The following ‘about and summary of chapters’ is from the book ROLLOVER MARTIN. This is a draft and may contain a plethora or booboos. Deal with it.
In the keynote speech of the February 07, 2008 CPAC convention, Arizona Senator John McCain said, “I know in this country our liberty will not be seized in a political revolution or by a totalitarian government. But, rather, as Burke warned, it can be “nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.” I am alert to that risk and will defend against it, and take comfort from the knowledge that I will be encouraged in that defense by my fellow conservatives.”
The famous Valerie Plame investigation by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, is actually far more famous than known.
Richard Armitage had admitted he was the source that leaked Plame’s name to Robert Novak. Fitzgerald knew that. The entire Plame investigation did not bother with Valerie Plame at all.
I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby was charged with lying to investigators about a Federal Espionage act investigation that did not involve Valerie Plame. While the press was concentrating on Joe Wilson’s screams of abuse by Karl Rove; Fitzgerald, who was supposed to report to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, was reporting to David Margolis, who had been appointed when Gonzales recused himself from Fitzgerald’s investigation. Gonzales was never involved in the Plame accusations. He recused himself from an Espionage investigation. Never charged and actually praised by the department’s staff when he exited: Gonzales was not a target of that investigation. The FBI added 600+ agents to its newly named, Public Corruption investigations, nationwide, with the largest, most inter-governmental cooperative unit in South Carolina, of all places. Just months before, Bush and Gonzales referred to Public Corruption, as Government Corruption. Margolis is the modern day Elliot Ness. October 29, 2008 the Department of Justice presented an award for “Outstanding Professionalism and Exemplary Integrity” to then Associate Deputy Attorney General, David Margolis.
A small door had opened into the bottom of the target of that Public Espionage Corruption Case. From that perspective, connections that had never been investigated before: had probable cause.
Rollover Martin begins with I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby and the Valerie Plame investigation’s real purpose: what Patrick Fitzgerald was really investigating. How a disc-jockey’s pro-se civil rights case resulted in placing Senators and the Federal Court itself in jeopardy of violating Misprision of a felony. Experience the threats, the intimidation and the bigotry of the old south, alive in Charleston South Carolina. Exposing the documented truth behind John McCain; and how he knew about it all before the investigation began, Lindsey Graham and Chief of Staff Richard Perry; and how that office broke the law and violated Misprision of a felony; Henry McMaster; South Carolina Attorney General who’s office sent the wrong email, to the wrong pro-se, Mark Sanford; South Carolina Governor, who’s office made a complaint disappear , J. Strohm Thurmond Jr.; who resigned as the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina because of this case, Carrie Dominquez; former EEOC Chair, who completely overhauled the EEOC directly due to this case before she resigned, Alberto Gonzalez; who acted as a front in Senate hearings about Nine U.S. Attorneys, The Rev. Joseph Darby, South Carolina NAACP ; who engaged direct action, Michael Powell who oversaw the FCC’s ignoring complaints, hiding complaints and issuing broadcast licenses based in fraud before he resigned, the FBI’s South Carolina Agent in Charge before he resigned, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division before the entire department was gutted.
Follow the ordeal starting in December 2001 of a disc-jockey’s quest to enforce the law. “…every person has the right to know what the laws are and to enforce them without fear of retaliation or retribution.” Justice Anthony Kennedy said in a speech to the American Bar Association in 2006.
Senator John McCain first learned of the overwhelming evidence of government corruption on April 9, 2004. It was his suggestion to take it to court. Rollover Martin clarifies a secretly tumultuous time in the Bush Administration and exposes the people, the offices, the web of infiltration and the outside influence of the single most daring attempted overthrow of a sovereign nation in recorded history.
Presented with documented evidence, Rollover Martin is the true story of Federal courtroom drama, crimes committed, inside the trial, greater justice, secret orders, sealed cases and the background of how a radio personality’s genuine attempt to hire (beginning with promote) an African-American female in the bigoted south, resulted in extortion by government agents, direct action by the NAACP and a cover-up that reached all the way into Cabinet level offices.
Rollover Martin exposes the web of influence planted in the Executive branch and shows how The Bush Administration investigated it, removed offenders and replaced them with ‘Good Americans’. A citizen forced to take a complicated civil case to federal court without legal counsel and become caught up in a much larger investigation through the counter-claim filed against him. Court orders were sealed. Fake orders were issued. The final District Court order had the signature area covered by a clipping from an old IBM Selectric, obviously taken from a very old ruling. Rulings served by the Federal Court, in U.S. Mail, were stolen in transit. The first document I had to file in response to a deadline was ‘lost’ in the very U.S. Mail truck intended to deliver it. If I had not called the Postal Supervisor and made him look for it, I would have missed an important deadline. Defense counsel was actively involved in the crimes alleged, my motion to disqualify counsel and firm was denied, and the ‘team’ was permitted to argue against the Plaintiff. They were actually pro-se. Another Fourth Circuit Court quoted the case as case-law, but nowhere in the fake orders was the passage visible.
One of the main participants in allegations of Title VII violations, drove himself to the hospital and died on the front stairway, just days after his threats were mentioned in court filings. The court never learned of his death until I did, in researching an appeal. Entries, albeit with redacted words and lines, and unsigned responses from the court, are still being made to an appeals case that reached the Supreme Court, where the fee was returned. Returned documents show date stamps, a weekend before the clerk’s acceptance of the filing. Three, in fact. The case is hidden and attached to another larger case; a greater justice.
I have believed in the wonderful Clerks of the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court, andthe South Carolina District Court in Charleston, District Court Magistrate Judge George Kosko, District Court Judge Patrick Michael Duffy, the entire Fourth Circuit Appeals bench, David Margolis, Alberto Gonzales, George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and at least three Supreme Court Justices. But now, I am no longer sure it will ever become known, unless I tell it.
Barack Hussein Obama is not about Country Before Self. He ran against it, and the nation lost.
Lee Kent Hempfling (known as ‘Lee Kent’ in broadcasting and the Screen Actor’s Guild) has been in the entertainment field for over 30 years. Starting in Cincinnati in 1984 with 700 WLW-AM as a news anchor, Mr. Hempfling entered radio broadcasting part time, while serving as a Deputy Sheriff, assigned to the Corrections Division, in Hamilton Country, Ohio. From there, radio became full time.
Stations in Cincinnati include, WLW, WKRC, & WSAI. Stations in Dayton, Ohio include WGTZ and WHIO. KEYI Austin, Texas, and stations in North Carolina, Montana, Mississippi, Arkansas (KZOU), Alabama, Texas (Corpus Christi) and finally South Carolina. Mr. Hempfling’s experience in broadcasting include the positions of General Manager, Sales Manager, Program Director, Production Director, Morning Drive Personality, Mid-Day Personality, evening personality and news anchor, lastly Program Director – Morning Drive Personality at 105.5 WCOO in Charleston South Carolina.
Additional work credits include: Voice Over actor, member of The Screen Actor’s Guild performances on CBS Television’s Knot’s Landing series. Voice Over talent as image voice for seventy four radio and television stations across the nation. While serving as Program Director of a station in Beaufort, North Carolina, Mr. Hempfling managed the first organized display of yellow ribbons before Desert Shield and the first gulf war, turning it into Military Families Day and a nationwide phenomenon.
His interests include quantum mechanics, neuro-physics and cabinet making.
Previous works include: ‘Modern Mysticism, Perception and Cognitive Deception’ published in 2004, ‘The Brain Is A Wonderful Thing’, published in 2005, and the first three volumes of ‘West With Out Heaven’, published in 2006.
Mr. Hempfling lives in Apache Junction, Arizona with his wonderful wife of nearly 18 years, Suesie, and ‘baby’ variants KD the single curl Puggle, Frank the double curl Pug and Gage, That Cat. [UPDATE: more babies… more years]
I. Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby was the news topic of the moment. The resignation of a high, close to the top character from the Bush Administration had news outlets covering it like the scam it was. Brilliantly. Every tiny tidbit of gossipy chatter gained prominence in the search for dirt on Dick Cheney in just about all of the news stations. Concentrating on the person, and how Libby’s story might damage the person of Dick Cheney, liberal news outlets never bothered to look into why, on October 28, 2005, Libby wound up indicted and out of the Vice-President’s office. Shortly thereafter, Cheney’s office gained a slew of attorneys, lockable safes and military guards.
Warren Richey, writing in the Christian Science Monitor said this about Libby and his condition .
“When Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald began his investigation in December 2003, his instructions were to identify who leaked the name of a CIA agent to columnist Robert Novak and determine whether that action violated any secrecy laws.” … “Nearly two years later, the answer to that question appears to be that no secrecy laws were clearly and intentionally violated. But along the way to attempting to discover the truth about the original leak, Mr. Fitzgerald encountered a senior White House official who he says attempted to obstruct his investigation.” … “Now, with the prospect of a long-drawn-out, and politically charged trial in Washington, a new question emerges:” … “Why would I. Lewis Libby, who resigned Friday as Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, risk prison to thwart a special counsel’s investigation?”
On the other side of that coin bears the question; why would Fitzgerald, reporting to a strange chain of command in the Department of Justice, even bother with the man he singularly charged from his investigation, which had nothing to do with the underlying authority given to Fitzgerald’s special prosecutorial assignment? Is it possible for a special prosecutor to have been using one crime investigation to conduct another crime investigation? The reason I ask is contained in an article written on May 29, 2007 by Byron York  :
“During the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis Libby, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald never charged, and never presented evidence, that Libby illegally disclosed the name of a covert CIA agent. But now, Fitzgerald wants Libby to be sentenced as if he had been guilty of that crime.”
Or was Fitzgerald investigating more than one crime and the press was just focused on the other one?
“During the CIA-leak probe, Fitzgerald looked into possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act and the Espionage Act. He did not charge anyone with breaking either law. But in his court filing, Fitzgerald writes that the grand jury “obtained substantial evidence indicating that one or both of the…statutes may have been violated.” Therefore, Fitzgerald is asking Judge Reggie Walton to treat Libby as if it had been proven that such crimes occurred. “Because the investigation defendant was convicted of endeavoring to obstruct focused on violations of the IIPA and the Espionage Act,” Fitzgerald continues, “the court much calculate defendant’s offense level by reference to the guidelines applicable to such violations.”
As a basis for his argument, Fitzgerald is using a common legal distinction: It’s more serious to obstruct a murder investigation than a shoplifting investigation. The problem, for Fitzgerald, is that he never proved that a crime, as defined by either the Intelligence Identities Protection Act or the Espionage Act, actually occurred. Now, he’s arguing not only that he proved a crime occurred but that Libby knowingly took part in it. The formula for calculating the sentence recommendation, Fitzgerald writes, “is designed to match the offense level to the conduct and result intended by the defendant.” [italics in the original]
Fitzgerald’s conclusion differs with the case presentencing report prepared by probation officials. Their report is not public, but Fitzgerald’s brief quotes from it. “The criminal offense would have to be established by a preponderance of the evidence,” the portion of the presentencing report quoted by Fitzgerald says, but “the defendant was neither charged nor convicted of any crime involving the leaking of Ms. Plame’s ‘covert’ status.””
