who often came to him for advice. Very few people were aware that he was one of the Stanfords.
He never mentioned his father's name. The judge's chambers were in the large Cook County Criminal Court Building at Twenty-sixth and California streets, a fourteen-storey stone edifice with steps leading up to the front entrance. It was in a dangerous neighborhood, and a notice outside stated: BY JUDICIAL 71 ORDER, ALL PERSONS ENTERING THIS BUILDING S14ALL SUBMIT TO SEARCH. This was where Tyler spent his days, hearing cases involving robbery, burglary, rape, shootings, drugs and murders.
Ruthless in his decisions, he became known as the Hanging Judge. All day long he listened to defendants pleading poverty, child abuse, broken homes, and a hundred other excuses. He accepted none of them. A crime was a crime and had to be punished. And in the back of his mind, always, was his father. Tyler Stanford's fellow judges knew very little about his personal life.. They knew that he had had a bitter marriage and was now divorced, and that he lived alone in a small three-bedroom Georgian house on Kimbark Avenue in Hyde Park. The area was surrounded by beautiful old homes, because the great fire of 1871 that razed Chicago had whimsically spared the Hyde Park district. He made no friends in the neighborhood, and his neighbors knew nothing about him. He had a housekeeper who came in three times a week, but Tyler did the shopping himself. He was a methodical man with a fixed routine. On Saturdays, he went to Harper Court, a small shopping mall near his home, or to Mr. G's Fine Foods or Medici's on Fifty-seventh Street. From time to time, at official gatherings, Tyler would meet the wives of his fellow jurists.
They sensed that 72 he was lonely, and they offered to introduce him to women friends or invite him to dinner. He always declined. ''m busy that evening.' His evenings seemed to be full, but they had no idea what he was doing with them. ' isn't interested in anything but the law,' one of the judges explained to his wife. ' he's just not interested in meeting any women yet. I heard he had a terrible marriage.' He was right. After his divorce, Tyler had. sworn to himself that her would never become emotionally involved again. And then he had met Lee, and everything had suddenly changed. Lee was beautiful, sensitive and caring - the one Tyler wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Tyler loved Lee, but why should Lee love him? A successful model, Lee had dozens of admirers, most of them wealthy. And Lee liked expensive things. Tyler had felt that his cause was hopeless. There was no way to compete with others for Lee's affection. But overnight, with the death of his father, everything could change. He could become wealthy beyond his wildest dreams. He could give Lee the world. Tyler walked into the chambers of the chief judge. ', I'm afraid I have to go to Boston for a few 73 days. Family affairs. I wonder if you would have someone, take over my caseload for me." course. I'll arrange it,' the chief judge said. ' you.' That afternoon, Judge Tyler Stanford was on his way to Boston. On the plane, he thought again about his father's words on that terrible day: I know your dirty little secret.