“A piece of unexpected good fortune, typically one that involves receiving a large amount of money.”
Some of us have spent a considerable amount of time on Long Island. On the East End, the beaches, fresh air and closeness to nature has been revivifying and cleansing. Since the 1960’s I’ve enjoyed the quiet and solitude. Especially in the winter months. I bought my first small cottage in 1970 and got to work making it habitable. While I was just a visitor, not a tourist, I was accompanied by thousands of others from Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan. They weren’t tourists.. In fact, they weren’t visitors either. Mostly white, single, in their thirties and forties, they moved to the Hamptons searching for a better life — or, at least an easier life — that paid better. They became business owners, civil servants, fledgling politicians, and craftsmen. Families followed, except for the New York City police whose move to the East End was part of the plan to satisfy residency requirements by buying a house in Hampton Bays — the cheaper Hampton — and rented a room in the City.
The plan worked. Families in the mostly white Villages and Town, especially Southampton, got great free schools, fathers became Civil Service and some became politicians. They worked together to close the door to further migrations to the Hamptons and expanded the economic base so that New Yorkers paid all of the freight — including theirs. The restrictions, fees, property taxes — all worked well to advance the cause. Even though the New York people arrived, mainly singles in the eighties and nineties, Russians in the 90’s and early 2000’s, then the Wall Street crowd just before the Great Recession and Wall Street/Banking Fraud of 2009. Of course, only borrowers paid for that criminality. But, the D.A. took advantage of the banks fucking us all and prosecuted anyone he could find. He’s in prison now.
None of this stopped the Great Rip-off of New Yorkers. Both Liberals and Conservatives enjoyed the 75 percent white neighborhoods with free schools and non-Diversity. Until the need for workers drove the immigrant population through the roof. Spanish people started to need housing and Patrick Heaney, a transplant politician from Queens became Southampton Town Supervisor and proceeded to institute a new Rental Permit law which went into effect on January 1, 2008. Everyone was now paying attention to Southampton politics. Immigration, non-existent crime, affordable housing, the Great Recession, the Russians — while a few things were in progress.
Some of the politicians, at least those who hadn’t been prosecuted for corruption, were retiring. And, they were collecting two pensions. They had inside deals with each other. Moving from one job to another, one Civil Service position to another — they doubled their money. while the police were pulling down over a hundred thousand with a high school diploma.
The money was rolling in because the real estate market was obscenely lucrative. People like Tim Davis at Alan Schneider’s old firm — where the Russians paid cash (no FinCen folks) and Wall Streeters made their first showing appointments — became celebrities. Ads were placed in the only pretend news source, that bastion of literary brilliance, the Southampton Press. The newspaper that printed a picture of “Skip” Heaney displaying a huge, six foot wide check for a Senior’s Center — in Hampton Bays — was from The Community Preservation Fund.
Let’s back up. First, every house sold in the Hamptons must pay a Transfer Tax that supplies money for The Preservation Fund. Not only do New Yorkers buying houses in the Hamptons pay property taxes, support the local economy (including schools that they cannot use and elections that they cannot vote in), but tens of thousands of dollars are paid at every closing that become earmarked for this Fund. What is the Community Preservation Fund for? It is the brainchild of a Sag Harbor Assemblyman named Fred Thiele and its purpose is to buy land and development rights to preserve open space. If they like you. Then, there’s the fact that they “lost” 16 million dollars awhile back. Talk about inspiring confidence!
So, Heaney was showing off a check in Hampton Bays because he was using CPF money, paid by New Yorkers buying a house — which supports the double pensions INCLUDING pensions for guys in prison like former D.A. Spota as well as other Hamptons felons. — where the largest voting block was located.
The Community Preservation Fund now has $2 BILLION dollars and is collecting more at the rate of $200 million dollars a year. For development rights? For open land to preserve? Or is it simply a huge burgeoning slush fund that we are all about to find out about? Or not!
Why not distribute half of this. A Billion dollars. To the people who paid more than they obviously needed to pay — to the home buyers from New York who have been supporting the Hamptons economy for the last twenty years. And, who now have Code Enforcement up their asses for renting to undesirables and are subject to fines and arrest for renting their houses to keep their heads above water. Courtesy of Heaney, Civil Servants and politicians who have financially benefited from this largesse.
Return the money to the people who’ve paid for the double pensions, the corruption like imprisoned D.A. Thomas Spota who gets his pension while in prison and keeps his $17 million in assets –for running a criminal enterprise out of his office and stacking the Suffolk court system with his buddies.
Hey, one Billion dollars is left in the bank. It should be enough to buy most of all the land still left. Start sending checks out to buyers who paid that Transfer Tax.
What they have now is a true Windfall!
Give back a billion to the people who paid into the CPF over the last 20 years. With interest!
“One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.” ― John Lennon
A groundswell of opinion for those of us living downtown is that there is a major hole in the awards for victims. While actual damage suffered by those who were in harms way, these 22 years ago, has been assessed based upon specific diseases like cancer — psychological and mental illnesses have been ignored. Minimum awards have been distributed to those victims suffering from from PTSD to Bipolar disease. There are victims whose experiences range from an occasional bad memory to debilitating siezures that have developed into major psychiatric illnesses — threatening a person’s ability to live unassisted or engage in a career of any sort as a result of what they experience from 9/11 and after. And, yet, unable to make a living or pay for their lives, they do not qualify for subsistence and rely on family and society permanently.
It’s time to reevaluate the approach to mental illness, psychiatric diseases and serious psychological disability that we downtown have experienced — and still live with. Currently, the Victims Fund will not recognize illnesses and disability and compensate disabilities fully — which was caused by the terror attack.
Jerry Nadler’s office has been contacted. Contact him again and again. Especially, if you or a loved one has been impacted by seizures, hallucinations, terror dreams, or inability to work or go to school as a result of what happened to you on and after 9-11.
The political gossip is that Brad Hoylman, currently a New York State Senator is headed for Nadler’s position as U.S. Representative when he leaves office. This would be an excellent choice since State Senator Hoylman has shown himself to be an effective lawmaker.
“There is freedom of speech but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech.”
— Idi Amin
Enjoy a few moments of a conversation I had with a fellow inmate. It appears in the five volume treatise entitled The Gulag — among conversations from my four years earned by writing about the corrupt politicians in the Hamptons and controlled by the Suffolk County District Attorney, Thomas Spota — who is now in Federal prison.
“He was the 5’3″ black and hispanic guy who walked like he was rocking back and forth from one foot to another, while carrying the extra 75 pounds he had around his middle. He was a pleasant guy and reasonably smart. Harry talked to him before but today was different for some reason.
“How are you doing?” Harry asked him, as he was preparing some food.
“When’re you getting out?” Harry asked him.
“I’m outtahere in 11 months. I hadda 7 flat.”
“What was it for, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“Well, ya see I’m a safe cracker. But, what I really do is take on jobs, like assignments.”
“You’re a safecracker?”
“Yeah, I went ta school for it.”
“You went to school for safecracking?” Harry laughed.
“No, I went to school to learn about installing and repairing safes. It was in Massachusetts, an’ while I was there, this professor comes up ta me an’ asks me if I wanned ta do a job fa him.”
“Yeah, he says, ‘You know Perez, let me ask you somethin’, If someone was ta come to you and offer you $50,000 to open a safe, and nothin’ else but ta open it an’ walk away, would you have some interest inat?’ So, I says, ‘Well, maybe…’”
“I opened the safe. And, he gave me $50,000 in cash. I made enough money crackin’ safes to pay for my education.”
“You opened safes to pay for your education teaching you about safes?”
“Yeah,” he laughed. “But, sometimes the job involved taking things. Mostly not money. For example, I hadda job to open a safe and take some documents. For D.A.’s, Senators, important people who needed things that was in those safes — like tapes and papers, y’know importan’ stuff. An’ I’d get $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 tado the job.”
“So, how’d you get caught?”
“Well, first, my wife’s in a store, Circuit City, an’ she gets inta an arument wid the manager and she calls me an’ I go down ‘ere an’ I’m arguin’ wid da guy. An’ I say, ‘If ya don’ give ‘er the money back, you not gonna have a job by Monday.’”
“So, he says ta me, ‘Oh, really,’ and throws me outta the store.”
“So, then what happened?”
“Well, he pissed me off. So, I hire a tractor-trailer an’ drive it ova ta the store on the weekend and I go through the roof, into the vents and drop into the merchandise area and take everything. I gotta whole tractor-trailer fulla merchandise and wiped out their entire inventory.”
“Are you kidding?” Harry looked at him. He had a straight face and he couldn’t help laughing.
“No. He couldn’t open up monday morning. Hadda send everybody home. They had nothin’ ta sell. An’ ‘ey fired him. They’d left the safe open. And, I’d disabled the alarm system. I learned that in the school in Massachusetts.”
“But, my mistake was in fuckin’ aroun’ wid some cops wife.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, y’know I usta dress up like a cop, wid the regulation uniform, gun, handcuffs, y’know allat crap, fa wen I did a job. An, I got involved wid dis woman. Y’know we was fuckin’ and we got caught, y’know. The husban’ was gonna shoot me. But, instead, he sends a tape ta my wife. He suspected his wife was fuckin’ aroun’ and set up a camera. So, when he foun’ out, he jes send it ta my wife.”
“An’ she gets so pissed off, she goes ta the cops and rats me out fa the Circuit City job. She walks inta the cops and gives’em the $120,000 she had inna house and a tape I took from the break-in and tells ’em I’m a thief.”
“I said ta her, ‘You crazy? how you gonna live, how you bring up the kids, whatsamatta wid you?’ But it din’ matter, that’s how pissed off she was at me.”
“A woman scorned,” Harry said. “But, did they ever get you for any of your other break-ins or safe cracking?”