That quote is very telling. In a criminal trial (“The standard that must be met by the prosecution’s evidence in a criminal prosecution: that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime, thereby overcoming the that a person is innocent until proven guilty.”  ) is the, “beyond a reasonable doubt” the burden of proof. But in a civil or criminal trial, the burden of proof is through a preponderance of the evidence. Fitzgerald was conducting an investigation, using a Grand Jury returning the criminal charge of perjury in obstructing justice and was following the criminal or civil trial burden of proof, not the criminal trial burden of proof.
Writing in Find-Law on November 4, 2005, John W. Dean makes the case for something else going on, but then blindly assumes it must mean Dick Cheney .
“… when one studies the indictment, and carefully reads the transcript of the press conference, it appears Libby’s saga may be only Act Two in a three-act play…
The Indictment: Invoking the Espionage Act Unnecessarily
Typically, federal criminal indictments are absolutely bare bones. Just enough to inform a defendant of the charges against him.
For example, the United States Attorney’s Manual, which Fitzgerald said he was following, notes that under the Sixth Amendment an accused must “be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.” And Rule 7(c)(1) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure requires that, “The indictment . . . be a plain, concise and definite written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged.” That is all.
Federal prosecutors excel at these “plain, concise and definite” statement indictments – drawing on form books and institutional experience in drafting them. Thus, the typical federal indictment is the quintessence of pith: as short and to the point as the circumstances will permit
Again, Libby is charged with having perjured himself, made false statements, and obstructed justice by lying to FBI agents and the grand jury. A bare-bones indictment would address only these alleged crimes.
But this indictment went much further – delving into a statute under which Libby is not charged.”
A civil action, does not ‘charge’ the defendant. It prosecutes the case against the defendant. Libby very obviously interfered with a serious trial or investigation that resulted in a criminal charge.
“Count One, paragraph 1(b) is particularly revealing. Its first sentence establishes that Libby had security clearances giving him access to classified information. Then 1(b) goes on to state: “As a person with such clearances, LIBBY was obligated by applicable laws and regulations, including Title 18, United States Code, Section 793, and Executive Order 12958 (as modified by Executive Order13292), not to disclose classified information to persons not authorized to receive such information, and otherwise to exercise proper care to safeguard classified information against unauthorized disclosure.” (The section also goes on to stress that Libby executed, on January 23, 2001, an agreement indicating understanding that he was receiving classified information, the disclosure of which could bring penalties.)
What is Title 18, United States Code, Section 793? It’s the Espionage Act — a broad, longstanding part of the criminal code.
The Espionage Act criminalizes, among other things, the willful – or grossly negligent — communication of national-defense related information that “the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.” It also criminalizes conspiring to violate this anti-disclosure provision
But Libby isn’t charged with espionage. He’s charged with lying to our government and thereby obstructing justice. So what’s going on? Why is Fitzgerald referencing the Espionage Act?
The press conference added some clarity on this point.
Libby’s Obstruction Has Blocked An Espionage Act Charge
The Special Counsel was asked, “If Mr. Libby had testified truthfully, would he be being charged in this crime today?” His response was more oblique than most.
In answering, he pointed out that “if national defense information which is involved because [of Plame’s] affiliation with the CIA, whether or not she was covert, was classified, if that was intentionally transmitted, that would violate the statute known as Section 793, which is theEspionage Act.” (Emphasis added). (As noted above, gross negligence would also suffice.)
But, as Fitzgerald also noted at his press conference, great care needs to be taken in applying the Espionage Act: “So there are people,” he said, “who argue that you should never use that statute because it would become like the [British] Official Secrets Act. I don’t buy that theory, but I do know you should be very careful in applying that law because there are a lot of interests that could be implicated in making sure that you picked the right case to charge that statute.”
His further example was also revealing. “Let’s not presume that Mr. Libby is guilty. But let’s assume, for the moment, that the allegations in the indictment are true. If that is true, you cannot figure out the right judgment to make, whether or not you should charge someone with a serious national security crime or walk away from it or recommend any other course of action, if you don’t know the truth…. If he had told the truth, we would have made the judgment based upon those facts….” (Emphases added.)
Finally, he added. “We have not charged him with [that] crime. I’m not making an allegation that he violated [the Espionage Act] . What I’m simply saying is one of the harms in obstruction is that you don’t have a clear view of what should be done. And that’s why people ought to walk in, go into the grand jury, you’re going to take an oath, tell us the who, what, when, where and why — straight.” (Emphasis added)
In short, because Libby has lied, and apparently stuck to his lie, Fitzgerald is unable to build a case against him or anyone else under Section 793, a provision which he is willing to invoke, albeit with care.
And who is most vulnerable under the Espionage Act? Dick Cheney – as I will explain.”
The rest of the article proceeds to justify Dean’s instant-assumption. What if it wasn’t Dick Cheney? Even though a couple of dozen new attorneys all loading into the Vice-President’s office at one time, accompanied by serious safes and armed guards tends to dismiss the Cheney was a target of an investigation that involved National Security.
The Plame case was a convenience for the Bush Administration. It was that ‘case’, or as President Bush once referred to it as ‘the corruption case’ that was being investigated. Even though Libby’s own lies kept Fitzgerald from prosecuting under the Espionage Act, the request for a stiff sentence and the reference to it not having a thing to do with Plame tends to point to the focus of what was probably never really about Plame’s identity or who leaked it. Fitzpatrick knew it was Richard Armitage.
Christy Hardin Smith, writing for the online blog <a href=”http://firedoglake.com” target=”_blank”>FireDogLake.Com</a> on May 21, 2006 quotes the New York Daily News: “Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has emerged as a key witness in the CIA leak probe, the Daily News has learned. Armitage has been questioned several times, but is not expected to be indicted by the federal grand jury investigating who outed CIA spy Valerie Plame to journalists in 2003, sources said.”
R. Jeffrey Smith, writing in the Washington Post’s “Armitage Says He Was Source of CIA Leak He Says He Did Not Know Covert Status”, published on September 8, 2006 clears up when Fitzpatrick knew Armitage was his guy. It was just four months earlier that the New York Daily News was reporting Armitage being ushed in through the back door of the courthouse.
“The confirmation of Armitage’s role has provoked criticism of both him and the special counsel, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who learned of it shortly after his appointment in 2003. Some have questioned why Armitage waited so long to speak up about it, and why Fitzgerald spent two years appearing to chase a question that had already been answered.”
The problem was the wrong questions were being asked. That ‘case’, that ‘corruption case’ involved national security and the Espionage Act and Cheney’s office was about to become center command in that fight. Libby had to leave but his prosecution could not tip off the rest of those people in whom he really owed allegiance. For the most part, named individuals in the government’s employ have been left in place. They should all be in prison. Libby was just a boil on the rear of a larger predator.
In 2004 a law suit was filed in the South Carolina District of the Fourth Circuit Federal Court. It would have been, as the magistrate Judge said, a “typical harassment case” had defense counsel not decided in might have been in their interest to use a press release as the basis of their counter-claim. All it took was attesting, in court, before the magistrate, that the press release was 100% true. Since the assumption of fact is granted to the defendant, any version of the story offered by the defendant is accepted as fact, unless the plaintiff has hard evidence to the contrary. Defense had a press release, which mentioned their clients at the end of it. By placing the court in the position have having to entertain the factual basis of a series of claims made in the press release, and the assumption of truth residing with the defendant, that typical harassment case completely changed. It became a wholly different entity. It seemed that things happening outside of the EEOC’s purview were deemed a greater justice. When I find out of the term ‘greater justice’ means ‘more justice’ I’ll let you know. So far, it has meant only ‘no justice’.
My interest in the Scooter Libby sacrificial fiasco was deeply rooted in its connections to things prior. Journalists focused on what Libby might have done and that not only resulted in indictment and conviction in the public’s eye, but in the press, that order was reversed. I’m quite sure, although specifically if I should endeavor to invoke that quite sure thing in the future, I trust one shall remember conjecture from things prior, does not guarantee an accurate reading of the present, anymore than conjecture about things not yet been, does not guarantee an inaccurate reading. Unlike prognosticators, soothsayers and general all around charlatans, I readily admit conjecture, or someone could have told the story from a distance and done away without all that pesky identification of actual fact and person.
Fox News Sunday was deep into the Libby reporting genre, albeit from a far more balanced viewpoint, actual journalism, than any other network major Sunday program. That week I had managed once again to find some alternative reminder to force me to stop whatever I was doing, or in the case of sleeping in, engage the auto alarm system to place me facing Fox News Sunday. It just had proven itself to be a reliable source for things related in any way to things prior.
I found myself watching carefully, while Suesie was already deep into the curiosity condition when Lindsey Graham became one of the guests in a small roundtable with Martha McCallum, discussing the Libby case. Graham sat rather aggravated, not a whole bunch, just a smidgen of aggravation was getting through, but pressure grew as the other panel members spoke and when it was Graham’s turn, he interjected before the host’s question. He said, and I paraphrase here being quite sure that what he said is what he said, that he might be needing a new chief of staff himself, soon. Of course, he said it in his best politicalism. He preceded the statement with a reference to Libby no longer being Vice –President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff, eluding therefore that he would be available as a Chief of Staff. It was really a very bad attempt at covering up not being funny. His point came after the lame set up. McCallum missed it. The other panel members missed it, but now, if I could ever find a video of that segment I would doubt few viewers would miss it. He said he might be, needing a new Chief of Staff, soon.
Soon. I pondered what connection there was to the concepts. How was Graham remotely interested enough and involved enough to invoke a reference to himself? A Chief of Staff of the Vice-President was out of his employment. Graham had a Chief of Staff, but he was not out of employment. In fact he is still employed as Lindsey Graham’s Chief of Staff. Richard Perry had been with Graham for quite some time. He was his Chief of Staff in the House of Representatives. Perry was instrumental in running pretty much everything Graham knew about, did or otherwise didn’t do in reaction to something stupid, like blurting out a connection to yourself in regards to a person who lost their job for being what they were, not for being set up to tell a technical lie. Did Graham know why Libby had to leave that office? Was it remotely involved in any charge brought after a long stretch of interrogation by the FBI or the grand jury? How would Graham be involved in that enough to even care?
Graham spit it out that Fox News Sunday. Richard Perry was connected to Scooter Libby in some fashion, other than their friendship and long standing relationship. Or were they just too inter-related? Or was Graham upset about any potential political fallout, or perhaps his pent up and childishly erupting tantrum before even being asked a question was personal. Who knows?! Well, obviously Scooter Libby knows. I am quite convinced Richard Perry knows. I certainly know the worker at Graham’s Mount Pleasant South Carolina office, Jean Price knows. She had once offered to drop what she was doing, drive to my house and pick up the collection of documents I wanted to have received by my Senator, rather than send them the right way to the Washington office of Richard Perry. In case there is any wonder, she was not going to make something being sent to Richard Perry, which she had originally suggested, wind up unaccounted for, or in the least forgotten about. There was a postal tracking and delivery record and a signature of the person accepting the document. It was a habit, I guess. But it was worth having.
The relationship I endured, sometimes angrily, more often curious and near the end of the relationship, quite cunning had taught me many things about Richard Perry, Jean Price and Lindsey Graham’s electronic pen. I say electronic pen because the only contact I had with the Senator was signed by his electronic pen. Near the end of my patience with Graham’s office, Price told me on the phone that she had used her own money to go to a private mailing store to send the documents I had transmitted to Richard Perry in Washington D.C. to the Director of the North Carolina regional EEOC office. She even read me the response that man offered, which in effect covered them well and hurt Graham. Whether Perry, or Price wrote the letters I received from ‘Graham’ is anyone’s guess. Could have been Graham.
