by John Delach
During the early 1980’s when New York City was in the middle of enduring those bad times and crime was rampant, I was tasked to meet a valuable client in the lobby of the Dorset Hotel on Fifty- Fourth Street. The Dorset was a throw-back to a more gentile era, a favorite for old-school British businessmen. My purpose; to escort him to Giambelli’s, then one of the city’s more upscale and popular Italian eateries. I was so assigned to keep creeps at bay based on my size and girth that gave me the same profile of Popeye Doyle from the French Connection.
This profile didn’t offend me, I considered this assignment a privilege to have the opportunity to spend some time alone with an amazing man. He was a fellow with the dryest sense of humor of any person I’ve ever had the privilege to know and beyond that, he was a RAF war hero and old enough to be my father.
We met at the bar and shared a drink. He had a gin and tonic, I probably had something similar but with vodka. The doorman ordered us a taxi and I gave the driver our destination. Correctly, he turned south onto Fifth Avenue. As memory serves me, the taxi was passing St. Patrick’s Cathedral when I proposed a question to my customer:
“There was a chap who worked for your firm. He preceded me on your account. I never met him, never knew him but I’ve heard many things about him, may I ask you, ‘What kindof a man did you find him to be?”
He looked at me, thought about what I had asked, measured his response, paused, then replied, “Like him or dislike him, you have to admit he was basically dishonest.”
Once upon a time a group of sports entrepreneurs created a professional football league to play their games during the spring rather than compete against the NFL in the fall. They called it the United States Football League (USFL.)
The Donald usurped this concept by buying the New York franchise, called the Generals and led the charge to compete against the NFL not on the playing filed but in court. He set out to sue the league on the grounds of antitrust and force his way into the league.
The trial took place in Brooklyn in the Eastern District Court. The Donald and renegade NFL owner, Al Davis, were pivotal witnesses in favor of the plaintiffs. They both accused the NFL of just about everything short of nuclear war.
Here is what happened: In the normal course of events with an urban jury The Donald & Co. would have won and, in fact, they did, or would have had it not been for a single alternate juror.
This juror was a naturalized citizen, a British ex-pat, who prior to coming to America had been a secretary at NATO. She replaced one of the original jurors who pleaded to the judge that he’d just been accepted by the US Post Office as a trainee but, if he didn’t show up the next day, he’d forfeit the job.
Except for this new juror, the USFL’s case was a slam-dunk! Out-numbered and out-voted, she voted with the other five but held her counsel until it was time to award damages. She recommended to her fellow jurors that this was really a bit of a silly case, something the judge should really decide. So she proposed they set the award at one dollar and let the judge amend the amount as he saw fit.
When the jury announced their verdict, the court was stunned. What she had failed to explain to her fellow jurors is that a judge can only reduce a settlement, not increase it.
Brilliant from where I sit, but I guess some of you may consider this the con of the century.
In any event, in this his latest re-incarnation, The Donald running for president of the United States has erased his role as the prime mover in this litigation and professes his loyalty to and love of the NFL.
The Donald is amazing:
Like him or dislike him, you have to admit, he’s basically dishonest.