Ken Thompson’s Victory over Joe Hynes is already yesterday’s news. Joe himself is taking an overdue vacation. It is very overdue; it should have started 8-12 years ago. Apparently, he prepared himself for his demise by observing a wake for his career before he even gave his concession speech. He did not show up at the campaign gathering until after the results were in and then quickly surrendered.
According to Shmarya Rosenberg, Michael Vecchione was busy hauling boxes out of his office early this morning. Shmarya believes Vecchione was hauling out evidence of his misdeeds. I wouldn’t put that past Mike. But, the hallmark of his tenure was making it his business not to keep records. On the other hand he regularly moon lighted as a writer of fiction and movie scripts. Knowing that he is going to be fired by Thompson, Mike might just be getting a head start on his next career by removing a treasure trove of fiction plots he first generated to prosecute some of his cases.
Rumors are circulating that there might be a major shredding operation. If so, I expect Dennis Quirk, wearing one of his many hats, to get the contract. Dennis, in a final act of generosity to Joe, might even throw in a few body bags. On the other hand, he does have to find new jobs for his daughter and two son-in-laws. Maybe they can learn how to operate one of Quirk’s six Zambonis, clearing and scraping evidence.
On a serious note, I and others are worried about the loss of evidence of crimes committed by the Hynes team. I can only hope that the grownups who are now minding the shop remember that they have prosecutorial immunity for most of their misdeeds, but destroying evidence is prosecutable. Maybe someone should post signs: “Remember Enron and Arthur Andersen.” The other thing people should remember is that electronic records are exceptionally hard to purge, there are backups upon backups in vaults far from Brooklyn, and most IT systems can track who deleted an item. I do not think the IT people have any reason to worry about earlier misdeeds. However, if they collude in destroying records they will have a price to pay. Of course, Mike Vecchione has already demonstrated he can wipe his memory clear at the drop of a subpoena.
I have one last thought about Mike. Tensions are high in rackets because many of his subordinates blame the election defeat on his scandalous misconduct. I am told that some of the staff are so angry that others had to cool them down to prevent them from trying to punch him out. Perhaps Mike is clearing out early because he is afraid someone will threaten to hit him with a coffee table unless he confesses.
I sympathize with those who did their best under Mike. However, there are those like Nick Batsides who got paid too much to do what they were told without asking questions. Nick indicted Samuel Kellner with lousy evidence that came from a self-interested source, the son of convicted molester Baruch Lebovits. Obviously, he will be fired. I also hope he gets brought up on ethics charges and gets disbarred.
Press officer Jerry Schmetterer is also going to be looking for a new job. From some time in early July he stopped answering questions from serious journalists. I assume he was also in on the decision to block my blog and other blogs. He should be perfect for any other organization which needs a press officer who refuses to provide real information. Unfortunately, organizations like that are usually on a sure path to political defeat or commercial bankruptcy. I hope he gets a round of jobs in failing organizations. That would be karma.
Jerry’s Daily News megaphone, court house reporter Oren Yaniv, is in for a dry stretch. He used to have it easy with direct access to Schmetterer and Vecchione, and surprisingly good luck at just happening to connect to jurors in major cases. Unfortunately, he never cultivated enough other sources in the office of the DA. The Thompson folks are not going to take kindly to him. Schmendrik Oren may have to actually start working to get good stories.
Ronnie Jaus, head of sex crimes, is also looking for her next job. No other DA will hire someone tarnished with favoritism to orthodox Jewish molesters. Sadly, I believe she does care about sex abuse victims and does not relish the thought of defending perverts. But right now that is her most sellable skill.
Jewish Liaison and head of Kol Tzedek, Henna White, is also going to be out a job that allowed her to refer clients to her husband, attorney Asher White. She was never likable and I have no idea whether those she protected will take care of her now that she no longer can help them escape justice.
Mary Hughes, best friend of Joe’s wife, Pat, will have to find another job. Right now she is head of Crime Prevention. Her husband, Harvey Greenberg, Hynes’ former chief of staff, did very well for himself, selling off the assets of Judge Phillips. I suppose she will do a lot for crime prevention by not being in a position to aid and abet it.