When Pigs fly it is often at the least expected moment and in the least expected manner that something very obvious in immediate context lends itself to a strong connection to a totally and seemingly unrelated event. Actually, after doing this for so long I am convinced that is not true. The only reason I would have assumed it to be true was not having enough knowledge by which to support what I would learn from the press. It is what made Fox News so important to me. Connections need reference to become visible. Reference comes from information. The Internet is a very large mess. The locations of news items that mattered to the larger picture being painted by things past were unknown. Fox News gave me search terms to find those places and I relied on a select few to provide stories that might contain a connection. And Fox News Sunday provided the most interesting insights, besides TalkingPointsMemo.Com and Breitbart.Com.
I sat for hours each day, reading news items from local newspapers, television sites, forum posting boards looking for story links and it all resulted in a fairly detailed database of news items. Those hours were spent in between hunting for work in my field. In some circles, my field would garner disdain. I’m not sure what the general public’s opinion is about people in my field, but as an insider I can attest however bad their perception might be, jump inside for a bit and find out how soft you are. My job hunt was not going very good. How does one apply for jobs when the very job one would be applying for was most recently terminated by the employer, with very deep seated problems and an even deeper motivation, based in a couple of hundred years or so of a disgusting mental cancer.? And to top that off I wound up suing the former employer in Federal Court.
I was indeed what Trish Thompson claimed I was. Relentless. To the point of any normal human’s self-absurdity balloon stretching to burst and embarrassment.
Then tonight, I gave up. You may know the feeling. If you have had a life threatening illness or accident, and knew for certain that you faced death, the realization that you will indeed die is a heavy awareness. Normally, people go about their business in the moment, or in the past. Few people actually ponder the limited time we have alive. It is not something that rests on the mind often. We live our lives oblivious to death unless someone close to us has recently died. We hardly ever consider that we will die. Realizing that death is imminent is a momentous event. The moment you do realize it, is the moment your life changes.
If that moment comes when you are in middle age, you may mistake it for a religious experience and devote your life to preaching, or if it comes at a later age, you may realize not much time remains and use that time to do whatever it was you could never do or abuse the time fretting how little of it remains. If it comes too early in life, you may begin to desire it and suicide is almost always the result. In any instance, knowing that you know, that you know that you will cease to exist as a living, breathing human is a moment in your life that creates a crossroad. You realize something dear to you will no longer be. The decisions you have made in your life before that awareness mean nothing. Your future existence, however long that might be will be based on that awareness of death. Even though concluding beyond doubt that you are not immortal is humbling and a good thing, at the same time it leaves a monstrous cavern where your center of existence used to be.
Tonight I got that feeling. Not about death. My realization of death happened years ago. My wife, Suesie’s realization of death happened years ago as well, when she was given only a 20% chance of survival from cancer at a young age. Perhaps the traumatic experiences in her life have kept her more skeptical than I, perhaps they have made her more reluctant to trust. Perhaps they have only dented the armor I know she is made of.
Suesie and I were out back, taking a smoke break from a wonderful movie on DVD. I didn’t know James Carville could act. He played a Governor of a southern state, a Democrat of course and he was very good in his part. Quite believable. Suesie had been collecting movies from Amazon.Com, as a way I guess, to deflect her concerns or perhaps bolster her armor. I don’t know if it was something specific she said, as I simply do not remember the actual conversation, even this close to its volume, but whatever it was, it hit me. Hard.
Every time we found ourselves out back, somehow the conversation would migrate to the case. It didn’t matter what it had started with, it always came down to the case. The case is what we called the rather lengthy collection of many different legal and illegal things we had experienced over the past seven years and we had rehashed every quirk and every motion and every response so many times I would cringe when the topic arose again. Likewise, we had spoken of various avenues available to us since the case had gone so wrong. We had managed to dismiss every single one for one reason or another, and in some instances, for many reasons.
Suesie never had faith in the United States Judicial system. She never had faith in the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Federal Communications Commission or any small time bureaucrat who touched the case over the years. She did have a habit though, of imposing hope upon what they never would do. I, on the other hand, never placed hope in anything. My beliefs were only based on what I knew and my fatal error was in accepting the law as a given.
If Billy Bob was walking down a narrow street with a large truck approaching him quickly, intending to run him down, and there was only one turn off, one would expect the given of Billy Bob’s travels would force him to jump into the safety of that one side road before being squashed. I could not accept that Billy Bob could in anyway jump the truck. Real life is not a movie. I could never accept that a court could so something that was against what the law and rules of the court dictated. That was the weakest bolt in my construction. I assumed if the facts pointed to one truth, and the evidence pointed to the same truth, that as long as the rules were followed and the time was adhered to, and I never reacted to a lawyer’s diversion of the topic, never made a tactical or argumentative mistake, that I could not lose.
I assumed that if the law said X and what I had was X and not one shred of evidence was entered to say it was Y, that a Judge would have no option but to accept X as truth. The rules said so. Supreme Court rulings said so. But apparently a Judge can determine it to be ‘F’, regardless of case law, regardless of district law, regardless of Supreme Court rulings. I was so caught up in the countless hours of learning, reading and structuring a strategy that I never once considered things would not be as the law said it would be. This is a nation of laws, is it not? Isn’t this a nation of the rule of law?
In an Internet server, aggragated by a piece of software I wrote for the purpose, is a collection of over 2,300 news stories that apply to the case. In one such story is a speech given by Justice Anthony Kennedy to the American Bar Association on August 6, 2006. In it he said, “every person has the right to know what the laws are and to enforce them without fear of retaliation or retribution…” I thought so too. In fact, I thought so, so much, that I placed trust in Judges and read their words for intended meaning. I listened and responded to the Judge in hearing with direct evidence and truthful communication. I upheld every rule that applied to the trial. I followed every precedent of the district. I researched, found and employed every applicable local rule. I put my belief to the test by filing a legal action in the Charleston South Carolina Federal District of the Fourth Circuit Court.
I believed in the American judicial system when I do not believe in anything unless I know it to be so through empirical evidence. One can’t say that such a belief was blind faith. I reached my acceptance that the courts would do the right thing after reading their own laws, their own rulings, their own rules and after watching the most interesting way the judges in this case acted, what they said, when they said it, how they said it and what they did not say or do. It was a belief rooted in historical fact. It was like knowing that when I spill a glass of water it will run down hill. It will seek the path of least resistance, not because it is lazy, but because gravitating to the correct conclusion is simple. It is very hard to do otherwise.. I never expected it could stand up, cuss me out and jump into the second story bathtub, on its own.
I lost my belief in the American ‘rule of law’ judicial system tonight. Now, that might not sound like much of a loss. To most people it is a topic that is removed from everyday concern, and often not even a potential issue of discussion, but for us, Suesie and I, it has been the one thing that has kept us most intently discussing. I believed in justice and she believed there never would be justice. Optimist v. Pessimist, as it were.
I have tried repeatedly over the years to garner attention to the case without giving up what actually happened, what it actually means and why it actually matters. Since the case has been a ‘secret case’ in the Fourth Circuit since in or before 2006 and I was afforded the luxury of being shown its existence in my copy of a court document, I could not bring myself to publicize what should have been kept secret to complete the investigation. But since the ‘investigation’ has not resulted in any known, or perhaps I should say unsealed indictments, in 2008 I started to whine about it a bit louder. I wrote articles about current topics in politics and placed issues within those articles dealing with the secret case. I published a website called Country Above Self that drew over 276,000 votes for Patriot or Traitor in which I exposed those Traitors I knew to be so, without saying how I knew. I published a website called Doomed Report where I parodied current events with the twist to them of what could happen if Obama or Clinton were elected and I linked to the articles showing only a bit of what I knew. Perhaps the best critique received from a rather terse article, came from a nice person posting in an Internet site called Red-State, where I use my real name, who after reading the online available material concluded that no one would care, because no one had died. But a man did die. I just didn’t say so on line in the summary or the articles. It was mentioned in an appeals court filing which I did not publish for public view, which was the first notice the court had that the man defense counsel was blaming for everything had already died and would not be able to be called as a witness. How that person died is a serious mystery and has direct bearing on the case.
Suesie has had plenty of evidence from which to arrive at her pessimism. For each event, I had plenty of evidence to arrive at my optimism. It fell to the Bush Administration’s Department of Justice, first under Alberto Gonzales and then under Michael Mukasey to do the right thing. We all know who was elected President in 2008. Obviously Republicans decided doing the right thing, was somehow wrong. I never expected water to roll up hill. I never expected that something so powerful, so mighty, so intently important could ever be ignored long enough to allow the very people it condemned to rise to power. I could not fathom how the Republicans, being in charge of the Justice Department could ever not use the case to elect John McCain as President. John McCain knew about the case in 2004. It was his letter to me that convinced me to file the legal action in the Charleston South Carolina District of the Fourth Circuit Court, even though a federal agency had done all it could to guarantee I could not find an attorney to represent me.
John McCain’s entire campaign was about what the case exposed. Is it already too long ago to remember that McCain’s mantra was corruption? It was improper influence. It was Country First. It was Patriotism. It was all the right words, for the right reasons, while none of those reasons became public for any of it to make sense to a jaded population. In a speech McCain gave at the CPAC convention in 2008, he made it quite clear what his knowledge was:
“I know in this country our liberty will not be seized in a political revolution or by a totalitarian government. But, rather, as Burke warned, it can be “nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.” I am alert to that risk and will defend against it, and take comfort from the knowledge that I will be encouraged in that defense by my fellow conservatives.”
I can emphatically state, and you will come to the same conclusion somewhere in this book that had it become known, had the facts as they were proven to be, come to light before the election: there would not be a Democrat elected in this country for at least 50 years. Perhaps never again. This case, even though it involved corruption by the office of a Republican Senior Senator, would have guaranteed the future of this nation remaining as a Federal Republic. Instead, we have been given a socialist quest for the excellence of mediocrity and the ascending of power of people who hate this nation. I blame George W. Bush for Barack Obama’s election and for the ruin of the careers of fine upstanding Patriots, who’s names can only be cleared with the release of a secret court case.
The case itself was actually two cases. I spent hours and hours checking and double checking my initial filings to make sure I did not refer to the second part. That turned out to be a waste of time as the second part of the case was introduced in federal court by defense counsel as a counter-claim. A rather smart move on their part had I bit the bait. But I did not. That didn’t matter though. I had filed an employment retaliation case using Title VII and 42 USC 1981 among other citations.
When it was filed I had written a very long, highly detailed case action loaded with every single claim, backed by direct evidence of every single event that took place. The evidence was mostly from employees of the company, and its management including the audio tape of a bribe.
Part of my strategy in the case was a full understanding that given the constraints of the federal court rules, if I did not place it all in the record at the start I would never get the chance to introduce it all at trial. There was a risk in that tactic. The Magistrate judge could have thrown it all out, demanded I issue a cursory micro-document and what had been filed would not able to be referenced later. As it turned out, the Magistrate read it all, and did require a smaller, more rule adhering document to take its place but he made that monster filing docket entry number one. He included it in the case. From reading that document it was quite evident that it was no ordinary Title VII case.
