Sid had done it. He had convinced the IRS agent to forgive the mistake my partner Joel and I had made. He had spent three weeks with the guy, working mornings, golfing with him in the afternoon, and taking him out to dinner.
If the IRS had stuck to their ridiculous position, it would have cost us $10 million. But Sid’s logic and diligence and charm had persuaded one of its bulldogs to do the right thing.
A month later, Sid’s bill crossed my desk. It was for $85,000. “That’s odd,” I thought. “I could have sworn Sid was billing us by the hour.”
Had he done so, the bill would probably not have exceeded $15,000. Still, $85,000 was a small price to pay for the service he had provided. I signed the invoice and sent it on to Joel.
The next day, Joel called me into his office.
“You saw his bill.”
“Yes, I signed it.”
“I saw that. But you know he was supposed to bill us by the hour.”
“Yes, I know. But what he did was worth a lot more than eighty-five grand.”
“Maybe so, but that wasn’t our deal.”
“We have to bring him in and negotiate the amount.”
“But we have to plan this thing. We have to rehearse.”