Saturday, November 08, 2008


UP FRONT News November 7, 2008
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
"The paper that can't be bought and can't be sold."


By Tom Weiss

I first met Betsy Gotbaum at my Aunt Dolly Perutz' funeral in 1979, well before she became the NYC Public Advocate. It was then that I learned that Betsy had, since childhood, been a close friend of the Perutzes. My mother's older surviving brother was Tino Perutz, although her oldest brother, Ladi, was killed fighting for the Germany-allied Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I. Betsy and the Perutz' daughter Kathy, my cousin, became the closest of friends.

Although I became acquainted with Betsy Gotbaum at the funeral I kept a political distance because her husband Victor, was the very powerful head of District Council 37, the municipal workers union. I had been very publicly human rights-violated by Ed Koch when, as a social worker, elected union shop steward and elected member of the Queens Hospital Center Community Advisory Board, I had blown the whistle on the coverup of budget cut-caused patient deaths at City-operated QHC. I was put through a Soviet Union style psychiatric evaluation trip, arrested and fired for exposing not only de facto genocide at the hospital but also often racist abuse of psychiatric patients there.

The Union, which went through the motions of representing me, was not much help. That may have had everything to do with the fact that I was among the union dissidents who objected to the very autocratic Victor Gotbaum's de facto alliances at worker expense with people like the extraordinarily anti-poor and corrupt Ed Koch.

It cost me my job and years of blacklisting. With some help from the NYS Health Department (which investigated and "substantiated" my claims), some doctors, the civil rights leader and Martin Luther King associate Rev. Timothy P. Mitchell and a few courageous politicians such as then City Councilmember Mary Codd from Staten Island (things have gotten worse politically in S.I. and beyond since her departure), and with major broadcast and print media coverage (including a front page coverage of me in the March 1, 1978 of the Queens Edition of Newsday) I got QHC the money it needed to hire enough nurses that had been let go to satisfy the demands of the bankers and their politicians.

My post-Perutz funeral contacts with Betsy Gotbaum were rare although my contacts with the Perutz family have continued through the years. Kathy Perutz is a very well known writer who has counted people like Norman Mailer as very close friends. She has done major human rights work, e.g. in the prisons.

Betsy Gotbaum and I became re-acquainted at a 2001 Public Advocate candidates forum on Hudson Street in Greenwich Village. After the debate (Norman Siegel was the best debater), I went over to Ms. Gotbaum, who took a few seconds before she recognized me and became effusively friendly. We talked about family and some politics for several minutes and she gave me a bunch of inside personal telephone numbers including her office number at the Museum of Natural History, of which she was CEO. She literally urged me to call her "anytime." She had also been the NYC Parks Commissioner. This lady is not only very rich, she is very connected.

I waited for some weeks and then called her at the Museum. No response - and then some serious security guard hostility when I stopped in at the Museum. She did once call me as, accorcding to her, she was on her way to the airport for a vacation in the Dominican Republic. Despite her assurances, I never heard from her again.

Some years later, having experienced staff abuse of homeless people in shelters and drop-in centers, encouraged by my late Rabbi Harold Swiss, who was personally acquainted with by now NYC Public Advocate Gotbaum, I arranged an appointment at her Municipal Building office with her Chief of Staff Scott Coccaro to discuss the homeless abuse problem.

I got there on time. As I arrived, Ms. Gotbaum was leaving. She said, "Hi, Tom" and left. Perhaps a half hour after the scheduled appointment time, I was approached in the reception area by two men. They introduced themselves as police officers. The name I easily remember is Sgt. Al Fiore. He told me that Ms. Gotbaum had complained that I had made a "threat" against Linda Gibbs, who at the time was the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Homeless Services. In fact the NYCDHS had covered up the staff abuse matter and done other Giulianiesque things harmful to the homeless and I had criticized Gibbs in UP FRONT News.

I of course had never made a "threat" against Gibbs, although I acknowledged that Ms. Gibbs, like Gotbaum, might feel threatened by UP FRONT News. I explained all that to Sgt. Fiore and his partner. Very fortunately Sgt. Fiore did not only play the role of "good cop", he is a good cop. It took him perhaps 15 minutes of questioning me to realize that Gotbaum's claims as regards a "threat" by me were nonsense. He told me to go home and leave Betsy Gotbaum alone for awhile. I most certainly did. Paranoid people, especially those in high public office, can be very dangerous.

Realizing that Betsy Gotbaum was ill-suited to be Public Advocate, I supported Norman Siegel. One day as I was doing some volunteer work for Mr.Siegel, he asked to speak with me. He told me that he had received a complaint from Gotbaum that I had been "stalking" her. I told him about my personal relationship with her and her attempt to have me arrested. I told him that I have never stalked anyone and told him that, as a journalist, I've sometimes been at event she is at. I also told him that, following Gotbaum's (no doubt Tom Weiss UP FRONT News-related) sudden termination of what had been a 40 year friendship with my cousin Kathy, I had learned that among the skeletons in the Gotbaum political closet was a past and unsuccessful marriage to a CIA agent. (As far as I am concerned, if Ms. Gotbaum has an attraction for spies, that is her right; it is not her right to keep a marriage to a government spy a secret.) I also learned that things did not work out with the agent and that Gotbaum ended up in an adulterous affair with someone else. Some of what the New York Post would probably describe as "steamy" trysts took place at the Perutz home in a very wealthy section of Great Neck, Long Island.

