Over the years, many a man has wanted to politely shank divorce lawyer Vince Stafford. That's because Stafford and his big brother, Joe, are what are known in legal circles as "total pricks." They'd smear a friendly Labrador if it meant earning their clients -- and themselves -- a few more bucks ["Monsters of Misery Court," April 26].
But it seems that one man may really want to kill Vince. (Hold your applause, ex-husbands.)
Aurora stockbroker Louis Telerico was indicted last month on retaliation charges after Stafford told Cleveland police that Telerico threatened to kill him. Telerico, who's more loaded than Kate Moss at a $5.95 all-you-can-snort coke buffet, is locked in a nasty divorce with his wife, Elaine, and the missus has retained the Staffords.
The couple's divorce file reads like a bad episode of Desperate Housewives. Stafford accuses Telerico of sleeping around, buying a car and fake boobs for a stripper, and letting his mistress roam the country-club grounds in a Steelers jersey with Telerico's name on the back.
But according to Stafford -- who has a reputation for goading his opponents into confrontations -- Telerico isn't taking things well. The stockbroker has told Stafford that he will have him "taken care of," claims the lawyer. Telerico has also expressed the desire to "have someone split your skull."
Stafford "did not make much of the threats," according to the report, because, like most divorce lawyers, he has no functioning central nervous system and cannot be killed.
But then things got worse. Stafford claimed that at an August hearing, Telerico screamed, "I'm going to have you killed," and then tried to jump Stafford. Later, Stafford said, witnesses described Telerico saying, "This is what I mean," and then playing a DVD with instructions on how to shoot a high-powered rifle.
Neither Telerico nor Stafford returned Punch's calls, perhaps because they were out shopping for silencers. But somewhere, there's a stripper worrying that she might lose her rack in the settlement.
Battle of the dainty
If you're looking for Reason No. 351 for why unions are declining and public schools are failing, we take you now to Lakewood . . .
Last month as he was leaving an employee's disciplinary meeting, school union rep Jayson Demagall says, he was assaulted by district treasurer Rick Berdine. In a letter to the school board, Demagall claims that Berdine "stood toe to toe with me, screaming with a red face." When Demagall shouted back, Berdine threatened him and "bumped into" his chest. So the union rep filed a police report.
"Mr. Berdine's years of verbal abuse . . . have now turned into physical altercations," he wrote to the school board. "I fear for the safety of the employees of the school district."
Okay, let's get this straight: One guy's supposed to be a union man, hailing from a glorious tradition of burning stuff down and blowing stuff up. And he files a police report over a chest bump?
The other guy's supposed to be a school official, charged with nurturing the creativity of our young, yet he can't even muster an inventive threat, like putting Demagall's head in a wood-splitter or something?
Sirs, we charge you both with behaving like French diplomats on American soil. How do you plead?
Kent's secret ingredient
The Kent State football program has long been a pep squad for other teams. But this season, the Golden Flashes have bitch-slapped their way to a 4-0 division record; one more win renders them bowl-eligible for the first time since the North American continent broke off from Europe.
The players even cut their hair into Mohawks -- a primary trait among emergent badasses everywhere.
Now home games at Dix Stadium teem with 20,000-plus fans. But it's not just school spirit they're drinking up: The university has launched "Tailgate Alley" -- a pregame parking-lot party that's the first of its kind at Kent. The central attraction: dollar beers. For nearly three hours prior to kickoff. Atheists, how can you say there is no God?
"It's just a really festive atmosphere," says spokeswoman Gail Moseley, who insists that it's not about the booze. "The lines are so long that people really don't have time to get totally drunk."
Nathan Stuart, a sportswriter for The Daily Kent Stater and an alley veteran, offers a slightly different perspective.
"Kids are getting hammered," he says. "They're out there having a blast. A lot of them don't even stay for the entire game, but they'll come to Tailgate Alley."
Free Will remains
Fair reader: For years we've helped you navigate the omens and portents with Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology, your official guide to the dictates of the stars. But since we dropped it from our print edition last month, our 24-hour call center in New Delhi has been swamped with angry complaints. Fortunately, operators only speak Hindi, so they've been spared the more gruesome assaults.
One caller said we'd destroyed a Thursday-night bar ritual. Another called us tightwads. "Pay the guy an extra 20 bucks," she said.
But fear not, dear reader. Free Will continues to run at our website, clevescene.com.
A moment of immodesty
For the second time this year, Scene has been named the best weekly in Ohio.
The Ohio Society of Professional Journalists not only designated us top rag, but also dumped nine other awards on our ingrate writers in the Over 100,000 Circulation category.
Among the winners:
· Denise Grollmus, 1st place, Consumer Reporting; 2nd place, Minority Issues Reporting.
· Kevin Hoffman, 1st place, Media Criticism.
· Jared Klaus, 1st place, Business Reporting.
· Chris Maag, 1st place, Medical/Science Reporting.
· Erich Burnett, 2nd place, Headline Writing.
· D.X. Ferris, 2nd place, Arts Reporting.
· Rebecca Meiser, 2nd place, Religion Reporting.
· Joe Tone, 2nd place, Environmental Reporting.