For those of you who enjoy reading about prison looking in rather than looking out, here’s a taste of the intellect and brilliance that a sentence can deliver — whether you’re guilty or, god forbid, innocent. Martin Shkreli recently commented upon Bankman-Fried’s upcoming date with destiny and, naturally, exaggerated the danger. The real danger, as Hercule Poirot liked to point out, was the loss of the “little gray cells.” Enjoy a clip from “The Gulag” where I no doubt lost many of them — even worse than the many nights at the Community Board trying to remember Roberts Rules of Order for the feebleminded.
“Normally, both your asses would be dead as fucking fried chicken, but you happened to pull this shit while I’m in a transitional period so I don’t wanna kill you, I wanna help you.”
— Pulp Fiction (1994
June 15th, 2015
Today was Harry’s release date. IF he had gotten Merit Board. And, IF he’d had Merit Board when it was originally scheduled.
Everything worked to keep anyone from leaving.
Of course, Harry wasn’t leaving. He still had no idea when he’d be leaving.He hadn’t paid off anyone in the D.A.’s office like some of his so-called co-defendants had.
As far as Harry was concerned, that was going to be never. Nothing ever worked. No positive eventuality EVER came through. He was living in a human Roach Motel. Except some of the roaches seemed to be able to leave.
Harry met him in the infirmary where he was seeing the doctor who would be giving Harry his latest round of bad news. His blood pressure, naturally, was up again. And, the suspicious neuropathy in his legs, according to the doctor, were passed off as due to “running too much.” Harry suspected that the Agent Orange seepage from Fort Drum and the effluent from the local mines were contaminating the water they drank as well.His friend already had brain cancer.
“Spsnnsspp, goin home,” he said.
“What?”Harry said. Gia’s wormy hairdo still annoyed him, like his attitude. He was sitting on one of the benches as that fat abusive slob cop, C.O. Plowman was leaning back and looking around for someone to shoot down.
“Spsnnsspp, home,” Gia said again and Harry still couldn’t make out what he was saying and did not want Plowman to have an excuse for writing a ticket.
“No,” he said to Gia.
“No?” he asked looking at Harry with a disapproving look.
“What?” Harry said as he shook his head.
“No,” Harry said, “I’m just here to see the doctor.”
“I’m goin’ home, tomorra,” he said, annoyed that Harry didn’t understand him.
“Oh, that’s fucking beautiful,” Harry thought to himself. A fucking gun charge and this shithead, who could curdle ice cream in a freezer with his charm, was leaving. Tomorrow. He should be happy, right?
“Gotta go,” Harry said, not wanting to give Gia the courtesy of a benevolent gesture. He should drop dead — as a stand-up in the Catskills might have said.
“Y’know ya gotta wear ya greens and bring only what ya can carry. F’ya people’r pickin’ ya up they gotta be here by 6:20 tomorra or we gotta putya onna bus. Got it?” said Plowman to Gia.
Fucking guy. Harry hated his ass at that moment. Both of them, in fact. Harry’s patience and positive attitude were beginning to disintegrate.
A hundred thousand spent in legal fees and Harry was no closer to going home and this shithead with a fucking gun charge was going to waltz out of here tomorrow morning. What was wrong with this picture?
Brad came up to him just before Harry went out jogging. The doctor had given him another pill to take.
He’d gotten the lower number down on his blood pressure and was now working on the higher number. Maybe this way, he’d only have half a stroke in the part of his brain that had brilliantly decided which article to write exposing the corrupt politicians in the Hamptons. He had no clue as to what the neuropathy and numbness was about. Neither did the doctor — nor did he care.
“Can you answer a question for me? You work in the Law Library don’t you?”
Brad was a kid who was 22, about 5’7″ tall, slim, a face that looked like he was still in high school, with a pink complexion and rosy cheeks. He looked like a kid that didn’t even know how to curse. And, he looked afraid. He looked like he didn’t belong here. Because, he didn’t. Harry understood that because he didn’t belong here either. Harry was a journalist who was only guilty of stupidity and extreme naivete. Harry didn’t have the $67.5 million in stockholder cash to pay off the Feds as Angelo Mozillo of Countrywide had — and who was then suddenly only guilty of a CIVIL matter instead of the CRIMINAL matter that had been entertained before the fine was paid. Harry’s crime was in taking $82 million dollars that didn’t exist.
“Maybe,” Harry said. “What’s the question?”
“I hadda 5-6 and I did 4 but before I finished they re-sentenced me to a 3 to 9.”
Harry had no idea what he was talking about.
“You had a 5-6?”
“No, I’m sorry, I had a 6-5. Six months with 5 year probation. Then, after only 4 months they re-sentenced me to a 3 to 9.”
“Really?” Harry said. “How the hell did that happen?”
“I had a Public Defender. I should have gotten a 1 to 3, maybe, but my mother was sick and we ran out of money.”
“What was the crime? Not having money?”
“Oh, well, I had an accident. Pretty bad one.”
“Bad. People got hurt. There was a lot of damage.”
“Hurt? How bad?”
“Oh, I see. So, what’d you get charged with?”
“Well, I was legally drunk. I blew a point oh-eight. You know, like the legal limit?”
“I see. Well, who got hurt. Or, sorry, dead?”
“This friend of mine. She was with me in the front seat.”
“What happened to her?”
“Well, I forgot to make a right turn and I went into a ravine and she kept going.”
Harry looked at him. “What do you mean ‘she kept going.'”
He had this look on his face like he’d put his hand in the cookie jar and it had gotten eaten by something lurking at the bottom of the jar.
“Well, she wasn’t wearing a seat belt and she just, you know, kept going. Through the windshield, y’know like, forward, into the ravine after the car stopped.”
“Then, there were a couple others in the car too. The girl behind me got pretty fucked up so they charged me with assault on her.”
“Assault? What did you do to her?”
“Well, when they want to make you responsible for another person’s physical damage they can charge you with assault. She wasn’t wearing a seatbelt either.”
Harry understood that. Like, he himself hadn’t stolen any money but in order to make him responsible for money he didn’t steal the D.A. turned NOT Stealing money into Grand Larceny, a sleight of hand legal trick when they wanted to get you.
“So you got charged with vehicular homicide AND assault because of the crash because you were legally drunk?”
“Yeah, that’s pretty much it.”
“Well, you could do a 440 motion and try to overturn the conviction. What’s the max you could’ve gotten for this?”
“Fifteen years for the death alone. They could even try to make it manslaughter and that’d be 15 to 25.”
“Look, I don’t think you should screw around with a 440 because if you got a new trial or got it overturned, they could come after you with the 15 to 25. That would NOT be good.”
“I know. Someone was tellin’ me that pedophiles, sex charges and DWIs, especially with a death, get no breaks in the courts.”
“You’re right. And, add arson to that.”
Cuba came and said hello to Brad. He pulled Harry aside. “He tell you about his charge?”
“Yeah,” Harry said.
“Talk ta him,” he smiled. “He wants ta learn aboud Real Estate.”
The list below outlines just some efforts by the SoHo Alliance this year benefitting your neighborhood – and you. SoHo’s needs are great and our request is small. We only make this appeal once — at year’s end.
Please contribute to our annual appeal. It’s an investment that will benefit you in 2023 and beyond.
Click here to donate by credit/debit card or Paypal.
Or send your check to: SoHo Alliance, PO Box 429, New York, NY 10012
2022 IN REVIEW
In 2022, among other things, the SoHo Alliance:
– Helped secure the first mayoral veto in eight years, overturning former Councilmember Margaret Chin’s vindictive and draconian legislation that would have imposed continuing fines of $25,000 on non-artist residents living in “artist quarters”, aka JLWQA / AIR units.
– Brought State Senator Brian Kavanagh on board to pass Assemblymember Deborah Glick’s bill that ensures SoHo/NoHo residents living in artist joint live-work quarters prior to December 15, 2021 can continue occupying their homes without fear of displacement or threat of penalties — regardless of their status as a certified artist.
– Organized a letter-writing campaign to quell an initiative by anonymous “stakeholders” who sought to create a new Business Improvement District, or BID, that would reach into all of SoHo from Mercer to Sullivan Streets. BIDs are funded by increased property taxes, are autonomous and, by law, are controlled by real-estate interests.
– Marshaled residents to lobby our state electeds to remove a provision introduced into the state budget by Governor Hochul that would have eliminated the limit on the size of residential developments. For context, the new supertall buildings on 57th Street were built under existing zoning allowances. Hochul’s plan would have removed those limits. Our elected officials listened to us and the governor’s plan was defeated.
– Worked closely with the Coalition United for Equitable Urban Policy, CueUp, to oppose the mayor’s permanent street-dining program. Welcomed at first during the covid peak, these unsightly and bedraggled shacks now clutter and obstruct our streetscape, are rat magnets, fire hazards and the bane of the unfortunate residents who live close to these noisy intrusions. A NY State Supreme Court agreed with us, the city appealed, and we continue to meet and lobby electeds to eliminate this expropriation of public space for one industry’s benefit.
– Monitored the city’s plan for a homeless shelter at 10 Wooster Street.
– Celebrated the summer opening of SoHo’s newest park on Broome and Lafayette Streets, Rapkin-Gayle Plaza.
– Encouraged voters during the June primaries to get out and vote, as well as educating them on which candidates would best serve our community. As a result, winning candidates did their finest in SoHo, a testament to the faith voters have in us and a reminder to electeds that we are a powerful voting bloc, not to be dismissed.
– Liaised with the First Precinct community affairs officers to establish a closer working relation between the police and our community.
– Warned of the city’s plan to introduce hideously tall, privately-owned 5G cell towers whose real purpose will be illuminated advertising displays aimed at tourists and shoppers.
– Provides a 7-day-a-week telephone hotline to answer the queries and concerns of residents and small businesses alike.
