First Time Ever
There are a few people, Kelly Fox, Jim Lee and Kevin O’Connor among them, who were in Harold Schaitberger’s original “Inner Circle” and who recall how he dominated the IAFF in order to win the presidency in 2000.
That domination has continued ever since, made much easier once he had control of the IAFF treasury to wine and dine affiliate leaders and otherwise purchase their loyalty.
A consistent theme over the past several years has been current and former IAFF leaders who now say “I had no idea” about what is really going on inside the IAFF.
Schaitberger has ousted vulnerable vice-presidents (Wright, Harvey, and Conway, to name a few) and convinced others to move on, sometimes with a cushy deal in the bargain.
In many of these cases he used them for his own purposes then tossed them out the door.
Emboldened by his total control, he used the IAFF Board to politically assassinate former vice-president Rick Walsh over bull-shit allegations that Walsh had secretly leaked “confidential” information.
That super-secret and confidential information was the fact that Schaitberger had been rung up by the feds for making a million dollar real estate purchase, then failing to report it, from one of his close cronies who also happens to do substantial business with the IAFF.
That, by the way, is classic conflict of interest.
Schaitberger prides himself on expert control of anyone who enters his sphere.
Why shouldn’t he: he went from a staff guy with little fire department experience to the top job by using those same skills.
In retrospect, it seems he overstepped when, in 2007, he hired Pete Gorman.
I have no doubt that Gorman was a loyal lieutenant, but with a critical twist: an innate sense of honesty and fairness.
Honesty and fairness are totally foreign concepts to Schaitberger.
When Gorman raised entirely legitimate concerns about troubling hiring practices at the IAFF, it appears he was quickly off the team.
Schaitberger lined other staff up against Gorman and even phonied up a staff retreat as part of the effort.
Schaitberger fired Gorman and then the unthinkable happened: Gorman contested the firing in DC Superior Court, a venue which Schaitberger decidedly does not control.
No fancy wining and dining to win folks over now.
No phonied up meetings or retreats, either.
In fact, Schaitberger and his minions can go to jail for attempts to subvert the truth in court.
Schaitberger may be a happy-go-lucky liar but how many of his gang are up for perjury too?
Harold Schaitberger is a whale out of water, floundering and gasping as the tide recedes.
That may well explain his desperate and absurd decision to hit Pete Gorman with a leak counterclaim for a million dollars.
Question: is Gorman doing what the ball-less board and cowardly membership couldn’t bring themselves to do: bring some honesty and ethics to the IAFF?
It sure looks that way.
And, in DC Superior Court Schaitberger will be introduced to a complete and total stranger: the truth.
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