FUZZY MATH III
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By Charlie Seraphin
Boys and girls, today’s Fuzzy Math Challenge is complicated so you’ll have to pay attention. We’re going to use Mattel’s Ken and Barbie dolls again to represent two of the principals in this week’s Fuzzy Math Challenge.
As you may remember from last time, Barbie had $40 million in assets from the sale of property and Ken offered to take care of the money for her. (Hint: You may want to make a timeline on a piece of scratch paper.) Ken, you’ll remember, was created by Mattel in 1961. In 2006 he joined a non-profit group that owned the property representing a major portion of Barbie’s assets.
The next year he became president of the group, and the year after that, in 2008, Barbie and Ken began an eight year marriage. As a married couple it’s hard to determine whose assets are being spent, but in this hypothetical problem, Barbie technically owned all the assets that came into the marriage, and Ken was in charge of asset control and distribution. During their eight year marriage, from 2008 to 2016, Ken was very busy. With Barbie’s resources completely under his control, he created two more foundations, one non-profit and one for profit organization (to go along with the one he joined in 2006) and he bought several pieces of real estate including a 253 acre parcel from the Forest Service. Barbie trusted her husband. He promised to be a good and faithful steward of her resources, so she was happy to let him do the wheeling and dealing. He talked about education and bringing a major university to town, and everyone, including Barbie, thought having a local college would be wonderful. When they separated in 2016, Barbie became depressed. She didn’t pay much attention to her affairs until she finally pulled out of the fog a couple years later.
Barbie found a new doll husband named Tom. Tom truly loved Barbie so he set out to help her determine what had become of her assets. Everywhere Tom looked, he saw signs that Ken had been unfaithful, but not wanting to hurt Barbie’s feelings or cause more damage, he was very careful not to make any allegations. He even met with Barbie’s first husband, but unfortunately that meeting only confirmed his suspicions that Barbie’s ex had taken advantage of Barbie’s good will. All of the assets that Barbie rightfully owned were now dispersed among nonprofits under Ken’s control, so Barbie had no input into how or where the money was being spent. Tom asked Ken for a profit and loss statement, but Ken explained that the funds were being held in a private account and were not available for public viewing.
Here’s the Fuzzy Math Question of the week. If they started with 40 million in community funds, and the marriage lasted eight years, how much money still belongs to the community, and how much belongs to Ken? Since Barbie wasn’t paying attention, does that mean she has no claim to any of the remaining funds or the property that Ken purchased with their community resources? Hint: Fuzzy math problems sometimes spill over into legal and moral issues. To find the answer, you may have to look at the financial records mentioned above.
Next time our Fuzzy Math IV Challenge features Barbie and Ken all dressed up and headed to a ball where Ken will ask friends and neighbors to contribute to his foundation.