– Is working with residents to defeat the deceptive liquor application by a music promoter trying to open a late-night club on Greene Street disguised as a “clothing store”.
Thank you for your support.
Click here to donate by credit/debit card or Paypal.
Or send your check to: SoHo Alliance, PO Box 429, New York, NY 10012
PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.
The NYC Office of Technology and Innovation is proposing to install 5G cell towers throughout the city, two here in SoHo. The 32-foot-tall towers provide free Wi-Fi, USB charging and nationwide calling — replete with large, illuminated digital screens for commercial advertising. See the photo at the bottom.
The purported reason for these gargantuan monoliths is to “bridge the digital divide in underserved communities” with an “equitable deployment mandate”. The agency seeks to install over 2,000 in the coming years, allegedly focusing on neighborhoods in the outer boroughs and Manhattan north of 96th Street, which it calls “Wi-Fi deserts”.
However, one tower is proposed for 110 Prince Street on the southwest corner with Greene Street, catty-corner from the Apple store, which, ironically, offers free Wi-Fi. The other is proposed for 568 Broadway on the northeast corner with Prince Street and in front of the busy N,R subway station.
So why are the earliest of these towers planned for two of the most congested intersections in Manhattan in a neighborhood saturated with broadband Wi-Fi options? SoHo is certainly not an underserved Wi-Fi desert. We all have access to high-speed cable and internet.
It is quite clear. It is not about digital equity. It is all about pushing more commercial advertising into SoHo at our expense.
The new kiosk towers will be operated by tech consortium CityBridge, the same company that installed those failed LinkNYC internet kiosks that replaced pay phones and promised to be the cutting edge for public Wi-Fi accessibility, but instead became unused advertising obstructions on the sidewalk.
Further, CityBridge put the majority of those 1,966 kiosks in Manhattan but few in the outer boroughs, where at-home and mobile broadband are sorely lacking.
Into the bargain, the company failed to meet its advertising revenue goal and defaulted on $60 million it owed the city, facing bankruptcy in 2019.
We can only expect the same shenanigans with their 5G towers — advertising kiosks in upscale Manhattan neighborhoods, while poorer neighborhoods who need the high-speed internet will continue to wait for digital equity.
Despite this scandal, the city is giving CityBridge another chance. Why?
SoHo is a world-renowned historic district with some of the narrowest sidewalks anywhere. Prince Street is only 11-feet deep.
These towers will detract from the landscape of the Cast-Iron Historic District, clutter the public realm with additional street furniture and create unsafe walking conditions, especially for the elderly and those with mobility issues. Pedestrians must have priority — not advertising kiosks — which is what these towers will turn out to be in our tourist/shopper magnet of a neighborhood.
To add insult to injury, for additional revenue, CityBridge will be renting out space in the towers to other communication companies, like ATT, Verizon and T-Mobile. This is expropriation of public space for private benefit.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Send an email to the principals involved, requesting that the towers be located in less congested areas and in underserved communities — not in congested, historic districts like SoHo that are technologically well equipped.
Dash off a quick email to:
– Ms. Leslie Brown, External Affairs & Communications, Office of Technology and Innovation: email@example.com
Last week the Liquor Licensing Committee of Community Board 2 heard the application by a British music producer for a beer/wine license for a “clothing” store under construction at 66 Greene Street, complete with music, a restaurant and bar, open until 2:00 a.m. Clearly, it is to be a club, despite the applicant’s denials that it is going to be a clothing store.
Dozens of residents from throughout SoHo spoke live or emailed in opposition to the application.
Faced with such resistance, the applicant’s lawyer unexpectedly requested the hearing be postponed until January to give the applicant, Alexander Grant, aka, Alex da Kid, an opportunity to discuss his operation with his neighbors.
Neighbors are organizing to present a united front. If you would like to be part of that effort, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we shall keep you in the loop.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.
—Well, I’ve been accused of a lot of things before, Mrs. Mulwray, but never that.”
— Chinatown (1974)
When we think of a criminal enterprise we normally think of a drug cartel or a bunch of wiseguys planning a heist in Queens, you know, like the Lufthansa robbery that was glamorized in Goodfellas. We don’t necessarily think about what the FBI describes in its description of a structured organization engaging in acts of criminal conspiracy and/or criminal activity. And, injustice in our society often depends upon your political affiliation or whether, like Sinema, your bread is buttered by Roger Stone-style corporations or banking entities.
After all, we have several banking organizations which fit that bill. Deutsche Bank, for instance, has been described by David Enrich, “Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction,” in which the banking corporation is essentially a criminal enterprise. The fact that five of its top executives hung themselves is telling. And, could anyone forget Mat Taibbi’s description of Goldman Sachs as “The Great American Bubble Machine — The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Goldman has studiously avoided designation as a criminal enterprise, or ever earned a felony. But there’s no question that having gotten all of its money back 100 cents on the dollar from Treasury after the credit-default payments subsequent to the 2008-9 disaster it also managed to avoid being prosecuted for the 1MDB Malaysian fund when PM Najib Razak ripped-off his country’s treasury. A schmuck by the name of Roger Ng was thrown under the bus as a “former employee” like Mathew Martoma during the Steven A. Cohen prosecution. By extension, Goldman inadvertently became one of the producers of The Wolf of Wall Street.
While HSBC was operating The Laundromat — a cute name for the Russian gangster money-laundering operation involving billions in stolen money — their lawyers were busy foreclosing on a house that I owned. Since the Hamptons courts love banks and rule exclusively in their favor, the judges cooperate to a degree that defies logic. But, hey, they needed my house. I was in prison at the time for writing about corruption in the Hamptons and the Criminal Enterprise being run out of Thomas Spota’s District Attorney’s Office (quoted by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone). Suffolk judges were only too happy to let anyone who even spoke my name take anything they wanted from me or my family. It wasn’t only Steven Donziger or the Innocence Project that knew how I’d been railroaded.
Look up Donziger. He did less time than I did but his ordeal is familiar.
Here’s are a few current photos from SoHo. Traffic has increased as well as danger. Only a class-action lawsuit against D.O.T. and the City will change the level of danger. Numerous accidents involving people being hit by vehicles have occurred and crosswalks are now for cars or bikes — certainly not for baby carriages, seniors, the disabled or ordinary pedestrians.
Crossing West Broadway
Crossing Broome Street
The New SoHo Art — piercings and tats
For those of you who enjoy what life on the inside is like without actually having to be there, I’ve included some outtakes from my five volume tome The Gulag. Unfortunately, I reported on actual dialog as it happened. Of course, that’s what the now-incarcerated former D.A. Thomas Spota and his buddies in the Hamptons intended. That story is yet to come.
FROM “THE GULAG” —
“Harry started reading his papers again to prepare for the Board. It was now 4 days until he had to appear in front of them.
“You gotta be sincere when you ged in fronna them,” said Cuba.
“I will be. But, you realize this is all bullshit.”
“It don’ matta. Jes as long as you’re sincere. You gotta go in ‘ere an’ tellim da truth, Mac, Act like ya life depens onit. Jes be sincere.”
“I know, but I’m telling them what they want to hear. Not what really happened. It’s not easy, you know?”
“Faged all ‘at shit. You gotta be SINCERE. Dat’s allat mattas.”
“Okay, so here goes, ‘I was one of the major people who facilitated, managed, and perpetrated this fraud. And, I brought buyers who were friends, family members, and others to the table to purchase property. I managed the property and paid the mortgages. I worked with a builder, a mortgage broker and 3 attorneys.”
“Good. An’ you were sincere when you said it.”
“Yeah, but that’s not what happened.”
“That don’ matta. You wanna ged outta here, doncha?”
“Well, yeah. Okay, so I’ll work on it.”
“And, tellim aboud the Drug Program ya took. The Criminal Thinking. An’ how you gonna take dat course, y’know the program Advanced Relapse Prevention.”
“Okay, so I took a 6 month ASAT program for a problem that I didn’t have so I could get out early. I’m going to brush up on what I wasn’t addicted to and I’m going to admit to crimes involving filling out loan applications and paying mortgages to the banks — for Liar Loans concocted by mortgage brokers who actually filled out the mortgage applications themselves — along with bond traders — neither of which were ever prosecuted, because basically, the financial firms like Goldman Sachs behind the fraud own the government. Right?”
“Mac, you know, ya got a bad attitude. See, now that’s Criminal Thinking.”
“What happened to all of that American philosophical thought. ‘And the truth shall make you free?’”
“Look around you,” said Cuba.
They’d been talking about Wood, the C.O. most of the day.
They agreed with Harry’s Venus Flytrap theory but liked the alcoholic humiliator and abuser better.
According to Cuba, he was now on Wood’s Shit List for simply not sitting up at Count while reading one of Harry’s New York Times one morning. Apparently, that was all that it took to make someone a pariah in the Honor Dorm.
“I assed aroun’,” he said, “no one talks ta him. They don’ trust ‘im. Only that guy Al, y’know, dat fat lunatic, talks ta him.”
Al had finally moved. His name had risen on the list for individual cubes and instead of being in a bottom bunk, he was now by himself — where Amar had been when they moved him to the Box. Now, instead of his being a few cubes down from Harry in a bunk where only the top of his head was visible over the cube walls, there now was an unobstructed view directly into Harry’s cube from across the dorm, no more than 20 feet away.
Al now had a commanding view of everyone’s movement. He watched everything anyone did. And, of course, he had a special obsession for Harry. Laughing and cackling, joking, and loudly talking, he dominated the waking existence of anyone near him. He had become a one man horror story. Talking to him only encouraged him, ignoring him did nothing to discourage him. So, Al chatted up Wood who no one else wanted to speak to and who had the pallor of an AIDS patient on a cocktail of medication and booze. Harry now referred to Wood as The Cadaver.
“Y’know that Spanish guy I was talking to?”