Norman Siegel, who, for all his solid civil rights credentials, has been known to to accept political support from some loser types like the Howard Deaniac and "liberal" autocrat Tracy Denton (who also once tried to have me arrested, paranoia in the Manhattan liberal establishment being a contagious ailment). The serious conflict of interest of a spy-connected Public Advocate went unmentioned in Siegel's campaign and he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, something that happens to almost candidate who utilizes the services of a fraud like Tracy Denton.

Betsy Gotbaum, her paranoia apparently not treated psychiatrically, made things far worse when in a televised campaign debate she refused her opponents' (including Mr. Siegel) request that she disclose her appointment schedule (which, going back some time, would include me). She explained her refusal by claiming that she was being "stalked" by a homeless person.

When I saw that comment in the Daily News, I knew she was referring to me and so I called the paper and within a matter of a couple of hours I was sitting at the Raccoon Lodge tavern in Tribeca with the News City Hall reporter Celeste Katz and a News photographer. Although my picture did not get into the August 27, 2005 article. Ms. Katz' story was essentially accurate. I am glad that she mentioned my "Free Tibet" shirt and she quoted me accurately when I said that Gotbaum was a fraud and that she should quit. The Daily News, however, neglected to mention the fact that I was also a candidate for the U.S. Senate against Hillary Clinton.

My candidacy however was not ignored by Newsday's City Hall reporter Dan Janison, whose story on the Gotbaum vs. Weiss dispute came out in NYC Newsday on August 26., 2005.

My side of the story was also reported by Jonathan Hicks in The New York Times on August 27, 2005.

Bringing up the rear was none other than the censorship prince of New York journalism, Tom Wrobleski of the Staten Island Advance. Apparently within moments of having been scooped by Newsday Wrobleski, who had been suppressing the news of my U.S. Senate candidacy for months, called me for an "exclusive." We did a brief telephone interview. The billionaire Donald Newhouse-owned Staten Island Advance should consider itself fortunate that I didn't sue the paper for libel. His front page lead story was riddled with errors printed as fact and contained defamatory comments about me by State Senator Diane Savino (who still employs as her Chief of Staff a violence-prone character named Robert Cataldo). It contained similar remarks by a fundamentally inept and negligent Albany hack named Keith Parascandola, who worked as Chief of Staff for the late Assemblyman John Lavelle and and then his really bad successor Matthew Titone, also known as the ambassador to Staten Island from the Empire of Christine Quinn. As far as I am concerned, Parascandola could have done well as the Chief of Staff for Caligula.

Tom Wrobleski, who exists to cover up corruption in S.I. (e.g. Fossella, Titone, et. al.) racist genocide (e.g. in Tibet), politics (e.g. my candidacies for the U.S. Senate and more recently for the U.S. House of Representatives, domestic fascism e.g. Lyndon LaRouche) is a major reason why the Staten Island Advance has been properly characterized as "the most racist paper in New York."

Fernanda Santos, a free lance journalist writing for The New York Times wrote a story appearing in The Times under the headline, "Betsy Gotbaum Says She Will Not Seek Re-election as the City's Public Advocate." Gotbaum's stated reasons as reported in The Times are as phony as she has been for decades. She talks about her opposition to Bloomberg's third term plans. (I can understand her not wanting to be tarred with Bloomberg's wish to become emperor to Quinn's empress.) Gotbaum mentions the highly publicized death last year of her step-daughter-in-law Carol Anne Gotbaum, who was arrested in a reportedly seriously intoxicated state at the Phoenix airport while on a stopover to a rehab facility. Carol Anne was detained, and left unattended while shackled to a fixture in a holding area where she accidentally asphyxiated herself in an attempt to escape. Reports suggest that Carol Anne had a long psychiatric and substance abuse history. Perhaps Betsy Gotbuam, who lost legal actions against the Phoenix authorities, would like to explain why the apparently acutely psychologically afflicted Carol Anne was traveling alone thousands of miles away from home.

Gotbaum, who willfully has covered up staff abuse of homeless people in drop-in centers and shelters, depicts herself in The Times article as an advocate fore the poor and as "the rebel." Yeesh! She is all about money, power and deception! Shades of the pseudo-"mavericks" John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Well after I reported the Gotbaum/CIA connection in UP FRONT News, the Times' Hicks reported it in a 2005 story about Gotbaum. Hicks, however, committed a Village Voice-style journalistic ethical no-no, when he failed to write that the Gotbaum/CIA story has been first reported in UP FRONT News.

The real reason that the paranoid but deeply ambitious Gotbaum - who has fantasized about running for mayor (Sarah Palin would do better in an election here) - is not running again is because of exposure in UP FRONT News.

The New York Times, although way ahead of the steadily "retreating" Staten Island Advance, has scratched the surface of the very impaired and potentially destructive (Gotbaum has still not made her telephone apology to me via UP FRONT News Editorial Advisor Willard Whittingham about the "stalker" defamation public) Betsy Gotbaum.

And as far as "stalking" Betsy Gotbaum is concerned, I refer the reader again to the compelling country song by Dwight Yoakum, "I Ain't That Lonely Yet."
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