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ON THE QT

Everything You Always Suspected--
Plus Some Slips Twixt the Cup & the Lip.

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
Publisher and Editor

WELCOME

to On The QT #16. Election day has come and gone. The Day of The Turkey looms. Stuff that bird, bake those pies and give thanks for the things that really matter. But when carving the gobbler don't forget the greedy. Be sure and lift a glass to the many Northeast politicos now facing corruption charges. Best to lump them together: a toast for each would send one

REELING.

In the lovely Rhode Island city of Providence (named for a deity other than Graft) Republican Mayor "Buddy" Cianci bravely slogs on, dragging his 31 Operation Plunderdome corruption indictments behind him. While in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts, Democratic Mayor Michael Albano perceives himself a victim of FBI persecution as a mob related gambling probe widens into a public corruption investigation of city administered federal loan programs. Like the business improvement grants with which Albano buddies were blessed. One such lucky entrepreneur is convicted felon Adolfo Bruno, named by the Feds as #2 man in Springfield's Genovese pyramid. Amongst Bruno's business improvement costs were two boxes of screws-- costing $160. Mayor Albano incidentally, is chummy with Rhode Island's "Buddy" Cianci and like Cianci, markets his very own

RED SAUCE.

A product hopefully more wholesome than the hard drugs plaguing Vermont. Many of which reportedly come across the state border from Springfield. But back to the gobblers. In Waterbury, Connecticut, Republican Mayor Phil Giordano, a recent candidate for United States senator (defeated by Joe Lieberman) now sits in a federal jail after being charged in September with raping two African American girls aged 9 and 10. Who he bought from their drug addict mother. Giordano, along with the Waterbury city government, is also the subject of a massive Federal corruption probe. When news of the rape investigation broke, Waterbury's board of Aldermen refused to impeach Giordano. Some say they feared Phil would spill. Giordano now collects half wages and full benefits from jail. A second mayor does the governing. The local NAACP is none too thrilled.

LIQUID LIQUID

In Bridgeport, Connecticut (the state's largest city) Mayor Joseph Ganim, a Democratic hopeful for governor, was indicted in early November for federal bribery, extortion, mail fraud and racketeering. "Investment quality wine" was one item Ganim supposedly received in return for his favors. Such as the 1997 awarding of a $91 million dollar waste water treatment contract to Worth Construction, whose president was being investigated in New Jersey for alleged mob ties. Also under scrutiny is a plan to extend the city's sewer lines to the nabe containing Mayor Ganim's new home. ( Wine, be it investment quality or jug, makes the kidneys work overtime.) Mayor Ganim says folks close to him used their relationship for gain. Some of those folks, including Worth Construction, made campaign contributions to Phil Giordano over in Waterbury. Whatever. Ganim claims he hasn't taken

"ONE DIME".

Oceans of dimes were showered on psychiatrist Oscar Sandoval, a county vendor for Hudson County, New Jersey. Sandoval stands revealed as the county vendor who helped snare Hudson County Executive and Democratic National Committee member (now resigned) Robert Janiszewski for the FBI. The shrink's company earned $1.65 million from Hudson County annually, servicing two jails and a psychiatric hospital. Last November, Sandoval reportedly starred in a video shot in an Atlantic City hotel room. One that also featured Janiszewski receiving a payoff from Sandoval. Once the feds got "Bobby J." on tape, he in turn was wired. For a little under a year Robert Janiszewski walked, talked and taped in Hudson County while the Feds pulled the strings.

HOWDY DOODY TIME

Hudson County, directly across the river from Manhattan, has been a bubbling cauldron of development since the 80's and is oft referred to as the "Gold Coast" The FBI seems very interested in federal grants and loans given developers. Such as Section 108 loans from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These are reduced rate loans intended for economic development or redevelopment projects. Both housing and commercial. Also of interest are projects funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Particularly those involving "ISTEA" grants. The acronym stands for the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 and is pronounced like the beverage. Congress dispenses ISTEA money and can designate some specific uses. Development can require infrastructure changes: ISTEA grants often figure into the mix.