They were leaving the Law Library, heading back to the dorm. Harry had just finished telling Cuba that he thought Wood had all of the personality of a dead hamster and looked like a cadaver.
“The guy you were just talking to? Harry asked.
“Isn’t that ‘Chauty?'” Harry remembered when the guy first had introduced himself. He’d thought he called himself “G” and it turned out that it was not, so he just told Harry his real nickname. “Chauty,” he said. Eventually, Harry figured out that was ‘Shorty.’
“Guy’s got a major fucking lawsuit against the medical people.” Cuba smoked his cigarette and smiled. “I figure he’s gonna’ collect big time.”
“What’s it about,” Harry asked.
“He hadda hernia.”
“And, they operated on him and fucked it up.”
“Well, dey gottim up at Albany Medical an’ dey do the operation an’ he leaves and soon as he’s back, he starts gettin’ pain and swelling.”
“So, finally, dey raalize somethin’s wrong when his testicle starts to swell up an’ he’s in a lotta pain.”
“So, dey sennim back and open’im up and dey figure out dat dey crossed some wires.”
“What? What do you mean they crossed some wires?”
“Well, dey patched ‘im up after they connected the nerve in his left testicle with the right testicle. So, now he’s got two nerves connected to the right testicle and no nerve connected to the left testicle.”
“Holy shit. So, what happened?”
“Now, they got a problem and dis guy’s bein’ shuffled back an’ forth on onea dose diesel fumin’ buses from prison to hospital, off, an ‘en back on an’ up tada hospital again. Meantime his right testicle is the size of a grapefruit anna guy’s in agony. His right testicle’s got an extra nerve connected ta’it and it’s very fucked up.”
“Well, what happened?”
“They finally gottim back tada hospital and figure out whad dey did an’ now operated on ‘im ta fix it.”
“So, was he okay?”
“Nah, they fucked up that operation too.”
“Jesus Christ,” said Harry, thinking of the pain involved. (He was reminded of judge, F.X. Doyle who, at sentencing refused to allow Harry to follow his cardiologist’s orders. The A-fib he would wind up with was directly due to his prison stay. Judge Doyle sang the praises of the prison medical team).
“Yeah, they open ‘im up and uncross th’nerve and pudit back the way it was supposed ta be the first time. Only now, the hernia’s returnin’ from all of the surgery.”
“Yeah, so dey sen’im back with the testicle like a grapefruit an’ the hernia’s comin’ back.”
“Is this for real?”
“Oh, yeah, he’s a’ready had 3 operation an’its still not fixed and healed. Hadda get some bigwig black docta’ involved ta straighten it out.”
“Isn’t this guy, like, a major drug dealer, or something?”
“Yeah, he’s a major guy. He’s Puerto Rican.”
“I thought the major guys were Mexican?”
“The Columbians grow it and, basically, wholesale it, the Mexicans distribute it and a lot of the Puerto Ricans retail it. A lotta the Mexican stuff comes in on boats to Puerto Rico. It’s an island and it’s parta the U.S. so dat makes it easier. Most of the ocean front land and estates in Puerto Rico are owned by Mexicans now.”
“So, the most dangerous guys are the Mexicans?”
“Yeah, dey th’guys with the heavy people. Th’enforcers.”
“The guys with the balls?”
He smiled. “Somethin’ like dat.”
A sexual dream in prison is not a joy, it is a complication. The fact that Harry was having some good sex should have alerted him to that fact even in a dream state. He couldn’t really do anything about it except to try to avoid having an orgasm. In the middle of a darkened dorm the choices were unpleasant. Including getting up and cleaning off, realizing all the while that it wasn’t a young woman but only his right hand.
Awakening anddenying is the best move. Walking past the cop in the Bubble in the dark, carrying paper towels after being unprepared for the dream, raised all kinds of issues. Such as, if he figures out what happened, he might decide to break Harry’s balls and ‘investigate.’ Orgasm equals Destroying State property if clothing or towels are involved.
And, it’s not like Harry’s balls were the problem. “Chauty’s” were. His problem turned out to be far worse than even Cuba had said.
“He’s got a good case,” Cuba said to Harry.
“How is he now?”
“Still fucked up. Y’know after they crossed the nerve in his two testicles they opened‘imup to fix the second hernia.”
“What second hernia?”
“He had some kinda distended testicle ‘cause they fixed the first hernia an’ lef’ the second. Den’ey hadda open’im up tado the second an’ his testicle filled up wid blood. He was in agony.”
“And, he had to be transported again on the bus to Albany?”
“Id wasn’ Albany, it was Upstate Medical Center. An’, yeah, dey dragged the fucker in chains wid a swollen testicle fulla blood BACK tada hospital an’ ‘ey made 8 incisions inis groin an’ ‘en sen’ ‘im back with Percocet. Here, dey wouldn’ give ‘im any Percocet. Dey gave ‘im Ibuprofen.“
“Can ya imagine?” said Cuba.
“Unbelievable,” Harry said.
“Whateva ya do, don’ eva let ’em operate on you here.”
Harry saw Perry having what seemed to be an argument in the dorm with Charlie Chia. There was some smiling but Perry, the White Supremacist who was shortly going to be released, was clearly miffed. Harry was almost hoping that he would take a swing at Charlie since he was such a smartass.
Finally, it was over and Harry couldn’t help himself and went out to the Rec room to see if he could find out what it was about.
Perry was by the door to the dorm when Harry stopped him. “What was that all about?”
“What?” he said.
“It looked like you were having an argument.”
“Ah, no, they were tryin’ to tell me some shit.”
“What do you mean?”
“That guy James, he says they got a puppet in onea the prisons “
Now Harry knew that Perry was not particularly bright. He also knew that James was an ‘old-timer’ who traded on his experience having been in prison for a murder from over 20 years ago and was not particularly bright. But, these two and the black old-timer who was a Muslim, did not mix well with a white Aryan Brotherhood-type guy with minimal intelligence.
“Yeah, he says they got a puppet in prison. Got his own D.I.N. number. Craziest thing I ever heard.”
Harry had to think for a moment. Here, Perry was actually having a discussion about this and was, despite his protesting, seriously having a dialog about it with James and Charlie.
“You know, you remind me of someone in the movies?”
“Whaddayamean?” said Perry, impressed but suspicious.
“You know Kevin Kline? He played Otto in a film with Jamie Lee Curtis.”
“Nah. Maybe, I heard a Kline.”
“Yeah, good actor,” Harry said, “well, anyway,” as he turned to walk away, realizing that he was not living with a mental giant.
“An’ y’know, they said, the puppet was just paroled,” added Perry.
He scratched his head. Harry looked at Perry. He wanted to ask him if he’d ever seen ‘A Fish Called Wanda,’ but thought better of it in case he had.
Harry told Cuba about Perry and James.
“James is an idiot. He’s in the ARP program with me. We was talkin’ about the price of gold and investments. An’ he says, ‘I know why the price of gold is goin’ up.’ An’ I said ‘Why?’ an’ he said, ‘It’s cause alladose guys walkin’ down the street snatchin’ chains offa people walkin’ by.'”
”Macroeconomics,” Harry said. “He has a good grasp of market makers.”
Harry decided to hedge his bets and ask someone else who, he knew, had overheard the dialog.
“Lou,” Harry said, “did you hear that conversation about the puppet?”
“Yeah, James was talkin’ about a guy who was in fa murder in the seventies an Charlie said they lettim have his puppet come with him. I can believe that. They let in lotsa things, y’know, like personal items in those days. But, then he says the guy’s puppet testified at his trial an’ he usta talk ta people in the prison. I don’t buy that part.”
Harry looked at him. “So, you think the story’s true, then? They wouldn’t let the puppet testify? I mean, but doesn’t that trample on the guy’s rights to call witnesses?”
“No, no, I don’ buy it. But, Charlie tol’ me he talked ta the puppet.”
“Charlie talked to the puppet?” Harry said.
“Yeah, Charlie said he was inna next cell an’ he talked ta him.”
Lou was an early 20’s white kid who was a little heavy around the waistline, but appeared to be on the ball. This placed that opinion in doubt.
“Okay, so, let me get this straight,” said Harry, with a deadpan look on his face, “some guy was in prison for murder in the seventies who had a puppet with him that testified at his trial? And, the puppet talked to people? Charlie, being one of them. And he told you that?”
“Yeah. I mean, I don’t believe ALL of it. But, some parts maybe.”
“I see. Which parts?”
“Well, I don’ think he testified. An’, I don’ think he had his own D.I.N. number and stuff like that.”
“You don’t think he actually testified though?”
“Oh, I doubt it.”
What a relief, Harry thought. At least they hadn’t let the puppet testify at the trial. That would have been a bit much.
“Yeah, I can see that,” said Harry. “But, Charlie said he actually spoke to the puppet himself?”
“Oh, yeah, that’s what he was sayin’ to Perry when he was talkin’ to him.”
Harry could just picture it. Charlie, the Chia-headed, arrogant, pussy-killer sitting, having a conversation with a puppet in prison. Harry wondered if Charlie would rat out the puppet’s confession while he was at it. After all, if he did that, who would know? Who would be around to overhear it?
As a final attempt to put this to bed Harry said, “But you don’t believe that they gave the puppet Parole do you?”
“Oh, no,” said Lou. “That’s ridiculous. I don’ believe that part.”
Harry breathed a brief sigh of relief.
Then, Lou added, “Who would believe that?”
The nervousness was getting to Harry. He watched kids repeatedly putting on deodorant. Sometimes they used only a portion of the stick, applying it over and over. For what? He was mystified.
They were going to have an Inspection of the dorm tomorrow and that, too, was going to have to be done while Harry was waiting to be called to beg for his life at Parole. All of this was going on and he had to pull out his battle grey, rusted, chipped locker to look for dirtballs under it in his 4 square feet of space.
