The Reflective Rudy




Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2001

That new sweetheart of mine, Tempestuous Tina Brown, dropped in at City Hall for my management report press conference the other day. It was enough to jump-start my heart’s response time. I can’t believe she gave me $3 million to tell the same stories about myself I couldn’t get Donna to listen to for nothing.

Tina’s partner, Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein—oh boy, does he make me Merry to the Max—thinks the book can become a very, very magical, Oscar-nominated movie. He wants to call it Vanilla. Maybe I can put Harvey and Tina on the decency panel I’m going to set up. Remember The Priest—that Harvey hit denounced for depicting a whole diocese of clergy as lowlifes? Or Dogma? Or even Chocolat? The only people the Catholic League has condemned more often than the Brooklyn Museum is the gang at Smear-the-Max! I just love the blissful ironies of life in the limelight. Tina told the press I promised an autobiography of complete candor. Can you believe that? To give her a taste of what to really expect, I stuck the management report in her fascinated face: 59 pristine community districts out of 59! Suck on that one. Then I told her my very, very favorite summer 1999 joke—sorry Donna, I have to go to a fundraiser in the Hamptons. What does Sweet Tina expect me to write—oops, I forgot, I DID have an affair with little Crissy Lategano? The Suburban was a Sex Machine? Plato’s Retreat was reinvented in the City Hall basement? It wasn’t just stookies that got sucked behind the dark curtains of the Romeo y Julieta Room at Elliot Cuker’s cigar bar?

Me, Mr. Open? Did anyone notice that my own old office, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, was filing complaints in court saying I was refusing to turn over mandated police reports to federal investigators at the same time that I was promising a very, very, tell-all tale to Tina? Or that practically the same day the book was announced I held a press conference with the Mets and we all laughed at reporters who wanted to know how much Keyspan was paying the Wilpons for naming rights on the new, totally city-financed, minor-league stadium in Brooklyn? When it comes to information, book buyers are the same as everyone else—they get nada, nada! They don’t like it, to-o-o-o BAD!

What a great party Tina threw for me and Judi at her Sutton Place palace yesterday. Isn’t it great to go from public shindigs with your mistress to re-creating the Legion of Decency? I heard all those stories about Tina’s lavish affairs. Like when she didn’t think the waiters and waitresses were sufficiently star-and-starlet-looking, paid them, sent them home, and brought in a second, buffed-up crew. In the old days, that’s the way I ran some city agencies. It was great they had their friend Mike Bloomberg there to remind me he’s part of the package. When I endorse him, the theme will be he’s got enough billions in the bank to cover the budget gaps I’m leaving for my successor. It’s a very, very beautiful thing.

Judi loved just being with Tina. Wasn’t it Judi’s ex-husband, Bruce, who put it so well in the divorce papers? Her “main goal in life,” he said, “was being involved with whatever was ‘the in thing’ at the moment.” What could be more “in” than me and Tina? I told the party what my day was like—just a little memoir sample. Can’t wait to do the chapter about the night I invented Compstat, or the time I tried to install a police computer in the Suburban so I could issue moving violations myself, or how I strip-searched the last squeegee and saved the city from concealed Windex.

Has anybody noticed that ever since the book deal got hot I’m sticking my schnozz into every national news story I can? The police response time has shot through the ceiling, and I’m spending all my time chasing a fugitive who’s been on the loose for 18 years. Maybe Marc Rich can make me rich. From Katie Couric to Chris Mathews; it’s the only thing they’ve asked me about since Hillary. While I blab on about how much Denise Rich offered to raise for me, no one’s reported that her longtime boyfriend, Niels Lauersen, gave my campaign committee $8600, maxing out in the 1997 campaign.

When W’s on the way out, I’m going for pardons for Pops, Cousin Looie, my very, very best prostate adviser, Mikie Milken, my very, very biggest fundraiser, Billie Koeppel, my very, very closest union backer Charlie Hughes, and maybe even Denise’s doc friend Lauersen, who just took his own fall. My other criminal friends—Steinbrenner and Fugazy—already got theirs. (Where did I put my copy of Patrick Dorismond’s arrest record? Isn’t this game of rhetorical jujitsu just so much fun?)

I don’t know how many days I can stretch the Clinton Harlem story out. Tina told me “make buzz” and you gotta do what you gotta do, at least until I ink the final book contract. I’ll probably have to cut a big deal with Charlie Rangel by the end of the week. What price can you put on a very, very panoramic view for midlevel bureaucrats? We all know how Wild Bill’s Harlem move happened. The good Reverend Jackson told him that’s where the babes are. Promised to bring his Black Book up to Harlem if Bill went there. And Jesse wasn’t talking about the Bible. Anybody notice this whole shtick happened on Valentine’s Day?

Here are my favorite recent brainstorms:

Jimmy Traub just wrote my farewell profile for the Sunday Times and called it: “Giuliani’s New York: The city, and psyche, he’ll leave behind.” Thank God he didn’t write about the psyche I’m taking with me. It’s so great that such a smart guy is still willing to take seriously almost every self-serving claim I’ve ever made. It’s also so great that his formula is to dump critiques from the underclass on the back pages that the upper classes never get to. And the timing just made Tina salivate!

All the obscure monitors, from the Financial Control Board to the Independent Budget Office to the Citizens Budget Commission, are going nuts about me spending all the surpluses, hiking the debt, adding tax cuts of gargantuan future proportions, doubling police overtime, and leaving future deficits bigger than the Fresh Kills landfill. The federal welfare law, a national recession, and the soaring cost of garbage disposal all hit the city as I walk out the door. Isn’t it just very, very great that when the chickens come home to roost, not even Donna will still be at the mansion? (Make a note to have her send me over some clean shirts.)

I had a hard time when I was U.S. Attorney figuring out what this political racket was all about, but now I know. It’s about making your cousin’s husband head of the Trade Waste Commission. Or your ex-wife and cousin head of the Central Park Conservancy. Or your mid-life honey head of the Convention & Visitors Bureau. Or your other cousin a six-figure honcho at the Economic Development Corporation.

It’s about your best friend doing a million a year in consulting just to talk about you. It’s about special detective details for ex-police commissioners who knew how to defer, and for current girlfriends who know how to look dazzled. It’s about feeding the family of the party leader who got you elected, even the dysfunctional son. It’s about your deputies and their wives becoming lobbyists, and everyone putting a price on how close their mouth is to your ear.

And happiest of all, it’s about getting your City Hall research staff to put together every document we wouldn’t release under Freedom of Information so I can use whatever I want in the book. It’s about ringing up the biggest payday of my life, even enough to silence Hanover, while I still have influence to trade. Papa would be proud.

Research: Jesse Goldstein and Greg Robertson

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 20, 2001

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