PRETTY RECKLESS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL
THE WELL DRESSED MAN PART SIX: FORGED IDENTITIES /
THE FALL OF LUCIFER / CLOWN CAR
At the beginning of the new century, Roger Stone had whatever metaphor you want – a lot of fires burning, chainsaws in the air, hands in people’s pockets. He had his casino investments, his involvement with the BIA, and, having left BMS&K in the mid-90s, he was with a new lobby shop, Ikon Public Affairs. It cast a far smaller shadow than BMS&K, and it was even more difficult to find any material on the place, but a few things could be picked out. That Ikon was paid $1.8 million by Miami-Dade County to defeat a state proposal that might have eroded county autonomy gets mention in several of the stories dealing with Mary McCarty, the Committee to Take Back Our Judiciary, and Stone’s connections with the two. Ikon Public Affairs would also get mention in “The great American pork barrel: Washington streamlines the means of corruption” by Ken Silverstein, on the ways in which a legislative bill is manipulated, tweaked, and stuffed with earmarks in the service of industry. Among the moments of lobbying finesse described, Night Vision wins a $1.25 million earmark through the efforts of Ikon Public Affairs. Arlen Specter, along with Rick Santorum, announce that Night Vision had won the defense contract. “These projects, key to our nation’s defense, will be invaluable in our continuing war against terror,” says Specter. Night Vision paid Ikon $60 000 for its services. Ikon would donate a little over $13 000 to the Specter campaign. William Grube, Night Vision’s then president, gave $8000 to Specter. Craig Snyder, another founding member of Ikon, was Specter’s former chief of staff. In 1996, before he joined Dole’s campaign and was fired after his involvement in a sex scandal, Stone had headed up Arlen Specter’s short-lived presidential campaign. Ikon would contribute $9000 to Santorum’s campaign. Ikon partner Kevin Roy had served six years on Rick Santorum’s staff115.
In 2004, there were two incidents involving Arlen Specter’s campaign which felt eerily similar to those long ago Nixon dirty tricks. Specter was facing a hard fight in the Republican primary against a more conservative challenger, Pat Toomey. Snyder assembled a PAC called Pennsylvanians for Honest Politics, which put together a radio ad that attacked Toomey for failing, during an interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews, to call for criminal sanctions against a woman who gets an abortion. “Somebody who claims to be on our side had the opportunity to say abortion is murder,” screeched the ad. “Instead of showing the nation real pro-life leadership, Toomey shrunk like a frightened turtle.” Specter would pull off a narrow win, doing far better in conservative counties than expected. Then, in the general state election, yard signs began appearing that declared “Kerry & Specter: for Working Families.” Pennsylvania is a majority Democrat state, Specter was a Republican (though a moderate one, who would, in his last term in office switch party affiliation), and Kerry had not endorsed Specter. The signs were set up by a group called the Philadelphia Education Project. A number of the people involved in the Philadelphia Education Project – a New York consultant named Steve Pigeon, a lawyer named Paul Rolf Jensen who would also work on a Barack Obama birth certificate lawsuit – were Stone associates. Stone would be described as a former partner in Ikon, though Snyder would say that he and Stone hadn’t worked together in three years. Specter’s campaign manager would deny knowing about either effort116.
The most interesting piece of reading related to Ikon isn’t journalism, but a lawsuit. It was Mattie Lolavar versus Fernando de Santibanes (Lolavar v. de Santibanes), along with Roger Stone, other Ikon associates, and another infamous consultant, Dick Morris. According to the suit, Lolavar and her own firm, Triumph Communications, were brought in to work with Ikon on two contracts. The first involved Argentine President Fernando de la Rua’s visit to the United States in June 2000. The second was a year long contract to improve the image of Fernando de Santibañes, the Secretary of Intelligence of Argentina. The following is an excerpt from the suit alleging the nature of the contract work, and what would cause the rupture between Lolavar and Ikon:
Pursuant to this second contract, Miss Lolavar went to Argentina in August 2000 to assist de Santibañes with preparations for his testimony in Argentine congressional hearings inquiring into allegations that he and the Argentine intelligence agency, known as SIDE, were responsible for bribing various Argentine senators in exchange for political support.
Morris and Stone assigned other tasks to Miss Lolavar while she was in Argentina. Among other acts, they instructed her to contact SIDE and obtain a list of journalists who accepted bribes from that organization in order to harm the credibility of those same journalists in reporting on a bribery scandal surrounding de Santibañes and President de la Rua, as well as requiring her to spread false information to the press concerning de la Rua’s political opponent, Dr. Carlos Menem.
A request that occasioned controversy between Miss Lolavar and the defendants was Morris and Stone’s request that she serve as an intermediary in an anonymous wire transfer of funds to an official in Israel. These funds were to be paid to secure intelligence files from the Israeli government to assist de la Rua’s political domestic disputes with Menem, and to imply a corrupt relationship between Menem and George W. Bush, who was then running against Albert Gore for the United States presidency. These files were to be altered by Miss Lolavar to appear to be SIDE documents.
When the defendants became concerned that this plot would be discovered and traced back to them, they ordered Miss Lolavar to orchestrate a press response to blame Vice President Gore for the dissemination of the documents, since it was known to them that the Gore campaign had been attempting to connect Menem with the Bush campaign.
When Miss Lolavar refused to cooperate with these demands, the defendants undertook a series of reprisals. First, they refused to pay her fees under the contract until she executed the wire transfers. Additionally, they made a number of false defamatory statements concerning her, including that she was anti-Semitic, that her efforts to disclose these transactions were the result of a political bribe by Menem’s Peronist Party, and that she forged the correspondence that was evidence of the defendants’ wrongdoing.
The suit would be dismissed on grounds of jurisdiction – that Santibanes had insufficient contacts in Virginia to subject him to a lawsuit filed in Virginia. Judgement would be upheld on appeal. In an affidavit, Santibanes would deny ever having met Lolavar except on a single social occasion117.
Lolavar was herself one of the fascinating shadow characters of politics. There she is, in a MarketWatch story, “Chavez ouster bodes well for oil: Venezuela exports likely to rise as strike ends” by Carolyn Pritchard, on the overthrow of Hugo Chavez by the country’s military, as a “president of international business communications and strategies firm Triumph Communications Group and former consultant to the government of Argentina.” Says Lolavar: “Politically, this was bound to happen. I think Chavez was losing ground not only internationally but within his own constituency.” Her statements are the usual empty pro-free market easy reading quotes that you expect from this kind of business story. “This is going to refocus the verticalization of trade toward Latin America, especially in oil and energy,” she says. And: “Knowing the situation in Middle East and looking at Iraq,” she says. “I think the U.S. will do everything possible to help Venezuela, if need be.” How could they do this? Well, by helping Venezuela privatize its oil companies118. More interesting was the editorial in the Washington Times from June 30, 2007, “A new strategy for Iran”. “A new strategy is needed to effectuate regime change in Iran,” it began:
Success is plausible through one of two means: Either hope for an internal rupture fueled by economic hardship; or, encourage an indigenous revolt with a covert promise of military support. Skeptics of regime change in Iran based on the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan are wrong. In contrast to the latter, Iran’s history, culture, and constitutional experience provide fertile soil for a regime change in 2007.
The editorial was not under the name of Mattie Lolavar, but Mattie Fein. The editorial credited Mattie Fein as founder and president of the Institute for Persian Studies. “New Iran Regime-Change Think Tank Opens in DC” by Spencer Ackerman had an interview with Mattie Lolavar, but now she was Mahtaub Hojjati, a well-connected government and business consultant trying out for the role of revolutionary provocateur. The Institute for Persian Studies only had a humble web site, but its goals weren’t humble at all. They wished to shape the government of Iran after regime change. Hojjati wanted to put forth a constitution, a blueprint, to have people say “this is the plan”, and the plan would be Lolavar’s, I mean, Hojjati’s:
“We have to be able to have people say, ‘this is the plan.’ They don’t know what happens in Iran after the regime falls,” Hojjati says. That’s where the IPS comes in. Over the next few months, Hojjati intends to unveil a constitution promising democracy and the total separation of Islam from the public sphere, so that Iranians will have a blueprint for what comes after the mullahs. “It’s going to fill a void,” she says. “Right now, no one’s saying anything further than ‘regime change.'” It’s a deliberate response to the compounded mistakes of Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which suffered from uncertainty over what political structure followed the destruction of the Saddam and Taliban regimes.
The Institute for Persian Studies would soon disappear. Hojjati would run, as Mattie Fein, against Jane Harman. She would lose badly. Her campaign ad would place great emphasis on Harman’s supposed appeasement of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The ad, a take-off on Young Frankenstein with Harman as Frau Blucher, ends with Harman declaring Ahmadinejad her boyfriend119.
Mahtaub “Mattie” Hojjati was sometimes well-connected government and business consultant Mattie Fein because of her marriage to well-connected GOP lobbyist Bruce Fein, another fascinating obscurity of D.C. Easily the best overview of his career is “Libertarian Bum Fights” by Mark Ames. Bruce Fein was someone who took unrelenting hard-right positions in foreign and domestic policy for nearly thirty years. Fein fought for Bob Jones University to get taxpayer subsidies despite its segregationist policies. He was opposed to affirmative action. He was opposed to the Americans with Disabilities Act. He was in favor of mandatory drug testing and against Miranda rights. He felt national security easily trumped free speech; he attacked journalists who refused to name their sources as part of the Valerie Plame investigation. When Time reporter Marc Cooper and NBC’s Tim Russert were subpoenaed as part of the Plame investigation, they refused to name sources on the grouds that that was a violation of a free press. That defense, wrote Bruce Fein, relied on the idea “that confidential sources are indispensable to investigative journalism. But the assertion is dubious,” according to his Washington Times editorial “Losing sight of free press aims”, “and in any event should bow in a narrow category of cases where the sources themselves are government officials implicated in national security crimes.” The editorial in the New York Times, “A Tight Plug on Intelligence Leaks” was written during the 1987 Iran-contra scandal, when the executive sold arms to Iran to fund a weapons buy for the Nicaragua contras, a secret sale to avoid congressional oversight and legislation which forbid the U.S. arming the contras. The editorial did not argue for more congressional oversight, but less: “a lean, muscular Joint Congressional Intelligence Committee” to replace “the separate and cumbersome House and Senate intelligence committees to oversee the intelligence community.” The problem was not executive overreach, but congressional leaks. “By sharply curtailing the likelihood of leaks, a joint intelligence committee would encourage the executive branch to be more forthright with Congress and would help rebuild foreigners’ trust in our intelligence community,” he writes. “Congressmen opposing such commendable results shoulder a heavy burden.” The editorial “Terrorism’s murky origins”, again in the Washington Times, made clear that he was a full-throated supporter of the war on terror: “the best way to handcuff terrorism is by killing, capturing and punishing terrorists period, with no commas, semicolons or question marks.” The editorial’s conclusion was equally blunt: “Since reasoning is futile, killing, capturing and punishing is the only moral answer to the terrorism wickedness.” This, I should emphasize, was not written in the days after September 11th, when the city’s ashes inflamed an uncontrolled fury, but on June 21st, 2004120.
At some point, something in Fein changed. In June, 2007, he would write the opinion piece, “Impeach Cheney” for Slate. Suddenly, executive overreach was a problem. “In grasping and exercising presidential powers,” goes the Slate piece, “Cheney has dulled political accountability and concocted theories for evading the law and Constitution that would have embarrassed King George III.” Fein had argued for death, punishment, capture, without “commas, semicolons or question marks,” and now suddenly this was a problem. The Slate piece is outraged at commaless, semicolonless, unquestioned pursuit of the war on terror: “The vice president initiated kidnappings, secret detentions, and torture in Eastern European prisons of suspected international terrorists.” Now, the problem wasn’t those who published leaks, but those who tried to punish them. Confidential sources are indispensable to investigative journalism. “Cheney scorns freedom of speech and of the press,” writes Fein in Slate. “He urges application of the Espionage Act to prosecute journalists who expose national security abuses, for example, secret prisons in Eastern Europe or the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program.” Fein would act as “senior legal adviser” on Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign. Fein would lecture college campuses throughout the United States alongside Glenn Greenwald on a “Civil Liberties College Tour.” Both Mahtaub Fein and Bruce Fein worked for the Lichfield Group, which might be a lobbying shop, or an “image-management firm”, since image-management firms don’t have to register, while lobbyists do. The Lichfield Group would boast on its about page of their “high level connections with the Department of Justice, the Department of State, and the Central Intelligence Agency,” which made sense if you were trying to set up a post-regime change government in Iran, but less so if you agreed with the isolationist policies of Ron Paul. This about text would eventually be scrapped, and replaced with an “under construction” page121.
This was an interesting, but near invisible, association of Stone’s. Another linking from this time would end up being far more visible, far more melodramatic, the kind of thing that you’re certain will inevitably be made into a movie. In 2007, he would co-found a consulting group that worked to further the goals of the law firm run by the consulting group’s partner, a Florida attorney named Scott Rothstein. This essay goes off on various necessary tangents, but to give the Rothstein story anything like its deserved due would mean spinning out an entire novel, so this will be only the smallest of essentials. Rothstein made it big in Miami, and he made it fast. He’d spent over $20 million on homes. For every mood, he had a car: a Mercedes, a Rolls-Royce, an Escalade, and a Ferrari. If he needed to know the time, he had a Patek Philippe, but he could also look at a Harry Winston, an Unwerk, and a Rolex. He owned a steakhouse. His wealth was unreal, because…it was! With the consulting arm of the firm, Rothstein said, he wanted to put together a very powerful government relations and crisis public relations group. “I wanted the best political strategist and the best crisis PR guy in the business,” said Rothstein of Stone. “He fears nothing, but he’s ethical and tough.” When it came to being ethical and tough, Rothstein was a little of column b, and a zero in column a. “This is where the evil happens,” he’d joke, as he got behind the massive table of his law office. “This is where the evil happens,” he jokes, is the choice of verb by the excellent writer, Bob Norman, of that Rothstein profile, “Rise of Fort Lauderdale attorney Scott Rothstein”, but after it all came down, when Norman would write different pieces, of Rothstein on the run from the law, of him having to act as a federal informant in a desperate attempt to shorten his sentence, perhaps that line requires a verb which implies more sincerity. Rothstein was running a massive ponzi scheme, involving fake shares in massive payouts from litigation, one which involved him buying controlling shares in banks and faking judge’s orders to keep it going. Stone joined up with Rothstein in 2007. By late 2009, it was all over, with Rothstein fleeing the country, then returning, FBI agents surrounding the law firm, then seizing over forty boxes of evidence. He’d been running the scheme since 2005. He would end up getting a half-century in jail. His beautiful wife would try hiding some of the expensive jewelry that he’d bought her, and the court was trying to seize. She’d go to jail as well122.