Naturally, it was a good time to do another mock interview and Mike took Harry out to the Rec room again. They went over and over the same material, the Catch-22’s, the Crimes, the Remorse, the Victims, including those poor Banks which Harry had theoretically defrauded. And, how Harry had single-handedly destroyed the Hamptons economy. Of course, he couldn’t tell them how the Banks had, in fact, defrauded the country along with the entire American financial system. They wouldn’t want to hear that.
“Don’ make yaself crazy. Ya gonna be alright,” said Cuba on the walkway.
“I know, I know.”
“Dey gonna do a Paper Review of a bunch a guys, y’know the flat bid guys wid drugs an’ ‘en you. You’ll see ’em tomorra or Wednesday.”
What Harry learned during Mike’s mock interview was what initials were tattooed onto his knuckles. “I.E.E.N. What does that mean?” Harry asked him.
“I eliminate every nigger.” he said, speaking softly.
“Oh, I see,” Harry said. “Well, that makes sense.”
Perry came up to talk to them when Mike was telling Harry that.
“Wanna see mine?” Perry said. And, with that, he lifted up his shirt and showed off his Iron Cross and in a location on his stomach, there was a Confederate flag and two .45’s pointed downward towards his groin.
“Nice flag,” Harry said, at a loss for anything to say to this sudden display.
“Wanna see my flagpole?” he laughed.
“I’ll pass. Hey, Mike, what are the others on your arm?”
“Oh, this one is Michael Myers. The other I can’t tell you.”
“I’m a little uptight about goin’ home, though,” said Mike. He had his cutoffs on and his muscles and tattoos were exposed. He kept clenching and unclenching his mouth which, normally, had no dentures in and gave him a Mr. Magoo meets Fred Flintstone look.
“Why?” Harry said, leaning over the locker between their cubes.
“The las’ coupla’ times I talked ta her I heard somethin’ a little funny. It was in her voice. Happened once before.”
“What do you think it is?”
“I think she’s havin’a thing with someone. That’s just what I think. Maybe I’m wrong but this isn’t the firs’ time I felt this way.”
“Yeah, an’ you know I don’t pull punches. We’ve been together for 29 years. Married for 20. My little girl’s 12. There’s a lot ridin’ on this.”
“You say anything?”
“Yeah, I said, are you havin’ sex with anyone?”
“Wow, well that’s pretty direct.”
“Yeah, well I don’t fuck around. I wanna know what the score is. I’m goin’ home in a week and I wanna know what I’m gonna be dealin’ with.”
“What’d she say?”
“She said, ‘Why you askin’ me a question like that?’ and I left it at’ that.”
“But, there’s been other things. It’s a feelin’, y’know?”
“But, if I find out that she’s been screwing somebody…”
Harry was talking to a Mongol. The former President of a gang chapter. A gang with connections to the Mexican chapter and some REALLY unsavory characters. Drug dealers, killers, and more.
“Listen Mike, think of your daughter. Don’t DO anything. No matter what. You do something stupid and SHE suffers. Get out of here and STAY out of here.”
This wasn’t what Harry had in mind when he studied to be a psychoanalyst. But, Mike WAS listening.
July 28th, 2015
The entire day consisted of waiting.
Dressed in State greens with a white T-shirt, green pants, white socks, and heavy black boots. It was 90 degrees and sunny. Not even the fans were keeping the dorms cool. And, to be dressed theway Harry was would normally be unconscionable. But, today was the one day, of possibly two days, that Harry could actually be seeing the Parole Board, after 3 ½ years of being in prison.
So, Harry sat and waited. He began his wait at 7:00 a.m. after dressing for the part. And, then he just sat on his bunk waiting to be called while everything went on around me.
Guys stopped by and wished him well. Harry thanked them. And waited some more.
With nothing to do and Wood, now known as the Cadaver, on duty again because of the facility inspection — Harry simply went over and over his notes about how to answer the questions.
After 5 hours of sitting, waiting, and staring at a guy named Glen who was making coffee, rolling cigarettes and nearly coughing himself to death, Harry finally heard Wood say, “Parole, if you’re on the call-out, Go Now!” Harry headed out with his notes.
The Parole Board no longer came to any facility. It was all done over a videoconferencing system located in a small office off of the prison Visit Room. So, Harry headed for the location where he often met with his family and was directed by one of the 4 cops on duty to a seat to wait some more. There were 15 other guys seeing Parole that day.
Each of them was directed to sit at a table by themselves, as if they might somehow cheat on a test.
There was near-absolute silence. They were not permitted to talk to each other and sat without any movement. They sat. And, continued to sit. They sat for at least an hour with no one talking or moving.
For what seemed like entertainment, two guys were brought in from the S-Unit in handcuffs and chains and told where to sit. Shortly after that they were told to move out of the general room Harry was in to a section that looked like teller booths at a bank. Then they were moved back again. They couldn’t agree where to put them.
After waiting for about an hour and a half, we were told that the interviews would begin. One guy was escorted into the little video conferencing room that was about 10 x 15 and had a 15″ high by 30″ wide screen with a baseball-sized camera on top of it and a little insert in the screen itself so that you could see how YOU appeared to the Parole Board.
The Board members were actually located in Syracuse and to Harry’s left sat two civilians who were civilians that Harry did not know. One of them was a 60 year old guy who wore a plaid shirt and appeared to be a workman of some sort. The other guy was about 15 years younger than him and had a huge gut. Neither of them told Harry who they were and, considering the fact that they were now privy to some of his darkest secrets, he thought it might have been nice to know who they were. But, there were no niceties in prison. Personally, emotionally, or legally. They didn’t give a shit and said nothing to relax anyone.
Finally, an image appeared on the black screen after Harry had stared at the video camera for what seemed like 5 minutes, like a dummy.
Three people sat in front of Harry on the screen. The main speaker, a guy who sat in the middle of the other two, told him the three Commisioner’s names. Harry immediately forgot them.
“You are Harry McDavid?” he said, gruffly, peering down at his papers.
“Yes,” Harry said, waiting patiently for any response.
“You have just been awarded a Certificate of Earned Eligibility, and that is why you are now here.”
The Commissioner continued to rifle through his papers and looked confused. Relaxing, thought Harry, tensely.
“It says here that you have a 4 to 12 sentence for a conviction involving numerous counts resulting in the theft of $50 million dollars.”
Harry waited. What could he say to that? Are you fucking kidding me, he thought. He didn’t get any money at all. All that Harry got was a shitload of unfinished houses from a Greek builder who sold him that shit because he was his own lawyer’s other client.
The builder took the money to Greece after creating fake contracts with their lawyer. They were contracts which Harry almost never saw — and the builder ran off after buying a Mercedes for everyone in his family. Between the corrupt D.A. who was hoping to tap into a $200 million dollar grant through a Congressman with access to TARP money, no one could get their story straight. The D.A. couldn’t decide whether Harry had stolen $50 million or $82
million. The Southampton Press reported one number, while the D.A. and his Minister of Information, Bob Clifford, spread around other numbers. Couldn’t they count?
At sentencing, the $82 million, part of an original indictment where the D.A. had included numbers from a completely different case. The $50 million dollar number which Harry had never received — was further reduced to $44 million. That supposedly represented all of the mortgages that he and his partners obtained through the efforts of the mortgage broker. Judgments were filed against Harry even though he never saw a nickel of it.
There were a few more observations about his having taken ASAT and the fact that Harry had no tickets. He waited for the Mastermind shoe to drop. He now knew it was coming but didn’t know how or when. THIS was the piece de resistance that the D.A. would have sent them to fuck him.
“So, we see here that you directed the actions of 3 attorneys and a builder, an appraiser, and a mortgage broker, and planned an operation that was intended to buy houses, collect the money and drive them all into foreclosure.”
Harry waited until he finished.
This was Merit Board? This was supposed to be solely an evaluation and review of what you had done while in prison and it was intended to review that record of achievement and award early Parole based upon that AND whether you could reasonably be expected to live free of crime from this point onward.
What the Commissioner had just said was simply an attack. It came right out of the D.A.’s own self-directed Probation report.
It was an attack calculated to determine if Harry would argue with them or to see if he would try to correct them or to gauge whether it made him angry. And, once again, as the D.A. had already done with the fake p.r. to poison the jury pool — it was done to defeat the purpose of Merit Board — to not give people early release based solely upon their performance in prison.
“Well, sir,” Harry said with his hands flat on the table, using an assertive voice, sitting straight, and looking directly into the camera, “I brought straw borrowers to the table to purchase properties. I manipulated their information so that they could qualify for loans and then managed the property and paid the mortgages for six years until the economy collapsed.”
It was The Big Lie and he’d done it well. Harry had never provided any mortgage information. It had all been created by mortgage brokers who wanted to get mortgages approved so that they could collect a commission.
The Commissioner stared at Harry and then down at his paperwork. He looked surprised. Harry hadn’t argued with him. He basically told him that he was wrong, without telling him that. That he hadn’t driven the houses into foreclosure and that he’d paid the mortgages for 6 years. Harry couldn’t tell whether the guy was confused or annoyed, or basically was ignoring what he’d said.
“Well,” he said, “you have restitution,” moving on to another area that was a test of whether Harry would lose it and become challenging. And, it had nothing to do with Harry’s accomplishments or behavior in prison. “How are you going to pay all that back?”
Obviously, they had NOT read the Parole packet that his attorney had sent. It described the fact that most of the money had already been recovered through foreclosure sales since there were MORTGAGE LIENS against the property. They were I.O.U.’s. Which meant that the banks would get paid back simply by selling the property at auction. And, it also described the fact that the banks, which were responsible for what happened to the economy — Hello Angelo Mozilla -- had liens against all or the property that was likely worth more than was owed. Unless of course you used the D.A.’s fuzzy math which had Harry owing more than was ever borrowed — not stolen. What they prosecuted him for.
