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ON THE QT

Everything You Always Suspected--
If You Weren't Such A Trusting Soul.

Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
Publisher and Editor

WELCOME

to On The QT #20. Home of the hits. The last two issues of QT were a double album. Time for some swinging singles. Some new, some old. Climbing with a bullet:

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST.

The crowded club of northeast politicians facing corruption charges got a new member in January when Paterson, New Jersey Mayor Martin G. Barnes received a 40 count indictment from the Feds. The focus is on his supposed shake downs of city contractors and his use of campaign funds to finance his main extra marital squeeze, as well as some ladies he only squeezed once or twice. Mayor Barnes, a Republican, is also charged with that old standard, defrauding the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Mayor of a city with severe poverty problems, Barnes allegedly took kick back trips to the Kentucky Derby, Rio De Janeiro and a castle in England. He also had a city contractor build a waterfall in his backyard swimming pool. Paterson is known for spectacular Paterson Falls, which once powered industry. Mayor Barnes' waterfall seems to have powered delusions of grandeur.

SPLISH SPLASH!

But the waterway which really swamped Barnes was Paterson's sewer system. United Gunite Construction Incorporated of Irvington, New Jersey had the contract to "do" the city's sewers. No bid practices and high ball costs led the Feds and a New Jersey paper, The Record, to Barnes' door. In a play now familiar in northeast cities, the Feds squeezed United Gunite execs who flipped and gave up Barnes. Another contractor wore a wire and supposedly taped Barnes sharing how-to tips about lying to the FBI. Not only is the domino pressure tactic becoming a theme in these cases, so is sewage. Guess some guys just love that

DIRTY WATER.

For a real bucket of bilge check "The Secret Life of Phil Giordano", published by a Connecticut newspaper the Republican- American. "Secret Life" is a Hellzapoppin look at Republican Phil Giordano, ex-mayor of Waterbury, Connecticut. Giordano, while the target of another northeast federal corruption probe, was allegedly caught in something far worse. Namely, molesting two little girls. Enough said. QT has. But more can be said about the citizens of Waterbury who, according to The Republican American, heard ultra sordid rumors about Caligula Phil for years. Yet elected him three times. The voters of Waterbury were adept at "looking between their fingers". Mayor Phil was doing such a good job bringing pride back to Waterbury. Being best buds with high rollers. Such as Joe Pontoriero, president of Worth Construction. Mayor Phil lobbied hard to have Worth put in charge of the city's downtown revitalization. Despite Pontoriero's history of mob ties and the fact that Worth Construction was concurrently the target of an organized crime investigation in New Jersey and had been banned from doing biz with the New York City School Department. Worth didn't get the revitalization job but did get the bid to upgrade Waterbury's sewage treatment plant. "Follow the money" is oft invoked. How about "follow the sewage"?

BABY DID A BAD BAD THING

Time to check back on Kevin Ingram. The subject of QT #13. An ex Goldman Sachs mortgage broker who also once headed Deutsches Bank's global asset securitization department in London and who was an occasional resident of Jersey City, New Jersey. Ingram was busted by the Feds last Summer in Florida in a money laundering sting. The money was intended to buy heavy duty weapons for terrorists connected to an "unknown foreign government" believed to be Pakistan. With Al Qaeda as possible end users. Ingram pled guilty and blamed his cohorts, Diajaa Muhnson and Muhhammed "Mike" Malek, saying it was a one time mistake and he had no idea what the dollars were buying. Kevin Ingram got 18 months in a white collar B&B. Perhaps past associations with folks like ex-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Democrat Senator Jon Corzine of New Jersey gave his claims weight and made him seem a human Enron-- too big to fail. The Taliban Butthead (or is he Beavis?) John Walker Lindh's closest brush with the mighty was his collection of rapper Old Dirty Bastard's greatest hits. Look for Butthead to spend life in prison.

WHERE ARE MY DOGS: THE ILLEST TURNED ILLER

Speaking of rap, messages supposedly exchanged last Fall by Kevin Ingram and "Mike" Malek show up on a rap related Internet bulletin board run by a Hip Hop consortium called the Rumdogs Crew. In between teenage girl paeans to munchkin gangsta Lil' Bow Wow, Kev and Mike exchange strangely supportive hellos. Some from prison. A board like this wouldn't be a bad place for clandestine communications but it seems unlikely they'd log on using their real names. Unless they didn't realize bulletin boards were indexed by search engines. Other aspects of the site give the exchanges a touch of credibility. Expensive cars (particularly Porsches) are a preoccupation; a passion Ingram shared. The site flirts with criminality and Ingram was drawn to worlds other than Wall Street. A successful black man in a very white milieu, Ingram seemed to have felt a need to keep one foot in street life. He moved in many circles including entertainment, his financial services to provide. And accounts of the sting that netted Ingram and Malek revealed them as reckless and vain.