When Matt Labash tries to describe what motivates so many of Stone’s schemes, he reaches for some tiresome metaphysicality. Stone does things out of irony, because he’s deeply invested in the joke. Stone, however, stresses in his memoir that he pulls his political tricks only if it gets his candidate votes, or depresses votes of the other guy. I think Stone is quite sincere here, and the Labash piece is filled with obfuscations on this point, reveling in the image of cynicism, while too cowardly to actually look at the cynicism straight on, whether it’s ballot security in New Jersey, installing your picks at the BIA, or funding a front organization to call an Indian tribe a bunch of drug dealers. I take Stone at his word. His actions are entirely pragmatic. He does things for tangible reasons. To get votes, to destroy a career, to get on television, and perhaps most of all, because he needs to get paid, because he needs money. After the fall of Rothstein, we would perhaps see how badly Roger Stone needed money.
The Toobin piece describes the lifestyle of Stone and his wife in the 1980s, when BMS&K were helping out Ferdinand Marcos and Jonas Savimbi, as lavish. They threw huge, noisy parties for no reason, like Calvin Coolidge’s birthday. In the Labash piece, Stone is chauffeured in a Jaguar, and owns four others. In the Toobin piece, Stone is chauffeured in a Jaguar and owns three others123. More recent pieces give no mention of how many Jaguars Stone owns. The best, most insightful documents on things going wrong, bad wrong, real wrong, in Stone’s life aren’t in any journalism, but the public documents of Miami-Dade county. There’s a mortgage taken out on his waterfront home on Biscaya Drive for a little over a million dollars from the Washington Mutual Bank, made on September 4, 2002. On December 16, 2003, another mortgage is taken out from Washington Mutual Bank again for a little over a million dollars. Then, a mortgage is signed with First National Bank of Arizona for a little over two million dollars on April 15, 2005. Then, in January 2008, a notice of foreclosure on this real estate, followed by a notice of indenture124. “Greetings!,” Nydia Bertran would write at the end of 2009 on her Facebook wall. “We have moved and finally settled in with our 5 hounds into a newly remodeled home that fits our life and budget much better!”125 In June of 2008, Stone would move out of his 40 Central Park South apartment, complaining that it was because they’d raised his $7000 a month rent by 35% in retaliation for a threatening phone call made to Eliot Spitzer’s father, a call which sounded just like his voice, which was traced to his apartment phone, and which he blamed on his landlord. He would later apologize to his landlord with a two page letter. “They wanted me out of their building,” Stone said, referring to his landlord’s real estate company. No mention was made in the New York Sun piece about this event, “Roger Stone Says MTA Chief Raised His Rent Due to Feud” by Jacob Gershman, on the foreclosure of Stone’s Florida mansion126.
In 2008, Scott Rothstein’s business had not gone bust yet – that would only happen in 2009. In that year, shortly before Rothstein fled the country, there would be a tax lien on Stone for over $400 000, for 2006. The next year there would be liens of close to $290 000 for 2007, and over $650 000 for 2008. A few days later, same year, a lien filed for close to $126 000 for 2009. In 2010, Stone would get very upset when the Post would blast the headline, “Roger Stone, adviser to Carl Paladino, owes $400,000 in taxes” (archived), on the trickster’s 2006 lien. “What Fred is well aware of and didn’t report,” Stone would bellow out from the Stone Zone blog post “Dicking Fred Dicker”, “is that the matter is in dispute and an appeal has been filed with a hearing scheduled in 90 days!” Stone would also allege that Dicker was a pompous bully with no friends, no influence, and read by a few downmarket readers. Stone’s tax matters appeared to remain in dispute into 2012, with a tax lien filed for close to $134 000 for 2010. In 2013, a tax lien was filed for near $12 000 for 2011127. Maybe someone celebrated one birthday for Rutherford B. Hayes too many. As said, in Matt Labash’s 2007 profile, Roger Stone owns five jaguars. In the 2008 Toobin piece, he owns four Jaguars. In “Steve Berke: Comedian for Miami Beach mayor”, from March 2011, profiling Stone as he manages a youtube comedian trying out for mayor of South Beach, Tim Efrink writes, “Today, the mansion has been sold, and if Stone drove to lunch, his car is inconspicuous.” Stone, however, insists that he’s not broke. “Like a lot of Floridians, I have debt,” he says in the piece. “But I also have plenty of income.”128
The casinos connected to Indian tribes did not quite work out as expected. In 2005, Rhonda Morningstar Pope would take over the Buena Vista Rancheria of the Miwok Indians, while Donnamarie Potts, the leader backed by Roger Stone, Scott Reed, and the Cascade Entertainment Group, would step down. Though Pope first contested leadership of the tribe to avoid casinos on their territory, she ultimately conceded to a deal with Thomas Wilmot, a shopping mall developer heavily involved in casino building on Indian land. “I had to make some accommodation to achieve my goal of protecting the land,” said Pope. “I had to be realistic. I couldn’t just get a second and third job to finance my legal fees.” Originally, she tried to have the casino not be on the actual land of the tribe, but eventually had to concede to it being built on the Miwoks’ territory129. The Lytton casino project, which was going to be the third biggest casino in the United States, with more slot machines than any casino in Vegas, would face a bill by Dianne Feinstein which would delay the project for years through bureaucratic process, requiring further approvals. Two senators would voice strong opposition, the same two senators linked to the Night Vision earmark, Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter. However, John McCain, then chairman of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee, would give his support to the bill. The project would be abandoned. The Paucatuck Eastern Pequots, who had been funded by Donald Trump in their attempts at federal recognition, would be forced to merge with a separate faction, the Eastern Pequots, in order to gain this recognition. The Eastern Pequots had also been fighting for federal recognition, and they had been funded in their attempts by golf course developer David A. Rosow. The newly merged Eastern Pequots would abandon Trump and pick Rosow as their backer. There will be, Trump threatened, “very large, huge litigation.” Trump would sue the Eastern Pequots. In October, 2010, the federal recognition of the Eastern Pequots and the Schaghticokes, the tribe that had hired Paul Manafort, would be rescinded130. On the site Brief Wit, May 10, 2010, in the interview “Roger & Me”, Ross Gottesman would ask Roger Stone, “Why are you for prostitution, but were against casinos and expanded gambling in the state?”, Stone would reply, “I was against Indian casinos. Indians pay no taxes. Letting anyone have a casino based on the color of their skin I have a problem with.” He continued: “The whole Indian gaming thing is a scam. It doesn’t filter down to individual Indians. It goes to a bunch of crooks at the top.”131
Whether because of his passion for the ironic, or the combination of tax liens and halting of revenue from ponzi scheming lawyers and future casino projects, Roger Stone then got involved in one of the more ridiculous and vile episodes of his life, the 2010 New York gubernatorial election. “I have to admit that this Stone saga even shocks me, as familiar as I am with his four-decade career,” wrote Wayne Barrett in “The (Roger) Stone Around Carl Paladino’s Neck” [archive link] 132. Stone would run former madame Kristin Davis’s candidacy for the Libertarian party ticket; many of his associates, however, would be working on the Republican party ticket of Carl Paladino. Dianne Thorne, who worked as the treasurer for the Committee to Take Back Our Judiciary, the Florida committee fronted by Mary McCarty and formed to pressure the Florida Supreme Court to vote in favor of Bush, worked as Paladino’s scheduler. Thorne is an enigmatic and interesting character who was involved in a number of Stone ventures. She is a raven haired former model from Australia, often mentioned as Stone’s assistant, though in Dana Milbank’s book on the 2000 campaigns, Smash Mouth: Two Years In The Gutter With Al Gore And George W. Bush, she is also mentioned as Trump’s advance woman – the person in charge of wrangling and prepping journalists133.
In the Labash piece, Stone is chauffeured around by A-Mill, a “23-year-old driver/computer whiz/all-around Boy Friday.” As usual, with Stone, we get the color that keep bringing reporters back to him: A-Mill looks like he’d fight as a featherweight, but Stone says looks can be deceiving. One late night, when they were walking across a strip-club parking lot together, two large gentlemen tried to mug them. A-Mill reached into his boot, pulled out a blade, and slashed one of them across the face, causing both assailants to run. ‘Watch this guy,’ says Stone. ‘He’s a killer.'” A-Mill is most likely Andrew Miller, Dianne Thorne’s stepson, who would work as Kristin Davis’s campaign manager, for free, while he was also paid $17,000 by the Paladino campaign, for “advance work and logistics.” Also with Paladino was Dianne Thorne’s husband, Tim Suereth, who had also worked on a number of Stone projects. There was Michael Johns, a speechwriter for Paladino who also had worked at the Heritage Institute praising Jonas Savimbi and criticizing Nelson Mandela as a communist. The incident involving BMS&K client Savimbi, where chemical weapons were supposedly discovered in Angola, has already been mentioned. It was Johns who brought Andries Holst, the film-maker who’d supposedly filmed evidence of chemical weapons use, to Washington to meet various officials such as Jesse Helms134.
Paladino’s campaign manager wasn’t Stone, but Michael Caputo, Stone’s former driver and another all-round occasional Stone associate. It was Caputo who handled the press for Stone when the National Enquirer swinger story broke. Stone was second only to Caputo’s father on his speed dial. Caputo was a military veteran who’d been a speechwriter for Jack Kemp, and the Communications Director for the Council for Inter-American Security in Washington, which meant that he was involved in civic and military public affairs programs in Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica in support of Reagan foreign policy initiatives, which was either sinister or nebulous, depending on how you read it. “Publicists of the Damned” which detailed BMS&K’s work for Savimbi, Mobutu, Ferdinand Marcos, and others, would also describe the difficulties of one lobbyist trying to refurbish the image of El Salvador’s Alfredo Cristiani (specific page 58). “All we heard over and over was that he was a puppet of the death squads, a creature of millionaire coffee growers,” the lobbyist complains. The article mentions why Cristiani carried this around: “That unfortunate reputation is due in part to the fact that Cristiani was the candidate of the right-wing ARENA party, which was founded by death-squad mastermind Roberto D’Aubisson and supported by millionaire coffee growers.” Caputo would help to run the 1989 campaign for Cristiani to give him the semblance of an actual election. Three journalists were killed during this election, one of them when a military helicopter strafed a car clearly marked with a PRESS sign. After the election, there was an incident where six Jesuit priests, suspected of collusion with the country’s rebels, were killed. High level members of the military were blamed by Cristiani for the killings. Twenty years later, two human rights organizations, The Association for Human Rights in Spain (APDHE) and the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), would file suit, charging Cristiani with responsibility for the murders135.
Caputo would also work in Russia in 1996 for the election of Boris Yeltsin. He would show up in The Exile, the infamous Russian paper co-founded by Mark Ames and Matt Taibbi, under “Who Tolls The Bell?”, a list of journalists the paper especially despised. “Any way you look at it,” wrote “Field Marshal von Paulus” (I have no idea who’s behind the pseudonym) about the 1996 Russian election, “the campaign was totally illegal and anti-democratic, and Caputo played a huge role in it.” The heart of the animus is Caputo’s involvement in this political race: “This guy was the spin doctor behind Yeltsin’s reelection campaign in 96. As if subjecting Russia to the horror of that post-quadruple bypass pig shaking it with a Rostov pop band wasn’t bad enough, greaseball Caputo gets to brag at Beltway cocktail parties that Jeff Goldblum played him in Spinning Boris.” But Goldblum didn’t play him in Boris, Caputo isn’t even a character in the movie, Goldblum plays Caputo’s boss, a go for the jugular political consultant named George Gorton.
Like Roger Stone, Gorton was a veteran of CREEP, who would go on to work as a top consultant, helping Pete Wilson, governor of California, win re-election by pushing Proposition 187, the ballot initiative that prohibited illegal aliens from using education, health and social services in the state. Stone had paid for Sedan Chair II to infiltrate various Democratic campaigns, and Stone had recommended that CREEP hire Theodore Brill to spy on various student groups. Gorton oversaw Brill, and paid him from his own pocket, so that his compensation wouldn’t come from campaign expenses. When Watergate broke, the revelation of student spying came out as well. “GW Student Spied for GOP,” was the Woodward-Bernstein headline (I cannot find this piece on-line; however, the excerpt from All the President’s Men, “The Quaker Plot” focuses on Brill). “Spying is a funny way to describe” what Brill did, Gorton said at the time. What exactly was it Brill was paid for, then? “It was a part of my job to know what all of youth was thinking,” Gorton explained. Gorton’s fellow CREEP staffers would hand him pages that were folded in half that he would give his signature to. Because they were folded in half, he couldn’t see what he was signing off on, and thereby could admit to no knowledge in court or elsewhere of what he’d just authorized. After a short post-Watergate exile, Gorton would become a very successful political consultant136. Time magazine would put Gorton and others on the cover for their work in Yeltsin’s election (“Yanks to the Rescue” is the cover, “Rescuing Boris” by Michael Kramer is the story inside), but perhaps the Time writer was being spun more than the Russians. Yeltsin’s Russian consultants ridiculed the way that American consultants, who they felt had played a marginal role, placed themselves at the center of everything 137. “Russia needs democracy…. I would be remiss in my duty to mankind if I didn’t use every political consulting trick I could think of to keep what I felt was a great evil from returning to mankind,” Gorton would say at the time to the Sacramento Bee. His hindsight view was more brutally realistic. “My guy was drunk, corrupt. It was bad vs. evil,” he’d say138. “von Paulus” also has Michael Caputo’s company reaping a fortune in the millions through a deal with GazProm media in 2001. This is either very wrong, or he blew through the money quickly. A piece run during the Paladino campaign has him grateful for Roger Stone giving him some work and a place to sleep after a nasty divorce and a financial meltdown in 2003139. So, in 2010, Michael Caputo was Carl Paladino’s campaign manager.
