No matter how many mistresses accompany you to your Florida condo, how much money you stole or paid in bribes or how often you golf with Hef at the Playboy Mansion, living a lie is never easy.
Coming clean ultimately feels better.
If anything remains of your integrity, telling the truth will bring it into the sunshine, polish its dull sheen into an acceptable glow and offer you a chance at redemption.
You might save your marriage and guarantee that your children will attend you funeral. But first the kids might have to attend your trial or your testimony under a grant of immunity as well as under the threat of perjury.
Despite the pain, and it will hurt once the cross-examination starts, you’ll have a shot at another chance.
Ask reprehensible one-time pillars of the community men such as P.J. McLaine, Don Kalina and notorious West Side undertaker bagman Al Hughes – all organized criminals who sold their souls to the county commissioners in exchange for many pieces of silver.
Now that their time on the witness stand is over, they can go back home and try again
They have seen the writing on the wall. In stiff Hughes’ case, he has seen the writing on the door of his corpse house, porch furniture and vehicles – in the shape of the word “RAT” spray-painted by faceless goons who hold a grudge and don’t appreciate his rolling over on Dunmore neighborhood hero Bobby Cordaro.
Now, to make matters worse, the FBI is investigating the possibility of witness tampering.
Nowadays, the unholy marriage between business and government is political purgatory – neither heaven nor hell. Arrest and indictment is always right around the corner. No guarantees exist anymore.
So maybe the time is right for the rest of you thieves to make life better for everybody.
Confess. Tell the truth. Offer to co-operate before the feds come knocking on your door.
Do it for the wife. Do it for your husband. Do it for the kids. Hell, do it for the dog that, unless you speak up, might be the only species to miss you when the law finally lands hard on your thick skull.
By then, the dream of reporting to Yankees training camp will have finally worn off as harsh reality slaps you in the puss with the force of a speeding ground ball taking a Moosic hop right into your nose.
But if you come clean now, before the grand jury convenes and the target letter arrives in the mail, you might have a chance at a new lease on life that does not include bunk beds in a federal dorm reserved for white collar criminals.
I say this as a gesture of encouragement to turn yourself in because I am absolutely convinced that Lackawanna County government officials and those who do business with county public servants are on the cusp of a brand new day of arrests and indictments – including alleged crimes that have not yet made the papers.
Last week I told you about a new scandal, the details of which are making the rounds in Scranton and beyond. This political scheme deals with a new racket at the county courthouse that, if true, could result in the arrest and conviction of elected and appointed officials.
After receiving a four-page synopsis of the crimes in the mail, I read the document five times, including once out loud for the full dramatic impact. And then I followed the same advice I give you on a regular basis. I practiced what I preach. I called the feds. Then I turned the information over to the law.
Now they must decide whether or not to investigate what seemed to me to be viable accusations that don’t seem too difficult for good investigators to verify or debunk.
Maybe the cops will look into the charges and maybe they won’t.
I’m still disappointed in the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Peter Smith for not doing more about the scandal to cover up theft at the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority. I gave the feds that information, too, and as a result of the news we broke on “Corbett,” one authority employee who happens to be a former magistrate, pleaded guilty to a federal felony.
But I also made sure that the feds knew that other public officials allegedly knew about the cover-up, including at least one powerbroker with political connections deeper than the Butler Mine Tunnel.
But nothing else has happened in that case. Pay-to-play is bad but politics at play is worse. In Northeastern Pennsylvania, you never know who to trust.
All I know is that honestly is the best policy – particularly in hard coal country.