By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher
There are a million stories in the naked city, and … this is just one of them.
In our tale, the Feds find half a million in cash from two safety deposit boxes, (let’s face it, that’s a lot of chicken kabob salads and roast beef sandwiches), causing them to arrest the owners of a local joint. But that might not be the most-interesting part of this tale.
After all, this family’s deep legal troubles around obstruction of justice, and perhaps, a question over whether they paid their fair share to a little outfit called the IRS, is only of passing prurient interest.
In our tale, people start to wonder, as part of a potential sentencing deal cut with the Feds, if the accused will turn rat quicker than the time it takes to make a large Italian with hots and extra salami.
We take you back a few years, to a time when a family opens a second little sit down restaurant on the a posh side of the berg, and then comes before city solons to request that rules be amended so they can obtain a liquor license for their new establishment.
But when nearby neighbors strenuously oppose this liquor license pursuit, their elected representative does what all good elected officials do: He stands by the neighborhood, and fights to keep the restaurant from becoming a boozy cash bonanza.
Interestingly, several other solons, including one we’ll call “Vito,” are decidedly in favor of the restaurant getting a liquor license. Traditionally, it’s SOP for solons to defer to the wishes of an area’s representative on such hyper local neighborhood issues. But not in this case. With few exceptions, the diligent area solon — after saying he will 100% support the wishes of the neighbors — finds himself feeling like Custer at Little Big Horn. There are cries from his colleagues of “have a drink and relax. This family ain’t hurtin’ those whiny neighbors.”
A few months later – surprise, surprise – the local solon unexpectedly finds himself with an opponent (let’s call him Butch) for reelection in that fall’s election. Nothing to see here, of course, except for the fact that the incumbent’s opponent is openly supported by the family seeking the liquor license. One day, while having brewskies following a game at the local Little League diamond,Vito also encourages Butch to run. “There might be some nice little envelopes in it for ya,” Vito suggests.
Who knows. Maybe the moral of our little story is that spreading around thousands of undeclared Franklins, Hamiltons, Lincolns and Washingtons can be a good way to get powerful interests to see things your way. Wink. Wink.
Let’s also say that it usually never fails that those facing very serious Federal charges, and the potential for long jail sentences, often have their attorney seek leniency by telling law enforcement things to help them hook even bigger fish.
Sleep well on that last point, local politicos. And, of course, maybe former local politicos.
Until then, though …
I’ll finish this tale after I have a chicken kabob dinner, with feta and onions, and well-done steak fries.