The candidacy of Kristin Davis was perceived as one more salvo in Roger Stone’s vendetta against former governor Eliot Spitzer. Stone had been working, in 2007, for New York Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno on a $20,000 a month contract. Bruno was in a long, poisonous fight with Spitzer, and the dirty trickster had been brought in to help. The dirty trick he came up with was cruel, stupid, obvious. To harass Spitzer’s father, an elderly man with Parkinson’s, with a threatening message left on his answering machine:
This is a message for Bernard Spitzer. You will be subpoenaed to testify before the Senate committee on investigation on your shady campaign loans. You will be compelled by the Senate sergeant at arms, if you resist, you will be arrested and brought to Albany – and there’s not a goddamn thing your phony, psycho piece of shit son can do about it. Bernie, your phony loans are about to catch up with you. You will be forced to tell the truth. The fact that your son is a pathological liar will be known to all.
(A clip which compares the audio on the call to Bernard Spitzer, and the audio of Roger Stone on part two of a “Shark Tank” interview.)
“I have been accused of a lot of things but being dumb is not one of them,” said Stone in response to the allegation that he made the phone call. “I don’t deny that the phone number is mine but fabricating my voice would be exceedingly easy. Give me a fucking break. This is the ultimate dirty trick and the kind of terror tactic Spitzer used in the Attorney General’s Office.” He would say that he was at the play Frost/Nixon the night the call was made, though there was no performance that evening. Again, this is Stone: “I have been accused of a lot of things but being dumb is not one of them.” Here is one of Stone’s clients, on the affair: “They caught Roger red-handed lying,” said Donald Trump. “What he did was ridiculous and stupid.” Stone would be fired by Bruno140. When the scandal broke that Eliot Spitzer had paid money for escort services, Stone would allege that he played a key role in the scandal by sending a letter to the FBI after speaking to an escort in a Miami club who’d had Spitzer as a client. The FBI would explicitly state that they never received any such letter. Kristin Davis was a convicted madam who alleged she had provided escorts for Spitzer, dozens maybe hundreds of times, and that Spitzer was abusive to women – but the New York Attorney General had confiscated her records when she was charged, and they showed no evidence of Spitzer ever having been one of her clients. When Alex Gibney dispassionately presented all this in Client 9, his documentary based on the well-researched book of Peter Elkind, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Stone would refer to Gibney as “Leni Riefenstahl” on TV141. It didn’t matter that there was nothing connecting Spitzer to Kristin Davis; the evidence didn’t matter. By running Davis, Stone had a means to throw slimy allegations throughout the election season.
As said, Paladino was running for the Republican nomination, and Kristin Davis was running for the libertarian ticket. According to Stone, he had no connection to the Paladino campaign, though his close associate, Michael Caputo was running it, his assistant Dianne Thorne was on it, as was Michael Johns, the man who’d played a role in the Angolan chemical weapons incident involving BMS&K, as well as Tim Suereth, Thorne’s husband, who’d work alongside Stone before and after this campaign. Thorne’s stepson, Andrew Miller, would get paid for work on the Paladino campaign before shifting over to Kristin Davis. Stone would say that Paladino came to him for campaign advice on the outset, and that he’d help pick out his campaign staff. There were other intersections. When Paladino’s campaign kicked off at the Elliott Square Building in Buffalo, New York, Stone was there on the scene. A month before the election, attorney Lora Como, a campaign aide of Paladino’s , would allege that she’d been assaulted by Stone while they were at his Chelsea apartment. “He threw me to the ground and bruised my ribs. He was hostile and menacing and I wanted him arrested for assault and I went to the police,” alleged Como. Stone would acknowledge a disagreement with Como and that they were together at his apartment, but had a different version of events. He’d asked her to leave, and she’d gotten upset, he said. “I completely reject her assertion that I ever hit her or abused her in any physical way,” he said. In the article reporting the incident, “Assault claim vs. Carl’s aide Stone” by Fred Dicker, Stone was now referred to as a key campaign adviser of Paladino142. “The Kristin Davis Post-Election Party: Pretty Much What You’d Expect” by Brianna Strange, reported that Stone was at Davis’s election night party, along with Miller, still her campaign manager143.
Davis was running for the Libertarian ticket against Warren Redlich, a town board member and traffic lawyer. In April, at the beginning of the campaign, Stone would exchange a series of emails with Redlich. Much of the emails consist of Stone trying to pressure Redlich to step aside, so that Davis could be on the ticket for governor. If Redlich didn’t step aside, Davis wouldn’t attend the party convention, and then Stone and Davis might set up their own party, filing suit over Redlich’s use of the Libertarian Party name. A few representative emails are below; paragraph spacing has been added for improved readability, but no other alterations have been made. The full emails are available at Capitol Confidential‘s “E-mails show Stone strategizing for Paladino” (archived) by Jimmy Vielkind:
Me [Warren Redlich], 10:31 am:
Can we just talk at the LPNY convention? We can talk Friday evening or Saturday morning, before anything of substance happens at the convention.
My schedule this week is pretty crazy. Had a trial yesterday, going to court near Binghamton tomorrow, etc.
Stone, 10:43 am: Warren
No- that is too late- unless we can reach some accomodation [sic] Kristin wont be attending the convention. A convention where a candidate isnt given a list of eleigible [sic] voters and where a poll tax of $25 is paid to vote isnt very legitimate.
In that case we’d prefer to petition on our own party onto the ballot [sic]- litigate over the word LIBERTARIAN- plenty of case-law.
Sure u can win the nomination on Saturday. How will you get 50,000 votes without money or publicity. I suggest a broader effort.
I too am busy. Let me know if you are available to talk by phone.
Me [Warren Redlich], 4:05 pm:
I’m a trial lawyer. When people threaten to sue me I find it amusing.
My impression is that you want Kristin to have the LP nomination for Governor and you may want me on the slate, perhaps LG or AG.
I don’t think the LPNY is willing to have Kristin in the Governor slot but I don’t speak for them – you’re wasting your time talking to me. If you can get the LPNY to go along with Kristin as the Governor candidate, and you want me on the ticket, I’m willing to consider that.
I do think I’m the better candidate for Governor, and I’m not going to step aside. But if you persuade them, and you still want me on board, I’m open to it.
On the other hand, if Kristin wants to be on the slate with me as the Governor candidate and her as LG or Comptroller, I think they’re more likely to go along with that. But again, I don’t speak for the LPNY. You should talk to them.
My cell is [omitted] if you want to talk.
The next email, from Stone, is the most interesting. He is a campaign manager for Davis, yet he now offers a deal where if Redlich runs for the Attorney General spot (rather than the governor spot), he can get Redlich to be on Paladino’s petitions and run in the GOP primary. How is it that Stone, who supposedly has no connection with the Paladino campaign, except for giving them advice, is able to offer such a deal?
Stone, 4:48: Because of her tangential connection to spitzer no other race makes sense for her. She, unlike you, has a shelf life. The further from Spitzer downfall the less her ability to command coverage. No other race has any logic for her.
Were you to support her actively you could help win her the votes to be nominated. If you ran for AG I could get Paladino to let you ride on both his GOP ( you are a registered R) and Tea Party petitions- and thus get in the GOP primary for real and get a second line. I can have Paladino himself confirm this if you like.
Donovan [Daniel M. Donovan, the eventual Republican candidate for Attorney General] is not a certain candidate for AG. You could end up the nominee.
In a 3 way race for Governor a woman candidate running on marijuana legalization gets 50,000+ votes and takes votes from Cuomo- not a Paladino. Prostitution would be de-emphasized in a fall campaign.
From my point of view you would help KD more as a candidate for LG making a nice balance M-F,downstate-upstate, non-lawyer, lawyer etc.
From your point of view a race for AG would be better for you if you would consider it.
Redlich would then contact Paladino, asking about the offer that Stone had made, and how it was that Stone, a campaign manager for an entirely separate campaign, on an entirely separate party ticket, had the authority to speak for Paladino:
Me [Warren Redlich] (to Paladino), 6:01 pm: Carl,
When we met last week, I did not have the impression that Roger Stone was on your campaign team. As you can see by the exchange below, he is speaking to me as if he has some sway over you – “I could get Paladino to let you ride on…”
It was my impression that you were campaigning as someone different from the usual politicians. If you’re working with Roger Stone, in the way he describes, then you don’t seem that different to me.
I’m big on hunches. My hunch is that he does not speak for you. Some of the things he says here do not fit with things you said to me when we met.
Mainly, I thought you should know that Stone was throwing your name around like he has some control over you. You don’t strike me as someone who is so easily controlled.
My cell is [omitted] if you want to talk. I have a town board meeting tonight at 7:30 pm and it might go long, so tomorrow might be better.
I cc’d Jim, Rus, and Allen on this message because I’ve had some interaction with them over the course of the campaign and I thought they should know what’s going on.
Stone would hear of this email to Paladino, and his reply would be curt:
Stone, 9:05 pm: Warren- do you really think this is clever ?…you’re out your league- and gentlemen don’t share personal correspondence. You sir, are no gentleman-
Redlich would forward the correspondence between himself and Stone to Eric Dondero, a libertarian blogger (his blog was Libertrarian Republican and he gained some prominence due to his attempt to boycott liberals after the Obama re-election, which resulted in interviews such as, “Democrat-Boycotting Libertarian Eric Dondero on Whether He Would Let a Democrat Drown” by Dan Amira), who contacted Stone, who sent another curt email to Redlich:
Stone, 4/21, 5:03 pm: Dondero wont print your leaked correspondence
rookie move asshole
guess CP [Conservative Party] shoved it up your ass, too.
Redlich would reply:
Me [Warren Redlich], 5:58 pm:
We both know I’m a rookie. What I don’t get is why you’re wasting your time with me.
You are celebrating a tiny victory over a nobody.
If we played basketball, I’d clobber you. But it wouldn’t mean anything because I’m taller, younger and more experienced.
For some reason you’re trying to rub it in. I have no expectation of beating you. You’re supposed to be better at this.
However, the supposed master tactician Roger Stone and his candidate, Kristin Davis, would lose to the rookie. Redlich would be on the Libertarian Party ticket, and Kristin Davis would run instead on her own newly created ticket, The Anti-Prohibition Party. During the general race, with Paladino on the Republican ticket, Cuomo on the Democratic, Davis with Anti-Prohibition, and Redlich on the Libertarian, Stone was involved in one of the more vile acts of his life. Redlich had written a blog post on a semi-nude picture of Miley Cyrus that had appeared in Vanity Fair (which was only four years ago, but now feels like an eternity), an intelligent analysis arguing that much of the furor around the picture lay with a contemporary American sensibility, that viewed teenagers as either entirely sexual, or entirely non-sexual. We assume this sensibility to be universal and eternal, when it isn’t – Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet is written about lovers that were the same age as Miley Cyrus. One could disagree with the argument Redlich made, but it was ultimately an argument, not a predatory fantasy, or justification for rape. On October 29th, Capitol Confidential’s Jimmy Vieklind published “I pushed for the Redlich mailer”, about the appearance of a mailer, featuring a photo of Redlich as well as his phone number and home address, which warned that he was a public danger and for people to call the police when they see him:
“Everyone who has contacted me about the flyer has been disgusted by it,” wrote Vieklind, “and one reader noted it landed in his mail box the same day as a flyer supporting Kristen Davis, the Anti-Prohibition Party candidate.” Both mailers shared the same postal permit. “It’s an absolute disgrace,” Redlich would say. “Nothing I’ve ever written would qualify me as a sexual predator more than it would qualify William Shakespeare as a sexual predator…I think discussing what I wrote is attacking the victim. The fact that I think the Miley Cyrus story was overblown does not make me a predator, and it’s not even close.” The flier was put out by another mysterious group, People for a Safer New York, of which there was no record144.
Vieklind would contact Roger Stone about the mailer, and though Stone would not take credit for it, he did say he was in contact with People for a Safer New York, that the mailers were accurate, they were legal, he not only supported the mailers, he urged them to do it. “I’ve seen both mailers, I think that they’re both accurate. People for a Safer New York is called a first amendment group,” Stone told Velkind by phone. “I’m in touch with them. Who are they? They’re a first amendment organization I urged them to do this, this is a first amendment issue.”145
“I don’t want this story spread because I have children,” Redlich would say of the mailers. “Let’s be clear about my sick alternative lifestyle: I’ve been married for 15 years, I have two children, I live in suburbia on a cul de sac and my kids go to public school.” Stone to Velkind: “Let’s be very clear: everything here is 100 percent legal, everything here is 100 percent accurate,” he said. “As somebody who has two granddaughters, I really find Redlich’s advocacy and defense of sex with underrate girls disgusting and repugnant, and voters need to know about it prior to voting on Tuesday.”146
Heather Redlich, the candidate’s wife, would write a letter to Capitol Confidential expressing her anguish over the mailer. Capitol Confidential would publish the letter, “Redlich’s wife’s letter to Stone on ‘horrific smear'”. The text of the letter follows:
You have told terrible lies about my husband. You have hurt me and my family. I have suffered anxiety and heartache.
You have made me fear for the safety of my children in our own home. I am the type of person that avoids the limelight. I don’t like when people talk about me but I feel I can be silent no more. So, I will dry my tears and write my own message to New Yorkers:
I have known Warren Redlich for 19 years and have been married to him for 15 years. We have two school-age children. We met in law school, got married shortly after graduation and built a home together. Warren supported me when I decided to pursue a career as a librarian. When I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer during my first pregnancy, he took care of me and our newborn child.
In the years since, we have started a law practice together. We have joined a local Congregation. Warren has volunteered with our Congregation’s Brotherhood. He has given his time to talk to high school students about politics and the law. He has welcomed interns into our law practice and enjoyed being a mentor. He has counseled our clients with mental health problems and assisted those with physical disabilities. I am a member of the Junior League of Albany and have volunteered with our Congregation’s Sisterhood.
