Aldous Huxley wrote: “To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.” Mark Twain wrote: “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and man.” But what, of the would-be Napoleon? What of the bumbling, prosperous fellow, lost in the fog of his own affluenza?
Let me set this straight from the beginning: there is a fundamental difference between the average American’s life and a wealthy American’s life. If the average American wants a new car or a lake house, they would save, sometimes for years, and dream of the possibilities. In their minds, they’ve lived there for years before ever making the down payment. If you’re wealthy and you want something, you just buy it. The time-lapse between desire and fulfillment becomes dangerously distorted. To those who can buy everything they want, it becomes: why can’t I have whatever I want?
The subject of entitlements has become all the rage in Washington, but one side of the street remains uninvestigated. If, as the Supreme Court declares, money equals free speech, then free speech begins and ends with a dollar sign. Freedom becomes quantified; those with money have more freedom and those of us with less money, have less freedom.
Mark Greenberg is a New York Real Estate mogul and would-be Republican Congressman from Connecticut, only he can’t get elected. He first ran in 2010, then in 2012, and then announced this year’s campaign, just five weeks after the polls closed. Admittedly, it’s not easy running red in a blue state, but it’s easier to push your way to the front of the line in a small party, especially when you have deep pockets and can fund your own candidacy. How deep? Greenberg owns 25 buildings in New York City, plus interests in 34 companies, both here and abroad. It’s safe to say, Mr. Greenberg has bus fare and could fund these campaigns long after the comedy becomes tragic.
You see, Mark Greenberg is a Tea Party Republican running in a very blue state. Every bio of Mark Greenberg refers to his non-profit animal rescue shelter The Simon Foundation, founded by Mr. Greenberg and his wife.
The Simon Foundation was a bare-bones operation in the early days. Mark and Linda posted photos and bios of the animals on Pet-finder and other web-based adoption services, and then personally delivered each and every one to their new forever home. ~ The Simon Foundation
In July of 2008, Mr. Greenberg bought Hemlock Kennels in a residential neighborhood of Bethlehem, CT. For some reason the neighbors objected to Greenberg’s 70 Pit Bull terriers and filed numerous noise complaints. The neighbors just didn’t understand Mr. Greenberg’s freedom. Greenberg had purchased the kennel from a town selectman and the city attorney had spoken openly against a neighbor proposed ordinance, limiting residential dog ownership to twenty.
As a Tea Party Republican, Mark Greenberg believes taxes are too high and government is too big and its regulations are over reaching. That’s why Mark Greenberg gave testimony before the state house, promoting Revised Bill 6303, privatizing animal control.
Revised bill 6303 Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2011) (a) Any regional or municipal dog pound facility may enter into a contract with one or more public or private nonprofit animal rescue organizations for the payment by such animal rescue organization of the costs for providing treatment by a licensed veterinarian to an injured, sick or diseased animal that is impounded at such regional or municipal dog pound facility.
By now, Mr. Greenberg has a new animal shelter facility built and speaks in favor of a bill filling it from the public trough. And Mr. Greenberg is just a nice man and it sounds like a good bill to help sick and injured animals. I might even believe that, if Mr. Greenberg wasn’t such a staunch opponent of health care for needy human beings.
Under Revised bill 6303, the animal control officer is the final authority unto god. Who is the animal control officer for the Bethlehem area? Why that would be Ms. Judy Umstead. And what are Ms. Umstead’s qualifications? She manages Hemlock Kennels, owned by Mr. Greenberg and lives on the property. What was it that Mr. Greenberg told the State House? “We are under agreement with the town of Bloomfield and the City of Hartford.”
Greenberg lobbies for a law where he has a direct financial interest. He then has his own employee named animal control officer. When another shelter opens up in town, guess what happens? Officer Umstead visits the competition three times in two weeks. On the third visit, she shows up at 6:30 in the morning with a state trooper in tow. Umstead claims the temperature inside the shelter was 31 degrees. The National Weather Service says the low temperature for that day was 34 degrees.
Sixty plus dogs are impounded and dispersed to area shelters, including Hemlock Kennels. The search warrant said Umstead was looking for animal cruelty and the confiscated animals were to be evaluated by a qualified veterinarian, but were they? Nope! No report ever appeared. You see there are some crimes, like animal cruelty, where just being accused is damning enough. An officer of the court (Umstead) claims animal cruelty before a judge with her own personal weather report. Was the judge aware the defendant was a competitor of the Simon Foundation? Did the judge know officer Umstead was an employee of the owner of the Simon Foundation?
The Simon Foundation has a 36,000 sq. ft., state-of-the-art facility. It has everything an animal rescue facility should have and even has something most animal shelters don’t have, like their own registered lobbyist.
Chris Janelli, on his Linkedin page calls himself a Director of “The Simon Foundation.” I bet you can’t guess who else calls themselves a Director of the Simon Foundation? (Jeopardy theme music) None other than Ms. Judy Umstead! As well as being a Director, Chris Janelli describes his current position as: “Executive Director – The Simon Foundation – Center for Canine Behavior Studies | CEO Dogs for Life, Inc. … Behavior Studies; CEO at Dogs for Life, Inc. Co-founder at Bio Wellness, Inc. … Co-founder BioWellness, Inc. – healthcare technology ”
There is no reference to a Center for Canine Behavior Studies at the Simon Foundation. There are several “Dog’s for Life” websites, but none of them have ever heard of Mr. Janelli. He is a registered lobbyist with the state of Connecticut, representing just one customer. The Simon Foundation or the Center for Canine Behavior Studies, you ask? No, he’s a lobbyist for the “Distressed Patriots of America LLC.”. He also penned a screed for a group called the New Boston Tea Party “where Revolution is the solution” entitled, “Connecticut’s Day of Reckoning is closer than you know.”
