There’s the story of Sid Gold who lived in the first floor of a three-decker who’d stay up to watch the 11:00 p.m nightly news and the first half hour or so of Johnny Carson. The husband and wife in the apartment above him worked the 3:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. shift and he would hear them arrive home as he watched Johnny and listen as they tramped their way to their abode above him. He’d go to bed a little after midnight but never could go to sleep until his upstairs neighbors were in bed. They had a nasty habit of taking off their heavy work shoes and dropping them on the floor making a loud thud which if he had fallen asleep would wake him and then he’d be up for all hours. He’d wait and then would come, thud, and a thud, and a thud, and the final fourth thud. He would then fall off into a deep slumber unafraid of being woken until the alarm went off.
They are all charged with extortion under the Hobbs Act or conspiring to extort property of the Top Chef company namely: “money to be paid as wages for imposed, unwanted, and unnecessary and superfluous services” through the “wrongful use of actual and threatened force, violence, and fear of economic and physical harm to [Top Chef] and others.”
The indictment sets out the acts leading up the crime. It first tells how Top Chef came to the area and had filmed shows at the Museum of Science, Fenway Park and Cheers. (Didn’t Boston U.S. Attorney say they were chased out of Boston. That hardly seems the case but then again Ortiz likes to use bombastic language.) Now here are the criminal acts set out in the indictment.
On September 8, 2015, the prosecutors in Fred Wyshak’s Public Corruption Unit brought a charge by means of an information against Boston Police Detective Brian Smigielski for actions that took place between late 2009 and April 2011, four years after the last incident. The charge was a conspiracy to defraud the United States as set out in 18 U.S.C. s. 371,
That law reads: “If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”
Smigielski is describes as: “a highly decorated detective.” Smiglielski in March 2014 was awarded the Boston police commissioner’s commendation for a 2013 arrest; likewise in 2008 he received the award for catching a suspect after shots were fired; and in 2009 he was awarded the state’s George Hanna Medal of Valor after he was hit in the head while he chased a man with a loaded gun into a backyard. Though stunned, he stopped the suspect from fleeing over a fence and arrested him.
“Beginning in the spring of 2014, Company A, a non-union production company, began scouting locations to film . . . in Boston.”
Why is the identity of the company hidden in the indictment? All the articles tell us it is the “Top Chef” company. Would it be too difficult to spell it out in the indictment?
Then there is:
“On or about June 9, a representative from the City of Boston called the Omni Parker House?”
At some point we are going to find out who that person is. Why is it hidden at this point?
“[A] producer for Company A had a conversation with a Local 25 official.”
You would think both the producer and the local company official had no names. Why aren’t they named? Is there a problem with identifying them at this time?
We are told that Company A was planning to film in Milton. (I wonder why they put the name of the town in the indictment. For consistency should they not have said “a town in Massachusetts.”)
Here’s a situation that occurs more often than you think. You will probably glow with envy hearing about it. You may think it is not true. But it is so pay close attention. Imagine that you are into your middle to late sixties. You feel yourself getting worn down and wanted to ease up a bit. You decide to do something about it.
You go into your boss, Smiley Goodfellow. You tell him the work is getting a little too much and you’d like to spend more time away from the office. Smiley listens and sympathetically suggests perhaps this is a time for you to retire. He says: “You know having worked here 15 years you are entitled to get 100% of the pay you are making. You can go off into the wide blue yonder and do what you damn please.”
You say to Smiley: “Yeah, boss, I know that. But I don’t know what I would do in retirement. What I’d like is this. I want to keep my title. I’m sort of fond of it now and I like the way people squirm in front of me. I want my full pay, I want to keep my office,secretary, clerks and all the other perquisites I now have. I want nothing to change but I want to only work no more than a ten-hour week.”
None of us like to be wrong. That goes in spades for government agencies such as the U.S. attorney’s office in a place like Boston or the FBI wherever it is located. You make a bad decision based on warped ideas or biased inputs and then find having started down the road you fear turning back toward the truth. So you double down and twist and turn situations to have them fit your erroneous original assumptions.
The most fundamental error in the Whitey Bulger saga which when looked at objectively is how the truth has been massacred. To do this, Whitey Bulger has had to be elevated far beyond his second-rate hoodlum status to one, as described by one of the authors benefiting from this elevation, as the most evil man on the planet. How that could possibly apply to Whitey, when even among his associates greater evil was to be found, shows how having erred in the beginning the Whitey pursuers have to reach to heights of absurdity to keep the show going on.
I received the following letter in a comment to one of my recent posts. The person who sent it is a former FBI agent who is involved in assisting FBI Agent John Connolly in his effort to straighten out the record and clear his name. I thought it appropriate to post it on the blog this Sunday. I do not agree with everything in it and will set out my differences at some later time. It does contain many things I agree with and I believe it should receive as much circulation as possible.
TO: THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES,
8949 WILSHIRE BLVD., BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA 90211
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
PRESIDENT, CHERYL BOONE ISAACS
CEO, DON HUDSON
DEAR MEMBERS AND EXECUTIVES OF THE ACADEMY:
Over three hundred years ago Montaigne said: “Nothing is so firmly believed as that which least is known.” The shameful prosecution of the highly commended former FBI Special Agent John Connolly, is now being libeled and defamed by the film Black Mass, confirms Montaigne’s prescience.
I suppose a fair amount of people in the Boston area know who Jim Braude is. I recall him from way back when he was an advocate of more taxes. He routinely debated a woman who fought for less taxes. Then he moved over to New England Cable News where I never watched him; and he also had a radio show with another woman which I rarely, almost never, listened to. It was not that I had a particular dislike or desire to avoid the guy it was because as you may know I’m not a big television watcher nor am I interested in the radio opinionates.
One TV program that I watched more than any other was what used to be called the MacNeil and Lehrer report on PBS hosted by Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil but is now called the PBS Newshour and is hosted by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff. It sometimes presents a good interview with a noteworthy person although the questions are often softballs that are routinely hit out of the park. That program was followed for many years by the Emily Rooney show. She too would have some guests that were worth listening to but she didn’t have the instincts to go in for the kill when the person ducked and dodged her questions.