Our daily lives involve running a business, driving our kids to after-school activities, going on family outings and eating dinner together. We teach our children to be kind to others. We try to make the world a better place by volunteering and getting involved with our community.
Our friends and neighbors have received these lies in the mail. They know the truth. But for those who do not, I will tell you. Warren has never committed a crime. We do not have a deviant lifestyle. Warren is not perfect but he is a good person, a loyal friend, and a loving husband and father. You do not need to fear Warren.
You should fear those that tell such lies and sling mud. Be leery of those that are afraid of open political debate. Fear those that have trounced the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As for Mr. Stone and the others behind this horrific smear who speak these evil words, I hope the people of New York will reject your lies and will vote for principled men and women in the election.
I think it is so very easy to fill space when something like this makes you angry, and you must resist this most of all for aesthetic reasons, that nothing is so ugly and dull as a screech, however righteous. My anger has none of the comfort or certainty of an ideological target; I think libertarianism has done great damage to the United States, I want Warren Redlich’s ideology to fail – and yet I am still disgusted that this was done to him. With regard to this vile act, I will only say that there are great artists who can work on an extraordinary variety of canvases, the most vast and the smallest miniatures. Roger Stone, I think, is something like a great artist. He could cause horrific suffering among millions by working with a firm that prolonged a cruel, merciless war in Africa, and he could visit horror on a single family, falsely accusing a father of being a pedophile out of spite that this political rookie had just soundly beaten him in an election. “Color me contrarian, but I will say something I don’t believe another Washington reporter has ever admitted publicly: I like Roger Stone,” writes Matt Labash. “Stone is like a U.S. Army of treachery: He screws more people before 9 A.M. than most people do in a whole day,” writes Matt Labash, admiringly. And when one of those people is Warren Redlich, and the way Roger Stone screws him is to make his life a miserable hell by putting out fliers that he’s a sexual predator, does that fill you with gleeful laughter, Mr. Labash, or does it make you want to throw up?
Paladino’s campaign would be an endless joke. A mass of repellent emails that he forwarded out of amusement, such as an “Obama Inauguration Ceremony” featuring a group of African tribesmen as well as a bestiality video, would show up early on in the race. “With those emails out there, he’s clearly unelectable,” said a veteran political consultant. After stories were published about Paladino’s out of wedlock daughter, the candidate got into a screaming match with veteran political reporter Fred Dicker. “You send another goon to my daughter’s house and I’ll take you out, buddy!” Paladino would deliver a speech where he condemned homosexuality. “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option – it isn’t,” he said. “You’re not an illegal immigrant, are you?” he’d ask during an interview with Fox reporter Ti Hua Chang. Caputo had Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic candidate, followed around by two people in duck costumes, sounding duck calls, as a way of taunting Cuomo for not agreeing to a debate. Caputo alleged that Cuomo aides had warned the ducks, “if you girls don’t get out of here I’m going to shove those duck calls down your throats.” Caputo alleged the encounter was “likely a hate crime since the Cuomo staffer clearly referenced their sexuality in his threat.” Cuomo won an overwhelming win over Paladino, who got 34% of the vote. “Madam Kristin Goes to Albany” by Molly Young describes a press conference held by Davis when she was running on the Anti-Prohibition Party. Seven people showed up, four of them from her campaign. Another was a heckler. “You don’t really think you have a chance, do you?,” he asked147. Neither Redlich nor Davis garnered enough votes for their parties to be placed on future ballots, but once again, the rookie had outdone the veteran strategist. Redlich pulled in 44,761 votes. Davis pulled in 22,000 votes. In a piece on the election, Stone wrote, without irony, that “Davis ran a positive campaign.”148 He took space in this post-election piece to defend the Redlich mailer:
In the closing days of the race a First Amendment group People for Safer New York exposed Redlich’s weird writing defending sex with under aged girls in a carefully lawyered piece of literature that exposed Redlich as Sexual predator in his attitude. Redich can huff and puff all he wants but the claims fall squarely within the bounds of the First Amendment. Liberal reporters found Redlich’s writing acceptable as they saw it a sophisticated, erudite and cosmopolitan. It wasn’t. It was vile. I’m a libertine but I limit myself to consenting adults.
For whatever reason, Stone would eventually take this page down from his site – this content is pulled from the wayback machine archives.
The final irony to these false accusations is that in 2007, the New York Post (“Top GOPers ‘Cult’ Favorites” by Jeane Macintosh) would report that Roger Stone acted as a liaison between a cult-like group named NXIVM and top tier Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno. In 2012, the Times-Union would publish an exhaustively researched piece on NXIVM, comprising “Secrets of NXIVM”, “‘NXIVM is a litigation machine'”, “In Raniere’s shadows”, and “‘Ample evidence’ to justify investigation”, all by James M. Odato and Jennifer Gish. “‘Ample evidence’ to justify investigation”, describes NXIVM as centered around the recruitment and sale of training courses. “I will refrain from calling it a Ponzi scheme, but of course that’s what it is,” says a lawyer in the same piece. That NXIVM has been charged with fraud by former members was not the irony, however, nor that the leader of NXIVM, Keith Raniere, would pay massive fines in several states after he was charged with operating an illegal “chain distributor scheme,” a buying club he’d set up prior to NXIVM called Consumers’ Buyline. The irony is that “In Raniere’s shadows” would include testimony from three women, which allege that Raniere had sex with three underage girls, a twelve year old, and two fifteen year olds. Two of those victims are adult women now, the third, one of the fifteen year olds, committed suicide by the time she was sixteen. Both women are directly interviewed in the piece, and give detailed allegations. A fourth victim alleges that she was raped by Raniere. The impression given is that these were not isolated instances, but part of a larger pattern of abusive behavior. This is the man whose organization Roger Stone acted as a liaison for in 2007. I have found no information on what, if any, mailer he issued afterwards149.
Some underworld schemers keep all their cards tucked tightly away, their secrets still in their heads when they’re finally pushed into the dirt, and no file or paper exists of their nefarious plans; Roger Stone, on the other hand, makes sure to advertise his involvement in whatever modest, often failed, malice he can, and a moment in CBS Miami’s “Meet Roger Stone: Possibly The Most Dangerous Man In Politics” comes as no surprise. Earlier in this post, the long association of Stone and the late Sentator Arlen Specter was mentioned, with the Republican Specter facing a tough 2004 race in majority Democrat Pennsylvania.
Here is the story where I first read of the strange phenomenon taking place there, “Arlen’s spectre: Roger Stone” (archive.org link) by Dave Davies:
Lurking behind those mysterious John Kerry-Arlen Specter yard signs in Northeast Philadelphia is yet another spectre: Notorious national GOP consultant Roger Stone.
A political operative with some ties to Stone told the Daily News last night that the consultant – who chaired Pennsylvania GOP senator Specter’s abortive 1996 presidential bid – had been actively recruiting people to join a group called the Philadelphia Education Project.
An editorial from the time (October 15, 2004), “Switching Sides, Senator? Who’s Behind These Misleading Signs?” (no credited author) gives further details (bolds are my own):
THE SIGNS started popping up overnight in northeast Philadelphia and Lower Merion:
“Kerry & Specter for Working Families”
Huh? Since when did Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and re-election seeking Republican Sen. Arlen Specter decide to join forces?
Last time we looked, Kerry was stumping hard for Specter’s opponent, Joe Hoeffel. And Specter was running ads of him standing side-by-side with President Bush. So what’s going on with these signs?
After the election, you might want to snag one. You’d have in your hand a genuine piece of underhanded political paraphernalia produced by one of those “shadowy” 527 groups Bush kept harping about during the Swift Boat ad controversy.
Taking credit for the sign is a group called The Philadelphia Education Project. But other than the name, the fact that the project started in Sept. 29, works reportedly out of an empty office at 1500 Market St. on the 12th floor and has two out-of-town political operatives as its manager and treasurer, nothing is known of this group.
The Specter campaign is denying any involvement with the signs. But the Hoeffel campaign thinks that’s hogwash and we tend to agree.
Let’s be clear here. John Kerry wants Joe Hoeffel in the Senate – not Arlen Specter. Someone is trying to deliberately confuse alliances and endorsements in a way that helps Specter in parts of the state that will go strong for Kerry. (Wanna bet you won’t see these signs in central Pennsylvania?)
And there, at 0:45 of “Meet Roger Stone: Possibly The Most Dangerous Man In Politics” we see someone who held on to one of those genuine pieces of “underhanded political paraphernalia”, hanging on their wall alongside a lifetime of political relics:
PRETTY RECKLESS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL
(On April 9th, 2015, this post underwent some mild copy editing.)
115 “The great American pork barrel: Washington streamlines the means of corruption” by Ken Silverstein:
In the case of another winner in last year’s defense-earmarks sweepstakes, Night Vision Equipment Company of Allentown, Pennsylvania, there is not only a suspect but one with motive and means as well: Arlen Specter, the third-ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Night Vision won a $1.25 million earmark in the defense bill, funding lobbied for by IKON Public Affairs, to which Night Vision paid $60,000. IKON deployed two lobbyists to work the Night Vision account, Peter Grollman and Craig Snyder, both of whom previously held senior posts on Specter’s staff. Between 2000 and 2004, IKON donated $13,250 to Specter, with $7,250 of that coming directly from Snyder and Grollman. During that same period, Night Vision’s then president, William Grube (along with his wife), kicked in $8,000 to Specter.
From “Donors Gave as Santorum Won Earmarks” by Michael Luo and Mike McIntire:
In some cases, while representatives from the companies that got a grant did not donate to Mr. Santorum, their lobbyists did. Vision Technologies, a company based in Arkansas with a plant in Pennsylvania, hired IKON Public Affairs in 2004 to help it pursue federal money, paying the lobbyists $100,000 over the next two years.
The company received a $3 million federal grant in the defense appropriations bill to develop a video system to monitor machinery aboard gas turbine ships. Two of the lobbyists on the account, Craig Snyder and Peter Grollman, contributed nearly $9,000 total to Mr. Santorum’s leadership PAC and his campaign committee, mostly in 2005.
Snyder’s experience with Arlen Specter is taken from his profile at the IKON Public Affairs bios page:
Craig Snyder is Managing Partner at IKON Public Affairs. With nearly 30 years in public affairs and political communication, Snyder is one of the nation’s leading lobbyists and political campaign consultants. Snyder helped found IKON in 1997 after serving as Chief of Staff to United States Senator Arlen Specter.
Snyder’s career has spanned nearly every facet of public affairs – a candidate for the United States Congress in 1992, Deputy Campaign Chairman for Senator Specter’s 1996 candidacy for the GOP Presidential nomination, Public Policy Specialist with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, United States Senate staffer with a “Top Secret” security clearance, and as a political consultant who wins races and awards for effective advertising.
Snyder’s lobbying practice has brought huge victories on behalf of diverse clients. As Senior Lobbyist for Autism Speaks (the nation’s largest advocacy group on behalf of Americans with autism) Snyder lead the legislative efforts which resulted in the Children’s Health Act of 2000 and the Combating Autism Act of 2006. His appropriations work has produced federal funds for clients in defense, transportation, education, healthcare, agriculture, arts and culture, and other areas.
Snyder graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 with a degree in Ethics and Political Economy and received his law degree from Temple University in 1988.
Kevin Roy’s experience with Rick Santorum is taken from bio off the same IKON page:
Kevin Roy is a Principal at IKON Public Affairs, having brought to the firm a breadth of experience ranging from senior staffer on Capitol Hill to international accounting and consulting firm professional. This wide-ranging experience allows Kevin to advise clients on their federal affairs with the perspective of one who has managed both federal and private sector concerns.
Prior to joining IKON in January 2007, Kevin spent six and a half years in the Washington office of U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, most recently as Director of Appropriations. With this issue portfolio, Kevin was frequently the primary point of contact for innovative energy and biotechnology companies seeking to partner with the federal government. Kevin devised strategies to integrate private sector capabilities with the needs of the federal government from legislative proposal to executive branch implementation. This experience informs Kevin’s approach to helping IKON’s clients succeed with their federal policy or budgetary initiatives.
Kevin received his B.A. in History from Dickinson College, where he won the Myers Senior Prize for academic excellence by a varsity athlete. Kevin also studied Accounting as part of Deloitte & Touche’s program for Liberal Arts undergraduates at Babson College’s Olin Graduate School of Business. He lives in the Annapolis, MD area with his wife Kimberly and their two children.
Just months before the defense appropriations bill passed, Snyder helped Specter fight off a fierce primary challenge from Pat Toomey. The electoral hopes of Toomey, who favors a ban on abortion, rested on his trouncing Specter in the state’s conservative heartland, where the senator’s pro-choice politics have made him a pariah. Shortly before the primary vote, Snyder put together a PAC called Pennsylvanians for Honest Politics, which promptly raised $17,750, with one third coming directly from Snyder and Grube. Almost all of that money was spent to produce and air a radio ad that ran in the last few days of the campaign-on just a single Christian station that airs only in conservative areas. The ad savaged Toomey for failing to call, during an interview with Chris Matthews on Hardball, for criminal sanctions against a woman who gets an abortion. “Somebody who claims to be on our side had the opportunity to say abortion is murder,” says the ad’s protagonist. “Instead of showing the nation real pro-life leadership, Toomey shrunk like a frightened turtle.” Specter won by just 17,146 votes out of more than a million ballots cast and did far better in conservative counties than expected.
From “Arlen’s spectre: Roger Stone” (archive.org link) by Dave Davies:
Lurking behind those mysterious John Kerry-Arlen Specter yard signs in Northeast Philadelphia is yet another spectre: Notorious national GOP consultant Roger Stone.
A political operative with some ties to Stone told the Daily News last night that the consultant – who chaired Pennsylvania GOP senator Specter’s abortive 1996 presidential bid – had been actively recruiting people to join a group called the Philadelphia Education Project.
The group’s lawyer – who contacted the Daily News yesterday – is another political operative named Paul Rolf Jensen, who has worked with Stone on several campaigns. Jensen is also known for his efforts to file lawsuits against gay and gay-friendly Presbyterian ministers.
The background of Paul Rolf Jensen is briefly discussed in this piece, “Attorney For Birther Army Doc Is Former GOP Staffer And Anti-Gay Crusader” by Justin Elliott, on his defense of Terrence Lakin, an army doctor who refused to follow orders on the grounds that the president is not an american citizen.
