On Halloween, Rudy Giuliani will join Mayor Bloomberg and Staten Island boro prez James Molinaro (pictured) at a big pre-election “Prelude to Victory” rally and fundraiser on State island. This is one place — like Brooklyn’s ultra-orthodox Borough Park where Team Bloomberg unleashed Giuliani last weekend — where Giuliani might actually be useful in revving up the pro-Bloomberg base (assuming there is one out there). Who knows, maybe Rudy will also escape nasty questions about why his former police commissioner, Bernie Kerik, was ordered jailed on Tuesday.
But in the interest of fair play, one question for this tough law-and-order Republican trio should be about the appropriateness of another “Dear Judge” letter, one very much like the 1982 leniency plea that Bill Thompson made on behalf of an ex-congressman who was his former employer and that the Post made into a front-page scandal on Monday.
This one wasn’t written a quarter-century ago, but on October 3, 2003 when Molinaro – using official Borough President stationery – wrote to a federal judge in the same Brooklyn federal court house where disgraced ex-Brooklyn rep Fred Richmond was sentenced. Unlike Thompson’s letter, Molinaro’s plea wasn’t for an ex-congressman for whom he’d served as chief of staff. It was for a pair of organized crime associates who pleaded guilty to being part of a mob ring that had ripped off taxpayers for millions on local construction projects, using Mafia extortion tactics to get its way.
In his letter, Molinaro asked Judge Sterling Johnson to go easy on John and Jamie DeRoss, sons of Colombo crime family underboss Jackie DeRoss, a neighbor that Molinaro told the Staten Island Advance he knew as “a regular guy.”
“Both John and Jamie grew up around the corner from my home on Staten Island,” wrote Molinaro, who said one of his sons was friendly with them. “The reputation of these boys in the community was always a good one. It is also my understanding that this is the first time the boys have been in trouble with the law. Please weigh and consider these remarks positively when determining an appropriate sentence for these young men.”
The DeRoss “boys” – they were 34 and 37 years old at the time – were sentenced to 27 and 33 months in prison.
As for Richmond, the tax charges against him stemmed from
his failure to declare payments made by one of his companies
toward costs of his Sutton Place co-op. The bribery was $7,400 towards the college tuition of the child of a Navy employee who
had provided information on contracts to a Richmond campaign supporter. And those drug charges against the “druggie” pol, as the Post put it? Richmond admitted that he’d possessed a few marijuana joints that members of his own staff gave him.
Not that Richmond, a multi-millionaire, was much of a role
model. He made lots of bad deals with Brooklyn’s old Democratic bosses. And one of the ways he stayed in office was by doling out generous philanthropic donations to citizens groups in his district. Which sounds somehow familiar.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 20, 2009