Jewish World Review Jan. 6, 2003 / 3 Shevat, 5763

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Consumer Reports

Global double Crossing | On Christmas Eve, the Justice Department of the United States of America meekly announced it would not seek the indictment of Gary Winnick, one of the biggest corporate villains in American history.

Attorney General John Ashcroft chose Christmas Eve to make the announcement because he didn't want you to know about it. Mr. Ashcroft is excellent at not seeking indictments. His department was unable to indict Senator Robert Torricelli, despite solid evidence he was on the take. It was unable to pin down any wrongdoing in the vote-buying investigation involving the town of New Square, N.Y., where, in the 2000 senatorial election, 1,400 citizens voted for Hillary Clinton, and 12 did not. A month after that vote, four incarcerated town leaders had their prison sentences reduced by President Bill Clinton. It was all just a strange coincidence, of course, and we should all have a good laugh over it, right, Mr. Attorney General?

But let's give Ashcroft a rest for a moment and get back to the wicked Winnick. As chairman of the Global Crossing company, Winnick moved the corporate headquarters to Bermuda so he could dodge U.S. taxes, was paid millions in salary and made more than $730 million from various deals involving the company's stock. The problem was that at the same time Winnick was winning, the company was losing. Finally, it sunk. A year ago, Global Crossing declared bankruptcy with as much as $42 billion in debt.

Gary Winnick was chairman throughout the entire process and lived large whether times were good or bad. If you are ever in Los Angeles, take a ride to the Bel Air neighborhood. Turn off Sunset Boulevard onto Stone Canyon Drive. Then ask anyone where Gary lives. You should have no problem checking out his $60 million home, which has been embellished by $30 million in renovations. It's quite a place, especially for a guy who drove a company into bankruptcy.

There is a chance that the leader of the Democratic National Committee, Terry McAuliffe, has had a cocktail or two at the Winnick abode. That's because McAuliffe and Winnick were golfing buddies when President Clinton was in office. And not only that, McAuliffe was an early investor in Global Crossing. He put up $100,000 and a few years later cashed out for $18 million. When asked about the windfall, McAuliffe said he was simply a good capitalist, and if you don't like capitalism, you should move to China or Cuba. Any suspicion of insider info in his Global Crossing adventure is nonsense, says McAuliffe. How could any responsible person think that?

Well, certainly John Ashcroft has no problem with McAuliffe or Winnick reaping obscene profits from a failed company. Santa Ashcroft gave Winnick the best Christmas gift of his life -- a stay-out-of-jail-free card. After all, prison would have put a major crimp in Winnick's style, I mean, who would care for the yacht and lavish homes all over the country? Terry McAuliffe, maybe?

Anyway, last week, the few souls left standing at Global Crossing forced Winnick to resign, and the rogue issued this statement: "I deeply regret that so many good people involved with Global Crossing also suffered significant financial loss."

Also? Is Winnick implying he has suffered? His statement went on to point out that Gary, himself, has put up $25 million to compensate current and former employees who lost money investing in the company's retirement plans. No word yet on how much McAuliffe will put up.

Of course this whole thing smells worse than a paper mill in August, but no aroma can permeate the solid walls at the Justice Department. Things there smell just fine, thank you, and the people's work is getting done. America, you see, was founded on equal justice and opportunity for all, especially for connected rich guys like Winnick and McAuliffe. This is a great country, and if you don't believe me, just imagine yourself failing dismally at your job and then driving home to your $90 million house, passing everyday folks who lost thousands in Global Crossing stock along the way. That's a real Norman Rockwell image for you. Or maybe a John Ashcroft image.

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JWR contributor Bill O'Reilly is host of the Fox News show, "The O'Reilly Factor," and author of the new book, "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" Comments by clicking here.


12/30/02: The villains of 2002
12/23/02: Finding offense where none is intended is a form of selfishness
12/16/02: The Houston lesson
12/09/02: Somewhere Santa is weeping
12/02/02: A taxing situation
11/26/02: Talk is expensive when it comes to Bill Moyers
11/18/02: Sanity has left the building
11/11/02: The right stuff
11/04/02: The Attorney General blues
10/28/02: This ain't no game
10/21/02: It's only rock and roll, but it's brutal
10/14/02: The root of all evil
10/07/02: When children murder
09/23/02: The death of outrage
09/17/02: Singing a different tune
09/09/02: Answering my critics about the Roush case
09/03/02: Let's misbehave
08/26/02: Money makes the world go 'round
08/19/02: Long live the King
08/12/02: A friendly reminder
08/05/02: Heaven only knows
07/29/02: Blood money
07/22/02: Suffer the children
07/15/02: Reaching critical mass
07/08/02: Believe it or not
07/01/02: Charity begins at home
06/24/02: Spinning a tale and the case for "Stupid White Men"
06/17/02: Blank those Europeans!
06/10/02: What does Bono want from us?
06/03/02: On fighting evil
05/28/02: A Tale of Two Churches
05/20/02: Crimes against humanity
05/13/02: Silence of the lambs
05/06/02: Hide the children
04/29/02: 'Paul, Paul, Paul!'
04/22/02: Barbarians in the Church
04/15/02: Pray for peace, polish the weapons
03/11/02: Do no harm? Time to spank "Dr. Phil"
03/04/02: Promoting the general welfare
02/25/02: Who's responsible?
02/19/02: Lay it on them
02/11/02: Buy dope, fund terror
02/04/02: Back room deals
01/28/02: From boom to bust
01/21/02: The Fairness Doctrine
01/14/02: Hey, Paula, take it to the bank and hush up
01/07/02: And justice for none
12/31/01: All that's left
12/24/01: Santa is appalled
12/17/01: Fight the power
12/10/01: The black challenge
12/03/01: How things have changed
11/26/01: Waiting in the Bushes
11/19/01: The sign of the Cross
11/09/01: Hollyweird strikes back
11/06/01: The fear factor
10/26/01: Show me the money
10/22/01: See no evil
10/15/01: Peace, but no quiet
10/08/01: The air war
10/01/01: I don't understand
09/24/01: We are all soldiers, and we have a job to do
09/14/01: Evil on display
09/11/01: Family matters!
09/04/01: End of summer blues
08/27/01: Summertime -- and the livin' ain't easy
08/20/01: The rap on rap
08/13/01: The truth hurts
08/06/01: Amnesty for illegals: Bush's political investment
07/30/01: The big picture on Condit-Levy
07/24/01: Silence of the Shams
07/16/01: Condit, Kennedy and cable news
07/09/01: Heather needs a childhood: The unnecessary loss of innocence
07/02/01: What would have happened if Steven Spielberg had recut "Schindler's List" for German audiences so they wouldn't be confronted with "emotional issues"?
06/25/01: Freak dancing
06/18/01: Work or die
06/11/01: Soundbite nation
06/04/01: Paying through the nose
05/29/01: Graduation Day 2001
05/21/01: Accepting the unacceptable
05/14/01: The Clinton legacy
05/07/01: Kerrey's ordeal
04/27/01: Is the party over?
04/20/01: Racism in public education
04/16/01: The fleecing of America
04/10/01: People who need perspective
04/03/01: Dubya's bottom line --- and ours
03/27/01: Don't tell, don't ask
03/20/01: Greenspan with envy
03/13/01: Clinton and Jackson
03/07/01: All that's left in America
02/27/01: The Letterman experience
02/20/01: Bread and circuses
02/06/01: How the Clintons do it
01/30/01: The Bush dilemma
01/24/01: I have been investigating Jackson's finances for the past two years
01/17/01: Sifting Ashcroft's record

© 2001 Creators Syndicate