“Kerry-Specter signs were the work of GOP operative” (archive) by Dave Davies:
The mystery of the John Kerry-Arlen Specter lawn signs in Northeast Philadelphia is solved.
They’re indeed the work of national Republican consultant Roger Stone, who has worked with Specter in the past. Specter campaign manager Christopher Nicholas said yesterday that he called Stone last weekend and asked him to put an end to the campaign.
“I made the call Saturday morning,” Nicholas said. “We asked him to stop and he agreed.”
Nicholas said that Specter opposes independent advocacy organizations – so-called 527 groups – and that the campaign knew nothing of the controversial signs until it got calls from the media. Nicholas said he learned of Stone’s involvement from the Daily News.
The signs appeared in Northeast Philadelphia about a week ago, apparently linking Specter, Pennsylvania’s Republican incumbent U.S. senator, with Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee.
The signs read “Kerry & Specter for Working Families.”
Stone is a former business partner of Craig Snyder, a former Specter aide who formed an independent group last spring to place ads on Christian radio in central Pennsylvania attacking Specter’s primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey, as being soft on abortion.
Snyder said he and Stone, who were partners in Washington-based IKON Public Relations, haven’t worked together for about three years.
The essential terms of the affidavit follow: FERNANDO de SANTIBAÑES declares pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746 and under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: 1. I am named as a defendant in the above captioned matter. I make this declaration in support of my motion to dismiss this action for lack of personal jurisdiction in that I did not have any contacts with the Commonwealth of Virginia which would justify this court or the courts of the Commonwealth of Virginia from exercising jurisdiction over me. The facts set forth below refer to all times material to the Motion for Judgment in this action right up until the present. 2. I am a citizen and resident of Argentina. 3. I have never lived, worked or maintained an office in Virginia. 4. I never subscribed to a telephone in Virginia. 5. I have never held any license, including a driver’s license, issued by Virginia. 6. I was not a party to any contract with either of the plaintiffs. 7. I have never owned any real or personal property in Virginia. 8. I have never held any bank accounts or other assets in Virginia. 9. I have never conducted or operated any business in Virginia. 10. I have never had any employees in Virginia. 11. I have never sued anyone or been sued in Virginia. 12. I have never met with the plaintiff Mattie Lolovar in Virginia. The only time I met her was on a social occasion at a friend’s home in New York or Connecticut. I have never had any direct relationship with either of the plaintiffs. I have never directed either of the plaintiffs to perform any work in Virginia or elsewhere. 13. Except on the one social occasion mentioned above, I have never communicated with the plaintiffs or transmitted any money to either of the plaintiffs. 14. I have never communicated in Virginia by telephone, email, fax, letter or otherwise with the plaintiffs or any other defendant.
“Politically, this was bound to happen. I think Chavez was losing ground not only internationally but within his own constituency,” said Mattie Lolavar, president of international business communications and strategies firm Triumph Communications Group and former consultant to the government of Argentina.
“Knowing the situation in Middle East and looking at Iraq,” said Lolavar, “I think the U.S. will do everything possible to help Venezuela, if need be.” One possibility would be helping state-owned oil companies become privatized.
“This is going to refocus the verticalization of trade toward Latin America, especially in oil and energy,” said Lolavar. She noted that the region is still considered to be one of the most technologically sophisticated in term of oil production and exploration.
119 This ad is directed by Ladd Ehlinger, jr., who inevitably, in this interconnected universe, also puts in an appearance in “Andrew Breitbart: Psychosis in a Political Mask Part Two”.
At present, little is known of the circumstances which give birth to terrorists. The periodic reports issued by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (National Commission), for instance, are bereft of clues for diminishing terrorist recruits. Until this dearth of knowledge is overcome, the best way to handcuff terrorism is by killing, capturing and punishing terrorists period, with no commas, semicolons or question marks. To paraphrase Churchill on democracy, it is a poor counterterrorism policy, except for all others that have been imagined or attempted.
Al Qaeda and brother terrorists and sympathizers live in a demonic intellectual and moral world alien to western civilization. A substantial percentage daftly insists that September 11 was perpetrated by the CIA and Jews. Since reasoning is futile, killing, capturing and punishing is the only moral answer to the terrorism wickedness.
Under Dick Cheney, the office of the vice president has been transformed from a tiny acorn into an unprecedented giant oak. In grasping and exercising presidential powers, Cheney has dulled political accountability and concocted theories for evading the law and Constitution that would have embarrassed King George III. The most recent invention we know of is the vice president’s insistence that an executive order governing the handling of classified information in the executive branch does not reach his office because he also serves as president of the Senate. In other words, the vice president is a unique legislative-executive creature standing above and beyond the Constitution. The House judiciary committee should commence an impeachment inquiry. As Alexander Hamilton advised in the Federalist Papers, an impeachable offense is a political crime against the nation. Cheney’s multiple crimes against the Constitution clearly qualify.
The vice president initiated kidnappings, secret detentions, and torture in Eastern European prisons of suspected international terrorists. This lawlessness has been answered in Germany and Italy with criminal charges against CIA operatives or agents. The legal precedent set by Cheney would justify a decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to kidnap American tourists in Paris and to dispatch them to dungeons in Belarus if they were suspected of Chechen sympathies.
The vice president has maintained that the entire world is a battlefield. Accordingly, he contends that military power may be unleashed to kill or capture any American citizen on American soil if suspected of association or affiliation with al-Qaida. Thus, Mr. Cheney could have ordered the military to kill Jose Padilla with rockets, artillery, or otherwise when he landed at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, because of Padilla’s then-suspected ties to international terrorism.
From “Libertarian Bum Fights” by Mark Ames, whose starting off point is a split between Fein and Glenn Greenwald; Fein was, at the time, the lawyer for Edward Snowden’s father and had made a public warning about Snowden becoming too close to characters such as Greenwald and Assange:
Let’s leave aside the crazy and partly-substantiated basis for their “concern” — a deal Greenwald and WikiLeaks reportedly cut with NBC to arrange an exclusive interview with Snowden in Moscow, which came with either a $1,000,000 price tag demand (according to the Feins) or a $50,000 price tag (according to Greenwald). Whatever their unseemly squabbles over access to a high-value asset like Edward Snowden, what I find more interesting is what all the parties in this squabble share in common: their GOP libertarian politics, and their mutual adoration for celebrity father-son libertarians Ron and Rand Paul: Bruce Fein served as “senior legal advisor” for Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign; Edward Snowden donated to Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign; Julian Assange announced last week that he’s “a big admirer of Ron and Rand Paul”; and although Glenn Greenwald is slightly more coy about it, he too is a longtime defender and promoter of both Ron Paul and Rand Paul and the GOP libertarian politics that they espouse.
The squabbling Edward Snowden suitors share more than their mutual adoration for the Paul dynasty. Last year, Glenn Greenwald and Bruce Fein did two major college campus tours together, one in winter 2012, and another in autumn 2012. The Greenwald-Fein tours were by sponsored by two pro-Ron Paul libertarian outfits: Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), a Ron PaulJugend outfit; and the Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF), a libertarian outfit specializing in publishing far-right “historical revisionism” about who’s really to blame for the Civil War and World War II, along with the usual libertarian drivel attacking public schools, civil rights laws, social welfare programs, and regulations on the tobacco industry.
122 A timeline of the Scott Rothstein story can be found at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, “Timeline: Key dates in the life of attorney Scott Rothstein”. A good quick overview of the case is the accompanying text to an Investigation Discovery program, “Case Profile: Scott Rothstein”. The guilty plea of Kim Wendell, Rothstein’s former wife, to hiding over a million dollars in jewelry from the federal government is described in “Kim Rothstein Will Plead Guilty to Felony Charge” by Chris Joseph. The best journalism, easily, on the Rothstein story is by Bob Norman and is too numerous to give full space to here. They include “Inside the Rothstein Swindle, Part I” and “Inside the Rothstein Swindle, Part II”, an interview with Rothstein when things fell apart, “Pulp Has Sit-Down With Scott Rothstein”, and his series of Kim Wendell, “The Courtship of Kim Rothstein”, “Kimberly Wendell: The Early Days”, “Kimberly Wendell: The Early Days Part II”, and “Kimberly Wendell: The Early Days Part III”. The details on Rothstein’s watches can be found at “Scott Rothstein Ponzi Scheme Watch Collection To Hit Auction Block on July 13”.
I am being chauffeured around Miami in one of Stone’s five Jaguars. At the wheel is A-Mill, his 23-year-old driver/computer whiz/all-around Boy Friday. A-Mill looks like he’d fight as a featherweight, but Stone says looks can be deceiving. One late night, when they were walking across a strip-club parking lot together, two large gentlemen tried to mug them. A-Mill reached into his boot, pulled out a blade, and slashed one of them across the face, causing both assailants to run. “Watch this guy,” says Stone. “He’s a killer.”
From Toobin’s “The Dirty Trickster”:
After our lunch, Stone summoned his chauffeur-driven Jaguar-he owned four Jaguars at the time-to take us downtown, so that he could walk me through the events that concluded the Miami recount. On November 21, 2000, the Florida Supreme Court gave Gore an important victory by ruling that the deadline for recounts would be extended to November 26th.
On the lavish life, from “The Dirty Trickster”:
The partners made their money by charging blue-chip corporate clients such as Ronald Perelman’s MacAndrews & Forbes and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. large fees to lobby their former campaign colleagues, many of whom had moved into senior posts in the new Administration. There were also less savory clients-Zaire’s Mobuto Sese Seko, Angola’s UNITA rebels, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos. Stone and his wife at the time, Ann, became famous for their lavish life style, which included a chauffeur-driven Mercedes and tailor-made clothes. They threw raucous parties for no reason or for almost no reason, like Calvin Coolidge’s birthday.
125 From her Facebook page:
127 From “Roger Stone, adviser to Carl Paladino, owes $400,000 in taxes” (archived) by Brendan Scott and Frederic U. Dicker:
ALBANY — Roger Stone, a key adviser to Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, owes Uncle Sam more than $400,000 in unpaid taxes, The Post has found.
The Internal Revenue Service filed a $405,035 lien for unpaid income taxes against the consultant — one of politics’ most notorious dirty tricksters — and his wife, Nydia, last fall in Dade County Circuit Court in Florida, records show.
The debt makes Stone the second high-profile Paladino adviser to run afoul of the taxman. Paladino’s campaign manager, Stone protégé Michael Caputo, recently admitted to a federal tax debt topping $52,000, although he says he’s paid back all but $9,302.
A source close to Stone said the nattily dressed operative has been suffering from “widespread money problems” in the wake of the collapse of his partnership with Fort Lauderdale mega-scammer, Scott Rothstein.
“Roger likes to give the appearance that he’s wealthy, but it’s far from the truth,” the source said.
From “Dicking Fred Dicker” by Roger Stone:
In today’s New York Post Fred Dicker reports that my wife and I have a $405,000 tax lien from the IRS which pertains to our 2006 taxes. What Fred is well aware of and didn’t report is that the matter is in dispute and an appeal has been filed with a hearing scheduled in 90 days! Fred never lets the facts get in the way of a good tabloid story.
Generally despised by his colleagues in the Press for his healthy disregard for facts and careful omissions when promoting his agenda, Dicker’s has taken up the cudgel for Democrat Andrew Cuomo in this year’s race for Governor. When I had lunch with Dicker in Miami last year, I was surprised when he punched Andrew up on his speed dial of his cell phone and handed the phone over so Andrew could say hello. The aging Dicker’s influence is over-stated. His popular Albany based radio show is listened to by Albany political insiders but few voters. His newspaper reaches thousands of down-scale New Yorkers very few of whom are voters. As the old media dies, Dicker’s influence dies with it. Fred can dish it but he can’t take it. Notoriously thin-skinned and pompous, he uses the typical tactics of the bully. Few have the belly to stand up to him. Until now.
Excerpted scans from past liens:
Roger Stone strolls into Oliver’s, his favorite neighborhood joint on West Avenue. His broad face is bronzed, his slightly conical head topped by blondish-white curls, his eyes shaded by hugely oversize round shades. With his prominent ears and thin nose, he bears no small resemblance to Prince Charles.
Yet something is off. Just three years ago, Stone was riding high — a penthouse office in Fort Lauderdale, a waterfront mansion, even a New Yorker cover story by Jeffrey Toobin that lingered on Stone’s wardrobe of more than 100 designer suits and his four chauffeured Jaguars. (Not to mention the tattoo of Richard Nixon’s face on his back.)
Today, the mansion has been sold, and if Stone drove to lunch, his car is inconspicuous. He’s even wearing a blue polo shirt and khakis.
Has Stone fallen on hard times? The public record indicates as much: After getting tangled up with Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, Stone faces a $400,000 IRS lien and is being sued over a $25,000 credit card bill. And for the first time, he’s throwing his name into a local race in his adopted hometown.
But anyone who takes those facts to mean Stone is broke is dead wrong, he says. “Like a lot of Floridians, I have debt,” he says. “But I also have plenty of income.”
SACRAMENTO — Two women fighting for control of a tiny tribe that plans a 2,000-slot casino in rural Northern California have settled their differences after four years of legal wrangling, ending a dispute that spawned a frenetic Washington lobbying blitz and helped to bring down a Bush administration official.
Rhonda Morningstar Pope — a 34-year-old former bookkeeper and the tribe’s last adult blood heir — is assuming control of the Buena Vista Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians under a legal agreement signed last week. The tribe’s former chairwoman, Donnamarie Potts, has stepped aside, but she and her children remain members.
Potts, who didn’t return calls for comment, was backed by Cascade Entertainment Group, which spent millions in an attempt to build the casino. Her attorney also did not return calls.
Pope, though initially opposed to Indian gambling, eventually joined forces with Thomas Wilmot, a Rochester, N.Y., shopping mall developer now heavily involved with building Indian casinos.
Pope said Tuesday that she was forced by financial need to modify her stand and embrace a Buena Vista casino.
“I had to make some accommodation to achieve my goal of protecting the land,” Pope said, adding: “I had to be realistic. I couldn’t just get a second and third job to finance my legal fees.”
