Coulda Been a Contender

Scrounging for cash in the strangest places, the creators of the karate-themed Adventures With Kanga Roddy children's TV series infuriate investors

Ronnie Lott, who has given his famous name and his finances to American Champion, realizes things don't look good. "I'll be the first to say we have a long way to go," he says. "There have been questions and concerns, of course. But I think George and Anthony are addressing those concerns and taking the appropriate steps."

Understandably, Lott boils the situation down to a football analogy: "The game is probably in the first quarter, and we're continuing to block and tackle. We're not going for long bombs yet; just a couple first downs. We're showing we can improve."

Former business partner Berryessa, who got out when he could, selling the bulk of his shares before losing his life's investment, says Chung and Chan will continue trying no matter how bleak or ridiculous the circumstances might get.

"You're seeing two men with a dream taking it as far as they can," he says. "But some people just don't know when to say quit."

Back in the office, the blinds are still closed as Chan makes preparations for a trip to Virginia, where he hopes to strike a new deal -- though he says he hasn't given up on acquiring a cable company in China. "Once we get their audited financials, which I believe will be next week, and it is reviewed by the SEC, then people will know this is damn real," he claims. But he wants to cover his bets, so he's booked a flight to Virginia, where someone is supposed to be able to get him into the business of producing infomercials. As his fingers quickly tap on his desktop calculator, he is consoled by the hypothetical totals that appear.

"If we can cause these acquisitions to take place by the end of the year, then the company's finances will look much more healthy and the stock price should act accordingly," he says, still punching in an endless procession of meaningless numbers.

"If all goes well."

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