Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Do Nothing



 “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”


I wonder if Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke was talking about northeastern Pennsylvania.

Former NEIU 19 executive director Fred Rosetti was sentenced to 33 months in prison yesterday.  He stole thousands from the organization.  The official count is about $ 140,000 and it was likely much more.

Evidence shows there were a lot of people knew what Rosetti was up to.  He plundered the organization for the better part of a decade. 

It reminds me of Luzerne County's "Kids for Cash" scandal.  1,000 kids went before Judge Mark Ciavarella without legal representation.  The silence was deafening.  I will never understand, until the day I die, how no assistant district attorney ever uttered a peep.  That, in and of itself, is criminal.

The silence while Rosetti was feathering his own nest is equally as disgusting.  I will concede that Rosetti ruled his organization through fear and intimidation, and he had a relative, Sen. Bob Mellow, in a high place.  Employees thought they'd lose their pensions or be fired if they dared to right the wrongs. Still, no one had the onions to speak up.  It could have been done discretely.  Call the district attorney.  Call the U.S. Attorney.  Call the FBI.  Call Dave Bohman.

One of Rosetti's attorneys told me Fred stole because he could steal.  In my view, it was another systemic failure-- top to bottom.  The system allows a scoundrel to amass too much power.  There are no checks and balances.  People who should have been watching were asleep at the switch.  Still others were afraid to speak.  Evil triumphed.

This area will always be in the dark ages as long as it embraces the "see no evil, hear no evil" mentality.  We're also pretty good at following the Golden Rule:  "Whoever has the gold makes the rules."

I loved how Rosetti's defense, in a plea for leniency, played the "he's already been vilified in the media" card.  I think it's just a case of the facts speaking for themselves.  Fred, you stole taxpayers money from an organization that helps educate special needs children, and you tried to intimidate people into clamming up.

On top of that, Rosetti took a page out of his pal, Bob Mellow's book, and tried to hide behind a sick relative.  Nice.

It sounds like someone has a lot of explaining to do on the Last Great Day.

Fred, if you'd like to explain a little sooner, I'm here.  There are still a few weeks left before you have to report to federal authorities to begin serving your 33 month sentence.