BY: J.J. O’Hara
[This is Part 8 of a series of articles that I am writing about the U.S. v. Parlato Et Al case. Along the way, I am detailing what a travesty this case is – and how it was orchestrated by two inner circle members of the NXIVM criminal enterprise, Clare and Sara Bronfman, and a conman named Shmuel Shmueli – all three of whom just happened to be represented by the same attorney, William F. Savino.
I am also explaining how many of the slimy tactics that were used to indict Frank have become the norm in the everyday operations of the U.S. criminal justice system. Readers are encouraged to ask questions – which I will endeavor to answer on a timely basis].
In Part 7 of this series, I explained why Frank established several companies and multiple bank accounts – and why those actions do not constitute crimes. In this part, I will detail why the then-U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York (WDNY) did not intervene in the matter – and dismiss all the charges against Frank.
How Things Usually Work in the Office of a U.S. Attorney
There are currently ninety-four (94) districts in the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) organizational structure – with 93 U.S. Attorneys and more than 5,500 Assistant U.S. Attorneys.
Some smaller states only have one district while other larger states have multiple districts. New York State has four districts: Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western.
All U.S. Attorneys are appointed by the President, subject to approval by the U.S. Senate – and, along with their respective Assistant U.S. Attorneys, they undertake legal work involving matters in which the U.S. is a party.
This legal work falls generally within three general categories: (1) prosecuting criminal cases that are commenced by the DOJ; (2) serving as the legal representative for the U.S. when it is named as a party in a civil case; and (3) undertaking legal actions in order to collect debts that are owed to the U.S.
Although Assistant U.S. Attorneys work under the supervision of the U.S. Attorney in their district, they have broad discretion in making decisions in cases that are assigned to them.
In criminal cases, Assistant U.S. Attorneys have the authority to file charges, request an indictment, decline prosecution, and negotiate plea bargains.
In civil cases, Assistant U.S. Attorneys are permitted to initiate complaints, participate in discovery, and negotiate settlements.
When a controversy arises in a given case, the applicable U.S. Attorney may intervene in order to ensure that justice is served.
Although that is what should have happened with respect to U.S. Assistant Attorney Anthony M. Bruce’s capricious decision to indict Frank Parlato, it did not.
Why that didn’t happen involves yet another sordid story concerning the interaction between the criminal justice system and the political system in the U.S.
Frank Has a History of Taking On Wrongdoers – and Making Political Enemies
Although many Frank Report readers may assume that Frank’s first major battle involved the takedown of Keith Raniere and NXIVM, that is decidedly not the case.
On the contrary, Frank has been taking on wrongdoers ever since he got involved in the newspaper business back in 2009.
One of his major battles involved Jimmy Glynn, a Niagara Falls businessman who, for almost 50 years, had a monopoly on boats that operated along – and under – the Niagara Falls. His boat monopoly was called Maid of the Mist.
When Frank’s Niagara Falls Reporter newspaper began investigating Glynn’s deals, it found that back in 2002, New York State had awarded him a no-bid, 40-year contract to conduct boat tours that originated from the state-owned Niagara Falls Park (Glynn also had a contract with the Ontario Parks Commission to operate tours that originated in Canada).
New York State’s rationale in awarding such a long-term deal was that Glynn was the only one capable of providing the service because he was the only one that had access to the requisite boat storage facilities (Glynn leased boat storage facilities on the Canadian border as part of his deal with the Ontario Parks Commission).
Although Frank’s reporting on the sweetheart deal had no apparent impact on the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, or any of his political cronies, it did open up some eyes on the Canadian side of the Falls.
And because of Frank’s more than 80 stories on the sweetheart deal that Glynn had with his Maid of the Mist operation, in 2012, the Ontario Parks Commission put out for bid the boat tour service that operated out of its boat storage docks.
And because it did so, the Ontario Parks Commission received a bid from the San Francisco-based Hornblower Cruises company that dwarfed the bid submitted by Jimmy Glynn. Over the course of the new contract, the Commission will receive an additional $300 million.
Given the windfall that the Canadians reaped from a competitive bidding process, it would be logical to think that New York State would quickly emulate what Canada had done – and put the America-based boat tour service back out for bid (They had the right to do that because once Glynn no longer had access to the boat storage facilities in Canada, there was no longer any rationale for giving him a sole-source contract).
However, as was widely reported in the Niagara Falls Reporter, that is not what happened.
Instead, Governor Cuomo simply ordered that the 40-year deal with Glynn be renegotiated so as to enable him to build a new boat storage facility on the American side of the Falls – at taxpayer expense of course.
Cuomo’s decision to renegotiate with Glynn rather than put the boat tour business out to bid cost the State of New York at least $100 million in lease payments.
Frank, in what Frank Report readers know is his usual approach to such matters, refused to let the story die.
And so it was that Frank was still reporting about the egregious rip-off that was arranged by Cuomo – and that was endorsed by his political ally, Mayor Paul Dyster of Niagara Falls – long after other media sources had dropped the story.
In other words, Frank originated the story that led to the Canadians getting $300 million more in revenue from their boat tours and refused to let the story die when Gov. Cuomo refused to put the New York side boat tours out to bid.
And it was not only the Maid of the Mist fiasco that Frank criticized Governor about.
He constantly criticized for his shabby [and corrupt] treatment of Niagara Falls – where he favored, with taxpayer dollars, the development projects of his contributors and supporters, which Frank argued were hurting the city.
So What Does It Matter That Governor Cuomo Was Pissed at Frank?
Skeptics who don’t believe that there were any politics involved in Frank’s indictment will point to the fact that Frank was indicted by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York – which, of course, is outside the purview of the New York State Governor.
And they would be absolutely right…except for one fact.
At the time of Frank’s indictment, the Lieutenant Governor of New York – who had been hand-picked by Governor Cuomo to be his running mate – was none other than Kathy Hochul.
That would be the same Kathy Hochul who just happened to be married to William J. Hochul.
And that would be the same William J. Hochul who just happened to be the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York at the time Frank was indicted.
Hochul served as U.S. Attorney from 2010 until 2016.
Frank was indicted on November 20, 2015.
Within a few months of that event, both Anthony M. Bruce, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who had orchestrated the indictment – and Bruce’s boss, William J. Hochul, who had refused to intervene in the matter – had resigned from their respective positions and taken jobs in the private sector (More on where these two moral stalwarts are now working in an upcoming post).
Their work was done.
They had indicted an innocent man – and shut him up once and for all.
Or so they thought.
Keith Raniere made the same mistake – and look what happened to him.
The only question now is whether the U.S. Department of Justice has the balls to investigate two of their own.
There’s no need to make up stuff when it comes to analyzing the case of the U.S. v. Parlato. The truth itself is strange enough.
Below are some sample covers of the Niagara Falls Reporter that were critical of Cuomo – while his Lt. Governor, Kathy Hochul was married to the man who led the US Attorney’s Office that indicted Frank.
While it seems likely that Clare Bronfman and Keith Raniere were responsible for getting the case started against Frank, the local US Attorney had every reason to dislike Frank – and ignore justice since Frank was attacking his wife’s boss, Governor Cuomo, who takes any public criticism as a personal attack.
In fact, just about the only Democratic region of New York State that Cuomo lost handily in his election and re-election efforts was Niagara Falls, where Frank’s newspaper is extremely well-read.
When you learn where former US Attorney Bill Hochul went to work when he retired early after indicting Frank, it may seem not coincidental at all. Hint: he went to work at 5 times the pay he made as US Attorney – for Jimmy Glynn’s partner and Cuomo’s biggest campaign contributor. More on that in a later post.