“Most of it HAS been paid back and the rest will be when I am released.”
“I see,” said the Commissioner, appearing to be confused. Or, perhaps disappointed. Of course, there was actually some doubt that $44 million dollars had ever existed outside of mortgage liens that were collateralized.
“I will contact the banks to get the numbers whenever I get out of prison and work that out through my attorney.”
“Well, Mr. MacDavid, we see here that you would be living with your wife if you were released. She was one of the co-conspirators so do you think you’d be able to live with her, crime-free?”
Wow, that was a low blow, thought Harry. “You want to take my family away from me and then say, after I agree to take a plea so she would not be locked up, that I couldn’t go back to her because she was listed in the indictment JUST to fuck with me and force me to take a plea in the first place? What are we, fucking Bonnie and Clyde? Such assholes. Good old New York State, ‘We want to keep families together.’ Give me a fucking break.”
“My wife came into this by my lawyer having assisted her in buying one house from his other client. She is a woman who has taken care of our children for 3 1/2 years while I’ve been locked up here and has done a wonderful job. I love her and my children.”
Harry added, “There’s no problem with our living free from any criminal behavior.”
“Well, do you have anything to add? We have here something from Hammock and Sullivan and a report from NCIA. Are you familiar with this?”
Obviously, they had not read the Parole packet and went through it digging into the file and locating a report that was 4 years old that had been sent to the sentencing judge. It was meaningless. And, after Harry explained how remorseful he was and how he planned to work and spend all of his time with his children, another Commissioner asked him a question.
“How old are your children?”
Harry looked at her. It was information that was all over everything that had been submitted. It was also on the letters that his children had sent.
They hadn’t read any of it.
Now he knew what he was dealing with. This was the vengeance that he suspected would be coming from the D.A., via complete avoidance of all of the stated goals of Corrections.
Harry’s writing, the Town of Southampton and its Code Enforcement Police, the fake news including the retaliation against blacks and immigrants and his journalism. Plain as day. Too bad for him. And, his family.
“How’d it go,” said Mike when Harry got back to the dorm.
“Could go either way,” he said, standing with him in the Rec room.
Just then Otto, a/k/a Perry came up to us and stood there as we were talking.
“Well, what kind of questions did they ask?”
“One of them was ‘You directed 3 lawyers and a builder and a mortgage broker…’, it was like, you know, ‘When did you stop beating your wife?’ type of question.”
“WHAT? Really?” said Perry. Harry stared at him. “Did they really ask you if you’d stopped beating your wife?”
Perry stood there looking at him and Harry looked back at him and glanced at Mike who was to his right. Harry was looking for some sign of acknowledgment, of confirmation. Was he serious?
“When I went ta the Board an’ they asked me that I jes said, ‘Suck it.’” Perry laughed and made the mock body movements of fucking, pulling back and pushing his groin forward.
“I see,” said Harry. “So, you were at Parole for beating your wife, then?”
“Nah, I didn’t go to Parole. I refused it. But, y’know, my ol’ lady an’ I hadda problem.” he laughed. “We gotta divorce.”
“I see,” Harry said. “You know you really do remind me of Otto. You sure you never saw that movie?”
“I don’t see much TV,” said Perry.
In his cube, next to Mike, Harry leaned over and said, “Was he for real?”
Mike looked at Harry, with his massive arms leaning on his cube wall and both sets of teeth removed, “You mean Perry?”
“Yeah,” Harry said, “about the ‘Have you stopped beating your wife?’ comment.”
“Oh, yeah, that went right over his head.”
“I thought he was kidding.”
“Oh, no, he was serious. He thought you were in front of the Parole Board for beating your wife.”
“You gotta remember he’s been in prison several times and in County for beating his girlfriends and his wife. So, that’s no biggy for him. And, he refuses Parole. He’ll only C.R. ‘cause he won’t ‘Suck Dick’ in fronna them.”
“The only time people think about injustice is when it happens to them.”
— Henry Bukowski
In keeping with the spirit of the season I thought I’d share some interesting information. You know those special movies that we get to enjoy over the holidays? It’s a Wonderful Life, The Wizard of Oz, and White Christmas? As the cockles of your heart are warming up, remember this. The snow in those classics was actually asbestos.
Reminds me of The Conqueror, starring John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Dick Powell and dozens of crew members. It was shot in the desert in Nevada where Wayne, checking his geiger counter, thought it was broken because the numbers were so high.
But why be negative when this special season is upon us? In my case, of course, prison brought me and my family the warmth of the season for four years, compliments of The Hamptons. Not the temperature, mind you, since it was often 35 degrees below. The prison system, called DOCCS claimed to want to keep families together. So, I was sent 20 miles from the Canadian border. My family drove the seven hours each way and stayed at a hotel when they could afford to visit. But, the mainly black and Spanish families boarded buses at 10 p.m., drove all night, and arrived at 8:30 the next morning with their kids in tow. They saw their men after changing the babies on a moving bus, without sleep, and then boarded the bus again at 4 p.m. the same day to get back to New York.
For me and the other inmates it was No Christmas lights, No music, No presents. and Christmas dinner was a baloney sandwich and a red-dye kool-aid bottle.
So, in keeping with this season of tranquility and forgiveness, I’ve attached an episode from The Gulag — a five volume, 3000 page description of life in the slow lane. It was either that or take the chance of a trial in Suffolk County where judges were picked and paid by D.A. Spota as part of his Vindictive Prosecution for my writing about corruption in the Town of Southampton and the D.A.s office. In prison I met a lot of guys who weren’t politicians. They were just mentally ill killers, drug dealers, rapists, child molesters and wiseguys. A better class of criminal than those in The Hamptons.
Excerpt from The Gulag — Dialog from life on the inside
Garcia hadn’t been around for a long time. At least not where Harry was. But, he showed up in the Gym and was using some of the weights. Harry had to admit that for a 60-something year old heroin addict who admittedly was a “career criminal” he looked the same as before. He’d been in Harry’s dorm for a while before he stood up during a game of dominos and threw his chair at his opponent who was aggravating him — another Spanish inmate who was challenging him. Garcia may have looked like he was over the hill after having used heroin for 40 years but he didn’t take shit from anyone. Not the inmates, not the civilians and not the cops. Going to the Box was no big deal for him. In fact, for a guy with a lot of missing teeth, the ravages of heroin addiction, the various metal rods and other appliances holding him together, and. not the least of which – always looking like he needed a shave – he was entertaining. And, when he would be released in a little less than a year after his 5th or 6th bid which now totaled over 20 years in prison, he would be wealthy.
“You goin’ home soon?” he asked Harry as they walked the perimeter of the basketball court, the de facto indoor track.
“I don’t know,” Harry said, repeating his mantra. “Could be 4 months or it could be five years.”
“Got any boards comin’ up?”
“I got a Merit Board in May. But, who knows?”
“You’ll make it.” he said, confidently.
“What do you mean?”
“There’s no reason to deny you. You got no disciplinary, no violence, you’re 72, you got no history, they got no reason ta deny you.”
“Your mouth to God’s ears, man,” Harry said.
“Take my word fer it. I spent a lotta time in prison. You gonna’ get it, 90 percent.”
“I hope you’re right,,” Harry said. “How’re you doing?”
“I’m doin’ great,” he said, “aside from my last ticket.”
“Yeah, dis cop Colgate’s got a hard-on fa me.”
“What do you mean?”
“I got like 8 tickets from this one fuckin’ guy, Colgate, every dorm I go to — when he shows up, he gives me a ticket.”
“I’ve heard about him.”
“At a hearing with the Captain, they wanned ta know why I had so many tickets.”
“What’d you say?”
“I tol’ ’em, he’s a scumbag. I don’ give a shit, dey can do whateva they wan’. He’s still a scumbag.”
There was something about an old timer in prison. Mostly, they just didn’t give a shit. They knew the ropes, they were comfortable or adjusted to prison, and they knew all of the threats. Ultimately, if you had any kind of disability, the advantage started to switch to the inmate. That was Garcia.
“When I ged out I’m gonna’ be a millionaire,” he said.
“How is that? Harry asked, in disbelief. Harry had worked hard his entire life, from the age of 12 and here he was in prison, and would be left with nothing. The corrupt politicians and lawyers who’d been responsible for his prosecution avoided jail time and would collect pensions and here, this heroin addict, would be a millionaire when he got out?
“That accident I had over on 6th and Second Avenue, y’know where I fell down the cellar staircase and lost the sight in one eye, well, they settlin’ now.”
“No shit,” Harry said, vaguely remembering Garcia telling him about how he’d been stoned on heroin and fell down an open cellar door. Would he now also be getting paid for his heroin use and stupidity?
“Yeah, they talkin’ now.”
Harry looked at him as they walked. He was getting ready to start jogging. “What’re they talkin’ about?”
“Oh, two-two-an’ two.”
“What does that mean?”
“From the three different defennants, onna $10 million dolla’ case, I’m lookin’ at $6, den the attornies. Probly $4 million.”
And, there it was. After 20 years of prison, 40 years of heroin addiction. He’d be getting released to count his $4 million in cash for being stoned and getting hurt.
Jones was the first candidate for role-playing in ASAT, the drug program. Roddy picked a few guys to address particular aspects of their personalities.
“Ya don’ talk ta many guys in here,” said Darnell, the 20’s black guy with dreads and a repeatedly broken nose on his lightly bearded face. He worked out in the Gym everyday along with and he was funny, quiet, and observant. He was looking to be serious as he addressed Jones, who was a drug dealer but NOT a user, according to him. “An, ya keep ta yaself,” he added.
“You good ta th’ guys ya know, an’ ya stick to the mos’ intelligen’ guy in ‘ere,” pointing to Lynch, the short black kid who’d wanted a gun so he could intimidate people into respecting him.
