Should old acquaintance be forgot? Hell, no. Mouth can't let the year slide by without getting in our last licks on some of '98's most succulent stuff. In a lotta cases, it took a few months for the final course to be served. Now's the time to finish the meal.
(April 16) Yep, it's Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, now facing a fifteen-count obscenity indictment in the Queen City. A fourteen-year-old boy managed to buy a few videos at Flynt's Cinci store. The titles included Vivid Raw and Oral Passions, and they ain't about rare steak and other foods.
And now? His trial's due to start in a month, but the big news is he's branched out beyond porn. (Well, sorta.) Meet our man Flynt, ace investigative reporter. Thanks to a $1 million reward, Flynt's got the goods on ten adulterous congressmen! And his first prey is the coulda-shoulda-been speaker of the house, Bob Livingston, who's supposedly a pretty kinky dude. A porn prince brings down a holier-than-thou political pud? All Mouth can say is "What a country!"
Hey, we're all for being as kinky as you want. Unless it involves public funds, it's none of our business. But we'll enjoy this tawdry congressional expose anyway. And don't believe this crap from the media that more sexcapade tales will "hurt the country." While most of the world's economy is in the pits, the U.S. has had a bang-up year.
And why? Because our "do-nothing congress" hasn't had time to pass as many laws! Every damn time they try to "fix" education, healthcare, radio, or anything, it just gets more expensive and less responsive. Just look at how a decade of stadium subsidies have fueled the skyrocketing cost of pro sports. Comrades, for the sake of the country, let's keep these asses in D.C. busy with sex. It seems to be the only thing they're good at.
Dog & Pony Show
(August 13) Auditors are usually as dry as plain white toast. But yo-ho-ho, we've got an auditor that was audited by another auditor! Frank Russo has been Cuyahoga County auditor since January of '97. Before that, he spent over a decade as county recorder, and that's the office Ohio Auditor Jim Petro audited.
Ah, but now it's all been tidied up. Last week, Russo and two of his employees pled guilty to "bills of information." It's a way to bypass a grand jury and strike a deal with the prosecutor. Yep, that'd be Stephanie Tubbs Jones, executing one of her final duties before moving on up to congress.
And the punishment? Russo got 120 days probation, a $750 fine, and he had to reimburse the $26,360 worth of time his employees spent on private business matters. Mouth called this a small-potatoes investigation back in August, and we still say it was more for show than dough. Wanna look like you're battling public corruption? Just find a small crime and make a big noise about it.
Russo gets to stay in office, so you'll still see his smiling mug on gas pumps. But hey, any time you get a politico to pay for wasted time and money, it's a step forward. So let this be a lesson to all public servants. If you expect to get off doing anything private in a public office building, make sure it's sex and not business.
A River Runs Red
(January 15) Welcome to the Hotel Gunds 'n' Jacobs! Construction begins this autumn on a fourteen-story Courtyard by Marriott on that half-acre between Bolivar and Eagle Avenue on East 9th. It should fill in that skyline gap in right-center field at the Jake. The developer? The Richard Jacobs Group, with support from the Gund Brothers. The Gunds 'n' Jacobs supergroup bought this property from Gateway for $2.5 mil, which helps to pay a lot of old bills.
Well, Gateway still can't pay its bills. But there were some new twists in this sad saga. Since Clevo has a lien on the land, Councilman Joe Cimperman demanded G 'n' J pay some of the Gateway parking garage debts in return for Council's approval. Natch, G 'n' J laughed off the idea. So two weeks ago, the Gateway board had to kill the deal, kissing off that $2.5 mil! And that puts Gateway back on the brink of bankruptcy. But don't expect our Iron Curtain media to investigate this river of red ink. Comrades, there are simply too many important deer, dog, and diet stories to cover.
(April 30) Last week Mouth told you what a ripoff Issue 2 is. There have been tons of commercials from Guv George Voinovich's Yes team, and now the No side finally aired a TV spot. It shows a fat politico using a vacuum cleaner to suck every dime from Joe Taxpayer's pocket. And then sucking the shirt off his back! This could the most honest political commercial of the decade.
Yep, voters drilled the Issue 2 sales tax hike by an 80-20 margin. And that commercial may be the most honest ever. But Mouth also must salute a spot from the Lee Fisher for Governor campaign. It's the one where that old lady says, "The way I see it, Bob Taft is in the pocket of the insurance companies." Heh-heh. And what makes both of these spots so much fun? They build on something the target audience already believes. Truth in political advertising? We hope it's a trend.
(January 29) How about that FBI drug sting? They nailed 44 law enforcement folks, all of 'em real low on the totem pole. Plus, they nabbed some guys impersonating cops. Cuyahoga County Sheriff Gerald McFaul came out of it looking the worst, since his department hired 25 of the indicted 44.
In retrospect, this sting stinks even more. In January we pointed out this "drug sting" used fake drugs, arrested no drug dealers, and removed zero drugs from the street. But Mouth never got around to chewing over the story's heartwarming postscript. In luring McFaul's correction cops, some FBI agents posed as Mafia Dons and staged Godfatherly initiation ceremonies! Sure, these cops were mostly opportunistic lowlifes. But if the FBI can get away with creating crime like this, they can do this to anyone who can't afford a few million in legal fees. So join Mouth in singing this seasonal psalm of the crooked cop, done to the tune of "Oh Christmas Tree":
"Oh guilty plea, oh guilty plea/More FBI tomfoolery/They said they were the Mafia/I thought I'd met the Godfatha/Oh guilty plea, oh guilty plea/The FBI's entrapped me.