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Traficant bans writer from bash



Published: Sun, September 6, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


By Bertram de Souza

Former congressman and now former federal prisoner James A. Traficant Jr. will in all likelihood show up at the “Welcome Home Jimbo” bash this afternoon. But this writer won’t be there to witness the return of the conquering hero.

“He doesn’t want to see you. If you show up you won’t be allowed in.”

So said Linda Kovachik, who made a special trip to downtown Youngstown Saturday morning to deliver the message from Traficant, who has spent the last seven years and a month in the penitentiary.

“I don’t want you to be embarrassed, that’s why I came here,” Kovachik said in the offices of The YTown Radio Stations. She made the comments in the presence of several people.

This writer and Dr. William Binning, professor emeritus at Youngstown State University, had just completed the Saturday morning radio talk show “The Valley’s Talkin’ With Doc and Bert” when Kovachik entered the studio.

It was surreal.

“You’re not welcome tomorrow,” she said. When asked why, the former congressional aide to Traficant and party organizer said she had talked to her ex-boss Friday night and he made it clear this writer is persona non grata.

Being banned from a Traficant event is nothing new. During his tenure in Congress, he often refused this writer, who was the political reporter at the time, access to his press conferences.

Unhappy man

When pressed for an explanation of the ex-congressman’s attitude, Kovachik said Traficant was unhappy “with the things you’ve written about him.”

And then she added this comment that confirms the long-held belief that his followers will drink the Kool-Aid if he asks them to: “You should sit down and write him a letter apologizing for some of the things you’ve said.”

It will be a cold day in hell before James A. Traficant Jr. receives an apology from this writer.

When he stands before his adoring supporters this afternoon and soaks in all the adulation, he should think about this: In the end, he’s nothing more than a two-bit politician who used his public position for personal gain.

The 10 criminal charges that the jury in federal court had found him guilty of weren’t the result of a grand conspiracy by the federal government, but rather the actions of a man who couldn’t keep his hand out of the cookie jar.

The seven years and a month sentence weren’t the result of the judge, the prosecutors and the jurors conspiring to toss him in prison, but rather the arrogance of a man who thought he could serve as his own lawyer and do a better job that any hotshot criminal defense attorney.

And so he went away — and it is now clear that contrition isn’t one of the things he learned in prison.

This afternoon’s party will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of his personal and public lives, but Traficant should ask himself this question: Am I a better person today than I was in 2002 when I was led away in handcuffs?

Prison changes people.

Of the more notable inmates from the Mahoning Valley, Michael I. Monus, the once king of the deep discount retail chain Phar-Mor, chose not to return home at the end of his 12-year stint in federal prison. Monus moved to Florida where he reportedly has built a comfortable life for himself.

By contrast, there’s disbarred lawyer Richard Goldberg, who served 51 months in federal prison, returned to the Valley and quickly showed that shame isn’t in his DNA. Last week, a retired state trooper called to say he was stopped at a traffic light and alongside his car was a new luxury Mercedes Benz driven by Goldberg. The one-time renowned malpractice attorney has lost his licence to practice, but last year it was revealed he has been doing legal research for lawyers in the area.

Mafia boss

One of the highest profile ex-cons from this area is former Mafia boss Lenine “Lenny” Strollo, who spent 12 years in the federal pen, instead of being given a life sentence — because he became a snitch for the government. Strollo admitted to directing organized crime activities in this area for decades. He returned home late last year — quietly.

But Traficant is in a category all his own when it comes to his being in the land of the free.

There already is talk that he will be appearing on Greta Van Susteren’s show on Fox Television. She certainly doesn’t want a kinder, gentler Jimbo.


Comments

1Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"It will be a cold day in hell before James A. Traficant Jr. receives an apology from this writer."

Well Betram, after reading your stories in The Vindicator for years I would be dismayed if you did .

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2SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Well Jimbo your coming home.
Who cares, you have leached off the system your whole career. You never accomplished anything but open you big mouth and ramble. I didn't know how good we had it for the last 7 years! We didn't have to hear your ramblings and "I want my 15 minutes of fame" statements. Understand we don't care that your home, you have leached to long, nothing now be a wannabe. Stay home and drink your Kool Aid.

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3ytowntilly(4 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

How far we have come. At one time you said he could be president if he played his cards right. But he didn't and always had one up his sleeve. No one made hime commit his crimes. Too many feel that because they were against the government it was o'kay. After all, it's only the government, everyone does it... it is illegal for all, even Jim Traficant and he needed no ones help to do it... oh maybe he did, those who treated him like he could do no wrong and was the greatest thing since sliced bread. You fed is arrogance.

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4ytownLADY79(26 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Mrs. Kovachik was off on exactly who deserves an apology. I think you need to apologize to the people of Youngstown for wasting a good chunk of our paper to discuss Traficant week after week. Your unrelenting devotion to a man who you believe is unworthy of attention baffles me. Constantly talking about him shows that you care. It is just as bad as throwing an over the top welcome home party for him. The party will last a few hours, but your coverage of Traficant has spanned years! Traficant may be a two-bit politician, but are a two-bit writer that devotes your time to writing about him. I think that says a lot about you!

