Flotsam & Jetsam

Lying low

It took two trials, 26 jurors, armies of lawyers, months of testimony, weeks of deliberation and countless witnesses for a decision to be reached on former Tyco International bigwigs Dennis “Livin’ Large” Kozlowski and Mark “I Know Nothing” Swartz.

There were really two verdicts. The first involved findings of guilt on 22 counts of stealing tens of millions of dollars from Tyco shareholders, crimes for which they face a sentence of up to 30 years.

The second verdict was a little been more blunt, and the sentence may even turn out to be even harsher than the one eventually imposed by Judge Michael Obus. It also came from jurors, who discussed the trial after it was completed.

According to Juror No. 3, Audrey Hodge:

— Kozlowski “was a bad witness for himself. It seemed to us he told a few lies.”

— Swartz “was an extremely good liar. He just knew how to present himself better than Mr. Kozlowski.”

Case closed.

On the outs

There’s one way of looking at the hardball tactics of Tim and Diane Mueller – owners of Okemo Mountain Inc. and operators of Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury – in their increasingly vain attempt to get their way on Mount Sunapee expansion.

In fact, the more you think about it, one explanation for their strategy — which involves trying to somehow persuade Governor Lynch to change his mind about expansion, all while beating him over the head with veiled threats and implausible “writs of mandamus” – make more sense than any other.

The Muellers actually may be looking to get out of the 20-year Mount Sunapee contract, which shouldn’t be too hard, since all it takes is the signature of the commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development to transfer operating authority to another entity. No Executive Council vote, no governor’s veto, just Sean O’Kane’s John Hancock.

The return of Mr. Right

Six of the seven living New Hampshire governors took the stage earlier this month for an event billed as a chance to hear their collective wisdom on Granite State business and the economy.

And in the end it turned out to be an evening of back-slapping, good feelings and nostalgia. Of course, back-slapping and good feelings — whether actual or not – are commonplace when politicians gather. But most of the nostalgia was provided by one participant in particular: His imperial majesty, the Honorable John H. Sununu, who reigned over these parts from 1983 to 1989.

Considering he was on stage with a few other folks known for the size of their egos, Sununu delivered a remarkable performance.

Seated at center stage – where else? – the former governor didn’t miss a chance to let the audience, and is fellow governors, know just how smart he is.

In fact, it seemed, every anecdote and lecture he gave offered at least one variation on the phrase, “You don’t understand.”

Consider his take on education funding. He informed us that $95,000 per 20-pupil classroom is the result of unexplained costs, after you deduct what he said was the $45,000 “a teacher earns.” This is where being smarter than everyone else pays off, because all along those average IQ’s in the State House have been factoring in health insurance and other benefits, FICA, energy, transportation and support staff as costs in crunching the school-funding numbers.

Another lesson from Professor Sununu involved the business community, which he said operates under a rather simplistic delusion: “The business community knows what the business community needs.” In fact, it’s the former governor who knows what the business community needs, as he proved with the lesson he gave that ubiquitous “business community” 20 years ago on what he called “low-income housing.” (Never mind this “affordable housing” stuff – just cut to the chase.)

According to Sununu, the business community “literally demanded” that he support a bond to build that “low-income housing” to attract workers to New Hampshire. He, of course, knew better and did no such thing.

It wasn’t until years later that the “business community” acknowledged, “rather grudgingly,” that the bond wouldn’t work, and he, of course, knew that all along.

Despite what you think of his politics, you have to have sympathy for the former governor. It must be a real burden to be right all the time.

It’s been making the rounds…

U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg was the only one of seven living governors not to show up for what was billed as a “Governors’ Summit” earlier this month. He apparently told organizers that he had to stay for business in Washington – which is interesting, considering he was spotted at his Rye home earlier on the day of the event.

Which happens first, Social Security reform or Jeb Bradley taking a stand on Social Security reform?

Is anybody really surprised that when all is said and done, the Legislative Budget Assistant called Craig Benson’s starry-eyed foray into self-insurance for health care was a “poorly planned, poorly executed” disaster?

On school funding, John Lynch and Doug Scamman proved to be no match against Bob Cl … er, Tom Eaton.

Amid all the E-ZPass hot air, why didn’t anyone suggest just bringing back one-way tolls to speed up traffic?

Jason Varitek’s favorite potential presidential candidate? Mitt Romney, of course.

Suffice to say that New Hampshire’s delegation was a lot more impressive at the Dems’ Chicago forum on presidential primaries than the folks from Iowa.

— No, your ears did not deceive you. At the governor’s summit earlier this month, Steve Merrill once again invoked the name of his arch-nemesis— the woman he likes to call “Deboraharnie Arnesen” and the person he apparently is still running against.

They said it…

“They used to not feel us up before 9/11. I just want to go back to that.” — Russell Kanning, a self-described libertarian – and a touchy one at that — after he was arrested for trying to board a plane at Manchester Airport with no identification.

“I met with Benson and asked him how long he would build a widget for $1 and get paid 50 cents. They expect us to build it for $1 and get paid 50 cents.” – Linda Hotchkiss, executive director of Your VNA in Rochester, on the way she explained the state’s miserly home health care agency compensation to a former governor.

“The pro-growth business owners of Sunapee can’t find their way onto the agenda of the Executive Council, but when it came to someone who had killed her husband like Pamela Smart, Gov. John Lynch was only too happy to oblige.” — Senate Majority Leader Bob Clegg on how he views Governor Lynch’s choices for the council.

“We have a chairman there that is second to none. I mean that fellow Gregg. He is the man. He knows his business, and he is a chairman sui generis. You know what that means? One of a kind.” – U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, a Democrat, kvells about his colleague, Republican Judd Gregg.

“I believe very strongly in the idea of a Western primary, and I’m not going to compromise on that. It seems only fair to me that the people of Keene have as much a voice as the people of Manchester.” – Possible 2008 presidential candidate New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson does his best to dodge questions on his support for a Western states primary.

Categories: News