“This is a typical Title VII retaliation case,” was one of the first statements made by Magistrate Judge George C. Kosko in a hearing in Charleston South Carolina on August 31, 2004. He went on to further elaborate on how ‘typical’ the case was by declaring how many others like it he had presided over as a Magistrate Judge. It was not at all typical.
It isn’t very typical for the counsel for the defense to have received a motion to disqualify them from the case which included direct evidence proving the very same firm had been responsible for criminal acts against the plaintiff. I was forced to place into evidence parts of my 7000 pages of evidence that showed the defense firm had taken part in a shakedown and then I had to introduce evidence of that shakedown to place context in that allegation. Yet, regardless of the evidence, the firm that defended L.M. Communications Inc., and its child companies in that federal court was the very same firm that acted with the EEOC to deny me due process, to extort L.M. Communications into a settlement of a different EEOC filing and resulted in the killing of my case as the prize. All felonies. Those attorneys committed crimes against me, yet Judge Kosko permitted them to defend themselves, as much as their clients in the trial that followed. Kosko ruled I had not submitted a single piece of evidence to prove their criminal activity. Of course, I had, but it was good that he said I did not.
I understand the concept of Equitable estoppel. Equitable estoppel “prevents one party from taking a different position at trial than they did at an earlier time if the other party would be harmed by the change.” According to LectLaw.
Here we were in a civil trial, proving probable cause of federal criminal acts and the potential for those allegations and the evidence to totally screw up a criminal conviction later on made perfect sense to me for Kosko to say I didn’t submit anything. They would have been unable to declare innocence if they had already been faced with the allegations and evidence and it had been used against them to remove them from the case. I understood that.
But to Suesie, and anyone else for that matter, Kosko struck a blow against me from the start of the case. He actually protected my rights by dismissing that motion. He protected the attorney’s rights as well, but then again, isn’t that what the law is supposed to do? Kosko himself referenced my initial massive filing in his report and recommendation. The evidence presented in the vein attempt to keep from having to combat the very same firm that had placed me in the position to have to seek legal recourse in the first place was beyond any doubt, probable cause for a federal grand jury.
In the same hearing Kosko, referring to the counter claim filed by the defendant’s counsel against me, which was nothing more than my own press release regarding the second part of the case, stated in open court that the Court “guarantees your right to Due Process”. The lack of due process was not the issue in that trial. That was going to be the second case, after the simple, and completely incontrovertible facts in the first case had been established.
I guess it was rather typical for defense counsel to ask me out for coffee after the first hearing to make an offer to settle the case. He was not too amused when I told him he was my enemy, not just counsel for defense and that not only would I not consider settlement, I would see him again in the very near future.
It was not too typical for a motion by defense counsel to sanction me to be dismissed. The sanction was their response to my allegations of their involvement in federal crimes.
It was not at all typical for a memorandum to be filed in support of a motion for summary judgment before the motion for summary judgment was filed. Four days before it was filed. It was not typical for defense counsel to declare they had filed the motion that way because the clerk told them to, after saying previously they had done so by a mistake.
It certainly was not at all typical for a Federal Court to serve legal documents to a plaintiff through U.S. Mail and have those documents stolen from inside the Court house by the U.S. Postal service worker, and to steal one from inside the postal service after it’s postage had been ‘canceled’.
It might have been typical for defense counsel to miss deadlines, refuse to follow court orders and otherwise thumb their noses at the Magistrate Judge, but it certainly wasn’t typical for them to then win the case. One document says they did, but that document is not the document quoted by another Federal Court as case law.
Suesie and I had suffered through the initial issues of the case itself, through the crimes committed by federal agents and agencies, through Senator Lindsey Graham’s office, through the very law firm I was forced to argue against, through the trial itself and then at the hands of Federal District Court Judge Patrick Michael Duffy and the entire Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, we suffered what no citizen should ever have to suffer. The rule of law died with documents filed by the court to the P.A.C.E.R. docket that were not real. It was dead in the Fourth Circuit, or it was so secret it could not be publicly shown. I accepted what the court did as there were compelling reasons for their actions IF the end quest was as Judge Kosko stated, ‘for a greater justice’. That greater justice was the second part of the case. The second part had managed to do what no other court case had ever done before. It had given legal ability to the Department of Justice to enter into the secret world of the EEOC and investigate serious federal crimes.
I felt justified for the faith when nearly immediately after the August 31, 2004 hearing South Carolina U.S. Attorney J. Strohm Thurmond Jr. resigned to return to private practice. Thurmond knew about it all. His office had asked the FBI in Columbia to look into it all and then failed to follow up when the Agent for the FBI lied and killed the investigation. I felt justified when the Agent in Charge of the Columbia FBI field office resigned and went to work for the state. I felt justified when the new U.S. Attorney for South Carolina was an African American. It would have taken an African American to prosecute the EEOC and its controllers in the N.A.A.C.P. I felt justified when John Ashcroft resigned and was replaced by George Bush’s most trusted legal advisor, Alberto Gonzales. I felt justified when Bradley Schlozman started firing and transferring attorneys in the Department of Justice Civil Rights division, as that office had committed crimes as well. I felt justified when he referred to those persons being replaced by ‘good Americans’. There are many things that occurred following that August hearing, all of which supported my belief in the American Justice system.
EEOC cut Charleston out of the North Carolina region and moved it to Atlanta. EEOC made all claims be handled by an outside firm and changed the business model of EEOC from ‘anything goes’, to a law office model. Cari Dominguez resigned as Chair of the EEOC. Michael Powell resigned as Chair of the FCC. All were necessary if anything were to be done to make it impossible for another citizen to be ruined by the network of agencies, the network of external controlling factors that ran the nation’s executive branch. All were necessary if elections mattered at all. When I filed a case in federal court, stood before Judge Kosko and affirmed the truthfulness of every single allegation in the press release, the can of worms had been blown open. The knowledge of treasonous acts of sedition had been unleashed. The network put in place by many of the very same people who now run federal agencies was exposed from the bottom up.
The book ‘The Shadow Party’ by David Horowitz and Richard Lawrence Poe had exposed what the likes of George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Harold Ickes and others had been up to outside of government, starting in 2003 with the creation of ‘The Shadow Party’. On the book’s website they offer what they know:
“America is under attack. But the principal culprits are not foreign terrorists. They are a cabal of influential and powerful Americans who have formed a secret party within the Democratic Party, led by radical billionaire George Soros. This Shadow Party seeks to undermine the War on Terror, destabilize the nation, and effect radical “regime change” in America… A battle is raging for the future of America, and the forces of the insurgent left have masked themselves behind the mainstream façade of the Democratic Party.”
Horowitz and Poe had only HALF of it. The other half was already at work deep within the government itself, long before ‘The Shadow Party’ started. People who were not ‘good American’s had masked themselves as bureaucrats, and took their orders from outside of government. They ran the nation regardless of two Republican Presidential election cycle victories.
Following the forced awareness of that press release by a federal judge:
George Bush cleaned house in nearly every executive branch agency. The federal government embarked on the largest employment campaign in years to replace those persons who had been removed. Those persons were plants, placed there by Bill Clinton. The nation’s last two Presidential elections meant nothing. It wasn’t just the Democratic party. It was both parties. The ‘Shadow Party’ had been running the nation ever since Bill Clinton first took the oath of office.
When it came time to know which U.S. Attorneys could be trusted to do the nation’s business and not that of the internal enemy, some of them were let go. That erupted into a smoke screen attack by Democrats to demonize the Department of Justice, Alberto Gonzales specifically. The press gleefully wagged its tale as it followed the straw man and never bothered to ask why things had happened. Never bothered to question what was really going on that required such an over the top attack by Democrats in congress.
The case was a corruption case that just happened to have started as a ‘typical’ employment retaliation case. I guess the Shadow Party’s embedded operatives never counted on someone who would not throw his hands up and walk away after his country had shot him in the back. I guess the embedded foot soldiers of the ‘Shadow Party’ were so accustomed to having their way that it never dawned on them that a lowly disk jockey would not stand for it.
But I also guess the power of that shadow was so vast that it reached into every hole of government, even after many of its foot soldiers were ousted. I was convinced when Chief Justice John Roberts visited South Carolina, gave a speech and took part in a mock trial, that was attended by Judge Patrick Michael Duffy that his words that the judiciary was not political, indicated that Duffy was an honorable Patriot.
We are faced with action that is not action and inaction that is not inaction. My repeated correspondence with the court clerks of both the District and Circuit courts had kept me thinking they were doing the right thing. They could not admit the existence of a secret case, yet they never denied it. They could not address my questions, yet they consistently offered to assist again if needed. They were polite and kind. They should have told me my case was finished and to go away but they never did. The District Court Clerks told me to ask the Appeals Court, while the Appeals Court Clerk redacted what they said.
My case was officially over. It had reached all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, with me filing my appeal based on the very words of that Court and yet, when I found out from the Supreme Court Clerk that I would have to format my filing in book form if I wanted to spend the filing fee (it had been returned to me uncashed) it had already been decided. My appeal had been terminated. After all of the filing fees, all of the travel fees for a trial that was rigged, an order and decision that are not supported by the case law the ruling turned out to be; it turned out that three copies of the Writ of Certiorari had been taken out of the Supreme Court clerk’s office on the day it was received, on a Friday, and on Monday was it logged in as received by the clerk and on Tuesday it was rejected, but it was sent back to me in the slowest possible mail format and the following Friday the appeal was terminated, long before I knew it was even received..
The Supreme Court informed me that I had not included the order upon which I was appealing, yet I had included the only orders I had received. You see, the circuit appeals court stopped serving me documents in the case during my second appeal and orders from the District court kept being stolen before I got them. The Supreme Court also informed me that one of the documents I had submitted was not acceptable as it was ‘photo reduced’. I had not copied and reduced anything. They were speaking of the order of Judge Patrick Michael Duffy where he ended the case in the District Court. That document was first uploaded to P.A.C.E.R. as an electronic PDF copy which allowed me to see it was not signed. The signature was a photo reduced, photo copy of an old signature with an IBM selectric typewriter used for the typed name of the Judge. After I downloaded that copy, the online version changed to an image PDF version.
When I asked the circuit court clerk to send me the true and accurate original order the Supreme Court had referred to, I received the same document I had submitted to the Supreme Court, without a clerk’s docket stamp and marked as ‘file copy’. Obviously, the order I had received was not the real order and I had never received that one.
When I saw the mandate pop up on P.A.C.E.R. (I was never served by the circuit court) the following day, things changed on the District Court P.A.C.E.R. record. My ‘civil’ case had gained a criminal, ‘Custody Status’ entry. It had also gained a ‘Case in other court’ entry, which to this day does not state when it was started or if it has been concluded. The case that was in another court, originated in the Fourth Circuit Court. The Magistrate told me in a phone hearing that “it all happened in the Fourth Circuit, it will all be handled in the Fourth Circuit.”
Following all of that confusing dance, when I would ask the District clerk for information, they referred me to the Circuit clerk. When I asked the Circuit clerk they redacted parts of their reply, did not date the letter and did not sign it. But they did enter my question letter and their redacted response to the docket of the appeals case, that was closed two years prior, and served them to the defense counsel as ‘notice’.
