Varied Lives picks up one year from where it last left off.
Yvette is in the executive office organizing files when Joseph walks in.
Yvette: Joe, I'm glad you're here.
Joseph: Whenever you say that, you really need help.
Yvette: This company is headed for trouble if we don't make some cuts.
Joseph: Yep. And unlike the federal government, we can't just pretend to do it.
Yvette: That's why I want to get your perspective. Where are these cuts going to come from?
Joseph: Advertising is one budget that can stand to be cut. As a marketer, I know that makes you cringe, but it's necessary.
Yvette: Putting it down on my list. I have to agree with you.
Joseph: That will save a ton. I also think that cutting research and development some should be on the table. We aren't producing anything new at this time, we are spending heavily on R&D.
Yvette: That one I really agree with.
Joseph: And we'll need to lessen the burden more. I think we've got to go public again, being only privately held is not for us.
Yvette: It was a precautionary after what Lightner pulled.
Joseph: Yeah, I don't think he'll be doing that anymore, he's been trying to be a part of the family now.
Yvette: It's his mother that concerns me.
Joseph: She's sneaky, but I doubt she can maneuver that well anymore, now that the SEC is on her case.
Yvette: I don't know, Mom was very insistent on the company being privately held. Just family holding shares.
Joseph: She put us in charge so she and Dad could go off and work on their relationship. I wouldn't have suggested this unless it was entirely necessary.
Yvette: I've always wanted to be a decision maker and now I've got it, so I should be decisive.
Joseph: We'll be further in the clear if we do this.
Yvette: I'm still a little nervous about going public again.
Joseph: Don't worry, we're sharper now, no one that we don't want having a piece of this company is going to get it.
Yvette looks closer at a balance sheet.
Yvette: That is not good.
Joseph: What is it?
Yvette: These balance sheets show us with less money than we thought.
Joseph: That doesn't make any sense, if we had less money, we would have known before now.
Yvette: This is the latest balance sheet. There must have been an accounting error.
Joseph: If this is right, we are in bigger trouble than we thought.
Cassandra is sitting down to lunch with George.
George: I know you have a reason for asking me here.
Cassandra: Can't I invite my son to lunch without a motive?
George: Ever since I was a kid, you've always taken me to lunch to spring something on me.
Cassandra: You are too paranoid sometimes.
Cassandra: All right, I do have a small business idea.
George: There it is.
Cassandra: You can at least listen.
George: I suppose.
Cassandra: Rumor has it that McGregor is having a ton of financial problems.
George: I'll stop you right there.
Cassandra: You can at least let me finish.
George: I have no desire to hear about another scheme involving McGregor.
Cassandra: I'm only trying to help you make money.
George: No, you want money yourself.
Cassandra: I look out for you first.
George: If you were looking out for me, you'd know I don't want to go down this road. I'm trying to build some connection with my family and have some normalcy for once in my life.
Cassandra: You barely know these people, you don't know if they even want to know you. Your father has been out of the country for months now, not even trying to get to know you.
George: He calls me often and I very much understand that he's got problems to work out in his marriage right now, which is why he's away.
Cassandra: Whatever. From my viewpoint, no one in that family is all that interested in bridging any sort of connection with you.
George: You are trying to manipulate again.
Cassandra: I just don't want you to make a fool of yourself trying to be a part of this family. They are far to arrogant to ever welcome you into the fold.
George: After how they found out me and the things I did to get control of McGregor, they're going to be apprehensive.
Cassandra: Anyway, since you are not that connected, why not take this opportunity to further our company? Acquisitions are still lucrative for us.
George: No, it's off the table. Look, I know the McGregors aren't a big happy family with me yet, but I at least want to try. I have brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews. You know how much I've wanted that.
Cassandra: What about Vance?
George: After all the grief he caused, he's hardly a brother to me. And I didn't think you'd want him as a son.
Cassandra: Just an observation, there is nothing I dislike more than discussing the past.
George: Your dwelling on past events is what got us here.
Cassandra: It's all up to you, if you choose not to take my advice, I will not press it
George: And you won't go behind my back?
Cassandra: This new trust thing is important to me. I feel bad that I lied to you about your father and I won't deceive you again.
George: I just hope that I can believe you.
Cassandra: Well, I wish I had something to occupy my time and it would be the perfect project.
Cassandra: But, you don't want me to do it, so I won't.
Cassandra rolls here eyes in frustration.
Yvette is meeting with the board of McGregor.
Yvette: And that accounting error has put us in even further trouble.
Alden: I don't understand, how did something like that happened?
Yvette: It was a new software the accounting department switched too, apparently some of the number were transposed.