I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE

An emailer raised the issue of stories the Albany area news media misses. One that immediately occurs relates to drug trade in New York's Capital region of Albany, Schenectady and Troy. The three closely linked cities are a regional drug distribution center. A veritable army of dealers have migrated from New York City. Local media regularly mentions these facts and covers arrests of low and mid level dealers. If someone is shot or killed, more in depth accounts appear. Though there have been exceptions, such coverage tends to be heavy on human interest and short on context. Distraught, long time residents of besieged neighborhoods are quoted saying things like "We've got to take back our streets". But neighborhoods suffering from entrenched drug trade will never be taken back unless the facts of the trade are understood. With drugs go organized crime. The sophisticated kind capable of organizing consistent, reliable supply lines, assuring points of sale and funneling drug profits back into the economy via laundering. It's highly unlikely that cities that act as a gregional distribution center would be solely the turf of free lance dealers or even migrating gang members. If it were, they would be unlike other cities with similar problems. National gangs like the Crips and the Bloods (active in the Capital Region) work in tandem with other criminal organizations. Investigative reporting is needed on just whose hands are busy in the local drug trade. Time to ask how and where local drug profits are being dispersed and why migrating drug dealers repeatedly head for certain neighborhoods and certain properties. Are they sitting in New York City with maps and pins saying "eanie meanie chili beanie"? Or has big time organized drug crime, with its various attendant support systems, dug itself into the Capital Region economy? If so, what can be done to root it out?

GRAPEVINE II

Other emailers provided more details about the period when Hoboken, New Jersey was called "Arson City". In relation to this, QT reiterates that long before a wave of later arrivals took up certain reform cudgels in Hudson County there were many dedicated and effective reformers who fought valiantly, for long years, in mighty hostile circumstances. In a milieu where their concerns often seemed those of inexplicable space aliens.

WATCHING THE DETECTIVES

To paraphrase Lieutenant Columbo, one little thing keeps bothering a correspondent from the Pine Hills section of Albany-- a guillotine like hunk of broken glass hanging in a boarded up, street level window of a deserted store on the corner of Ontario and Yates. Roughly ten feet away from a "Children at Play" sign. Checked it out. Said emailer is correct. In fact, QT Central used to be just blocks from the corner in question: the mega shard has hung there for over a year. But hey, it hasn't sliced off any fingers yet...

COMING SOON!

7 Rooms Of Gloom: A HUD Fraud Roundup/He Took A Hundred Pounds Of Clay: Crumbling Developments From Hell/I'm Not That Innocent: Corruption Busts Continue/Devil or Angel? The Neighborhood Association Effectiveness Checklist/Plus, The Little Things That Make You Go Grrrrr: Broken Windows, Garbage, Noise, etc. If all else fails, email it. QT will verify and if it copies, print it.

REFERENCED MATERIAL

The Record: One of New Jersey's best newspapers at communicating what citizens have a right to know. Obvious investigative strength resulting in detailed, clear accounts of regional political malfeasance. The Mayor Barnes story is only one example among many.

The Republican American: The Secret Life Of Phil Giordano (Google cache) An amazing account of a Babbitt gone round the bend, well researched (check those escort service phone records) and crisply written by Darlene McCormack and Suzan Bibisi.

QT #16: Mayor Phil Giordano, in the context of other northeast corruption investigations.

QT #13: All Kevin Ingram, pretty much all issue

Rumdogs Crew: Rap fan bulletin board. Part of a larger site. Biggie Smalls is God and Lil Bow Wow is running for Son. Kevin Ingram & Mike Malek (or someone using their names?) show up as unholy spirits.

"big shouts out to...my partner in crime-no pun intended-
mike malek."
Kevin Ingram, Friday, Sept 07, 2001 at 00:21:45 (EDT)

"i love youlilbowow"
Jackie <school> Thursday May 24, 20001 at 11:47:59 (EDT)

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Crumpling HUD bux blowing in the wind.
updated 2/10/2002