Since clerks would not tell me what was going on and I had exhausted all avenues available to me (I was still following the rules the court was ignoring,) Suesie and I would reach the backyard nearly every night, and sometimes during the day as well to talk about it, to ponder what could be done, to seek somehow, to find some way, to unearth some scheme or tactic that could do just one thing: answer the question. Was the court doing the right thing?
I could file a law suit against the Fourth Circuit Court in Charleston South Carolina, which would have to be filed in either the Ninth Circuit Court in Phoenix, Arizona, where we live, or in the Fourth Circuit Court in Charleston South Carolina. Asking the court in Charleston to rule against itself would be a true exercise in futility. Asking the Ninth Circuit District Court to rule against another District Court would be simply absurd. It wasn’t an option.
I could file a law suit against the Justice Department and file it in the Ninth Circuit, assume the Fourth Circuit was being directed by the Justice Department and watch the action be dismissed rather quickly.
I would be doing these things by myself, again. No attorney would touch either action, much like no attorney would touch the case I took before the Fourth Circuit’s Charleston District Court in May of 2004. The road had been covered with obstacles, too large to vault, and too wide to permit viewing past them. Only Senator John McCain wound up telling me I had a legal case and in fact, it was his letter that made me decide to file the case myself, as a pro se.
As I do with most tasks, I devoted every waking moment to researching federal court processes. Every moment I was not trying to bring money into the house to contribute to the family we were staying with, and to try to get our own home again, I spent thinking over the things I had researched the day before. It was much like teaching oneself how to be an attorney in Federal Court and I made my share of mistakes along the way, but the judges seemed to know it and managed to salvage my few tactical missteps. When the defense counsel failed to serve me their response to my revised complaint, and I called the clerk to find out if the court had received it, the clerk was not direct, but did hint that I did not want to claim default.
Suesie was very mistrusting of anything the clerk said. She had every right to be that way. Even though the first part of the case was what happened to me in the radio station, the second part of the case started with a betrayal of her love. To this day she will not become close with another friend. She will not trust another person. And even though she is not bigoted in any sense of the word, she is most distrustful of the motive of any black person, but not anymore than she is distrustful of the actions of any judge. After all, my ordeal within that radio station was rooted in the racial hatred of the south, with a confederate flag in the pick up window. In the city that fired the first shots of the First Civil War, racial bigotry is alive and very sick. My attempt to enforce the law, “without fear of retaliation or retribution” was in the aid of the civil rights of an African American woman. It was so 19th century that had The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. been able to know of it, he most assuredly would be rolling over in his grave.
Unable to find an attorney to fight my battles, I took it upon myself to take up legal arms. In all regards I won the case. Two judges in the Charleston District Court, 13 judges in the Fourth Circuit Appeals Court and at least three judges in the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a complete miscarriage of rules for “a greater justice”. Had that “greater justice” been worth it, we would gladly have acquiesced to it. But since the 2008 elections passed without justice and the very culprits in the Second Civil War have been elected, have taken over the country and are deep in the process of ruining it for future generations, I have survived on that relentlessness. But there comes a time in every life when what is obvious at the moment, is simply just not the way things really are.
Mr. Kantzler must have thought I was the most ridiculous kid he had ever spoken with. At 16, I was struggling with what I really liked. I liked music and I liked playing music, writing music, conducting music and listening to music. As the Drum Major of the Western Hills High School Marching Band, the student conductor of the school orchestra, first chair bassoon player, I made a daily income by writing songs for other students they would use to lure their targets of affection. Writing music came easily to me.
Having just returned from a summer of schooling in Austria, I was in my senior year of high school when I realized that even though I loved writing music and I loved playing music and listening to music I was enamored by a job that had the ability to play and listen at the same time. The radio bug bit me a few years earlier when I laid awake at night listening to the crystal radio set I had constructed and 123WB. 1230 WUBE’s Michael Lee Scott. I could barely hear him as that station cut their signal something awful at night but it was either that or ‘send in you dollar for you rose bush’ religious programs on another AM radio station.
When my family moved out of Westwood, a suburb of Cincinnati, to the new family home in the ‘far’ west of Hamilton County, the new environment, and the additional distance killed my crystal radio sessions. I needed something bigger. Atwater Kent made radios many years before my time, but an Atwater Kent model just happened to fall into my possession through a neighbor (no, I didn’t take it without permission, I led a horribly honest childhood!) It did not work.
Having had the experience of the crystal radio set, I tinkered away at the Atwater Kent to find the only thing wrong with it was a bad tube. Kantzler Electronics in Cheviot had the tube and I did not find it out of character to ask if good ol’ Mr. Kantzler could deliver it. I never expected the lecture.
My father just sat there and chuckled when he heard my phone conversation turn from ‘in control’ to ‘oh my’. Dinner was ready and I had to get off of the telephone, but Mr. Kantzler wasn’t done. How dare I assume he would sell an old tube for 95 cents and drive all the way out Werk Rd. to deliver it to some snot nosed spoiled brat? Actually, that never dawned on me. But it made me think.
My father’s laughter calmed enough for me to hear him offer to drive me to Kantzler’s store in Cheviot so I could pick up the tube for 95 cents and apologize for my arrogance. I had to look up the word. It was not pleasant to walk in, trying to hide who I was and ask for a tube for a radio set that was so rare only one person could be asking about it. Luckily Mr. Kantzler knew he had struck home on the telephone and let me escape without additional injury. I started using that old radio the next morning when I landed on 55KRC. 550 WKRC Cincinnati.
The morning disc jockey was amazing to me. Jerry Thomas rekindled the radio bug, let loose by Michael Lee Scott a couple of years earlier. I remember those disc jockeys so well, as many years, and a few careers later I would work with both of them.
Radio had me again. I learned inflection and copy reading and ad-lib, by listening to Jerry Thomas. Still at 55KRC when I arrived there as Production Director, he just laughed it off when I told him about his place in my formative years.
Being a radio personality was a target for me when I was young, but I was so smitten by the celebrity of the people I admired that actually being a disc jockey just didn’t ring possible to me.
A few years later, I had placed an advertisement in the local paper for a bass guitar player. I was in a band, playing keyboards and trying to sing and we needed one. One of the applicants mentioned he worked for a radio station.
When I called him to discuss the weekend low pay band job, the conversation didn’t take very long, until it was all about his real job.
He was Alan Gardner, News Director at 700 WLW. The Big One! The premier radio station of Cincinnati. 50,000 watts of AM broadcasting power. The station that sponsored the Hay-Ride Show many years before that entertained myself and the rest of my church group to a sing along in their massive broadcast tower building.
The station had moved since then and he was not the first to tell me I had a voice for radio. When I told him Columbia School of Broadcasting emphatically stated I did not have natural talent he replied with, “Well, let’s see about that.”
The next day I auditioned for him and the Program Director, at WLW. It was a day off so I was not in uniform. At the time I was employed as a Deputy Sheriff Corrections officer with the Hamilton Country Sheriff’s office. Another man was with him and that man retrieved some wire copy from a ticker in the news room, handed it to me, told me not to look at it until they gave me the signal then to start reading it like it was a real newscast.
When they had taken seats in a studio facing me through a large glass wall, they talked to each other for a moment then pointed to me. I started reading. Reading copy for the first time was a hobby for me ever since I heard Jerry Thomas do the same thing and there was a secret to it. I heard it in his voice. It was nothing Columbia School of Broadcasting had taught me. In fact they never broached the topic. The secret was to not read the words. Rather, read the syllables. So I did.
When I ran out of copy, without making a single error, I looked up from the table to see them both staring at me with bug eyes. The other man jumped up and ran into the studio I was in and promptly told me he had an opening for a part time overnight news anchor and if I wanted the job he would see to it I had it.
Of course I did. From the school I attended to WCLU in Kentucky, it seemed finally breaking into radio was just that. Luck. The man was Randy Michaels, Program Director of WLW. He would later go on to be President of Clear Channel Radio and nearly completely responsible for the end of the industry I came to love.
I got such a kick out of hearing the big voiced announcer say “700 WLW’s Lee Kent,” in the bumper used for my first newscast. I gave it in uniform, having worked evenings at the jail, then overnight at the station. A newscast each hour. My name had been shortened. Before I left the audition, Randy Michaels asked me what name I wanted to use on the air. I told him I was kinda partial to Kent. He told me my birth name, Wesley wasn’t going to cut it, but Lee would, so I became Lee Kent. Three months later the man who gave me my name, fired me. Mike Monsour of 55KRC was able to be lured away from the dreaded competition and being the last hired I was the first one let go to make room for him. The experience I received though convinced me I could actually talk on the radio. I didn’t much like news, but it was radio.
From there, I was offered the job of morning news anchor for WING- WGTZ in Dayton, Ohio. I quit the Sheriff’s office, making Sheriff Lincoln Stokes very happy and moved to Dayton. I was offered a job at Dayton’s WHIO as assistant news director under Winston Hoener. The man offering the job was none other than Michael Lee Scott. I never did tell him how much influence he was on me as a teenager. I did tell him I listened to him often. He hired me away from KZOU in Little Rock a few years later to host middays on KEYI in Austin Texas. And he was the professional mega talent I knew him to be from listening.
My radio career spanned quite a long time and took me to Alabama, Texas, back to Ohio, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Arkansas, where I met the lady I was destined to marry; Montana, Mississippi, and finally to South Carolina. There were diversions along the way. Radio as a career was almost like being a modern day gypsy. Jobs lasted from a couple of years to three days, at one station in Fort Smith, Arkansas where I was hired for mornings on a rock station. I woke up three days later to find the station had gotten religion and the staff was let go, me included.
I started in news, moved to on air personality, then to production director, Program Director and finally to General Manager of two stations in Greenville Mississippi, which was where I watched the news of the Twin Towers being shot down by suicide airplane missions and broke quite a few road laws to get to the station, so I could phone in what I was watching on CNN.
Suesie and I wound up bunking with her daughter’s family in Arizona. The tedious job of finding a job in radio had begun again. Tapes, and CD’s of air-checks with resumes were flying into the mail. Very little bites returned. The industry had become all about voice-tracking and very little about personality. I was knocking on 50 years of age, fighting for fewer positions with much younger talents. They worked for a lot less than I could. With stations cutting staff, eliminating engineering, outsourcing their voices and turning into a scared industry being run by sales weasels with no concept of product, my chances of finding a decent paying gig were slim.
I had felt so aggravated by the change in the industry I had joined forces with a radio legend. KHJ’s Ron Jacobs and I created Balanced Radio Broadcasting, a website devoted to trying to return radio to serving its listeners. It became rather popular inside the industry and much talk about it took place on line. In the discussion page at the leading radio website, AllAccess.Com, I had entered into a conversation about deregulated radio with a consultant. While I was looking for work, networking could do no harm.
Don Hallett and I were on the same page in most aspects of running the programming of a radio station. One thing led to the next and Hallett mentioned he had two radio stations in need of an Operations Manager. It would pay a reasonable figure for a veteran at my level of experience, and both stations were in sore need of being professionalized.