I hear Arthur Aidala looks crushed. All these years he was able to smirk and intimidate KCDA employees by reminding them he was a close friend of Joe. Arthur was trying to build up a specialty in defending ultra-orthodox perverts. The Munkatcher Rebbe gave him referrals such as Baruch Lebovits and Menachem Deutsch because of that connection. Arthur is now back to being just another attorney. He will not be able to command premium prices or deliver exceptional results. His partner in the Lebovits case, famed constitutional pontificator, Alan Dershowitz, was also angling for that market, hoping to use his success in acquitting Lebovits and indicting Kellner, to make him the go-to appellate lawyer.
The Munkatcher Rebbe, the titan of pidyon shvuyim (prisoner redeeming) will probably be renamed the Munchkin Rebbe, because he has lost his ability to deliver results. Thompson has already declared that he will not give special treatment to any group. However, the Munchkin Rebbe will be especially remembered for his campaign poster for Hynes with the slogan, “He has helped us, he helps us, and he will help us.” The poster all but declared, “Hynes fixes cases for our criminals.” Even if Thompson was inclined to let bygones be bygones, he could not afford to allow others to believe he has entered into a corrupt partnership.
Another looser is City Councilman David Greenfield who accused Thompson of targeting Jews, and went one better, falsely accusing Thompson of putting out a campaign poster calling for the ritual kapporos slaughter of Hynes. Greenfield tried to insist he was the winner because he got about three-quarters of the voters in his district to support Hynes. He conveniently ignores the fact that turnout was very low according to Hynes campaign chair, George Arzt. It is a safe bet that Thompson will turn to Dov Hikind when he wants to work with a politician representing ultra- orthodox Jews.
In the orthodox community, Satmar took the worst hit of all. Both factions united to back Hynes. Yet this election overturned the old saw that the ultra orthodox block vote can determine primary election results in Brooklyn. Thompson has absolutely no reason or inclination to give them special treatment. Most ethnic groups would be quite happy just to be treated fairly. But Satmar has cultivated an attitude of being above the law. They better get ready for some serious attitude adjustments. Internally, their hold on their constituents will weaken if they cannot control outside law enforcement.
I have enjoyed lashing out at the culprits. Now, I want to speak directly to the honorable staff of KCDA. I know many of you have done your best to preserve your integrity in a problematic environment. I know some of you love being public servants and would rather not become defense attorneys. Yet, you are now faced with uncertainty about your employment prospects. I know it will be hard to maintain morale during the interregnum between now and January. I respect and appreciate each of you who will keep on doing your jobs to the best of your ability. I cannot speak of Ken Thompson’s plans. But his history is one of working in orderly environments and I cannot believe he plans to purge the office, apart from the top echelon and those known to have engaged in misconduct. It is not like he can close shop for three months to retool the place. That is especially difficult at KCDA where written records are often incomplete. He needs your institutional memory to keep cases going. Naturally there will be changes, some for the better and others that some of you will not like. But I think it is a safe bet that most of you will keep your jobs and may even find yourself empowered to finally do them the way you always wanted to.
In the meantime, consider the prospect of working in an office where you won’t be pressured to campaign for your boss or terrified of retaliation for doing your job the way it should be done.
A number of you helped me and other reporters uncover some of the dirt in the office. I thank you and hope to keep telling as much of the truth as you share. I am inclined to hope for the best from Ken Thompson. He starts out with a honeymoon period and the benefit of the doubt. But I am always mindful of the Jewish advice, kabdeihu v’chashdeihu, “respect and suspect.” If Thompson falls short of his campaign claims, I promise you, I will be just as merciless to him.
In the meantime, I hope more of you will feel safe commenting on Frum Follies. I am absolutely committed to protecting the identities of my sources and those who comment on my blog. I know some of you were afraid of the higher powers of KCDA. Rest assured, the most culpable of them are too busy saving their skins or retooling their careers to worry about your comments.
To my Jewish readers and others inclined to accept these wishes on the eve of Yom Kippur, gmar chatimah tovah, may your destiny for the coming year be sealed for the good!
Hat Tip to the Malach who suggested this post