It’s fun stuff really, an intellectual dialog: “Federal government is out of control and frankly the majority of Americans simply don’t give a damn because they are too stupid, lazy or receiving entitlements and don’t care who pays for it.” ~ Chris Janelli from his blog, “The Scarecrows Needs Brains.”
In August of 2008, Mark Greenberg signs a contract to purchase a $4 million resort home issuing a $100,000 deposit. On three separate occasions, Greenberg was unable to close on the property and the Realty claimed his deposit. Greenberg sued and lost. Now see, here’s that difference again. The average working person would say to themselves, “Damn, I really screwed up!” Mark Greenberg counters, “They’re trying to cheat me!” He appeals, claiming as a Real Estate developer from New York City, he didn’t know what the word “strata” meant. There was also in the inspection report, a reference to a bent water main valve. There, that’s the reason we didn’t close! But Greenberg didn’t bother to check if the valve was even on his property! It’s the legal equivalent of my dog ate my homework. It’s a Hail Mary play; maybe you get a favorable ruling to reopen the case. Then you use your money… I mean your freedom to prolong it.
But the court answered “no” and the clock ran out, ruling against Greenberg and the judgment for $600,000 stood, plus his own legal expenses. This is what I mean by entitlement, you and me and probably everybody we’ve ever known in life, couldn’t have fought a half-million dollar legal case for the return of a $100,000 deposit.
If you don’t give me my money back, I’ll sue and I’ll sue and I’ll sue!
From The Register Citizen, Oct 18, 2012 — Mark Greenberg threatens Lisa Wilson-Foley with defamation suit.
According to Greenberg a letter was sent by judicial Marshall Thursday to Wilson-Foley and her senior campaign staff requesting that they retract claims made in the television ads. If they do not by a predetermined deadline, the letter says they can expect to be slapped with a lawsuit. Greenberg referred further questions to his attorney in the matter, Deborah Stevenson of Roxbury. Stevenson did not immediately return phone calls requesting comment.
The Greenberg Campaign objected to Foley pointing out the $600,000 judgment and subsequent lien on the Greenberg’s home. So this Tea Party Republican runs to big government to protect him, every chance he gets. Because he’s entitled by virtue of his wealth to play that branch of government like a violin. He has more freedom than you and more government too!
And here’s where the gravy begins to thicken. It seems the former Connecticut Governor, John Rowland is under indictment again. He was forced from office nearly a decade ago, convicted of ethics violations and sentenced to prison. This time, Rowland is accused of violating campaign finance laws by offering to work under the table in two Republican campaigns. Former Republican Congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley and her husband, Brian Foley, plead guilty to a scheme to create a phony contract that hid a consulting role prosecutors say Rowland played in her campaign. The other candidate involved is Mark Greenberg.
From The Register Citizen, May 9, 2012 – Mark Greenberg won’t release John Rowland’s emails for fear of interfering with FEC investigation.
Though former Gov. John Rowland denied the allegation that he offered candidate Mark Greenberg campaign help in 2010, proposing to be paid through the candidate’s nonprofit animal shelter, Greenberg will not provide proof for fear of getting in the way of a potential FEC investigation.
What? You’re a witness to a crime and you have evidence, but you don’t want to spoil the investigation? Are we playing Clue? Greenberg knows it was Mr. Mustard in the conservatory, but just wants to see if the rest of us can figure it out? But, Mr. Greenberg to his credit did say “no” to Rowland.
Greenberg admits Rowland’s advances persisted for months, but was this a one sided E-mail campaign or a price negotiation? How many E-mails does it take to say no? Where did the idea of using a non-profit animal shelter to hide payments originate? Did the former Governor suggest it out of the blue? Say Mark; do you suppose you could pay me under the table from your non-profit animal shelter? Was this a genuine offer of assistance or a shakedown? At that time, Rowland was employed as an evening drive-time, conservative, radio talk show host. A little pay for play maybe?
But here’s the hinge the gate swings on: it was fellow Republican congressional candidate and former FBI agent Mike Clark, who filed the initial FEC complaint. Now Clark was on the FBI team that prosecuted Governor Rowland last time. It’s unlikely, given that fact, that Rowland would offer his services to Clark. So Rowland offers his services to both Foley and to Greenberg, Foley accepts and Greenberg declines, but keeps his mouth shut. Greenberg’s more than willing to roll over on Rowland to the Feds, but is unwilling to tell all he knows.
This is an example of what the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” ruling, eliminating campaign spending limits, really means. Mark Greenberg’s only qualification for public office is his affluence. When he sues, it’s justified. When you sue, it’s frivolous. When he legislates, it’s for good government and when you legislate, it’s overreaching, big government. Mark Greenberg is all in favor of less government, but only for you.
“Money doesn’t talk, it swears” ~ Bob Dylan
About the author: David Glenn Cox is a senior staff writer for TLR and an award winning author and musician; he is the author of the novel, “The Servants of Pilate.”