“I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.“
— Henry Bukowski
I think it was at the beginning of my third year in prison that I’d decided I had a problem with Truth. Having written copiously about political corruption in SoHo and in the Hamptons, I knew that whatever I wrote was bound to create some controversy. We all know about “fake news” and how a lot of political, financial, and social commentary is basically horseshit. The media does lie extensively. For example, the old version of the downtown publication, The Villager, supported Shelly Silver and did an assassination piece on me without checking out truth of any of its so-called source material. The “truth” in this case came directly from the faxed press releases of a corrupt politician in the Hamptons. The Villager’s publisher John Sutter had an agenda. Meanwhile the Village Voice was a great publication (which will soon publish again) that became a telephone book of ads. Let’s see what they do this time around. Then, of course, there was the SoHo Journal. And, it published a little too much about reality and Truth, that dangerous combination. And, it pissed off a lot of people. Especially those with power.
Mistakenly, as writer and publisher I believed that telling the truth was a good place to be. Unfortunately, keeping your skirts squeaky clean is more important when shooting from the hip if you piss anyone off. Getting caught during the Great Recession with mortgages that the banks were giving away like candy bars (Liar Loans), with applications that mortgage brokers manipulated even for the likes of Donald Trump — created an opportunity for retaliation. The banks, of course, had created a CDO (Collateralized Debt Obligation) Ponzi scheme worth hundreds of billions that they were protecting. Michael Lewis in “The Big Short” describes that perfectly. They were not going to get hurt — especially, after having learned their lesson during the Savings and Loan crisis when a thousand bankers went to jail. The bankers were now part of government and Goldman Sachs was in control of who now got prosecuted for what.
Meanwhile, Hamptons District Attorney Thomas Spota and his prosecutors saw an opportunity and pounced. Here was the chance to retaliate against the exposure of their criminal enterprise. Anyone who’d like to know what a “plea deal” is really like should pay attention. In one book, “The SoHo Journalist,” that wild ride is described, which resembles “The Wolf of Wall Street.” And then there is, “Up & Away,” an absurdist view of the prison system — and is a view of criminal justice that is elucidating and disturbing. And, the five volume “Gulag,” describes what mass incarceration and racism really looks and feels like from the inside looking out. These, as yet unpublished books, bring a new level of Truth to Justice.
Former D.A. Spota awaits sentencing in March for his conviction. Among those who were prosecuted include former Police Commissioner James Burke and his Anti-Terrorism Chief Christopher McPartland. His former cabal from the Town of Southampton were also involved and investigated.
So, what’s next?
Two of the most important races coming up in Manhattan are Borough President and District Attorney. The Queens D.A. race is over and despite the fact that I knew Melinda Katz, I’ve had no contact with her in a decade. There’s nothing to add about her success — she’ll do a great job. And, my first and last lunch at Barolo with Cy Vance during his first run for D.A. was my only contact with him as well. Since I’ve been unable to get anywhere near Hogan Place since I’d interviewed Bob Morgenthau, I do not believe Vance is running again. He’s put together a team to prosecute Trump — so what more needs to be said? It’s my understanding that he’s supporting Lucy Lang.
Among the other candidates, so I’ve been told, are Tali Farhadian Weinstein, Alan Bragg, Liz Crotty, and Tahani Aboushi — followed by prosecutor Diana Florence. I’ll fill in any blanks or relevant information about these candidates as time goes on.
Meanwhile, we’ll bring you more information about the Borough President race as well. Brad Hoylman will be first, among equals, of course. He’s the State Senator behind the renter’s protection during the pandemic. He deserves the attention.
Meanwhile, here are some recent photos from SoHo. But, keep your eye on 111 Varick Street. While Community Board 2 promised a number of affordable units in that approved development — so far, that’s all bullshit, which seems to have been promised in order to get a building permit.
— Article and Photos by D. Clark MacPherson
This is who is running in the D.A.’s race