ON THE QT
Everything You Always Suspected--
Carola Von Hoffmannstahl-Solomonoff
If You Weren't Such A Trusting Soul.
Publisher and Editor
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.
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
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
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?
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...
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.
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
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-
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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