At first, Pope said, she agreed only to join with Wilmot to back a casino on land off the reservation, fearing that a huge gambling hall would desecrate a tiny tribal cemetery and other sacred sites on the reservation. With Wilmot’s backing, a large parcel nearby was bought as a potential casino site.
But with the legal fight dragging on and the federal government frowning on off-reservation casinos, Pope said she eventually decided to embrace the prospect of a gambling hall on the reservation — as long as she retained control over how it was built.
The turning point of the fight is described in “McCain: Process for tribal casino ‘wrong’” by Erica Weiner:
WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain, the new chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, said Thursday it was wrong to allow the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians to circumvent federal law to build a casino across the bay from San Francisco.
The Arizona Republican promised to hold hearings on a bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein that would block the 2,500-slot casino, which the tribe plans to build on nonreservation land.
“I think it was wrong the way that this tribe was allowed to do it. I don’t think that’s the proper process,” McCain told reporters outside a press conference. “How do we fix that, I’m not sure.”
The Lytton Band of Pomo Indians got the right to build the casino on the site of a San Pablo card room because of language inserted in a 2000 spending bill by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., that gave the land special federal trust status. Without Miller’s intervention, the tribe, which has no reservation of its own, would have had to go through a lengthy process of getting federal and state approval.
The legislation by Feinstein, D-Calif., would revoke the special trust status and require the tribe to go through the normal approval process, which can take years.
“Casino in Calif. could pay off for Katz, group” by Nathan Gorenstein and Thomas Fitzgerald describes the prominent support of Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter. I bold “A lobbyist for Katz and the Indians” – perhaps we might make guesses as to who this lobbyist was:
SAN PABLO, Calif. — It’s an imitation Moorish castle, out of place among the fried-chicken joints and taco stands across a bay from San Francisco, 2,800 miles from any polling place in Philadelphia.
But Philadelphia mayoral candidate Sam Katz and his 21 business partners – with a little help from Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum – are trying to turn the pinkish building into a Las Vegas-style casino for a tiny Indian tribe.
If it works out, the tribe stands to reap millions in profits from slot machines. So do Katz and his Philadelphia-area business partners.
Katz, who has never held public office but has worked as a financial consultant to cities and sports teams, was helping to launch the Florida Panthers’ professional hockey arena in 1996 when he met a Seminole Indian businessman.
That man, in turn, introduced Katz to the Lytton band of Pomo Indians.
The tiny California tribe wanted in on the Indian-gaming boom, and Katz agreed to help.
It took time to find a site that might work. Then the tribe and its backers settled on San Pablo.
In 2001, Reid tried to overturn the Lytton land measure. Feinstein sided with him.
That’s when Katz says he went to Santorum and Specter for help.
Mike Hershey, Santorum’s chief of staff, said, “Our Philly group [of investors] called on our office for help, and we facilitated a conversation with Reid.”
Santorum met privately with Reid, Hershey said, and then Reid met with the Lyttons.
A lobbyist for Katz and the Indians approached Sen. Specter, Katz said.
Specter said he got involved because “these were investors in Pennsylvania. That was my interest. . . . It doesn’t matter to me where their own investment was.”
Gambling and hotel tycoon Donald Trump, who spent millions of dollars hoping to develop and manage the state’s next Indian casino, has been dumped by the newly reunited Eastern Pequots, who instead want Southport golf course developer David A. Rosow.
Since last June, when the Eastern Pequots won federal recognition and the right to negotiate to open a casino in Connecticut, Rosow and Trump have been dueling behind the scenes, aligning with different tribal factions.
Both men had separate casino development contracts with tribal factions — Trump with the Paucatuck Eastern Pequots and Rosow with the Eastern Pequots. Under the new united federal tribe, Trump lost out because he was aligned with the smaller of the two Eastern Pequot groups.
The Easterns, whose two factions were united by the federal government last summer into a single tribe, recently announced a unified tribal council made up of nine Eastern Pequots and five Paucatuck Eastern Pequots. In a private vote, the council voted 8-4 in support of Rosow.
Trump told the New London Day last summer he wouldn’t walk away from Connecticut’s lucrative casino market without a fight.
“Nobody will get anything” if the Easterns oust him, Trump said, promising “very large, huge litigation.”
From “Schaghticoke and Eastern Pequot decisions reversed” by Gale Courey Toensing:
KENT, Conn. — In an unprecedented move, the BIA has reversed a pair of positive final determinations, rescinding the federal acknowledgement of two of the oldest Northeastern woodlands American Indian tribes in the country.
On Oct. 12, members of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation in Kent and those of the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation in North Stonington received faxes from the agency, announcing its reconsidered final determinations to rescind its decisions to grant either tribe federal acknowledgement.
BW: Why are you for prostitution, but were against casinos and expanded gambling in the state?
RS: No, she’s for casinos.
BW: No, you personally.
RS: I was against Indian casinos. Indians pay no taxes. Letting anyone have a casino based on the color of their skin I have a problem with. The 1988 Indian Gaming Act says that because they were a sovereign nation, because we stole their land, and shot a bunch of them, we [exempt] them.
I’m against that. Where are the African American casinos? We grabbed those guys in Africa and made them come here against their will and made them slaves. Where’s their redress?
The whole Indian gaming thing is a scam. It doesn’t filter down to individual Indians. It goes to a bunch of crooks at the top. I’m in favor of legalized casino gambling in New York.
The overweening and catastrophic power of the Stone/Caputo nexis on Paladino makes what you are about to read a Paladino story, not just another Barrett colonoscopy of Stone, who enjoys them so much he threw us a “half-truth” comment on a recent one. Now that Cuomo has agreed to debate his six opponents, Roger will have at least two candidates on the stage, Paladino and Manhattan Madam Kristin Davis. If Charles Barron proves to be just a stand-in for Al Sharpton, Roger, who orchestrated the Rev’s 2004 presidential campaign, could score a hat-trick.
Should a convicted felon like Davis be allowed to let it all hang out at a gubernatorial debate in a state that’s in a death spiral?
I have to admit that this Stone saga even shocks me, as familiar as I am with his four-decade career, rooted in his wasted youth inside the townhouse of Roy Cohn, the Al Pacino character in HBO’s Angels in America who was New York’s ultimate alleyway fixer and virtually fathered tender Roger in the ’70s and early ’80s.
Ridiculing Donald Trump – billionaire, presidential candidate, lounge lizard – has become so easy that it is no longer sporting. Doonesbury recently featured Trump squeezing a busty blonde and reciting his stump speech: “Biggest! Best! Me! It’s unbelievable! Biggest! Mine! Tallest! Biggest! Me!” The New York Times‘s Maureen Dowd described him as a “high-rolling plutocrat,” and the Weekly Standard called him a “Chump on the Stump.”
I have come west determined to be contrary: I will take the developer and his nascent presidential candidacy seriously. It isn’t easy.
First, there’s the problem of Pee-Wee. A Yorkshire terrier of slight proportions, Pee-Wee is the pet of Roger Stone, Trump’s political consultant and Stone’s wife, Nydia. The couple has placed Pee-Wee in a piece of luggage and taken him aboard Trump’s 727 for the California tour. But Pee-Wee proves to be a logistical nightmare for Trump’s Australian advance woman, Diane, who is overwhelmed by a 35-person press contingent. While Diane herds the journalists, the Yorkie escapes from his bag and runs wild on the press bus.
134 A fuller discussion of Michael Johns can be found in the post devoted to this chemical weapons incident, “Angola, Namibia, South Africa, and a Tea Party Leader”.
There is a special, grim irony in a former Peace Corps director’s lobbying on behalf of Third World oppressors. Joseph Blatchford, who ran the Peace Corps during the Nixon administration, now works for the firm O’Connor & Hannan. He has faced an uphill battle ever since he signed a $10,000-a-month contract to represent right-wing El Salvadoran president Alfredo “Freddy” Cristiani. “All we heard over and over was that he was a puppet of the death squads, a creature of millionaire coffee growers,” Blatchford says. That unfortunate reputation is due in part to the fact that Cristiani was the candidate of the right-wing ARENA party, which was founded by death-squad mastermind Roberto D’Aubisson and supported by millionaire coffee growers. Blatchford’s challenge: convincing Washington that “Cristiani is a good guy,” even as his government’s military forces continue to gun down civilians.
“3 Journalists Killed, 1 Injured During Election” by Gregory Katz:
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Three journalists were killed and another seriously injured in an escalation of violence that marred the Salvadoran presidential election.
The first incident came late Saturday night when Roberto Navas, 30, a photographer for the British news agency Reuters, was shot dead near an air force base in Ilopango, just outside the capital of San Salvador. His colleague, photographer Luis Galdamez, was seriously injured in the attack.
Douglas Farah, president of the El Salvador Press Corps Association, said the two were shot in the back by air force personnel after they identified themselves as journalists and tried to leave a roadblock.
On Election Day, Mauricio Pineda, 26, a sound technician with Salvadoran TV Channel 12, was killed at an army roadblock near the city of San Miguel.
The third journalist to die was Cornelio Lagrow, a photographer with Dutch television, who was shot down in a helicopter while traveling with leftist guerrillas who were caught in a firefight with the army.
When other journalists tried to bring Lagrow to a hospital in a car marked PRESS, the vehicle was strafed by helicopter fire that slowed its progress to the hospital, said Bill Gentile, a Newsweek photographer who tried to rescue Lagrow.
After investigating the killing and meeting with army officials, Farah said he was outraged by the helicopter attack.
“Lagrow was with the rebels and it`s unfortunate that he was caught in a cross fire but that happens,” Farah said. “But for the military to strafe a car that was clearly marked press and force the car to stop while they were rushing to the hospital is murder. He might have lived if he hadn`t had to stop.”
A contemporary report of the killing of the six priests is “Troops Blamed in Killing of Jesuits” by Marjorie Miller:
MEXICO CITY – Salvadoran President Alfredo Cristiani announced Sunday night that members of the government armed forces committed the Nov. 16 slayings of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter at their Central American University residence in San Salvador.
In a nationally televised address, Cristiani said a military board of inquiry has been formed to further investigate the case, which has drawn international condemnation and threats from U.S. Congress members to cut off American aid.
“It has been determined that some elements of the armed forces were involved,” Cristiani said.
The president, however, did not say how many members of the military might be implicated or what rank they hold. He did not offer any specifics.
A source close to the investigation said that 45 members of the elite Atlacatl Battalion have been confined to their quarters and that some of them were called before the new military board to testify on Sunday.
From Caputo’s bio page on his website:
Communications Director for the Council for Inter-American Security in Washington, DC and Central America
Drove civic and military public affairs programs on-the-ground in Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica in support of Reagan’s regional foreign policy initiatives * Advised Alfredo Cristiani in his successful bid for the presidency of El Salvador * Wrote op-ed articles and served as spokesman on more than 150 live radio talk show interviews and debates
The announcement of the suit by the APHDE against Cristiani is at their site, “Suit Against Salvadoran ex-president Cristiani for Jesuit massacre, on eve of SOA protest”. This is the case summary (PDF).
Michael R. Caputo, The Washington Post
Just ‘cuz his name isn’t immediately recognizable doesn’t make Caputo any less evil. This guy was the spin doctor behind Yeltsin’s reelection campaign in 96. As if subjecting Russia to the horror of that post-quadruple bypass pig shaking it with a Rostov pop band wasn’t bad enough, greaseball Caputo gets to brag at Beltway cocktail parties that Jeff Goldblum played him in Spinning Boris. And now the Post handed him a chance to act righteous, condemning Russia as a criminal state! About the oligarchs (whom he has no doubt pulled the trigger on Paul), Caputo says, “Hellbent on getting rich, they have no boundaries. Raised in a communist world devoid of morals, they have no soul.” Yikes! That thar’s some perty strong language. But what about Caputo’s soul?
We remind you that the ’96 elections introduced the criminal concept of “loans-for-shares” to Russia. While Caputo didn’t personally introduce this novel concept that further consolidated power and wealth into the oligarchs hands, he was certainly getting paid by the money it generated. Likewise, the blackout of information about Zhuganov’s campaign might not have been his idea, but it went hand in hand with the avalanche of pro-Yeltsin PR that Caputo and his cohorts launched. Any way you look at it, the campaign was totally illegal and anti-democratic, and Caputo played a huge role in it.
Nor are his sins concentrated on a single event. In ’01, Caputo’s company Rainmaker Interactive signed a contract reportedly worth between $50-$100 million with GazProm Media, which was then in the process of taking over NTV. His mission? To convince folks in DC that the seizure of Russia’s only independent TV station was a legitimate business move and had nothing to do with politics. No boundaries, Michael, no soul? Apparently Russian oligarchs aren’t the only ones hellbent on getting rich. Funny how back then he wasn’t too critical of the “brutal criminals [who] still run amok in Russia, operating with impunity and no fear of prosecution.”
From “From San Diego to Moscow: George Gorton’s Strange and Wild Assignments” by Kelly Bennett:
For Nixon, Gorton oversaw campaign staffers in 38 states. Among his tasks: learn more about antiwar activists that were holding a peace vigil in front of the White House and find out if there were plans for violent protests at the Republican National Convention in Miami.
He paid Theodore Brill, a 20-year-old George Washington University student, $150 a week to go undercover and infiltrate the group. The payments to Brill were reportedly made in cash and checks from Gorton’s personal account and weren’t included in campaign disclosures.
Along the campaign trail, fellow staffers handed Gorton sheets of paper folded in half with his name on the bottom. That way, he could sign them, authorize something, and never know what it was.
Watergate’s dark pall finally spread directly to Gorton in March 1973 when he got a call from Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward.
The front-page story that ran on March 11 titled “GW Student Spied for GOP,” under the famous byline of Woodward and Carl Bernstein named the 25-year-old Gorton as the man who hired and paid a local student to spy on activists.
“Spying is a funny way to describe” what Brill did, Gorton told the Post, but admitted the clandestine operation was the only way to get information on the activists. “It was a part of my job to know what all of youth was thinking,” Gorton tried to convince Woodward.
