MCCORMICK LAURIE
James A. Finley  /  AP file
According to American Express, Savvis CEO Robert McCormick, shown here in a file photo, rang up charges of $241,000 in a single visit to a strip club while entertaining a small group of business acquaintances.
msnbc.com
updated 10/28/2005 11:30:33 AM ET 2005-10-28T15:30:33
COMMENTARY

It's fairly common knowledge that strip clubs are in the business of separating patrons from their money in the most efficient manner possible. (Guys, don't pretend you didn't know this.) But $241,000? Now that's entertainment!

Or at least that's what American Express is saying in its lawsuit against Savvis Communications Corp. CEO Robert McCormick and his company, after he refused to pay most of a huge tab allegedly run up on his corporate charge card during an outing with a number of business associates at the Manhattan adult nightclub Scores in October 2003.

At first, Savvis defended its apparently randy chief exec, saying he was a victim of fraud, as McCormick claimed he spent only about $20,000 to enjoy the company of women in various stages of undress. (Only twenty grand? That's showing fiscal responsibilty.)

But upon further review, the St. Louis-based technology firm decided the Scores affair was enough to strip McCormick of his responsibilities until a probe reaches completion.

Savvis officials were quick to reveal that McCormick never submitted an expense report for the Scores bill, thus allaying shareholders' fears that company earnings would be exposed to extraordinary items.

“We will not allow these internal matters to affect our ability to deliver superior services for our customers and continued improvements in financial performance for our shareholders,” said acting CEO Jack M. Finlayson, although he didn't elaborate in his statement whether "internal matters" referred to Savvis' investigation or what may or may not have occurred in what Scores calls its "super elite Presidents' Club." Frankly, we're glad he didn't.

Not-so-bad ideas

  • Anheuser-Busch ended its popular drinking game promotion , Bud Pong, due to underage players using — gasp! — beer instead of the intended water. You mean to tell us that an industry that uses marketing tools such as bikini-clad women, talking animals and humor otherwise found in a grade school boy's room wouldn't understand such a potential problem? Maybe it's time to cut off the marketing department.
  • Anheuser-Busch also deserves recognition for a radio ad, part of Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius" campaign, that ridiculed discount airlines for the "minimal experience" of their pilots and the supposed short shrift they give to safety issues. AirTran Airways says it may stop serving Anheuser-Busch beer on its flights in protest, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Far be it from us to bet against Starbucks. Our hat is off to any company that can convince Americans that a $4 for a cup of coffee is not only an "affordable luxury" but a daily requirement. But does the world really need Starbucks Cream Liqueur , which Starbucks and Jim Beam Brands have announced they intend to bring to market? It is not enough that Starbucks tempts us with its cushy leather chairs and its high-fat, high-calorie, high-sugar concoctions. (Think Vanilla Creme Frappuccino.) Now they will offer all that plus alcohol. Naturally Starbucks has no plans to offer booze in any of its nearly 10,000 cafes around the world. But if you need that extra kick in your coffee, you no doubt will figure out where to find it.

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