January 25th was the fourth anniversary of a brutal killing on Water Street at the side of the Goldman, Sachs headquarters building in Manhattan. The now-convicted criminal responsible was E.E.I.'s then CEO George Anderson. The victim was an office worker, Florence Cioffi, also known as "Nana."
Media coverage started with the Post, the New York Times, the neighborhood rags and the area television stations. However, when Anderson was let off with a 16-day sentence in Rikers, plus a $350 fine, our corporate press emitted single-item whimpers and fell silent.
Wall Street's criminal class controls criminal prosecution for our city and the State of New York.
Financial crimes have not been prosecuted since the first round of Dot.com scams in the early/mid 90's. Manslaughter is one step further. As Mr. Anderson looks down on Zuccotti Park from his corner office, high up on Broadway, he can be assured that there will be no further investigation.
Charges: vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, felony DUI, and leaving the scene. The charges were admitted. The DUI was proved with a hospital blood test. Video cameras clocked the SUV at 60 m.p.h. flying up Water Street, then weaving around a bend in the road before slamming into the 59-year old Ms. Cioffi.
She was thrown 120 feet. The SUV took off, leaving the scene of the accident. The action was captured by at least three surveillance video cameras. What followed as the charges wended through the system makes one wonder about our form of society... whether it is dominated by bribery and influence ?
Eventually a new ADA was chosen. Someone pliable. ADA David Hammer, "(Cioffi) probably stepped out from between two parked cars" - feigning ignorance of the multiple surveillance videos. In fact, eye witness accounts had her trying to hail a cab.
Eventually the charges are dismissed or reduced to misdemeanors. ADA David Hammer pushed through "a rich man's sentence" 16 days and a $350 fine.
So that is the price of a life.
Go to a Rangers hockey game, get drunk, drive recklessly at twice the going speed limit, plow down an ordinary office worker. Render no assistance. The system will take care of you if you are Ruling Class.
Dickens had it right more than a century ago. Indeed, the carriage scene from "A Tale of Two Cities.
The complaint had sometimes made itself audible, even in that deaf city and dumb age, that, in the narrow streets without footways, the fierce patrician custom of hard driving endangered and maimed the mere vulgar in a barbarous manner. But, few cared enough for that to think of it a second time, and, in this matter, as in all others, the common wretches were left to get out of their difficulties as they could.
With a wild rattle and clatter, and an inhuman abandonment of consideration not easy to be understood in these days, the carriage dashed through streets and swept round corners, with women screaming before it, and men clutching each other and clutching children out of its way. At last, swooping at a street corner by a fountain, one of its wheels came to a sickening little jolt, and there was a loud cry from a number of voices, and the horses reared and plunged.
But for the latter inconvenience, the carriage probably would not have stopped; carriages were often known to drive on, and leave their wounded behind, and why not? But the frightened valet had got down in a hurry, and there were twenty hands at the horses' bridles.
"What has gone wrong?" said Monsieur, calmly looking out.
A tall man in a nightcap had caught up a bundle from among the feet of the horses, and had laid it on the basement of the fountain, and was down in the mud and wet, howling over it like a wild animal.
"Pardon, Monsieur the Marquis!" said a ragged and submissive man, "it is a child."
"Why does he make that abominable noise? Is it his child?"
"Excuse me, Monsieur the Marquis -- it is a pity -- yes."
The fountain was a little removed; for the street opened, where it was, into a space some ten or twelve yards square. As the tall man suddenly got up from the ground, and came running at the carriage, Monsieur the Marquis clapped his hand for an instant on his sword-hilt.
"Killed!" shrieked the man, in wild desperation, extending both arms at their length above his head, and staring at him. "Dead!"
The people closed round, and looked at Monsieur the Marquis. There was nothing revealed by the many eyes that looked at him but watchfulness and eagerness; there was no visible menacing or anger. Neither did the people say anything; after the first cry, they had been silent, and they remained so. The voice of the submissive man who had spoken, was flat and tame in its extreme submission. Monsieur the Marquis ran his eyes over them all, as if they had been mere rats come out of their holes.
He took out his purse.
"It is extraordinary to me," said he, "that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is for ever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done my horses. See! Give him that."
He threw out a gold coin for the valet to pick up, and all the heads craned forward that all the eyes might look down at it as it fell. The tall man called out again with a most unearthly cry, "Dead!"
He was arrested by the quick arrival of another man, for whom the rest made way. On seeing him, the miserable creature fell upon his shoulder, sobbing and crying, and pointing to the fountain, where some women were stooping over the motionless bundle, and moving gently about it. They were as silent, however, as the men.
"I know all, I know all," said the last comer. "Be a brave man, my Gaspard! It is better for the poor little plaything to die so, than to live.
Law, itself, as ceased to exist as an instrument of sovereign power whereby social justice can be defended. "Crime" has been moved to private hands for redefinition where there's a buck to be made.
-- Naked shorts
We knew that a fiction had been created on the behalf of Wall Street's criminal class when the New York Stock Exchange voided (by its "rules") the basic Common Law and statutory crimes related to fraud and theft.
Goldman, Sachs and their rival "sell-side" houses can sell registered stocks that they do not own. This is called a "naked short" everywhere else in the world. But not here where high-frequency trading predominates. There is no time for checking the actual stock holdings, so all electronic trades by these "co-located" firms are held exempt from SEC rules & regs, as well as other laws.
They are allowed to drive down the prices of any issues they choose to attack.
These "naked short" fraud-sales are a crime everywhere else in the world, yet allowed and protected for New York's Ruling Class.
Banning high-frequency trading should be on the Top 40 list for reforming our stock exchanges. HFT hides at least a dozen forms of illegal activity.
What is law ?
Does the concept exist in our reality ?
The Wall Street criminal class can kill us. The lesson of this Cioffi killing is that they can walk away.
They move markets by selling what they do not own.
If they sell you a stock and do not deliver it within three days, nothing happens. And a firm that is attacked has no recourse.
No more recourse than the corpse of Florence Cioffi.
Occupy Wall Street was about corporate corruption from the start, along with repairing a broken economy. The OWS people, the Dutros and the Sobels and the Burkes and all the rest, had no idea how bad the situation had become. Not one of them recognized the name "Florence Cioffi."
Zuccotti Park is six blocks walk from the crime scene.