On Pete Wilson and Proposition 187:
Gorton, Wilson’s political architect, searched for a tough issue to press Brown on, and he found one: immigration. Its manifestation: Wilson’s support for Proposition 187. The initiative, which ran parallel to the governor’s race in 1994, denied social services, health care and education to illegal immigrants. It wasn’t a tough choice, Gorton says; time and again, it was the resounding issue that came out of focus groups.
Wilson’s campaign concocted threatening and dark commercials featuring immigrants crossing the border.
In the end, Gorton orchestrated a remarkable turnaround. Wilson won by 19 percentage points. The feat landed him the MVP award from the American Association of Political Consultants.
That Stone recommended Theodore Brill to CREEP is known through the opening of Jacob Weisberg’s “State of the Art Sleazeball,” excerpted in “A Political Operative’s Career: ‘The Stone Zone’” by Danny Hakim. The links, as noted, are dead; the original profile has disappeared from the web:
Perhaps the most detailed, if negative, account of Mr. Stone’s early years is “State-of-the-Art Sleazebag,” a Dec. 9, 1985, profile in The New Republic by Jacob Weisberg, now the editor of Slate. The profile reports:
He says he became a Republican at age 12, after a neighbor in Norwalk, Conn., gave him a copy of Barry Goldwater”s “Conscience of a Conservative.” Stone was devastated by Goldwater’s defeat, but remained fully devoted to the party, rising through the ranks of youth groups like Teenage Republicans, College Republicans, Young Republicans, and the Young Americans for Freedom. As a 19-year-old student at George Washington University, Stone was the youngest Watergate dirty trickster. On orders from Creep boss Bart Porter, Stone hired Michael McMinoway — known as “Sedan Chair II” — to infiltrate the McGovern campaign and report back. Using the pseudonym “Jason Rainier,” Stone made contributions to the New Hampshire McCloskey campaign in the name of supposed left-wing groups like Young Socialist Alliance. He then sent the receipts along with an anonymous letter to The Manchester Union-Leader. He also recommended that Creep hire a fellow student named Theodore Brill, who was subsequently paid $130 a week to spy on “radical groups.” Stone says the ideas for this “kid stuff” — none of which was actually illegal at the time — emanated from Charles Colson, and that if he had refused to do it, Creep would have fired him and gotten someone else.
137 From “Moscow Journal;The Americans Who Saved Yeltsin (Or Did They?)” by Alessandra Stanley:
The Americans spoke no Russian and had no working experience in Russia. They communicated through a translator. They were paid $250,000. But as they tell it, until they arrived, the Russian campaign was as hopelessly out-of-date as the medieval knights who were bedazzled by modern American know-how in the Mark Twain novel “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.
Georgi A. Satarov, Mr. Yeltsin’s chief political adviser and a veteran of many parliamentary and presidential campaigns, was wryly amused by the consultants’ spin. “We crafted an anti-Communist message without any help from American advisers,” he said. “In fact, we decided on it in January. I myself was involved in that, because we needed to declassify photographs and film footage from the national archives.”
He added, “It’s like saying it would never have occurred to us to use the mass media in our campaign.”
Mr. Satarov, like other top campaign advisers, is well versed in Western campaign techniques, in part thanks to programs and seminars financed by the United States Agency for International Development. He said he had no direct dealings with the American consultants, and was only dimly aware of their existence during the campaign.
The American reporters who covered Yeltsin’s 1996 election were skeptical about the influence these Pete Wilson (“A strong voice for America”) veterans had on the Yeltsin (“I believe. I love. I hope. Boris Yeltsin”) campaign, but Hollywood took notice, and an HBO movie about them is slated for January 1998. If Gorton’s comments to the Sacramento Bee are any indication, it is sure to be dramatic: “Russia needs democracy…. I would be remiss in my duty to mankind if I didn’t use every political consulting trick I could think of to keep what I felt was a great evil from returning to mankind.” Maybe so, but his share of the $250,000 fee didn’t hurt.
From “Battling Oligarchs and Parkinson’s: The Great Resurrections of George Gorton” by Kelly Bennett:
The consultants found that voters were very resistant to change. No matter how bad things were, they feared they could get worse. They preferred very slow change to the risk of sudden change.
And they were afraid of civil unrest if they elected a new government.
“My guy was drunk, corrupt. It was bad vs. evil,” Gorton says.
139 From “Guv’s race: A closer look at Roger, Carl, skeletons and closets (Corrected)*” by Michael Amon:
Caputo said Stone gave him a place to sleep and a job after a nasty divorce and a financial meltdown in 2003.
“If you are his friend, there is nothing he won’t do for you,” Caputo says of Stone. “And if you are his enemy there is nothing he won’t do to you.”
On August 6th, someone whose voice sounded a great deal like Stone’s left a message on the office answering machine of Bernard Spitzer, the governor’s eighty-three-year-old father. The caller referred to a possible investigation of loans made by the elder Spitzer to his son’s campaigns. “If you resist this subpoena, you will be arrested and brought to Albany,” said the caller, who went on, “And there is not a goddam thing your phony, psycho, piece-of-shit son can do about it.” Private detectives hired by Bernard Spitzer traced the call to Stone’s wife’s telephone, but Stone, however implausibly, denied leaving the message. At first, he claimed that on the night of the call he had been attending the Broadway show “Frost/Nixon,” but there was no performance that evening. Stone also suggested that his landlord, a Spitzer supporter, had set him up, or that a standup comedian and impressionist had imitated his voice. As a result of the controversy, Stone had to relinquish his position with the State Senate Republicans.
“They caught Roger red-handed lying,” Donald Trump said. “What he did was ridiculous and stupid. I lost respect for Eliot Spitzer when he didn’t sue Roger Stone for doing that to his father, who is a wonderful man.”
Stone told the Sun he was at the play Frost/Nixon when the call was allegedly made and said, “I have been accused of a lot of things but being dumb is not one of them.” And he told the Post, “I don’t deny that the phone number is mine but fabricating my voice would be exceedingly easy. Give me a f- – -ing break. This is the ultimate dirty trick and the kind of terror tactic Spitzer used in the Attorney General’s Office.”
141 From “Meet the Leader of Eliot Spitzer’s Smear Campaign” by Alex Gibney:
The tale of the Luv Gov’s black socks was originally penned by Roger Stone, the amanuensis of the dark side and perhaps the Republican Party’s best-dressed and most ruthless dirty trickster. He first introduced the hosiery motif in a letter he claims his lawyer — Paul Rolf Jensen — sent to the FBI, as a story heard, second-hand, from an off-work call girl at an “adult-themed club.” (Don’t you just love the detail?)
Problem #1: The FBI never received the letter from Stone. Problem #2: Stone’s letter — dated prior to Spitzer’s downfall — only surfaced after Spitzer’s downfall, leading some to wonder (because of problem #1 and because the address and the name of the agent/addressee were blacked out) if his letter had been back-dated to make it look as though he had sent it before the scandal. Problem #3: Mainstream media outlets all over the world — including the NY Times and the Miami Herald — give credence to the black socks story, even though it was based on a rumor or hallucination originated by Stone.
His latest confection is Kristen Davis, a convicted madam who spent four months in Rikers Island for running a prostitution ring. From his New York apartment, Stone is masterminding her campaign for governor of New York on a pot and prostitution platform. Now, I’m all for that platform. But Stone’s real reason for backing her (my unproven hunch is that the money for her campaign may be coming from Stone’s “wealthy Republicans”) is likely that he can get her to make fallacious claims about Spitzer.
For example, Davis says Spitzer was abusive to her escorts and used her service “dozens, maybe hundreds of times.” Hmmm. Colorful detail. However, the NY District Attorney’s office — who confiscated all of Davis’s records and prosecuted and convicted the experienced madam — says that there is absolutely no evidence that Spitzer ever used Davis’s escorts. If, as Davis says, Spitzer had used her service “hundreds of times,” he would have had to have himself cloned. Spitzer staffers did joke that Spitzer’s temper tantrums marked the appearance of his “evil twin Irwin.” Maybe Irwin wore the black socks in the family.
But importantly for Stone, Davis continues to “confirm” the black socks story. According to her, Spitzer was determined to keep them on for every one of his dates. Sound credible? “No, no, don’t touch my knee-high black socks. They are precious to me!” Not a chance. But the story is so much salacious fun that papers print it anyway. There are 37,500 Google hits for “black socks eliot spitzer.” And outlets like the NY Post and Fox News — ideologically hostile to Spitzer — treat the story as Holy Writ.
Just a few days ago, on Fox’s show “Follow the Money,” the host, rock-jawed former trader Eric Bolling, invited Stone, Ms. Davis, and Curtis Sliwa on an objective “panel” to bash Spitzer on the day his new CNN show appeared. I sensed a set-up and declined to participate, but Peter Elkind gamely agreed, only to be left in the green room because of “technical difficulties,” according to Fox. That meant that there was no one to offer a few facts that might contradict Stone’s pulp fiction. Leave it to Roger, though. Since I wasn’t there, he attacked me anyway, dipping his pen into the old Nazi inkpot, comparing me to “Leni Riefenstahl.”
The key campaign adviser to Republican gubernato rial candidate Carl Paladino once attacked and injured an attorney who was working as his aide in what a police source described as a “domestic incident,” the upstate woman has claimed.
The alleged assault by Roger Stone against Lora Como, 40, a former employee of the state Senate, occurred inside his Chelsea apartment last Thanksgiving weekend and left her with bruised ribs, Como told The Post.
Como, who sources said had been involved in a relationship with Stone, said she filed a formal complaint about the alleged assault with the 13th Precinct in Manhattan.
A high-level law-enforcement source confirmed that Como’s “domestic incident” complaint was filed and is retained in Police Department records.
“He threw me to the ground and bruised my ribs. He was hostile and menacing and I wanted him arrested for assault and I went to the police,” said Como, who state payroll records show worked as a Senate research analyst from September 2006 to April 2009.
Stone, who is married, acknowledged that he had a major disagreement with Como at his apartment, but denied her version of the events.
“When I asked [her] to leave she became irate. I completely reject her assertion that I ever hit her or abused her in any physical way,” Stone said.
That Michael Johns was part of the campaign is mentioned in “A campaign as chaotic as its candidate” by Jimmy Vielkind:
This philosophy has dovetailed neatly with the disposition of some of the groups that fueled Paladino’s successful primary effort, like the Tea Party-affiliated groups around the state who have devoured the red meat he’s thrown them and clamored for more. Paladino has been only too happy to oblige: from the start, he had Jennifer Bernstone on staff to coordinate outreach to Tea Party groups. Another coordinator, Michael Johns, was brought in later.
The involvement of Dianne Thorne and Andrew Miller is in “Carl Paladino: The Dirty Details in His Campaign Filings” [archive link] by Wayne Barrett:
Another Paladino filing is due by the end of the week, but look at what the prior submissions contain:
*Two companies controlled by Stone’s secretary Dianne Thorne, and registered out of her Miami apartment, have received a total of $84,320 so far from the campaign. The payments started in March, shortly after the campaign also made the first of $17,000 in payments to Thorne’s stepson, Andrew Miller, who listed a St. Peters, Missouri address. Miller was confounded when the Times told him he’d actually appeared on the payroll for four months longer than he was aware. Thorne, down on the beach, was described as Paladino’s “scheduler.” She actually once had a company registered out of the same address called Hype LLC.
The strange double duty of Andrew Miller in both the Kristin Davis and the Carl Paladino campaigns is brought up in a New York Times piece devoted to the strange involvement of Roger Stone in both campaigns, “Opposing Campaigns, With One Unlikely Link” by Danny Hakim:
So why do these two candidates on opposite ends of the political spectrum have so much campaign DNA in common?
There are actually a myriad of overlapping ties between the two campaigns, and they all can be traced back to one man: Roger J. Stone Jr., the flamboyant Republican operative who has a large tattoo of Richard Nixon’s head on his back.
Mr. Stone is working pro bono as Ms. Davis’s campaign strategist, while his longtime assistant, Diane Thorne, is working as Mr. Paladino’s scheduler. Ms. Thorne’s stepson is Andrew Miller, Ms. Davis’s campaign manager. And while working pro bono for Ms. Davis, Mr. Miller was paid nearly $17,000 by the Paladino campaign in the first half of the year, a highly unusual arrangement.
Further, Mr. Paladino hired his campaign manager, Michael Caputo, and his pollster, Tony Fabrizio, at Mr. Stone’s recommendation — Mr. Caputo is a longtime protégé of Mr. Stone who once served as his driver.
Mr. Stone himself has been boosting Mr. Paladino behind the scenes while officially advising Ms. Davis.
“It’s pretty simple; I made an antecedent commitment to help Kristin Davis, but she’s a protest candidate,” Mr. Stone said in an interview. “Paladino on the other hand has a chance to be elected governor, and I’d like to see him win. I support him, and I make no bones about that.”
Later, there would be complaints that Paladino had shortchanged his staffers. Paladino would write a letter giving his perspective that many of the staffers had been scamming him. Here is the letter, published in “Paladino vs. the Buffalo News” by Geoff Kelly:
The March 12, 2011 the Buffalo News front-page headline story “Paladino campaign reneges on debts” was apparently more important to its spineless publisher, editor and reporter than the tragic nuclear meltdown in Japan. The unsubstantiated, libelous and defamatory lies and fabrications illustrating the malicious and hostile intent of the News will not go unanswered.
My campaign owes nothing to Michael Caputo or his band of parasitic malcontents against whom we have defenses, offsets or counterclaims. None were employees. All were independent contractors on nebulous oral agreements made without authority by Caputo. Their plan was to see what they could rip off before they get caught.
Michael Johns was retained to study and produce a get-out-the vote plan utilizing Tea Party volunteers. He conspired to change the terms of his oral contract and got caught. He was paid in advance over $18,000 for two months of services and expenses. His bill for $8,000 is more than offset by our claim for services and work product never rendered.
Caputo retained Tim Suereth, who we knew as Tim Smith, without authority for $12,000/mo as a driver and general utility person until I discovered that bills from a company named Sea Odessey were from him. We paid him $31,912.23 for two and one half months work. He only drove me 2 or 3 times before I recognized that he was reckless. His wife was our relentless scheduler/jack of all trades who did a great job for us. Suereth’s claim for expenses of $6,300 pales against our claim for amounts paid fraudulently including the cost of moving Caputo’s pleasure boat from Florida to Albany.
