The Ink asks: So what happens next?
The Office of Charitable Trust, which has the responsibility of making sure organizations like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and its fundraisers follow the rules and don’t break the law, is, as you would expect, overworked, understaffed, and hampered by the fact that the fundraising industry is essentially a wild-west of unregulated and semi-regulated enterprises.
For a look at how the industry is dominated by roving gangs of malignant trolls, like Phil Miller of DCM, see what the Washington Post had to say:
When speaking with The Ink, a lawyer at the Charitable Trust Office admitted the situation was grim and that it often was a game of whack-a-mole. The law would crack down on a malicious scammer in the industry only to have them reappear later with a new name and a new location and the same old scam – like DCM and Phil Miller inserting the toxic and utterly odious Jacqueline Berkaw into the bloodstream of the CSO, and then moving her to the Houston Ballet.
As one knowledgeable source put it – it’s analogous to the Church shifting pedophile priests from one parish to the next and the victims be damned.
All of which brings us to the question of just what can the AG’s office do to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and DCM?
Do they have the means to punish the guilty?
Do they have the stomach for the fight?
Are the laws, written by the wealthy in order to protect the wealthy, sufficient to allow for the appropriate punishment?
Or should we expect the CSO to stand at the windows of Symphony Center and say – let them eat cake…
The Ink is not optimistic.
The Ink is cynical.
The Ink believes we are living in a corporate dictatorship that views Kafa, Orwell and Huxley not as warnings but as business plans.
The rot and corruption, that overwhelming stench emanating from Symphony Center; that noxious perfume that floats off fur and tuxedos and makes you want to hurl, that multi-million dollar spew that could gag a maggot is the stink of endemic corruption at the end of an empire.
Don’t forget that two members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Board of Directors were told, in detail, about Berkaw, and their response was – fuck off and die; we don’t care.
More jumbo shrimp, my dear? I hear Muti is going to let it rip tonight…
Will the CSO get a slap on the wrist from a tiny conductor’s baton?
Will DCM and Phil Miller get an angry letter that says they’ve been naughty?
Will that foul harridan, Jacquie Berkaw, stewed in the dead green dust of shredded money, get another crack at stealing credit cards and buy more designer clothes that she hasn’t and won’t pay for while having yet another opportunity to scream at and humiliate wage-slaves trapped in the dead-end of the dead-end economy? Will she get another shot at betraying a charity, and victimizing the poor?
Anyone who thinks this is a free society is a fucking idiot or a collaborator with the regime. This is a corporate dictatorship and the aristocrats run the circus.
The CSO should be ashamed of itself but that would require people with a conscience and so far there’s not one person at the CSO who has displayed any hint of a backbone.
Consider the manager who, when told about accusations of sexual harassment against a DCM manager, and was then told that the CSO’s response to the Berkaw story was, it aint our problem, said: “I want to be a thousand miles away from this and it has nothing to do with the CSO.”
Yeah, profiles in courage.
Back in January when The Ink was bringing all of this radioactive sludge to the attention of a lawyer, he found himself standing in the center of the legal bureaucracy in Chicago – courthouses and lawyers were all around; federal and local and lions and tigers and bears, oh my.
And the lawyer with whom The Ink was speaking said – the system is designed to wear you down. It’s deliberately slow, deliberately complicated, and run by people who don’t care about you because you don’t have money and you aren’t paying them and you aren’t paying other lawyers to write laws that are designed to protect the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.
But, he said, don’t give up.
It’s been six months now of not giving up. And The Ink is reminded of the following:
“And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”
“The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations and almost rule cities, in which hotels and apartment houses and celebrated restaurants are owned by men who made their money out of brothels, in which a screen star can be the fingerman for a mob, and the nice man down the hall is a boss of the numbers racket; a world where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket, where the mayor of your town may have condoned murder as an instrument of moneymaking, where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practising; a world where you may witness a hold-up in broad daylight and see who did it, but you will fade quickly back into the crowd rather than tell anyone, because the hold-up men may have friends with long guns, or the police may not like your testimony, and in any case the shyster for the defense will be allowed to abuse and vilify you in open court, before a jury of selected morons, without any but the most perfunctory interference from a political judge.”
Well we don’t do bootleg liquor anymore but we’ve replaced it with other things and the results are nearly identical and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was told, repeatedly, that it’s donor-list was full of dead people, and people who haven’t contributed in years, and that the callers were constantly calling people who were screaming at them to stop calling and for fuck’s sake, they asked, repeatedly, to be placed on the do not call list.
And the CSO Development Office, refused to do a damn thing about it.
Except, kill the messenger.
And took those bogus numbers and showed them to corporations and asked them for money.
And they hired Paul Papich and SD&A and then Phil Miller and DCM to run the call center, and Phil, hired Berkaw…
Yeah, The Ink is not feeling too optimistic.
But he sure is pissed off.
Either we live in a free society or we don’t. We either live in a nation of laws where the law evens things out or we don’t. Either we live in a society where everyone has a fair chance or we don’t and right now, from Symphony Center to the malignant trolls who are bigly fouling the nest of government, to the rapacious ghouls making billions off the broken backs of slaves manufacturing iphones and the crap sold at Walmart, to an environment that is melting and an ocean full of plastic, mercury-fueled fish, and rising tides, the world is in free-fall and right here, in our little patch of the American Dream, there is a question that has to be answered.
Is the law for everyone or is it for the wealthy who use it as they please?