Gary Battenberg sometimes tagged along on Delphi's corporate jet, to Orlando for a car race, to the Indianapolis 500 -- even to New York in 1999 to watch his older brother, then Delphi CEO J.T. Battenberg III, ring the bell on the New York Stock Exchange.
And every time, Gary Battenberg wrote a check to Delphi to cover his expenses. That, he says, was at the insistence of his by-the-book brother, who wanted to avoid improper use of the company plane.
"The whole Battenberg family has always had a reputation of impeccable credibility, for dotting all the i's and crossing the t's," says Gary Battenberg, a 65-year-old Houston stockbroker.
That version of reality will confront jurors in a federal Detroit courtroom this week as they consider civil fraud allegations against J.T. Battenberg: How did an industry titan, once lauded for his integrity and strong corporate governance, find himself accused of artificially inflating earnings at the nation's biggest auto supplier?
"For this to have happened on his watch, it's unthinkable," Gary Battenberg says.