Howard Root Wows Lunch Forum Crowd

Today a crowd of nearly 400 at the Hilton Hotel in Minneapolis listened attentively as Howard Root, the former CEO of Vascular Solutions, Inc., recounted his five-year ordeal at the hands of the Department of Justice. In 2011, the Department of Justice began frivolous criminal proceedings against Vascular Solutions and Root. The legal battle went on for five years, in part because DOJ refused any reasonable effort to settle, saying they “needed a body,” that is, a corporate executive to go to jail.

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51vZxtXp+-L._AC_US218_Howard Root’s presentation featured an extensive Power Point with many quotes from legal documents. The story was riveting. Only on account of jurors who took their oath seriously, who listened attentively and were committed to justice, did Root avoid jail and Vascular Solutions avoid destruction–in a case which never should have been brought in the first place.

Root expressed his disappointment in officials who he thought might have been able to take a look at the prosecution and see whether they agreed that it was without merit–Senator Amy Klobuchar, a former law firm colleague of Root, in particular.

Ultimately, nothing could stop the arrogant and cynical Department of Justice except a jury. Vascular Solutions spent $25 million to vindicate itself and its CEO, something that very few companies could possibly contemplate.

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In the end, Root argues, the only solution is a better culture at the Department of Justice, one that emphasizes fairness and justice over scalp-collecting and return on financial investment. The old leadership of DOJ–Sally Yates featured prominently in this regard–was hopeless. But perhaps with Jeff Sessions at the helm, the Department of Justice, which has fallen into disrepute, can be rehabilitated.

Howard tells his story in Cardiac Arrest: Five Heart-Stopping Years as a CEO On the Feds’ Hit-List. Cardiac Arrest is riveting, as you might expect. What you might not expect is that it is also funny. An engaging, entertaining and sometimes infuriating book, we highly recommend it. After the lunch, having received a standing ovation from the crowd, Root signed dozens of books for those who attended the event.