It’s the same basic story for the rest. People with legitimate campaign obligations were paid in full. The scam artists can sue us. The News is not our judge and jury.
The News let itself be used in what is obviously an attempt at blackmail.
My companies and I pay all our legitimate bills.
143 From “The Kristin Davis Post-Election Party: Pretty Much What You’d Expect” by Brianna Strange:
If you ever played intramural sports or wished you were the quarterback, this is your scene. “I’m the worst candidate because I don’t have anything to lose,” Davis said. A guy wearing a fedora, Andrew Miller, looked like he belonged in South Beach. Miller is Davis’s campaign manager and Roger Stone’s protégé from St. Louis.
Roger Stone waltzed through the door with a busty, redhead who was clad in a tight, high-waisted skirt and a white cap-sleeved shirt. This is Kat. Kat (see Stone at NYC’s Gay Pride Parade) said she is an instructor at a gym. She actually teaches foreplay, but that’s cool, too. Kat mentioned her work on Davis’s campaign. Stone, Miller, Davis and crew work out of Stone’s apartment-cum-office. “I’m just the typist,” Kat giggled.
Kat is Kat ForTra; from “Paladino aide had gay old time” by Brendan Scott:
ALBANY — Maybe it’s a good thing Carl Paladino skipped the Gay Pride Parade — his aide went, and got a real earful!
Roger Stone, a key adviser to the Republican gubernatorial candidate — who called the parade “disgusting” — not only went to the march, but joined in the festivities, doffing his shirt and getting his ear licked by a bosomy, nearly naked babe.
A photo from the event shows a blasé-looking Stone taking his licking from the all-but-topless, body-painted beauty in stride.
Another shot shows Stone returning the favor by closing in to kiss one of the strategically placed rainbow-colored stars on the sparkle-covered mammaries of his fellow marcher, who was identified by the Broward-Palm Beach New Times as “fitness model” Kat ForTra.
Everyone who has contacted me about the flyer has been disgusted by it, and one reader noted it landed in his mail box the same day as a flyer supporting Kristen Davis, the Anti-Prohibition Party candidate. The two mailers share the same postal permit. Redlich was not seeking coverage of this, and we abided by his request to redact his home address.
“It’s an absolute disgrace,” he said. “Nothing I’ve ever written would qualify me as a sexual predator more than it would qualify William Shakespeare as a sexual predatorJI think discussing what I wrote is attacking the victim. The fact that I think the Miley Cyrus story was overblown does not make me a predator, and it’s not even close.”
I asked Roger Stone, a self-avowed political dirty trickster and Davis’ campaign manager, if he knew about the mailer. (The sex predator flier came from a group called “People for a Safer New York” that I can’t find a record for.)
“I’ve seen both mailers, I think that they’re both accurate. People for a Safer New York is called a first amendment group,” Stone told me by phone. “I’m in touch with them. Who are they? They’re a first amendment organization I urged them to do this, this is a first amendment issue.”
He defended the flier, even though he declined to claim credit for it when I asked him. (Or otherwise characterize how heavily involved with this he is.)
“Let’s be very clear: everything here is 100 percent legal, everything here is 100 percent accurate,” Stone said. “As somebody who has two granddaughters, I really find Redlich’s advocacy and defense of sex with underrate girls disgusting and repugnant, and voters need to know about it prior to voting on Tuesday.”
“Let’s be very clear: everything here is 100 percent legal, everything here is 100 percent accurate,” Stone said. “As somebody who has two granddaughters, I really find Redlich’s advocacy and defense of sex with underrate girls disgusting and repugnant, and voters need to know about it prior to voting on Tuesday.”
The exact circulation is not known; Redlich estimates a few hundred went out, and he’s gotten calls from around the state. Redlich said “no comment” about taking legal action.
“I don’t want this story spread because I have children,” Redlich said on the radio. “Let’s be clear about my sick alternative lifestyle: I’ve been married for 15 years, I have two children, I live in suburbia on a cul de sac and my kids go to public school.”
147 An overview of Paladino’s emails can be found in “NY Gubernatorial Candidate Carl Paladino’s Racist and Sexist Email History” (NSFW). On a consultant’s reaction to the Paladino emails, from “Paladino’s Boys” by Reid Pillifant:
And, like Yeltsin, Mr. Paladino brought rather significant personal liabilities to the race–in his case, a series of distasteful emails he had forwarded that include bestiality, the N-word and racist jokes about President Obama.
“With those emails out there, he’s clearly unelectable,” said one veteran consultant, who speculated that the team that’s having so much fun fighting alongside Mr. Paladino might also be taking the wealthy developer–who has pledged to spend $10 million of his $150 million fortune –for a ride.
The details on Paladino’s anti-gay speech and quackquackgate can be found in “Paladino Laces Speech With Antigay Remarks” by Elizabeth A. Harris:
The Republican candidate for governor, Carl P. Paladino, told a gathering in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on Sunday that children should not be “brainwashed” into thinking that homosexuality was acceptable, and criticized his opponent, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, for marching in a gay pride parade earlier this year.
Addressing Orthodox Jewish leaders, Mr. Paladino described his opposition to same-sex marriage.
“I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option — it isn’t,” he said, reading from a prepared address, according to a video of the event.
And then, to applause at Congregation Shaarei Chaim, he said: “I didn’t march in the gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.” Newsday.com reported that Mr. Paladino’s prepared text had included the sentence: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” But Mr. Paladino omitted the sentence in his speech.
The back-and-forth between the two campaigns took a strange turn late on Sunday, when Mr. Caputo suggested that, on Aug. 20, a Cuomo staff member had referred to two gay male aides to Mr. Paladino as “girls.” The aides were accompanying a Paladino volunteer dressed in a duck costume, and blowing duck calls, to call attention to what the Paladino campaign said was Mr. Cuomo’s habit of ducking issues.
According to Mr. Caputo, the aides were approached by the Cuomo staff member and told: “If you girls don’t get out of here I’m going to shove those duck calls down your throats.”
Mr. Caputo said the encounter was “likely a hate crime since the Cuomo staffer clearly referenced their sexuality in his threat.” The Cuomo campaign did not respond late Sunday.
The classic moment between Paladino and Ti Hua Chang can be found in Wayne Barrett’s “Carl Paladino: The Dirty Details in His Campaign Filings” [archive link]:
Caputo’s blog post said he was returning to Buffalo to sell insurance with his father, but in fact the Tea Partier and new wife Maryna are trying to start The Roycroft Tea Company, embroiled in litigation over their attempt to sell “high quality organic loose leaf tea” but blessed with a recently granted permit by Buffalo authorities. Maryna used to be Marina Ponomarenko, a Ukrainian beauty he met there in 2007, and on their boating honeymoon in 2009, he reported that she was constantly working on her immigration papers while Caputo piloted her to Paladinoland. The contradictions of personal and public life apparently never hit home with guys like Caputo, who is now piloting the virulently anti-immigrant Paladino. Caputo’s candidate challenged Fox reporter and native American Ti Hua Chang in a recent interview with the question: “You’re not an illegal immigrant, are you?”
The confrontation between Paladino and Dicker is described in “Paladino Unhinged: Smackdown at the Sagamore With Post‘s Fred U. Dicker”:
Michael Caputo, Paladino campaign manager, is heard warning Dicker about the hand. “Fred, fingers don’t belong here.”
It is too late, however. The two are in a school yard stand-off, cameras rolling.
“I have a daughter” shouts Paladino.
“You brought it out,” says Dicker, the hand still waving.
Caputo jumps between them. “Fred, that’s it.” He tries to push the Post reporter away.
“Stay away from me,” barks Fred, his chin jutting towards the candidate, stepping in closer, a classic boxing move to steal a foe’s breathing space. “What evidence do you have?”
Paladino steps back. His finger goes up in warning.
“Do you have the evidence or do you not?” continues Dicker. “He’s the attorney general of the State of New York!”
“Yes and you’re his stalking horse! You’re his bird dog.”
They are circling now, Caputo still trying to push Dicker back.
Now comes the Republican’s tough shot:
“You send another goon to my daughter’s house and I’ll take you out, buddy!”
The nearly empty conference room from “Madam Kristin Goes to Albany” by Molly Young:
At the hotel in Albany, Ms. Davis changed into a skirt suit and 5-inch platform heels with black satin bows. The conference room, with 20 chairs facing a lectern, was empty. Andrew Miller grimly adjusted his tie. At the designated hour only seven people had shown up, four of whom were associated with Ms. Davis’ campaign. One member of the crowd was a heckler who tried to get Ms. Davis to admit that her campaign is a stunt. “You don’t really think you have a chance, do you?” he asked.
“Blood, sweat and tears have gone into this campaign,” she responded.
“But you obviously don’t believe you’re going to win.”
“Every vote for me is a win. It is my hope to get enough votes to add this party to the ballot.”
The New York Libertarian Party fell short of the 50,000 votes required for official ballot status again in this years Governor’s race as a direct result of the thuggish and undemocratic tactics used to strong-arm the nomination of Albany Lawyer and perennial candidate Warren Redlich, a non-libertarian, registered Republican and former Green Party Candidate and egomaniac at the Parties convention last spring.
Davis petitioned her way onto the ballot anyway and ran a positive campaign based on a true libertarian agenda; legalization of marijuana, legalization of gay marriage, legalization of casino gambling and decriminalization of Prostitution. Redlich’s response was to call Davis a “whore” in the Albany Times Union.
Davis scored a respectable 22,000 votes- considering the “draw” of the Board of Elections placed her in a different row on the ballot than all but one of the other candidates for Governor. She will be back.
The Libertarians scored 44,761 votes. Just short of the magic 50,000. Pity. Paybacks are a bitch.
Disgraced GOP operative Roger Stone acted as a middleman between a cult-like upstate group and powerful Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, The Post has learned.
Stone was hired by Albany-based executive-training group NXIVM in early 2006, according to sources.
Weeks later, two high-profile NXIVM devotees, Seagram’s heiresses Clare and Sara Bronfman, donated use of their private jet to the state Republican Senate Campaign Committee, records show. The next month, on March 16, the sisters gave $20,000 to the committee.
Stone, who resigned from his Senate gig in August after being accused of making a threatening phone call to Gov. Spitzer’s father, declined comment, as did reps for Bruno.
From “In Raniere’s shadows” by James M. Odato and Jennifer Gish:
One said Raniere told her their union would make her see a blue light.
Another recalled him explaining a threesome would cure the pain of childhood molestation – that she could then start to view sex as just sex.
And in 1984, when a woman objected to 24-year-old Raniere having sex with her underage sister, the woman said Raniere explained her sister’s soul was much older than her biological age. The girl was 15 or 16 at the time. But according to the man who came to view himself as an enlightened being, she was a Buddhist goddess meant to be with him.
Today, two women who had sex with him when they were just girls, the sister of a third underage partner of Raniere’s, and some of Raniere’s former adult lovers have come forward to tell their stories.
They’ve said he is more than just a man with an endless sexual appetite.
They’ve said he needs to be stopped.
One woman, whose name is being withheld for this story, was just a girl in 1990, a 12-year-old with feathered bangs and long blond hair who was trying to adjust to a new life following her parents’ divorce and a move from the country to Clifton Park. Her mother was a saleswoman for Raniere’s members-only buying club, Consumers’ Buyline Inc., and was trying to raise two daughters.
She recalled her mother saying Raniere was “an Einstein.” Consumers’ Buyline, which Raniere ran through the first half of the 1990s after he left a job as a computer programmer for the state Division of Parole, was the kind of place where managers kept late hours and the culture was informal. Raniere would call staff meetings to deliver sometimes tearful, emotional messages. He frequently showed a film about a man who plants seeds in the desert to build a forest. He suggested he was that type of noble cultivator of people.
The girl had braces and bright eyes, liked to climb trees and play with Matchbox cars. Raniere was almost 30 and dressed in business suits. He was spearheading a company that boasted of selling at least 250,000 memberships nationwide.
He was supposed to teach her Latin and algebra. Instead, she said, he told her she hugged like a child, her arms wrapped around him but her hips pushed away.
He taught her to hug the way adults do, pelvis-to-pelvis.
He took her virginity.
In 1984, when Raniere was living in apartments in Troy, he met Gina Melita, a 15-year-old from Cohoes who performed with him in an RPI theater group that included members of the community.
Melita was a precocious girl with an independent streak and a longing to find meaning. Before she met Raniere, she had explored being a born-again Christian. She kept journals and wrote poetryand thought school was holding her back from discovering what life was about.
She and Raniere, then 24, went to arcades together, where he liked to play Pac-Man and a game called Vanguard, in which destroying enemies increases the fuel in the player’s tank. He described himself as a genius and judo champion. She thought it was cool to be with an older, smart guy who might help her graduate from high school early. He took her virginity in a dark room, her T-shirt left flecked with blood. She told him it was painful, yet a short time later, he wanted more.
Gina studied religion and anthropology at the University at Albany and found mentors among her male professors, which her sister said Raniere didn’t like. And in those times Gina tried to break away, Heidi said, one of the women in Raniere’s inner circle would call repeatedly, urging her to return.
When Gina killed herself, she was found with a Buddha medal in her pocket. Only a few days earlier, she had sent a friend a card that said “Never stop believing.”
Toni Natalie was in a good marriage and was raising a young son when Raniere invited her to the Clifton Park headquarters of Consumers’ Buyline because she had become a top seller and had built a large network in the Rochester area.
She was a classic beauty, with long dark hair, a supermodel’s cheekbones and full, wide lips. She was also a high school dropout, who was drawn in by Raniere’s offer to have her head up a new skin care line he was launching called Awaken.
He made Natalie feel smart. He made her feel important.
It took Natalie almost nine years to realize she could never have a normal life with Raniere, that he never would be a dedicated partner who could help raise her son.
But the breakup with Raniere wasn’t a typical one.
In August, Natalie claimed Raniere sexually attacked her before she left him in 1999, according to a court filing. NXIVM’s lawyers called the Natalie claims “scandalous, immaterial, and impertinent.”