FORTUNE -- Dr. James Eason, the Memphis surgeon who performed Steve Jobs' liver transplant in 2009 -- and later bought the Memphis house where Jobs convalesced -- allowed Apple (AAPL) outside counsel to pay his taxes and utilities for nearly two years.
That revelation came at the end of Southern Transplant, Marc Perrusquia's front page story Thursday in the Memphis Commercial Advocate.
Perrusquia's piece paints a vivid picture of the life-saving operation, although it takes most of its details about Jobs from Walter Isaacson biography -- starting the article's first paragraph:
"It was nearly 4 a.m. when Steve Jobs' gleaming private jet finally touched down. The lights at Memphis International Airport cast a halo of fluorescent gold around the $40 million, 15-seat Gulfstream as it completed its 1,800-mile journey from California, an overnight Hail Mary across three time zones."
Even the questions Perrusquia raises about the propriety of the procedure have been asked and answered -- by the doctor himself:
I suppose a similar argument could be made if any other person perceived to be of high value to society -- the President, say -- needed a transplant. But that's all the more reason to keep the financial arrangements squeaky clean.
"It's a fair question," Eason said, assuring local commissioners there was 'absolutely not' any deal cut to secure a liver for Jobs.
But according to the Commercial Appeal, Eason didn't tell commissioners everything he knew.
"Eason was going through a divorce and moved into the house two years before buying it," Perrusquia writes.
"And while he was there, from early summer 2009 until he acquired the deed in May 2011, the utilities and property taxes were paid by [George] Riley, Jobs' San Francisco lawyer.
"Records show Riley, who's worked as Apple's outside counsel, wrote personal checks in 2010 and 2011 totaling $23,585 to cover the property taxes. Riley also used his MasterCard to pay Memphis Light, Gas & Water $8,770 for utilities at the home through 14 payments between May 2010 and May 2011 — again as Dr. Eason lived there before buying the house. Eason put the utilities in his name after he purchased the home on May 5, 2011, records show. Eason said he lived in the home only part-time during the first of those two years as he tried to reconcile with his wife .
"'And then, in 2010, sometime in spring of 2010, I moved in there and stayed there until I purchased the house. And live there now,' he said."
Not the most earth-shaking revelation. But at least one bioethicist, New York University's Arthur Caplan, finds the arrangement "troubling."
"It strikes me as a potential conflict of interest," Caplan told Perrusquia. "It strikes me as straining ethical credulity to have him there saying, 'Well, you know, I just lived here. I was just lucky. And this guy just chose to pay my rent.' "
LINK: Southern Transplant: How Steve Jobs got the liver he needed in Memphis (subscription required). Thanks to Financial Alchemist's Turley Muller for spotting it.
Held to 5 pages by Judge Cote, one critic blasted the DOJ with pictures worth 5,000 words.
FORTUNE -- I missed this legal curio when it was filed back in Sept. 2012 by an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case of U.S.A. v. Apple et al. But it caught the eye of both the New York Times' Media Decoder blog and the legal website Above the Law, and MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 7, 2013 12:36 PM ET
Warns that the technology can be used to spy on -- and record -- your private activities.
FORTUNE -- "How would you feel," Google (GOOG) chairman Eric Schmidt asked in the Guardian last April, "if your neighbour went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their back yard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?"
Good question. Especially after Jeff Bezos' announcement on 60 MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 6, 2013 11:43 AM ET
News Corp's Wall Street Journal calls for Judge Denise Cote to be taken off the case.
FORTUNE -- Most of arguments the Wall Street Journal made Friday in a strident editorial calling for the ouster of the judge in the e-book antitrust case were taken from a motion Apple (AAPL) filed last week. (See Apple to judge: You and your antitrust monitor are way out of line.)
But there was also a nugget MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 6, 2013 8:12 AM ET
He cut his buyback demand from $150 billion to $50 billion and gave Apple a year to do it.
FORTUNE -- From the headlines, you would think that Carl Icahn, America's most famous corporate raider, had donned a headdress and gone into his war dance:
Icahn beats Apple buyback drum (again) with new proposal (CNET)
Carl Icahn Rallies Apple Shareholders To Demand Stock Buyback (Cult of Mac)
Carl Icahn ups ante in crusade for Apple buyback (Associated Press)
Cites a single unnamed source "familiar with the situation."
FORTUNE -- Is this the news Apple (AAPL) investors have been waiting so many years to hear?
WSJ: Apple, China Mobile Sign Deal to Offer iPhone
Without an official announcement or independent verification it's hard to say. The fact that it comes from the Wall Street Journal speaks well for the report. The fact that it hangs on a single, unnamed source... not so MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 4, 2013 9:45 PM ET
But who would have guessed that the old iPad Mini would come in second?
FORTUNE -- There are several curious findings in Localytics' attached chart comparing the post-Black Friday/Cyber Monday presence of various devices on its analytics network with their presence the previous week.
That Apple's (AAPL) new iPad Air grew the most (51%) is not terribly surprising. But who would have guessed that...
Gains for the much maligned iPhone 5C (up 26%) would MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 4, 2013 10:38 AM ET
Institutional ownership of Apple stock peaked at 74% in April and has fallen to under 64%.
FORTUNE -- The attached chart comes from UBS's Steven Milunovich, who on Tuesday raised his Apple (AAPL) price target $110 (from $540 to $650) and his rating (from Neutral to Buy) in large part because of the gap between the blue line and the blue shaded area in the attached chart. The gap shows big money from pension MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 4, 2013 7:37 AM ET
Tempers flared and motions flew when Apple balked at $138,432 for two weeks work.
FORTUNE -- My colleague Roger Parloff has posted a fascinating back-channel account of the rapidly deteriorating relations between Apple (AAPL) and Michael Bromwich, its court-appointed e-book antitrust monitor.
The trigger, as it so often is, was money.
"On October 24," Parloff reports, "Apple liaison [Kyle] Andeer angered Bromwich by sending him an email questioning Bromwich's proposed $1,100 hourly fee and MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 3, 2013 12:23 PM ET
A subsidiary's reservation website briefly went live Monday night, came back Wednesday.
FORTUNE -- The attached screen grab comes from a website registered by a subsidiary of China Mobile Limited (CHL) in Suzhou, a city of 5 million just west of Shanghai.
The site went live late Monday local time, and began reserving appointments for customers interested in buying the iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C.
UPDATE: A China Mobile spokesman told CNN's Beijing MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 2, 2013 11:26 PM ET
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