E! News recently banned news coverage of the every move of D-List reality “stars” Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, or Speidi. You should do likewise with Traficant. I look forward to reading your column and blog, but when the topic is Traficant I want to scream! Please devote your column to more pressing political matters in the valley like say...the race for Youngstown School Board. ;)

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5Erplane(447 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

I agree with YtownLady, now that Jimmy is free, why dont we just ignore him?

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6borylie(742 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Right on ytownLADY,
I can't recall Bert questioning Traficant prior to his fall from the democrats grace. I don't recall Bert digging up dirt on Traficant before the Feds did. He didn't do any investigating as a good reporter should do, he just piled on when it was easy to do so. Why doesn't Bert tell us what Tim Ryan is up to. How often does Ryan vote, how often is he absent, how is campaign money spent? Any dirt on Ryan now, or will Bert wait until someone else does all the work and he can pile on again.

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7Max(80 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

You really expected to be welcomed at this event, Bertram? Get serious. And why do you think they would want you there? So that you can gather some info to write another scathing article on Jim and his family? Oh, wait , you don't NEED any legitimate information to write a scathing article, you'd come up with something nasty to write anyway. So save yourself the gas and stay home.

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8EWandF(22 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

someone has to speak for those in this valley who are still sane; let it be Bert...

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9boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Mr. Traficant still and always will have more appeal than some two bit hack of a blogger who posts very personal attacks on people he doesn't agree with. My suggestion to the folks wasting their time here is to go read an article written by someone who isn't so full of himself that the story has to become about him. Read something that will feed your mind, not take journalism to a Springer like level of worthlessness. I laugh every day about how the writer of this column must think it is relevant, when the only tactic he uses to keep readers is to feed the fire of people who don't like and don't agree with him so he can get some type of a response. After all, if Berty didn't have Jim to write about, who would have read his column this week? Jim is the story Berty boy, not you. Unlike him, you have done nothing for this valley.

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10borylie(742 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Bertram is not supposed to have a side. He's supposed to be unbiased journalist,looking out for both sides.

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11apollo(1227 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Will someone tell borylie that Bertram is an editorial writer for the opinion page.

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12Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

You have written many great articles Bertram . Keep them coming . The negative crowd is reading them too !

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13borylie(742 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

apollo,
I think you told me,no reason for anyone else to tell me. Dumb butt. And please tell Bertram that apollo thinks just because he writes on the editorial page that he's not a journalist. Is Bertram supposed to look out for his side or both sides? Does he have negative opinions of just one side? Does his opinions influence the way the Vindy presents the news? Do you think anybody outside of Fox News viewers knew that Van Jones is an admitted communist and was in the White House. Did the Vindy or your MSNBC report this? It's not news until someone reports it. What else isn't the Vindy reporting. Huh,mushroom?

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14apollo(1227 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Borylie, Bertram isn't reporting news, he's an editorial writer who presents his opinion. Bertram's job isn't to be impartial. I think you need to learn the meaning of journalism and the different aspects of it.

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15borylie(742 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

apollo, I'll write this very slowllly. Nowhere did I say he's a reporter. I asked you if his opinions affect the way the Vindy does or does not report the news. Plus I asked you other questions you haven't answered. How did you get your hands on Bert's job description?

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16epicfail(217 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"He didn't do any investigating as a good reporter should do"

I think you called him a reporter there. Maybe... I'm not an expert. But I think the whole use of the word "reporter" was a context clue to you calling him a reporter. I am no expert on semantics though.

Why would his opinion matter anyways? Several blog posts ago he referred to the editor of the paper as a bloviator. My bet is he eats lunch alone and carries mace to the office christmas parties.

http://www.vindy.com/weblogs/stirfry/...

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17borylie(742 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

epicfail, you got me. Who is "he" that referred to the editor as a bloviator? Where can I read this?

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18epicfail(217 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Bertram of course. Check the enclosed link:

http://www.vindy.com/weblogs/stirfry/...

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19borylie(742 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Epic, Thanks. I'd forgotten about that blog.

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20ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

YtownLady-You go gurl. I would love to see a poll of how many people have Traficant-fatigue in this area. Turn the page, move on . . .

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21EliotNess_DC(86 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Jeepers Bertram, what did you expect after you published a fantasy "interview" with Traficant? And wrote a long diatribe to the effect that he will never be "respected?"

The Vindy is going to miss out on the political story of the year ... because of its obscenely biased editorialized "reporting."

Greta and Michelle Nicks will get the stories that you could have had!

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22jmpt37(43 comments)posted 4 years, 6 months ago

i think bertram is just upset because he didnt get invited to the party. its ok bertram i dont like you either

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