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Disconnected

Jim Edwards quickly built a long-distance-dialing empire. But he couldn't keep the distress calls on hold. Then the line went dead.

All that makes his April 14 court date in Washington, D.C., seem like small potatoes. On January 12 Edwards was arrested at Dulles International Airport for carrying a gun in his briefcase. He says he forgot it was there.

Lawsuits from disgruntled minority shareholders or ex-employees -- who are owed a total of almost $1 million -- may be around the corner. "There's definitely a fiduciary duty between the board of directors [Edwards, Driscoll and, before he left, Evans] and the shareholders," says assistant county attorney Rock Owens, who invested a modest $2,000. "It makes one question whether that fiduciary duty was fully adhered to. I just started wondering, where the hell did the money go?"

That question may be left to investigators and the courts, but Edwards avows that his account is empty. That seems a stretch, given that he admits to more than $2 million in salary and bonuses over a four-year period (and others peg that figure much higher), but he sticks by his story. "I put everything I had back in the company, trying to save it," he says. "It ended up not being a very smart decision."

Overall, though, Edwards thinks he did a good job running BCI and that he would make a prize catch for another telecommunications company. "I believe I made good judgment calls all the way through based on what I knew at the time," he says.

"I still think I'd make one hell of a

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