“I’m jes tryin’ tagedit tagetha an’ ya know, I wanna geddouta here,” said Jones.
“Just don’t talk at all,” Harry offered. Roddy laughed and put her head down.
“Well, guys, I think you’re helping Mr. Jones and I hope he’s taken your comments seriously,” said Roddy.
Suddenly, a VERY loud fart erupted from the back,
“Really?” Roddy was perturbed. “Really, guys? Again?”
Laughing from several guys in the group began and everyone looked around as the shirts were pulled up over their noses.
Now it was Harry’s turn. He’d been instructed by Roddy to role-play with Mr. Kane, known to Harry as Ibrahim, and also ‘Africa.’ He’d been instructed to do it with Hiller, known also as Mike, and Green, the tragi-comic actor.
While the instructions were unclear, Harry had decided to play the part of Kane but before he got to say a word, Green took a mop head and draped it over him. This was supposed to mimic the Rasta hat which Kane wore all of the time. Green proceeded to walk around the group wearing the mop-head. Even Kane was able to summon a laugh.
Harry pretended to be Kane in a scene where he took over an interview and rebelliously put the reporter on the defensive. It got the approval of Roddy and drew laughter. Kane enjoyed it.
But, the high point of the afternoon was Pinckney.
Pinckney had gotten a ticket and had managed to irritate Roddy. She was annoyed by his incessant “It’s what I do,” attitude towards selling drugs. And, he also managed to alienate her the day before when they’d all ganged up on her, directly causing Harry troubles in its aftermath.
Today Pinckney was supposed to assess where he was in the program.
“I wanned ta let ya know that I’ve been havin’ some issues that I think has somethin’ tado wid my behavior lately,” he said, convincingly taking a deep emotional breath.
“I jes learned that I had a daughter an’ ‘ey did a tes’ an’ she’s mine.” He paused again and put his hand on his chest, his bushy beard jiggling slightly. Green came up behind him and put his hand on Pinckney’s shoulder and kept it there. The group was silent.
“An, ya know, I’m mentally ill, I know dat, but, I got dis girl I din’ know I had, an’ ya know, I’m not maself. I’m olda’ then mosta you guys. I’m ol’ enough ta be ya gran’fatha’.”
Harry looked at him. He was about 50. Harry was more than 20 years older than him. Was he fucking kidding?
But, it was working on Roddy. The rest of the guys just stared at Pinckney, the Irish and black inmate.
“Dey did a DNA so ah know she’s mine. An’ all’ese yeahs ah missed ‘er.” He took a deep breath, placed his open palm on his chest, and continued. He still had Green’s hand on his shoulder and the room was silent, except for Pinckney’s soliloquy.
Roddy was also quiet and you could see her fighting back tears.
“So, here I am, ah know ah made mistakes. I’m responsible fa alla what I done, an’ ah’m payin’ the price,” he paused again, “an’ I’m hopin’ ya can unnerstan’ ma fuckups. I haven’ been right, lately. I ain’t been voiceful about ma pridicamen’.”
Tears started to form behind his glasses. Silence.
Just then Green blew a prodigious wet fart that lasted 5 seconds long with his hand still on Pinckney’s shoulder. He smiled.
“Y’know, bro’,” said Cuba to Harry, “Green worked on that routine wid Pinckney for half an hour.”
Harry’d seen the Christmas show when the first run of ‘White Christmas’ came to Rockefeller Center, at Radio City Music Hall. The star was the alcoholic Bing Crosby and it was a gala show, replete with entire families, men dressed in suits and fedoras, and kids in little outfits, tagging along with their parents. Harry lined up to get in with his favorite aunt who lived in New Jersey. She was his father’s sister and her husband Jack was with them as well. Both of them were avid Christian Scientists who occasionally fought with each other like cats and dogs. She was a domineering woman and he was her supplicant despite the fact that he’d had part of his stomach shot out in the first World War — and then went on to become an undercover Pinkerton operative. He was a tough Scot who had a pronounced accent. Both were Readers, the elevated equivalent of a Pastor or a Priest, and occasionally Harry would hear about their attacking each other with a knife in a drunken stupor on the porch of their New Jersey home.
They took Harry to see the Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall and he was introduced to the stage show at 9 years of age. It featured the Rockettes, the dance troupe.
Little did Harry know then, that more than 50 years later, he would be emulating their routine. In prison.
Harry’d seen drag queens since then, but it wasn’t quite the same as the Rockettes. The girls would line up, place their arms on each other’s shoulders and kick.
Kick to the right, kick to the left, bounce and skip and follow the beat from the orchestra. Repeat.
“Pinckney,” Harry said, “this is what we have to do. The two of us will join arms and kick, first to the left, then kick to the right, and we keep doing it. Soon as the second half of the game starts we begin after doing some loud cheerleading. Ready?”
He laughed. “Yeah, what’rewegonna cheer?”
“Doesn’t matter what we cheer. This is about looking like idiots in front of Roddy. This is going to clear up your problems with her. Guaranteed,”
“Okay, so whatta we say inna cheer?”
“We’re Mod 2, right?”
“So, how about ‘Mod 2, Mod 2, Rah, Rah, Rah. Then, Mod 2, Mod 2, Sis Boom Bah?”
“That’s good, That’s good. Mod 2, Mod 2, Rah, Rah, Rah, Mod 2, Mod 2, Sis Boom Bah. Right?”
“That’s it, you got it.”
So, Pinckney was all psyched about showing off his stuff and first he started doing the knee moves from the Charleston, and was wiggling his ass while he moved his palms from left to right on his knees while he was bent down to simulate the dance move. And, as the game started again Harry said to him, “Okay, let’s start over.”
Harry tapped Pinckney on the shoulder and then turned around and started yelling, “MOD 2, MOD 2, RAH, RAH, RAH,” and Harry was waving his arms looking like Mick Jagger with his lips pursed and pointing his palm and index finger stuck up the air while wiggling his body as he imagined a hooker would.
“MOD 2, MOD 2, SIS BOOM BAH,” Harry continued as Pinckney joined in with him and then motioned for him to start their dance routine.
They put their arms on each other’s shoulders and Harry said “GO,” and they both started doing kicks: to the left, stop, to the right, stop, and, again, to the left, stop, to the right, stop, and on an on, and on, kicking high in the air in unison. All that was missing were the costumes.
The guys in the bleachers went wild. There was screaming and cheering and laughing and all of the ASAT guys plus others who were just in the Gym were pointing at Harry and Pinckney, the two oldest guys in ASAT doing a dance routine.
This was the drug program.
Here they were, performing like Ru Paul’s crossdressers, without costume or music — with a basketball game going on behind them.
This is what Harry, his education and training and assiduous efforts to expose corruption had accomplished.
As the yelling and screaming and laughing reached a crescendo, Harry turned and looked to be sure that Roddy was still watching them.
He was almost certain that she was because she’d stood briefly before to emulate their dance steps and listened to the cheering going on as he and Pinckney had continued their RuPaul Rockettes routine.
As the cheering died down, the guys in the bleachers turned and started screaming at the players, egging them on and yelling and whistling for them to sink baskets.
Finally, after the din finally died down, everything slowed a bit and the game ended.
He didn’t even know which team he’d been cheering for, but they’d won.
“In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
Hunter S. Thompson
More than twenty years ago I began writing about SoHo and Manhattan. I’d had the pleasure of growing up in lower Manhattan and experiencing the old Wall Street when everyone in the business knew that the only way to make money “on the street” was to have privileged information. In other words, those who engaged in what is now known as Insider Trading, made money. Whether traders knew something about a new issue, had a friend in the S.E.C,, knew a politician overseeing an investigation, or had a mole in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the old “buy and hold” plan made investing in the stock market a long drawn out affair. Those were the days when brokerage houses made their money on commissions. It was only after Ace Greenberg changed the model and allowed stock brokerage houses to sell stock in their own companies that customers became less important than the Richard Fuld Lehman-style risk-taking.
In the 1980’s Drexel Burnham developed junk bonds and Michael Milken worked his magic. The Savings and Loan crisis, the implosion of Long-Term Capital Management, the collapse of the Ruble and then The Great Recession brought on by the junk bonds made famous by many of the corrupt banks mentioned in ‘The Big Short’ put a lot of people in jail for simply falling prey to their criminality. During the Savings and Loan crisis it was about a thousand bankers. After the banks loaded borrowers up with phony loans based upon CDOs, the victims were the borrowers.
I was one of the schmucks who paid for the profligacy of the banks. Not for nothing, however, I wrote a lot — which was more than the D.A. who conducted his Vendetta Prosecution against me, as a journalist, for writing about his criminality and that of the politicians in The Town of Southampton, He’s now in prison and I’m out. Although, Thomas Spota, the former D.A. in the Hamptons is collecting a healthy $9,000/mo. pension and has $17 million in the bank, according to Newsday. I have zero, the minimum social security and totally unable to work legally. Shades of Steven Donziger.
My first book is entitled “Up & Away” and periodically I’ll publish an episode. I’m not a fan of self-publishing. I hope you enjoy this true crime — although enjoyment may be a misnomer.
“It is a small nondescript one-story building located within a compound 20 miles from the Canadian border in upstate New York. It is surrounded by two sets of 15 foot high razor-wire fences. And there are several sniper towers which had views of all movement near the perimeter fences. Here, in this rural upstate compound, an embedded investigative reporter spent four years surreptitiously interviewing inmates, Correction Officers and civilian workers and recording the events in their lives in this Medium security prison. He had been incarcerated in the North Country.