We talked on the phone and then I spoke with the General Manager of the stations. He struck me as being a tad apprehensive. After all, he was there temporarily. He was holding down the fort and interviewing a guy who had just left two stations as General Manager, to be an Operations Manager. I sensed a bit of fear on his part to lose the hope of the full time job he wanted. Hallett had already told me that Charlie Cohn was acting General Manager. I certainly did not want that job. Sales was not a hard job, managing sales people was not at all like managing talent and I wanted no part of it and made that case clear.
An interview at the stations in Charleston, South Carolina was set up for the following week.
It kept running through my head, like a CD stuck in a time warp. Over and over I kept telling myself to be in control. The airplane flight was filled with repeated commands to not make a fool of myself.
Michael Rowland had become the best friend I ever had. He watched as Suesie and I fought the good fight. He offered counsel when it was most needed. He kept us from starving. I owe him a great deal. Michael was there for me when I returned to Charleston on August 30, 2004 to attend a hearing before Federal Magistrate Judge George C. Kosko.
I had filed a law suit. It took a great deal of overcoming self-doubt to even begin that process, after experiencing what I had experienced; after watching my wife fear for her life; after facing a federal employee who told me directly he was screwing me; and he enjoyed it: I was firm and committed.
When the plane arrived at the Charleston airport, Michael was there to take me to the motel, where it was a genuine surprise to be greeted by the hotel manager as someone he knew. His mother, he said, was a fan from Cool 105.5. I was set. I was going to be in control.
I was going to look the judge in the eye. To stand proud and defend my claim. I was fully prepared to argue my motion to disqualify the defendant counsel. The hearing on August 31, 2004 at the Federal Court House Annex in Charleston, South Carolina was to decide the defense motion to dismiss my suit, and my motion to disqualify counsel.
I was deposited at the front walk to the Federal Courthouse in Charleston. When I slipped out of the car, the building came into view over a few feet across the walk. It appeared to be stately and official. My only experience with courtrooms had been years before, testifying against a man who bit me when I was a Deputy Sheriff working in the jail system. Of course I was a big fan of Perry Mason, but that wasn’t real life. This courthouse was downright impressive.
Michael drove away, promising to pick me up when it was finished and I strolled, satchel of legal papers in hand, to the doorway. When I entered, two smiling court guards greeted me and ushered me through the metal detector. After a couple of removals, I passed the metal test and took my place at the elevators, scanning for a directory.
It must have been the amateur is lost look that got the attention of the guards. They both came over to the elevators. No one else was entering the building.
“Sir, if you don’t mind, where are you looking for,” the larger of the two asked.
“Well I’m supposed to be in a hearing in a few minutes,” I replied.
“Do you know what judge,” he asked.
“Ah,” as I poked around inside the bundle, “Judge Kosko, I think.”
“Sir,” said the tall one, “Judge Kosko is not in this courthouse. He’s in the annex.”
“There is an annex. Where might that be,” I asked.
“It’s just around the building, on the side,” the larger one answered, pointing toward the road we turned from to get to the courthouse. “Just as you go around the building, there’s a door.” He chuckled just slightly enough for me to see he was a bit amused.
“OK,” I said. “Guess I’m walking.”
“It isn’t far. Judge Kosko huh,” inquired the tall one.
“That’s what it says. Never been here before. Thank you.”
They both nodded their heads as I almost dropped the pile of papers and briefcase. I could swear there was an audible, under the breath laugh, but I won’t as my hearing has been tricky after all those years of headphones.
It wasn’t far, just around the corner and when I got there, I was convinced they pulled a fast one on me. The only thing on the other side looked to me like a walk up to somebody’s apartment. But there it was; a brass plaque that read, ‘Courthouse Annex’. It was stained and dirty, right next to the shabby and paint peeling door. It dawned on me that perhaps they sent pro se’s to the dump before court, but I took the short climb and opened the door anyway.
There, just a few feet away was another metal detector. One guard behind it and one guard next to it. I nodded my head and started to empty my pockets, remove my belt, and head for the detector yet again.
“Where are you going,” demanded the guard behind the detector.
“Well, those guys over at the nice looking courthouse directed me over here,” as I looked around the small, cramped hall entrance. “You know, I wasn’t even sure this was an office building, let alone a courthouse.”
“Yes, it’s a courthouse. This is the annex. Do you have business here?”
“Yes I do,” I replied. And I stood there. I didn’t care if he was big federal court guard. I used to be a jail guard. He was nothing. I studied him while he waited for me to say something else.
“What courtroom,” he asked, not quite as aggravating.
“I don’t know.”
“Well then what judge,” aggravated was back.
They both broke out in laughter. Two grown federal courthouse annex guards (who must have been serving punishment time in that hallway) were laughing.
“Good luck,” snorted the guard next to the scanner.
As I glanced his way, the guard behind the scanner started motioning for me to enter it.
“Kosko huh,” he stated as his laughter stopped and his grin disappeared.
“Yes, I’m a pro se and I have a hearing in Judge Kosko’s courtroom.”
“By all means,” he declared, “come on through.”
This time I passed the scanner test. They looked at my paper pile and briefcase and then both, nearly almost in harmony declared, “good luck.”
That made me stop, and I turned around to face them.
“Why the Kosko laughter?”
“You’ll see,” replied the attitude.
As the guard next to the scanner started to walk through a door to their cubicle he whispered, “Kosko is an asshole.”
Of course I might have misheard that comment. But It made me a bit more cautious anyway. As if I was the only victim to enter the annex that day, the elevator arrived nearly instantly and I was on my way.
As usual, I was the first one there. The bench outside the courtroom was not all that uncomfortable, but the pews in the massive room itself were horrible. I fidgeted until the clerk walked up and asked me to take my seat.
Massive perhaps is not the best term to describe that courtroom. Cavernous would probably be more accurate. For a man who practically lived with a headphone on my right ear for years and years, blasting everything from rock and roll to antique country, the distance between the Judge and me was going to be a problem.
At first I sat in the back of the courtroom, thinking about Perry Mason and Law and Order, and Matlock and all those legal shows I used to be hooked on. As far as I could remember, the prosecutor sat on the judge’s left and the bad guy’s lawyer sat on the judge’s right and nobody else was in there.
As I waited, pondering television sets, two ladies entered the courtroom and took up a conversation with the clerk. They kept looking to the back of the courtroom. I was the only person there. They were looking at me. One of the ladies just had to be the clerk I had dealt with so many times already. Katina Murray had been kind on the phone. As they talked, sometimes a bit loud, I recognized her voice. Then a tall, skinny yet dignified man with a briefcase (stereotypical lawyer to me) walked past me and headed straight for the desk on the judge’s right. The bad guy lawyer.
He sat down for moment, then started looking around the courtroom. A few other people had entered the room and passed through, but I was alone, sitting in the back row. He stood and walked toward me, apprehensively.
“Mr. Hempfling,” he asked as he sat down in the bench in front of me, turning to face the conversation.
“Mr. Horton?” I asked?
“No, I’m William Cleveland. Greg was unable to make it today. He’s having a baby.”
“Ah, good for him.”
“Hey, after the hearing would you be agreeable to have a coffee with me? Lynn is buying.”
“Sure,” I fired back, “be happy to.”
“Great,” he declared as he stood up and returned to his seat. Just then, the clerk started walking toward the attorney tables and motioned for me to take the one they used on TV. I almost dropped the bound papers and briefcase again as I walked through the swinging saloon gate and took my place in what had to be an award winning psychological trick.
The chair was worse than the pews had been. It sat low. It tilted backwards when I sat in it. I was trying to adjust to it, when I heard a door slam.
“All rise” got me out of the slouching chair to watch Judge George Kosko enter the courtroom. As soon as the Judge sat down, Cleveland sat down.
So I sat down too. As I was adjusting myself to sink not quite as deep into the chair, another sound came from the front of the room, which caused me to slightly turn my head to the right, a habit I have become victim of in order to hear speech. I think I heard something to the effect of ‘is everyone present’. So I nodded in agreement. I did not hear anyone address me.
Then I heard it alright.
“Mr. Hempfling!!!!” Judge Kosko could have scared me to death a few years earlier. “You will stand when addressing this Court, do … you … understand?”
At the vocal point of about “pf” I had lurched into a standing position and realized all of that self-control had just about launched itself out of my mouth. That isn’t easy to admit. But it is nothing compared to what lie ahead.
It wasn’t till after the hearing, when I was rather interrogating the clerk about what Judge Kosko had said just before he slammed the door, that I managed to tell him I was not all that great in hearing. He appeared, just for a flicker of time, to care. But he did play back the audio recording of the hearing, just enough so I could hear Judge Kosko, as he roared out of sight, yell back, “And pay close attention to Federal Rules of Evidence Procedure Rule 801 D2D.”
Cleveland dismissed it. “That’s something that always happens. Its normal.”
Later on when I specifically requested a written transcript, the clerk just ignored me. He didn’t even answer how much it would cost to acquire that transcript.
Kosko started the hearing and jumped directly into questioning. Cleveland stood first, while the Judge read a passage from one of my pleadings, and asked Cleveland for his ‘take’ on it. “What do you get from that, Mr. Cleveland?”
Kosko read yet another section of my pleading and asked Cleveland what he got from that. Cleveland’s answers were contradictory.
Then the Judge asked about money.
“Mr. Cleveland! If Mr. Hempfling should prevail in this action, and that is not saying that he will, would the companies you represent have the liquid assets and capital to comply with a ruling against them?”
Cleveland did not hesitate. He stood quickly and answered , “Yes, your honor.”
“Good,” said Kosko.
They all seemed a bit strange to me. Having worked in many radio stations over the years, I had come to know the inner workings of a station by the attitudes and discipline of the staff I would meet when first arriving to work. These people were unruly. They were scared. They were apprehensive and boisterous. Sexual overtones were blatant and for some reason they had no qualms in showing me, the new guy, the new boss, they were that way.
I had arrived for the interview to be Operations Manager for WYBB and WCOO, two ver-r-r-ry low rated radio stations. The former played classic rock with a syndicated morning show, while the latter played classic urban music, known as Rhythmic Oldies in the business, with a live morning show I was interviewing to host. I had spent many years honing the skills necessary to manage the programming product and staff of a station, and had spent most of my programming experience working in turn-around situations. My last job before this one, was General Manager of the two back-water, better under-water, sorriest excuses for FM radio stations on the planet. Owned by what I thought at the time was the most bigoted Cro-Magnon man I had ever had the misfortune to connect with.
Charlie Cohn, had picked me up at the airport. He had negotiated with me over the phone and in email for some time before I was offered an interview. Hallett had recommended me to take the position of Operations Manager of both stations, but when I arrived at the interview itself, Cohn abruptly changed that to program director of just WCOO. Cohn was not too pleased with me from the start. When asked by Hallett what I would suggest doing for WCOO I toyed with the idea of renaming it from COOL to Mo-Talk and giving Charleston a combination urban oldies /slash/ community talk station focusing on the minority community’s needs and concerns. I didn’t realize it was such a sore point with Cohn.
Cohn had arrived at the station as a favor to his childhood friend, station owner Lynn Martin. Cohn’s business, as a station owner in Hawaii had come to an end when his business partner was killed in the World Trade Center attack. He needed a job and Martin needed someone he could trust to try to revive his two Charleston properties.
