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dossier 11: Spring Fling -- Suits, Boots & Arabesques
Cleaning out closets in Spring is a ritual that welcomes the new and weeds out the old. Bringing forth bathing suits while ditching the salt stained boots. Deciding the fate of the grotesque whatchamacallits received at Christmas. The following are suits, boots and arabesques from the QT closet. Some are destined for the dump. Others move forward as things hot up.

Take That To The Bunco

In early April, the Amico mortgage fraud case in Rochester, New York, wrapped up with the jury delivering a whopper of a guilty verdict to Robert J. Amico and Richard N. Amico. The Amicos, using a thesaurus of company names, ran a complex, multi million dollar, cross New York State & country wide mortgage flipping scam on McMansions they built in suburbs surrounding Rochester. The defense implied that various realtors, mortgage brokers, lenders, appraisers and straw buyers knew the score and hence, their complicity equaled innocence for the Amicos. The jury disagreed. The case involved months of testimony and boxes of documents. The jury did a remarkable job-- confirming that citizens plus information can equal positive results. Guilty verdicts in white collar cases have been rolling in. Could Enronitis be producing antibodies?

Das Dirty Boot, Recht

In Springfield, Massachusetts, in late March, the federal corruption probe of the administration of Mayor Mike Albano(who has announced he won't run for another term) has lifted a rock on what looks like muck ala Phil Giordano. Which may end up being served with Mayor Mike's Red Sauce. Mayor Mike's best bud Gerry Philips, chairman of the Springfield Police Commission and executive director of the Massachusetts Career Development Institute was arrested in March for allegedly threatening a federal witness. The witness is a 19 year old woman, an ex- employee of the Institute. The 50 something Philips is accused of making sex a mandatory part of career development. Supposedly, a number of female employees and students received similar training. But the witness in question received additional instruction: Phillips allegedly advised her she would "never be seen again" if she appeared before a grand jury. Agencies being investigated in Springfield include the Housing Authority, the Springfield Community Development Office and the Greater Springfield Entrepreneurial Fund. Investigators include the FBI and Justice Department, the IRS and the Departments of Commerce, Education, and of Housing and Urban Development. Though lots of public money has been spent on revitalizing Springfield's bar district and buying ultra pricey screws for mob linked cronies, the city is still going broke. And the red sauce thing? Some say Gerry Philips, if squeezed just right, might go juicy on Mayor Mike. In his hey hey day Mayor Mike not only commanded the admiration of Erica Kane, but marketed Mayor Mike's Pasta Sauce. Inspired by the saucy success of ex-mayor "Buddy" Cianci of Providence, Rhode Island. "Buddy" due to a little RICO conviction, now resides in federal facilities at Fort Dix, New Jersey, where he no doubt whips up a mean batch for the whole cell block. When he isn't using a wooden chair. Or a fire place log. Like the one he bludgeoned his wife's boyfriend with back in the Big 80's. Before being re-elected.

Das Dirty Boot, Links

From Connecticut, came an email about a deep qt 10 comment that the citizens of Waterbury bore some responsibility for X Mayor Phil Giordano, since they elected him 3 times. The emailer said an area newspaper, the Republican-American, repeatedly endorsed Phil for mayor, as well as in his stumbling run for U.S. Senate. Wasn't the newspaper also accountable? A good point. Newspapers are privy to more information than the general public and those at local papers tend to know where local bodies are buried. Giordano's bone yard was bursting at the seams. That being said, after Giordano was indicted, the Republican-American laid out his graft seeking, hooker hunting, child molesting activities far more thoroughly than most of the area's media.

In an email exchange with a friend from Jersey the question arose whether Monomaniacal Corruptoids with Bad Habits (MCBH) have become a more common political phenomena. I tend to think so. Certainly political corruption isn't new, nor is its evil twin, monster ego. And plenty of pols have slunk around in low places. But the combo platter of Boss Tweed Wannabe & Babbitt Caligula seems to be found on many more Main Streets. Of course, MCBH may just be more visible. Slinking around isn't in style. A sage once said "Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue" but today's MCBH don't pay no stinkin' homage to nuthin'. They've got their self esteem to consider. Without it, they might get depressed, go bipolar and act like crack mommies in custom suits; leaving their cities' neighborhoods in squalor, or selling them to sleazeballs for a pair of shoes or a bottle of wine. Oh. Wait. They do do that..

Buy the Sea, Buy the Sea!

In early April, in the seaside town of Asbury Park, New Jersey, United States attorney Christopher J. Christie premiered his new Spring fashion line. It's pretty much like his Summer, Fall and Winter ones. His fashion vision? Shackles are a MUST with white collars. Christie's new models, ex-mayor Kenneth E, Saunders of Asbury Park and "local political operative" Rayfield James Jr. paraded on the perp walk in front of their homes and in Federal District Court in Newark. Rayfield James Jr. may have been too sexy for the judge, who ordered the pol op to undergo drug testing and treatment. James and Saunders allegedly took part in a development related bribe plot involving a large bloc of Asbury Park's City Council. Promises were spun like cotton candy, with Rayfield James saying they'd all be millionaires if they approved a massive, near billion dollar redevelopment. Some council members would get cash in hand, some an interest in the project. To each according to their dreams. Monmouth County is one in a cornucopia of New Jersey counties swept by corruption charges over the last few years. Most relating to "pay for play" public contracts and development deals. U.S. Attorney Christie has been involved in a number of the busts, which is one reason why PoliticsNJ.com named him 2002's "Politician of the Year". You know how it is: clicks dig the shackles. A last word on Asbury. A former city councilman, indicted last Fall on bribery and extortion charges in the same redevelopment case is named James Condos. How Dickens is that?

Move to the Front of The Closet:

The federal investigation into the administration of Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland. Rowland & the Republican Governors' Organization. The Enron donations. Conn contractors with contracts in other states. Shock re Rowland plus awe at municipal corruption = reform? Public contract scams: when good consulting fees mask bad graft. Juries more savvy about white collar crime. Mortgage & housing fraud. Topic has legs legs legs! Profit & "non" profit. Eating good in the neighborhood. Flipping. Derivatives. Shoddy building practices. HUD bucked home reno scams. Sheet rock! Mold! Asbestos! Abatement fraud trial. Digital camera man. Prison vans. New York State Democratic Assembly members who don't take trains. Halfway houses of sin? Votes on demand? G-L-O-R-I-A-- GLORIA! IMPORTANT: Thank Renee in Albany for pointing out "World's Largest Pimp & Ho Party" held on April 4th at North Pearl Street bar in the city's revitalized downtown. Must write U.S. Mayor's Conference and suggest that next year, annual get together be held simultaneously in same space.

Last But Never Least

A new reader who originally hails from Haiti asks why QT focuses on the "other America" and smaller cities. Answer: Because there is no other America. And smaller cities are the most beautiful girls in the whole USA. Even if they have been turned out.

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant."
Louis Brandeis, Other People's Money, 1913

"Laughter is the best medicine."
Anonymous, Dawn of Time

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Copyright (c) 2003 by Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff. This material may be freely distributed subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Open Publication License. This license relieves the author of any liability or implication of warranty, grants others permission to use the Content in whole or in part, and insures that the original author will be properly credited when Content is used. It also grants others permission to modify and redistribute the Content if they clearly mark what changes have been made, when they were made, and who made them. Finally, the license insures that if someone else bases a work on this Content, that the resultant work will be made available under the Open Publication License as well.

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