Flotsam & Jetsam



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Situational ethics Officials at two of New Hampshire’s colleges apparently have haven’t paid particularly close attention to the trials of Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Swartz, the Terrors of Tycotown, who on Sept. 19 were sentenced to 8-1/3 to 25 years in prison - real prison, mind you, not Club Fed - for stealing $600 million from Tyco International and its shareholders and spreading the booty among a hodgepodge of nonprofit institutions, art dealers and purveyors of $15,000 shower curtains. Getting $3 million was the University of New Hampshire. St. Anselm College had to settle for a million. Nice gifts, until you remember that this munificence was pretty much virtual. Kozlowski certainly didn’t part with his own money - he threw around millions in Tyco’s funds to earn seats on boards of directors and getting buildings named after himself. UNH and St. A’s both insist that the donations they received during Kozlowski’s reign were “legitimate corporate philanthropy,” as one St. A’s official put it. UNH had a similar response. The gifts’ legitimacy, however, is questionable, considering that the corporation reduced the original Kozlowski gift of $5 million to $3 million once his actions came to light. Tyco also has given nothing more to St. A’s after the million-dollar pledge was completed in 2002. The two schools are certainly not alone in their philanthropical dilemma - Kozlowski’s alma mater, Seton Hall University received $5 million to construct Kozlowski Hall, a building recently renamed Jubilee Hall. And at Middlebury College in Vermont, Kozlowski used $2.5 million in Tyco money to acquire a seat on that school’s board of trustees. Needless to say, neither Seton Hall nor Middlebury - nor apparently any of the other institutions to receive the fruits of the Kozlowski largess - would disagree with the assessment that all this was “legitimate corporate philanthropy.” In fact, it might make you wonder whether their definition of “legitimate” is legitimate. Loyal to a fault? It sure was nice to see that Julie Teer, the former communications director of the New Hampshire Republican Party, has landed on her feet as the new spokesperson for Gov. Mitt Romney, the non-presidential candidate from Massachusetts. New Hampshirites might remember Teer for her defense of state Republicans in the early days of the Election 2002 phone-jamming scandal. Blind loyalty does have its attractions, in politics at least. Changing their mind “Honey, it’s only downhill from here,” Kelly Ayotte says she told husband Joe Daley after her nomination by Gov. John Lynch to serve a full term as AG received the endorsement of both the Concord Monitor and the New Hampshire Union Leader. The Monitor has apparently reconsidered its previous editorial judgment, expounded when the Ayotte was deputy AG, that poor Ayotte wouldn’t know a conflict of interest if it came up to her, curtsied and said, “Hi, I’m Conflict of Interest.” And perhaps the Monitor has forgotten altogether its editorial criticism of Ayotte when she headed the criminal division under Phil McLaughlin and neglected to give the people of Hanover and surrounding communities daily bulletins of how terrified they should be when the killers of two Dartmouth College professors were still on the loose. Oh well. Life is short, and it’s possible that Ayotte, though young, has learned more about the law since then. At least she’s learned not to put too much stock in newspaper editorials. (We have it from a reliable source that General Ayotte would rather read F&J - a fact that should give the people of New Hampshire great confidence in her judgment.) Location, location, location President Bush earlier this month called on Americans to support his proposal to give the military a formal role in post-disaster cleanup and rebuilding. Sounds good for the South and some other areas of the country. But how far from New England do you have to go before you find a military base with more than a few dozen personnel who could actually help in disaster relief up here? It's been making the rounds... • The people at the state Democratic Party who usually have no problem criticizing a governor’s actions - at least when it’s a Republican governor - have been noticeably silent about Governor Lynch’s failure to pick a Democrat, and possible future high-profile political candidate, in his reppointment of Kelly Ayotte as AG. • It’s not your imagination: Those grumblings are for real about whether it’s time to rethink the existence of the Executive Council. • When the Union Leader quotes Dem Chair Kathy Sullivan favorably in its editorial calling for Ray Burton to go, you know the folks at William Loeb Drive mean business. • There’ll be some changes made, and soon, at the Department of Corrections. • Does anyone remember what John Stephen’s final vote count was in the last election? • You’ve been warned: Former U.S. House Speaker and current professional Fox News blowhard Newt Gingrich will speak Oct. 7 in Representatives Hall at the State House. F&J TOTEBOARD
GARRETT CHAMBERLAIN: If the New Ipswich police chief doesn’t have his political future mapped out, then neither does Hillary Clinton.
VIRGINIA BEECHER: The director of the Division of Motor Vehicles is put under the microscope for her $17,000 in state-sponsored travel expenses, but not her frequent traveling companion, Safety Commissioner Dick Flynn.
MARK HOUNSELL: The former Republican and state senator gets an appointment to the state Traffic Safety Commission. Now he’ll have something to talk about with former senator and executive councilor David Wheeler, recently named to Milford’s Traffic Safety Committee.
RAY BURTON: The executive councilor voted most likely to leave office feet first, and not because the voters throw him out, comes closer to being booted out than at any time in his political career.
N.H. UNION LEADER: The Old Red and White Blue Lady shakes off the dust for a troubling and Executive Council-shaking look at a Ray Burton campaign aide/convicted sex offender.
WARREN HENDERSON: As if the state GOP chairman didn’t have enough on his plate ...
DICK GREEN AND BOB CLEGG: They may have been on the same page when it came to Tom Eaton, but they’re not even in the same book when it comes to HHS Chief John Stephen.
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