THE BARRY BUNCH

One of the people Janiszewski taped was politically powerful Gold Coast developer Joe Barry. A once upon a time Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) member, Barry built a real estate empire on subsidized, Section 8 housing in Hoboken; thereby becoming Hoboken's largest landlord and housing provider to an army of dependent voters. Barry also bought a chain of local newspapers and turned them into a cookie cutter series of real estate touts, stressing high rent realtor listings rather than than those of small landlords. Eventually Barry built luxury developments up and down an increasingly valuable coast, using the kinds of tax breaks and HUD loans meant to revitalize blighted urban areas. Robert Janiszewski had a condo in one such development. Over the years, Barry and his family were political donors to both parties. Including campaign contributions to then Jersey City mayor, Republican Bret Schundler. But the lion's share went to Democrats. Last March alone, Barry donated $7000 dollars to Congressman Robert Menendez, D-N.J. Last June, a Barry company bestowed $26,666 on the National Democratic Party. Barry recently received a Section 108 loan for 6.7 million dollars. ISTEA has also flowed his way.

BOOK EM DANO!

Some say a pattern is emerging of Northeast cities being targeted by the FBI. Yet another pattern is of a political class with an ethos of bi-partisan grifting and translocal cronyism. The post 9/11 rush to trust government should give one pause. Those described above-- and there are other examples-- include a significant number of political leaders functioning in the same rough time frame. And they aren't clerks, but major figures; mayors of cities important to their states, potential governors and senators, movers and shakers on the national scene. Certain themes crop up again and again. Drug trade and organized crime. A handful of players. The ever popular favors for fealty, plus massive misuse and theft of public funds intended for urban revitalization.

COOKIE JAR BLUES

The post 9/11 economy means belt tightening. Hard hit urban areas will be feeling the pinch. Residents of urban neighborhoods will have to fight to maintain basic services. And for any available dollars. The big bucks have already been taken...

FIVE KITTENS

From the big to the seemingly small: the story of stray cat Midnight's kittens, born in Sing Sing prison and cared for by an inmate serving time for armed robbery. One day last Spring, state correction officer Ronald Hunlock found the kittens (and Midnight) in a cardboard box in inmate John William's cell. Many stray cats make Sing Sing home but pets are not allowed. Hunlock could have put the box outdoors. Unkind, but not inhuman. Instead he ordered Williams to put Midnight and her kittens into the trash compactor. Williams refused. So Hunlock did it. But the sound of the compactor scared Midnight: she broke out of the box and ran away. The kittens were too small to follow. Hunlock crushed them. "You could hear them squeaking and little meows" Though angry and upset, Williams might not have reported the incident. Given his situation. But a witness was at a window above the courtyard where the trash compactor stood. Hunlock is now on trial in White Plains on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony punishable by two years in state prison. Midnight is being cared for by the American Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She was brought into court and Williams identified her by her split ear.

"THOU ART THE MAN!"

One can imagine Midnight pointing her paw. Hunlock would break down (ala Perry Mason by way of Dostoesky) and sob his remorse. Fat chance. His defense attorney claims Hunlock feared the kittens were diseased and in order to protect the general cat population dumped them in the trash compactor. Ronald Hunlock killed 5 kittens. But his actions reflect more than a

TOUCH OF EVIL.

Like his attempt to force a person over whom he had power to destroy something they loved. And John Wiliams? Armed robberies are cruel. But in this instance, his choice to refuse Hunlock's command reflects something very different.

IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS,

an animal rights group is asking people to contact Judge Peter M. Leavett by mail or fax, and ask him to impose the maximum sentence on Ronald Hunlock. Please keep messages brief and courteous.

The Honorable Peter M. Leavett
Westchester County Courthouse
111 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
White Plains, NY 10601
fax: (914) 995-4518

NEXT QT

will skip an issue, appearing on December 16th. Surprises are in store. Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Give thanks not everyone in this world is Ronald Hunlock, or Phil Giordano, or...

CLICK HERE TO REVIEW SOURCES FOR ON THE QT #16

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Crumpling HUD bux blowing in the wind.
updated 11/18/2001