Upon first meeting Charlie Cohn, I was immediately reminded of a greasy used car salesman. All talk, all smiles, no substance. Grease. That wasn’t unusual for a General Manager in radio. Most of them had been the leading salesman for a station and knew how to sell time, but had very little to no idea what it took to make the product or even if it was important to have a product. Cohn was no different; other than what I came to realize was a deeply rooted hatred for people of color.
In my interview Cohn surprised both Hallett and Martin with his change of my intended position. I just looked at him with a straight face. Hallett apparently suspected something and knew he had a wide margin of freedom to speak.
“Lee, if you don’t like that offer I can find you something else, another station,” he interjected.
Martin, sensing things were about to fall apart jumped in. “Now wait a minute,” he said. “We can come to a good agreement here.”
“Perhaps we can,” I stated, “but the money being discussed is not the money I agreed to consider to come here for and I appreciate the offer Don.”
“Hold on, hold on,” Martin was fidgeting in his seat, “You had mentioned you needed moving money. I never pay to move someone to work for me, but we might be able to come to some agreement about moving money.”
“Yes I do Lynn. I cannot afford to pay to come to work for you, and with now being faced with less money than what I had been steered to believe this job paid I’m not all that sure.”
I needed the job. We had been living with our daughter’s family in Mesa Arizona long enough after that dreadful experience in Greenville Mississippi. The owner of those stations, had alienated every single advertiser I spoke with and was running both stations like they were orphans. No studios, no staff except mornings and that show was one person using his own studio, in a different company’s office, down the hall. I thought I would never meet a more bigoted man than him. When the World Trade Center was attacked I gave the news breaks over a telephone from my office, watching CNN and had to run down the hall to the other company’s office with the studio to tell them I needed to give more news breaks. WKRP in Cincinnati was a professional outfit compared to Delta Radio.
Hallett broke the ice. “Its almost the same money and with one less station to worry about you can spend more time on your morning show.”
They looked at me like I was supposed to say something profound. I looked at them. Martin was on the edge of his seat. He needed someone to professionalize his stations. Cohn was kicked back in his desk chair, relaxed like the cat after a kill. Hallett was anxious and leaning forward.
“Well, let’s see the place.” I finally said.
Martin was calmed, Hallett was happy, Cohn was sitting upright to perform the task he had obviously tried not to have to do.
We started in the sales area downstairs, right outside of Cohn’s cave. The station was spread out over two floors. Sales and administration on the first floor (except for the sales manager who was stuck upstairs for some reason) and programming and engineering on the second floor.
I met the office manager who seemed alright as office managers go. I was introduced to the conference room, which was sort of comical to me as it was spoken of as if it was a person, I met a few sales people who all seemed quite happy to contemplate a product might come of this meeting. I was shown the bathroom, which was really impressively filthy. We took the long and over-steep stairs to the second floor. I thought all the way up what kind of shape I was going to be in to talk on the radio if I had to run up those things to get to the studio in time to catch the end of a song.
Unlike the first floor, where sales was very lazy, the office was apprehensive and no fire was in any belly, the second floor was chaos. The floors were dirty and littered with scrap paper, the walls were yes, greasy and the studio. Well.
“Watch where you step,” said Cohn, “I just had the carpets cleaned.” Sure. I nodded as I noticed walls with peeling paper, cracks and a layer of dust that would have choked the average industrial vacuum cleaner. This was a place that was truly ignored. People had to be going through the motions to pretend to be working. No one would stand an environment that reeked of mold and left a musty flavor in the mouth.
First up was the bathroom. Cohn seemed almost proud to show off the room that no one seemed to ever take care of. Then I was directed to the ‘music room’ where a thin, frail looking young man was hunched over an old computer terminal, staring intently at its screen. I knew that position. Doing music scheduling was more than people realized. If you didn’t know the songs you were lost, if you didn’t hear them in your head as you scheduled their order your station was lost. He barely moved as I entered the little room, looked over his shoulder and stated “Hmm,” as he was staring at the screen saver.
Out of the room next door came a thin, stately looking older man who extended his hand and offered a greeting. “Hi Lee, nice to meet you. I hope you can give me something great to sell.” It was the sales manager. I guess he knew I was coming, or knew that Cohn never ventured into the second floor asylum for any other reason. “Nice to meet you.” I responded. Never was actually introduced.
“Look over here. Here’s the programming office.” Cohn directed my attention away from the one person so far who had managed to be personal. When I looked at the sales manager he just smiled, slightly shook his head, which I do not believe he intended me to see, turned around and returned to his desk. A quick look around his office made me convinced that no one in that station was permanent. There were no personal items on the walls. The desk was nearly empty. A pile of papers sat on one end and a waste basket sat on the other.
“Look here,” insisted Cohn.
When we entered the programming office a heavy set man was sitting at a computer terminal with his back to us. He stayed that way until Cohn said, “Mike, meet Lee”. If there was ever a space that manifested the quintessential model of dichotomy this was it. It was as if the room was made up of good and evil. Mike ‘The Rock Doc’ Allen sat on one side of the room, with a loaded desk, a packed set of shelves, a lock up prize closet and memorabilia everywhere on the walls, and stacked against the shelves. It was a working programmer’s office for sure. Across the room sat an old desk, an old chair, an old short file cabinet and an older cracked trash bin.
“Mike has been filling in for mornings on Cool ever since we lost the last guy,” said Cohn. “He’s been working his ass off with both stations, programming the music, managing the staff, scheduling the promos, and he does a voice track shift over on YBB.”
“Hmm,” I muttered. That sounded like the job I was recruited by the consultant to do. In fact, I knew from Hallett that Martin wanted good ol’ Mike Allen fired to make room for me to do the jobs he quite literally was screwing up. It was his first programming job. Cohn had known him from another station and had brought him in earlier to do what Cohn wanted, the way Cohn wanted it. And as usual, the blind led the blind. Mike was a task-master. If he was responsible for getting something done, he got it done. He was a workhorse, and he knew the music of the classic rock station backwards and forwards but as a programmer, he had not one clue. Allen was a good man, stuck in a bad situation. But it made sense to me why Hallett wanted to replace him with an Operations Manager who knew what it took to make a professional station. A first year rookie jock could tell that in a second. He did what he needed to do, to get by and it was not his fault that he didn’t know what was needed to get ahead. He desperately needed a few more years of experience to come close to understanding how much he did not know.
Allen pointed to the dead zone across the room. “That’s your station’s place’,” he stated.
“Don’t worry,” interject Cohn, “we’re getting a brand new computer to run the music for COOL, you’ll have all the tools you’ll need to make it happen.”
“Hmm,” I said. “Where’s the studio?”
“This way.” Cohn was happy. He did not take my response as the ridicule I intended it to be. He took it as another kill. I followed him down the hall. Music was coming from the open door. That was something I had to take care of. Open doors to on air studios invite interferences. They invite poor sound control and they tend to distract the jock who would most likely be reading a book or talking on the phone to his girlfriend, hoping his wife would not call on the hotline.
I peeked inside and almost walked away refusing the job right then and there, but I stopped at one step back. There was no way I could go home empty handed. Our life, sleeping on a blow up bed in the dining room of our daughter’s house was bad enough. I could not keep Suesie there another moment. So I paused, took a deep breath and slowly walked inside the dumpster. A roach would have felt right at home.
Of course it wasn’t a studio located down the hall inside another company’s office, it wasn’t used to make telephone on-hold messages and doubled as a morning show studio. It wasn’t filled with an old ‘Gates’ board, like the one I gave news reports on at WSAI in Cincinnati many, many years before. It was a stand up board, so moving around was possible while working. The table the board sat on was made from what looked like rejected floor joists, partially covered in weather worn plywood with wires hanging from it. The back of the table was completely open, exposing all of the cabling. But it did have three microphone positions, one decent Electro-Voice mic and two beat up, black Senheisser mics. It had a clock on the wall but it was barely visible to the operator. The walls were covered in old indoor-outdoor carpet with the odor of musky mold heavier in the space, and one electrical receptacle behind the operator was open and wires were available for a good ol’ shocking time if the wrong step was made while losing oneself in a song.
The stool used by the operators was old and creaky. It was very obvious this was a bastard step child. And the lady running the board scared me.
Not fear scared. More like taken aback scared. Linda Logan was an old Charleston radio jock. She had been on the air since Marconi and was set in her ways beyond belief. She had been fired from the very same station once before for spying into someone else’s pay stub, but was hired part time by the previous General Manager just before Cohn arrived. She was presented to me while I was considering the job offer as a part time staff member who may or may not, based on my perception be part of the solution, but Cohn had promoted her to full time the moment he found out Martin had decided I was the man to make the station professional. In fact, I had accepted the position, was in route on the freeway when she became the only full time staff member of WCOO. I didn’t find that out until much later.
I nodded my head to her and walked past her, behind the board. I scanned the equipment looking for what would need to be done once I arrived to give it a chance at being professional when I noticed there was one important piece missing.
“Charlie, there is no air-check machine in here.”
“Oh there will be,” he fired back. “We’ll have the engineer put one in before you show up for work.”
“Well, it will be rather difficult to critique the staff if I can’t record them doing the job.”
“Not to worry,” said Cohn.
“Hmm,” I replied.
“Let me show you the YBB studios.” As if I would care.
I nodded my head to Logan, who would not stop talking. I didn’t hear a thing she was saying. Too much, too loud. Too scared herself, but with an air of arrogance I had not witnessed in a long time. Actually, in all of the previous programming jobs I held I never had someone in the first meeting give me the impression they were untouchable. File that away.
I followed Cohn as he picked up his step and stood a little taller. He passed a row of processing equipment embedded in the wall and almost genuflected as he invited me to enter the studio that mattered to him. The music was loud, the door hardly containing a single decibel. When he opened it he had to wave his hands to the operator to get him to turn it down. Bobby Collins was sitting behind the board. This was not the older tool box looking control board of WCOO. This was a newer low profile mixing console. There were no exposed wires, the room was decorated in classic rock posters and memorabilia. It was warm to be inside. Collins looked up and nodded his head to me and smiled. He was running the board for the syndicated morning show and was just then starting a commercial break where his attention was required.
Collins was the employee with the second most seniority. Not that seniority had anything to do with anything in radio, just that Collins had been with that station for nine years. WYBB station manager (only because he used to be General Manager and Martin could not fire him or lose every account he had) Ken French had been with the station for 15 years. French was an interesting character. Collins was a sad story.
In all of the time he had been there, no one had taken the time to teach him the right way to do things. He learned quickly. His attitude was wonderful. He had mechanical talent and served as both station’s production director, responsible for making the commercials. I could tell almost instantly that with the right direction and someone who cared about his work product, Bobby would be part of the solution.
Cohn proceeded to point out the equipment, especially making a point to show me the wonderful air-check machine WYBB had installed next to the control board. Jocks on that station were able to record their show, voice parts only. As I listened to the station later that day from the hotel room it was painfully obvious no one ever used the thing.
At that point Cohn was paged. He ran off to the phone like a small puppy to a chew toy. That left me alone at the doorway of WYBB. At the end of the hall, not too far away from WYBB’s studio was the exit door at the top of a rickety set of steel stairs at the back of the building. It was propped open. Linda Logan was standing there smoking a cigarette and I could see another person was just to the left of the door. A smoke was a good idea at that point so I walked out and lit up.
Logan stood there for just a moment, summoning air I believe. “Hey Lee,” she exclaimed, “meet Bruce, our engineer”.
