2013-05-16 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

The Latest Fairy Tale: There Was An Old Legislator Who Lived In A Shoe...
Charles Rogers

A dmit it. The travesty of former Queens state Senator Shirley Huntley is bordering on farcical fantasy, as if it could be directly taken from one of those Grimm’s Fairy Tales— not necessarily a grim one, either. With all due respect to the ex-lawmaker, the story has to do with her inviting no fewer than nine (probably more) fellow legislators to her home so that she could secretly tape their possibly illegal indiscretions. This HAS to be equaled to either “The Old Woman Who Lived In AShoe” or the wolf (if a female) from “Little Red Riding Hood.” It could also be taken from a running satire called “Allen’s Alley” featured on an old time radio show hosted by comedian Fred Allen back in the ’30s or ’40s. Allen would pose a topic for the week and then interview neighbors, all characters on the show who, most of the time, would come up with hilarious answers. Huntley’s home must be compared to that path trodden by our wayward (much too soft a word!) political representatives being interviewed by this little old lady who lived in a very expensive shoe!

As reported widely last week, Mrs. Huntley is now headed for prison for taking something like $87,000 that was supposed to be given — through her generous political office — to a taxpayer-funded educational non-profit group. She’s not going to have to serve much time, however, because, when she was caught, she made a “deal” with federal authorities — the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office — to wear a wire while talking to six fellow state lawmakers, a city councilman and two other political operatives and she’d get a more lenient sentence. She apparently told the feds a lot about corruption in state government — a LOT of corruption just about EVERYWHERE. So, in all their surreptitious glory, FBI operatives basically moved into her home, set up their equipment, put the earphones to their heads and started listening in as the unsuspecting visitors knocked on her door.

One report indicated there were secret FBI “moles” actually living in the Huntley home for about three months, although that couldn’t be corroborated. If that were the case, it’s another comical visualization — especially at breakfast time, with the agents claiming first place in the bathroom line and then holding out their plates for the morning dish of scrambled eggs (no doubt they’d want their toast blackened!).

On the other hand, they were probably told to bring a microwave oven and make their own @#$%^&* meals!

“Hello!” said the chain-smoking ex-legislator when greeting her visitors. “Come right into my web…I mean, uh…my parlor. Have something to drink. Let’s talk! Anybody got a cigarette?” She then probably (could have) poured, maybe, a little too much Old Granddad, which loosened their tongues.

Or — there might have just been a few friendly ways of “passing the time of day…”

“So? How’s the family? Did your wife get the manila envelope I…I mean, Christmas card I sent? Do me a favor and speak loudly into the vase!”

“Hey! How about those Knicks? And, by the way, have you seen how things have been going at Aqueduct lately???”

Just some questions asked by a sneaky, corrupt, cigarette-smoking little old lady who lives in a shoe with tiny microphones hanging from the shoelaces and listening posts all over the place; questions that senators and assemblymembers and councilpersons thought would be inane — questions the FBI found to be, at best, interesting; at worst, condemning; or viceversa.

One of those “interviewed” by Huntley during the innocent-sounding visit was Canarsie state Senator John Sampson, who was arrested last week and charged with at least a couple of cases of embezzlement, not necessarily part of state business concerning his office. It was reported, however, that Sampson was involved with a scheme concocted by an entrepreneur who wanted to do business at JFK and needed Huntley’s backing for his project. It was said that Sampson urged her to support the businessman, who in turn allegedly handed over some bribe money to Huntley. “Hi there! I’d like you to meet my friend. He’s a businessman who wants to set up a shop at JFK. Whadya think of that?”

“I like people who want to set up shops. By the way, I’d offer you guys a drink, but I don’t have any money…..Whadya know about that? Anybody got a cigarette?”

Satires. Spoofs. Fairytales. Call them what you will. The scenarios can be funny, even hysterical. If only they were just fantasies; If only they weren’t true…

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