Leonard: If we don't have cash flow, we are out of business.
Yvette: We do have a cash flow, but it's far less than we need to pay back on creditors on schedule. We've signed very strict agreements that if one payment is late, we automatically pay high penalties. They were high risk loans and the payments are high, these banks don't want to get burned.
Evelyn: All right, we can't panic, what assets does the company have that it can use to back up the shortfall?
Yvette: Not enough that can be liquidated quickly enough. We've got to come up with $19 million dollars within the next couple of weeks. Seeing as we aren't that big of a corporation, that's almost impossible.
Leonard: Point is, something like this should never have happened, that accounting department is supposed to be double checking these numbers before they are finalized.
Yvette: I know, but it since the oversight has been made and there is nothing that can be done, we can only move forward.
Leonard: When Anna was running this show, none of this happened.
Yvette: At this time, no one needs to start throwing around blame.
Leonard: It's just an observation.
Yvette: I realize that the transition from my mother's leadership to mine has been difficult for some, but it is how it is and we've got to work together regardless of any qualms.
Evelyn: She's right, being critical of the leadership won't get us anywhere. We need to start thinking long and hard.
Yvette: Thank you, Evelyn. As it stands, Joseph has formulated an emergency plan. Tomorrow we begin the process of liquidation on assets that can offer us immediate cash flow. It will only cover a fraction of the problem, but it's a start.
Leonard: Are we done?
Yvette: This meeting is adjourned.
Leonard leaves, shaking his head. Alden walks over to Yvette.
Alden: I know you were giving us the best case scenario version, which wasn't great itself. How bad is it really?
Yvette: If we default on any of these loans, we are done for.
Alden: Has it made it into press yet?
Yvette: No and I intend to keep it like that.
Alden: Good, because if it leaks, there is no telling what the creditors could do.
Alden leaves. Yvette sits down in a chair and sighs.
Cassandra is reading a business journal on her iPAD, when Sterling Hart approaches her.
Sterling: Lightner, long time, no see.
Cassandra: Hart, long time, no see and would like to keep it like that.
Sterling: You'd think we'd have a friendship bond over almost going to prison for business offenses.
Cassandra: That's not something I'd be ecstatic about.
Sterling: I'm more excited about the fact that I have more than once dodged incarceration.
Cassandra: We share cleverness in common.
Sterling: That's why I want to offer you an opportunity.
Cassandra: The word is no.
Sterling: When you hear my idea, you'll be saying sign me up.
Cassandra: I don't think I will, but hit me with it anyway.
Sterling: Some ambitious woman who thought she could be the next Oprah decided to buy the old WNOV station, but her venture failed pretty badly and left her with some debt.
Cassandra: Go on.
Sterling: She's selling that station now to cover her bills and her asking price isn't bad at all.
Cassandra: You can't afford it, I imagine.
Sterling: I've got some dough, but as you can guess, my cash flow hasn't been strong for a long time now.
Cassandra: What on earth would you do with a television station?
Sterling: I was thinking we could pull together one of those business channels with a stock ticker, business analysis and things like that.
Cassandra: There isn't a market for that.
Sterling: I have an idea that would make ours unique. You like gossip, there was never a time that I didn't see one of those gossip rags around the office years ago and you like to talk. What if you put on a talk show that was all about the business world and the latest in who is going broke, who is broke and is just flat busted.
Cassandra: You may be on to something.
Sterling: These days, controversial is in. There's no one doing a business show like that, you'd be breaking ground.
Cassandra: Maybe a reality show to supplement it.
Sterling: Now you are thinking big.
Cassandra: My sources tell me that McGregor had a huge accounting error, they could default on their loans. It could be our scoop.
Sterling: You got source inside McGregor?
Cassandra: I didn't say my sources were inside, but I have people who can find information and make things happen.
Sterling: Watch out, you don't want the SEC to come knocking again.
Cassandra: Don't worry, my powder is dry. Besides, George has tied my hands, I can't do a thing at the company and I am very bored.
Sterling: Anyway, this could be great for the both of us.
Cassandra: Just when I think I'm finished, you come up with something fantastic and I can get on my feet again.
Sterling: That's my job. Technically it isn't, 'cause I'm not getting paid, but it could be if this pans out.
Cassandra: Before I invest, I'd like to talk with this gentlewoman, see if her offer is actually fair.
Sterling: Sure, we can meet with her tonight.
Cassandra: Great, you set it up and then give me a buzz.
Sterling: You won't regret this.
Cassandra: I hope not.
Sterling: Hart and Lightner, back in action.
Cassandra and Sterling high five. Fade to black.