Leaning against the building smoking as well stood a short, stocky redneck with a dead pan face. He didn’t say a thing. I walked out onto the landing, turned and looked at him. “The station has a full time engineer?” I asked.
Musso just stared out into space. Logan replied, “yep.”
“Well, that is indeed refreshing news, Mr Musso. It’s an honor to meet you.” I extended my hand for a shake. It was ever increasingly rare for a radio station to have a full time engineer. It was even rare for a station to have any engineer who didn’t swing by like the old circuit judges of the wild west, once a month, to fix the broken machines. Musso had his own office, which he kept locked up. He alone had the codes to make changes in the sound quality of the stations. He alone had the keys to the transmitter building way out on an island off the coast. The stations were frying fish for most of their broadcast range.
I nodded my head and pushed my hand further out which brought a reluctant return of a limp hand shake. Bruce Musso was going to be trouble. But I didn’t have the chance to ask anything as another person walked out onto the landing.
Skip was his name. Skippy as he called himself. Skippy was a prime example of an old disk jockey who lost what century he was working in, during the last decade. He sounded so stuck on himself that he could make a newborn baby puke on cue. He was part time as well. Actually he was on a restricted part time status as he had suffered a heart attack some time back and was receiving full disability from the state so the station paid him either under the table or paid his girl friend for work he performed over his allotted hours.
“So you’re the new PD, huh?” It was the first thing from his mouth. “I have some ideas I’d like to run past you the first chance we get.”
“I’m sure you do, “ I replied. “Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to find the GM.”
I walked away as quickly as I could. If you can imagine standing in a room with jackals, surrounded by hyenas, all wanting to devour a single small prey that was you, the uneasy feeling would come only slightly close to how it felt to stand on that landing. As I walked down the hallway I looked closely at notes on the wall, at memos posted and once again I peeked inside the WCOO studios. As I stood there, Earth Wind and Fire was coming to an end. I wondered if I would be bowled over by a running Logan to catch the vocal break. Instead, her voice popped out of the voice track and shortly thereafter the commercials starting with a sloppy segue. She was doing a live show on tape. No wonder she could jaw bone on the smoking deck and not care that her phone was ringing or that the listener at the other end of the line would just chalk it up to another useless attempt to give the station a chance. No wonder their ratings were in the toilet.
Cohn was not on the second floor, so I stepped into the programming office and sat down on the chair that was taking the space where my new desk and chair would soon reside. I sat there, trying to keep from falling over and just took in the room.
“How do ya like Charleston,” asked Allen.
“I don’t know man. The trip in from the airport was kinda cool. Charlie took me through downtown. He pointed out the historical places, and then we went down to the battery where I saw some interesting big ass guns. It’s a bit cool for me.”
“Well, you’re coming from Phoenix. Its just hot there no wonder.”
“I guess that’s it.”
“You know our last Cool PD just went to Phoenix. He’s doing mornings on some station there.”
“Good for him. So why did he leave anyway?”
“I dunno.” But he said it like he knew very well.
“Do you do the music for both stations or is the music room for that?”
“Ha,” he chuckled. “I do the music for both. It ain’t all that hard. We use Selector.”
“Very familiar with it. How much time does it take to tweak the suggested schedule?”
“Oh, not long at all. Hallett has it set up really well.” OK. Selector without human intervention is like throwing records into the air and playing the first one to land on the turntable. Sure, it has rules and it follows them, but more often then not, train wrecks are the result. Songs butt up against each other that match the rules well, but start off so differently than the rules that it throws off the listener and makes them become aware they are listening to a radio station. The radio station that succeeds playing music is the station that becomes second nature to the listener. A bad break, a screw up, a train wreck and the listener is no longer accepting the station, he or she is listening to the station and that leads to ‘what else is on?’ Only morning drive should make that different. Both stations were filled with train wrecks. Both stations moved from one element to the next with pregnant pauses and dead air. Both stations were horribly hard to listen to without seeking a solution elsewhere.
Many disk jockeys spend a good deal of their time complaining that management doesn’t get local radio. It has nothing to do with local radio. It has to do with seamless radio. While radio personalities are concentrated on their end of the product, the programmer and manager who understand that it doesn’t matter where the programming comes from, are constant targets of their vitriol. Radio is a business. My job as a program director was first to protect the license. Secondarily it was to play the commercials to pay for it all and try to make some sort of profit. Only thirdly was my job the music, or the content. Dealing with short minded radio personalities who took their positions as big wigs in the entertainment business was just one part of the aggravation of reaching the second while maintaining the first.
I can fully relate to ownership seeking to eliminate the human part of the content. If it wasn’t for that human part the first would be assured, the second would be possible and the third would be so much more enjoyable. But in this case, WCOO needed a live staff. It needed to relate to the people of its target demographic and so far I had not seen one face of color.
Here was a black music station, playing the oldies of Mo-Town spiced with disco that had no full time black employees. It had two part time black employees but as I found out later, both were paid far below the hourly part time rate the white staff was receiving. One of my first tasks as a new programmer in a station was always to feel out the staff, identify who was part of the problem and who could be counted on to be part of the solution. I did not believe in cleaning house as my first act as many programmers insist.
During that process I came across the evening ‘talent’ for WCOO. Stevie Byrd was his name. He had been writing down hours for a long time while never actually showing up for work. He would take his weekend ‘shift’ to cut voice tracks for the entire week, most of which were simply copies of the previous night’s verbiage and he was paid for time he never worked. When I brought it to his attention he quit. When I wrote a memo to Cohn informing him of the resignation, Cohn immediately assumed it was I who was resigning and approached me in a very hopeful and anticipatory mood. He appeared let down when I informed him it wasn’t me and all he had to do was read.
How in the world could a station playing black music that appealed across the board ever hope to compete with stations across town playing nearly the same music if it did not have at least ONE full time personality of color?
Charleston was 30% black. Cool was too freaking white! And the white it had was too freaking redneck. The music screamed for the need for diversity in the staff. The staff had to be professional. In other words, it had to be good enough NOT to be able to tell where the person was raised. Redneck radio personalities are fine for country music, but in anything else, it is like telling new listeners ‘y’all screw you I hate this crap they be makin’ me play’. As it turned out the staff, what little there was of it, hated the music.
Comments in the hall directed at the music never centered around the product. They always centered around the distaste for the color of the people who performed the music. It was disgusting to me. I was never raised to despise other people. My life was not sheltered from people of color. The association I had with blacks came from my father’s business where a good deal of the employees were black. He always treated every employee, no matter what nationality or race with the same respect and dignity. It was natural for me to do the same.
The Greenville Mississippi experience was actually the first negative racial experience I had ever witnessed other than one previous one when I worked for the police division of the City of Cincinnati. The owner of those stations actually sat in a public restaurant with his wife and mine and spoke in third person about the ‘nigger’ sitting just a table away from us. Suesie and I almost lost our food, but he just continued like it didn’t matter. To him, it didn’t and what bothered me more was to the poor man he spoke of, it was ignored. If it had been me I would have confronted the bigot with a very loud voice. While the meal continued, Suesie and I were very uncomfortable. And here I was, in the middle of a station where the programming staff was adamantly against any person of color. It caused them to miss the opportunity, as well as the logic, as well as the decency.
There were so many potential promotions the station could not take part in. There were so many potential avenues of revenue the station could not participate in. Sales staff was not doing a very good job in selling only the white community and they certainly were not even considering selling a black business. If WCOO were ever to take on its competition it either had to get out of black music altogether and go head to head with the oldies station in town, with far deeper pockets, or cough up a true commitment to the format. According to Hallett that commitment was there. WCOO was one of the last remaining Rhythmic Oldies formatted stations in the country and making it work was almost justice in the waiting. I could do that. I loved the music and I and my wife were certainly ready for a change in living conditions. After I quit Greenville in disgust and we drove out of town, leaving our personal belongings in a storage building, we wound up living with our daughter, her husband Pablo and our wonderful three grandchildren. It was cozy. It was also unbearably unbearable.
I walked down the long flight of stairs and re-entered the GM’s office where Cohn and Martin were sitting and talking. Hallett was just outside on the phone. I expected he was talking to a professional radio station as he had other client stations. When I entered the office it was apparent Martin and Cohn had been having ‘words’. I sat down anyway. They stopped. Hallett returned.
“Hey guys, let’s go get some lunch,” exclaimed Martin.
“Sure,” said Hallett, “who’s paying?”
That was the one thing I had heard about the company I would wind up working for from people I knew in the business. Martin was cheap. But cheap is not necessarily a bad thing. Good radio does not take deep pockets. Good radio takes deep commitment and serious strategy, properly executed with the tools necessary to make it happen. The most important of those tools, for a market the size of Charleston was the people.
We could make magic with a horrible studio as long as the sound quality didn’t suffer. We could make magic with an antiquated music system playing songs that were cued wrong, and commercials that had dead roll before and after the audio, as long as those errors were fixed. The only thing the station needed was management.
Management that steered the station in one direction was what I did. As long as I had the support of the station owner, which I had at the beginning, and the support of the station consultant, which I never lost, then magic it would be.
Our lunch was rather boring. We swapped stories of old radio experiences, ate hamburgers and otherwise laughed at each other’s horror tales. Martin knew the owner from Mississippi and couldn’t stand him either. I never did tell the story of the restaurant in the restaurant. I didn’t know how Cohn would take it.
After the lunch I rode with Hallett to give Martin and Cohn time to hash it out on the way back to the station. When we arrived in the shopping center parking lot, the station, located way at the end and near the rear of the strip mall stood hidden from public view. No sign was on the door or the building.
I had a lit cigarette when I walked to the station’s entrance. Logan, Musso and the office manager were all outside smoking, so I stopped to finish mine. Musso seemed different. He was joking with Logan and touching her. When I reached them, he walked behind Logan reached his arms around to her front and upwardly to grasp her breasts. It threw me off and I turned my head. He just laughed and walked away. Logan, not appearing shy or embarrassed in the least continued smoking her cigarette. I put mine out and went inside.
I wound up taking that job. Program Director of WCOO as long as I could run that station, decide who worked for me, and as long as the consultant agreed with the changes I would make, I would be in charge. It was the requirement I needed to do my job.
After my return to the hotel, I began looking for a place to live and found a wonderful house in the Ashley River area of Charleston. A quiet overnight at the station provided motel room, and I was on my way to giving my wife a home again.
When I arrived back at the Perez household, Suesie, already having been told over the phone of the new job, was happy to see it was real. We started the calls and planning to rent the U-Haul in Greenville and counted down the days to stop sleeping on the dining room floor.
Cohn took his time in setting up the health insurance I had negotiated to begin immediately. He put off paying for the moving truck nearly until it was too late. And he promoted Linda Logan to a full time staff member with middays as her shift.
When we arrived in Charleston, Cohn was quite miffed that I would be staying off-air for a month, in order to get the radio house in order.
Here was a black music station, playing cross-over mega hits with talent on loan from the devil himself. It was like walking back in time to an era when no one knew, no one cared and fewer people bothered to even try to act the part. My job was to professionalize the station, and give it ratings to sell. Both tasks were not at all that hard to do. Radio is not rocket science. Radio is simple people science. What had to be done to make it work was as plain as it could be.
It was going to be fun.