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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