My apologies for hasty writing without links. I will try and clean up on Saturday evening. But I wanted to get this out now.
Overall the mood is chipper. Most staff gave up believing that Hynes would even have a chance to win. Productivity is way down, in a sort of an early Christmas season.
Rumor has it that Dino Amoroso has landed a new job. Dino, who was personally thanked in Hynes’s concession speech for his role in the campaign, is known around the office as Hynes’ consigliere. He is in charge of personnel and the defense against the Jabbar Collins lawsuit for wrongful imprisonment involving violations of his civil rights by Michael Vecchione and others. He also violated NYC ethics law and served as Hynes attorney in a number of real estate transactions. Dino, according to the rumor is slated to be selected by Governor Cuomo to head the new Catskills gaming authority to be created as a result of the referendum vote on Tuesday. This is up Dino’s ally since he was head of Nassau’s OTB till his patron lost an election.
Speaking of Catskills Casinos, Hasidic organizations urged a yes vote. They proffered arguments about helping the economy but it seems they have more direct motives. Rumor has it that they are wired to have some of their real estate leased for the casinos. It seems Hasidim, like Native Americans, have gotten into the gambling business. This adds a whole new level of meaning to the expression, “A member of the tribe.”
Word is that there are some personnel being penalized by various actions to try and smooth out some irregularities in cases the DA would rather not deal with straightforwardly. I sent highly specific requests for information to the DA’s press office but, as usual, they have not bothered to answer. I do not take it personally. More important media than Frum Follies are also being ignored.
The Baruch Lebovits case which Hynes promised to bring to trial is nowhere near the trial stage. That suits me fine since I think the Thompson administration will do a better job. But what is scary is that there is talk, that I find persuasive, that the DA is planning to give Lebovits a sweetheart plea bargain of time served (a little over a year) in return for pleading guilty to 7 E felonies which netted him a sentence of 11-32 years when he was first convicted. The conviction was overturned on appeal because the prosecution failed to turn over about 3 pages of police notes. More shocking is the recent revelation by Hella Winston that the DA failed to use a very incriminating police supervised recording of Lebovits in which he all but admits he sexually abused the victim in this case. The discouraging aspects of the case also include a failure to follow-up with additional victims of Lebovits willing to testify and the failure of sex crimes to challenge known false allegations against Kellner or to respond to witness tampering and witness intimidation. One almost wonders if Miss Gregory, the prosecutor in the case is behaving like a surgeon eager to bury her mistakes. But it won’t wash. If she cuts a cruddy deal the cadaver of the case will be exhumed in January, and it and her will be given a full post-mortem.
Many activists are clear that this case is to the orthodox community what the Emmet Till case was to African-American community. We will not rest till justice is done. There are the other victims of Lebovits like the groom Motty Borger who jumped to his death on his wedding night, like Meir Dascalowitz who in turn went on to rape other boys, like the dozens of drug addict victims of rape by Lebovits, and on and on. I believe the Thompson transition team appreciates that they cannot credibly retain the trust of those who supported them unless they get to the bottom of this case.
I hope the outgoing administration will honor their public obligation and either prosecute, get a plea bargain of seven years, or hand over the case in good shape for the Thompson folks. If not, I predict with great confidence that the scandal will not die down.