The Infirmary sat by itself near the entrance to the prison with a back door where buses pick up prisoners for medical trips, ambulances pick up seriously ill inmates and hearses collect bodies for the morgue. The building houses a doctor’s office, nurse’s office, dentist’s office, x-ray technician’s room and a pharmacy. It also houses the sergeants’ offices where disciplinary hearings are held, as well as the photographer’s office where I.D.’s for all of the inmates are processed. Benches along the hallway to the back entrance are lined along the wall for inmates waiting to be tested for “dirty urine,” and for those waiting to see the doctor or nurse only for blood tests. Blood donors and those who wanted flu vaccinations also lined up there. The front of the Infirmary consisted of a series of parallel wooden benches for those waiting to see the doctor, dentist or nurse or for medication pick-ups.
In order to oversee the inmates on these benches, there is a desk with one Correction Officer (C.O.) on duty who maintains strict silence among inmates and directs the Infirmary traffic. As prisoners sit waiting, several C.O.’s, nurses, occasionally the doctor, the dentist, they all joke with each other and poke fun at the inmates. The C.O.’s and civilians trade comments about their diets, love affairs, Department of Corrections directives or other gossip like a recent prison escape as the inmates sit listening silently. A few inmates are escorted into the Infirmary. The inmates are wearing handcuffs and manacles and dragging shackles on their ankles, coming directly from the SHU or Special Housing Unit, also known as The Box. It’s not unusual for those inmates to be bruised, bleeding or limping along as their accoutrements rattle. Accompanying them from the Box, the C.O.’s escorting the men laugh and joke about how certain inmates spontaneously fell over or threw themselves into a wall and hurt themselves in a sudden fit of depression.
Often, inmates being chauffeured about in wheelchairs by a nurse or other orderly, are allowed to sit unattended in the hallways, waiting for treatment. The Infirmary was usually the first stopping point for those entering the prison. A place where most inmates repeatedly came for medical and dental treatment throughout their incarceration.
These are true stories of life in an upstate New York prison.
A long line of inmates in their green shirts and pants snaked along a wall waiting for their medication from the nurse. Inmates in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s as well as several in their 50’s and late 60’s and 70’s stand in line and then shuffle behind each other — with only 5 at a time allowed to get up from the wooden waiting area benches — after Correction Officer Blowman screams “You deaf? I told you to get the fuck up?” The 79 year-old white guy, Murray, shuffling along on the line, is in prison for having hit his wife. His hearing is bad; he suffers from dementia and often does not know where he is. The media reports about the thousands of non- violent inmates in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s in the New York prison system being considered for early release were a fiction emanating from Albany’s PR office. Everyone inside the prison knew that. Albany knew it, the Corrections bureaucracy knew it, and the Corrections union knew it. There was no value in having fewer inmates since that reduced overtime. Reality was that more older inmates were being imprisoned, not fewer. C.O. (Correction Officer) Blowman, himself in his early 60’s, retiring after 25 years, showed no sympathy for the aging inmate. The old man is just another paycheck and he’s long ago been numbed by what is around him. Blowman is balding, sports a goatee, and has 80 pounds of adipose fat strapped around his belly. He looks pregnant as sits with his feet up on the desk chewing on his 4th donut for the morning. He’s known as a ballbuster among the inmates and he laughs at the old man shuffling along as he heads for the nurse’s station. Blowman enjoys harassing the old guys.
The nurse and her assistant, two plain white, middle-aged upstate women in their 40’s are slightly obese and grim-faced. They’re working at the only job available in upstate New York where the town has grown up around the prison like a cancerous carbuncle. The women hate the inmates, especially the black ones, and barely acknowledge their existence, yet they know that this job is easy and well paid. And, that this is their only career choice. Like the C.O.’s, they know that making $75,000 plus overtime a year somewhere else upstate is a fantasy.
At the nurse’s station they hand out little tan envelopes of pills to a few of the guys before Murray reaches them on the line snaking along the wall. The noise is deafening, as the floors are being washed and waxed by an inmate who is oblivious to anything going on around him. One of the nurses hands the old man his packets of meds after he reports to her, “Thalberg, G-2,
11A365.” The nurse is about to hand him two envelopes but the assistant drops one of them and the pills roll out onto the floor. A few land under Murray’s standard-issue black boots. He steps aside to locate them and then bends down to pick up the pills, nearly losing his balance, and then hands them back to the nurse. She takes the pills from him and then shoves them all back into one of the envelopes and hands them to the old man. He watches all of this and looks askance at her and then takes the envelopes without uttering a word and walks away. “Next!” she says.
Murray notices a black 30 year old in a wheelchair in the corner on his way out of the Infirmary, past C.O.’s Blowman and Zimmerman, the latter being the cop who runs the Law Library and who also works The Box where he is known as a “Beast.” He has the affable demeanor and look of Dudley DoRight and is also known as “Timber!” by a few who know that he’d been the victim of a falling tree. He, himself, had been cutting the tree down with a chainsaw one winter when it landed on his head in the minus 29 degree cold. He hadn’t been quite right after that accident and proudly talked about his 220 over 125 blood pressure and incessant headaches ever since. The head pain was often alleviated by beatings he was rumored to have administered in The Box. For him, it was therapeutic.
The inmate in the wheelchair appeared to be nodding off and wasn’t moving. One end of a tube was sticking in his vein and the other end was lying loose in his lap, unfettered or connected to anything. Blood is slowly leaking from it but is partially absorbed by a blanket thrown over his lap. All of this is within the sight line of C.O. Blowman at the desk where he has his feet up, but he’s busy cursing out inmates and joking with Zimmerman and the nurse who just came on duty. The shapely nurse is giggling at the attention from the two C.O.’s and Murray is too confused or afraid to say anything to them about the guy in the wheelchair, so he saunters out.
The floor buffing machine continues to whir on the floor. Cleanliness is very important but it is also noisy and one could hardly hear anything. Debris is being blown all about the Infirmary — into its treatment rooms, pharmacy and waiting area. Domo, a young inmate being treated for asthma (slim, medium height, 20’s, black male with a bald head), is sitting next to Bigs who is there for chest pains (a 30 year old black guy who weighed 325 lbs.) and they both try to avoid the noxious air that they are forced to breathe by pulling their undershirts up over their noses. The smell of rancid mop water and cheap floor wax permeates the Infirmary. Domo is here in prison for a 5-year bid. He was none too bright and had been making his living on the street by breaking into vacant homes, foreclosures known as zombie houses, stealing the copper pipes and selling the metal to a junkyard. The last time he did this, however, after cutting and removing the pipes, he decided to lay down in the basement of the vacant house for a short nap. When he awoke, he failed to notice of smell of gas. According to him, he was watching T.V. two days later and learned that the house had blown up after erupting into a ball of fire. He was ratted out by a friend and arrested. When the cop asked why he didn’t leave after ripping out the pipes he told them, “I was tired.” Other versions of this story unfolded as time went on.
The noise from the machine is deafening and debris is flying all over the Infirmary but the inmate operating it is staring intently at the young nurse’s ass while she is talking to the two C.O.’s. Dirt is blowing into inmates’ faces as they wait on line for medication. Blowman sees the inmate staring at the nurse’s ass and screams, “What the fuck are you looking at, shithead?”
The inmate operating the buffer looks at Blowman and then looks away. His job in the Infirmary, considered a good one, would soon be over. He’d gotten a ticket and his punishment was to be transferred to the Mess Hall, considered the worst job in the prison. Up and 4:00 a.m., back to the dorm at 7:00 a.m., then back to the Mess Hall again at 10:30 a.m., and off again from 3:00 p.m. until 6 p.m. Working with food, cooking, cleaning, preparing the meals, was a job that only the least educated prisoners got. And, the civilians working in the Mess Hall were the most abusive.
“Shitty,” as the buffer was called, didn’t really like to work. This was partly due to the fact that everyone knew he was a little fucked up. Physically, that is. He constantly needed to use the toilet and emitted a tremendous amount of gas. No one wanted to be near him because he smelled of shit. And, he had trouble controlling his bowels. Some inmates were convinced he had some kind of illness, possibly a parasitic infection, or perhaps even Hepatitis. Literally, he was known to shit in his pants and had been observed with feces trickling down the cuffs of his pants. His dorm mates barely slept due to the farting noises and smell. One inmate even wrote a song about him. So, naturally, he was given a job in the Mess Hall.
Another line of inmates formed along the hallway wall, opposite to the medication office, heading towards the sergeant’s office. This was near the room by the Exit door where buses were boarded and ambulances arrived. It was the room used for strip-searches and there was a lot of commotion and yelling by the C.O.’s. There had been a surprise search in the prison and a couple of dozen inmates were rounded up for a “Piss test” looking for evidence of drug use.
“You refuse to piss, you go to the Box, you piss dirty, you go to the Box, you don’t shut the fuck up on line, you go to the Box. Now, line up and if you can’t piss when you’re told, you go to the Box. You got that? Now, you,” he motions to the first inmate on line, “go with him.”
A C.O. holding a little plastic cup, wearing blue plastic gloves, leads an inmate to the single bathroom and leaves the door open where everyone in the Infirmary is able to watch. He hands the inmate the little plastic cup and says, “Okay, piss.” The C.O. stands next to the inmate with the plastic cup and stares at the black guy as he unzips his pants and pulls out his penis. “Let’s go,” he says, “we don’t have all day.” The cop smiles as he focuses back and forth between the inmate’s penis and his anxious face, “S’matter ya dick not working. You a homo? Don’t give me that shy bladder shit.”
Later they all learn that the nurse assistant who’d been watching the guy in the wheelchair had gone out for a cigarette and left him unattended. She’d simply forgotten about him and gotten into a conversation with another nurse.
He’d bled out in the hallway — while she was bullshitting.
Suddenly, the Exit door swung open and two orderlies arrived to collect the guy in the wheelchair. They unhooked the tubes from his arm and placed him on a gurney, zipped him up in a plastic bag and wheeled him out the back as the inmates and C.O.’s watched them take the inmate to the Morgue.”