Convicted at last.
The conviction today of Carol Aranjo and her husband in the fleecing of the now defunct Edward Wells Credit Union is a right and just result. Now if only the unreliable Judge Ponsor, who seldom seems to meet a corrupt official he can't feel mercy for, will do the right thing and sentence her to a long term.
Her husband Alphonso tried to get off the hook by claiming he didn't know what his wife was doing. However, testimony revealed he drew $80,000 dollars from a bank account without making a single deposit. What, he thought the money was appearing by magic?
The case had a personal tragedy when the defendant's son Douglas drowned in a boating accident. At first everyone thought he had blown town, but then his body was found floating in the water. Death spared him from having to explain in court why money missing from the credit union kept showing up in his business.
The case was similar to many others in Springfield in that it involved the lowest kind of thievery - money stolen from the poor. However, at least other reverse Robin Hoods in Springfield were personally likeable. Francis Keough, who ripped off the homeless, could be very charismatic. The Asselins were a pleasant enough bunch. Even Gerry Phillips, who preyed on Puerto Rican welfare mothers, had his own clumsy charm. But it was hard to like Carol Aranjo.
Her specialty was playing the race card. Anytime she was ever questioned in a way she didn't like, she would condemn her inquisitors as racists. In fact when the credit union was seized by the Feds, she declared it as evidence of a national conspiracy against black owned credit unions. Imagining herself a community leader, she was actually a community divider, who repeatedly tried to use false cries of racism to shield herself from scrutiny. Today a jury of her peers declared that it was Aranjo herself, not white racists, that was the true enemy of the black community. Keough, Phillips, the Asselins and others convicted of corruption were mostly white machine hacks who often preyed on the funds meant for minorities. But Aranjo was a parasite on her own kind.
The Wells Credit Union was founded in 1959 as a means of freeing Springfield's black community from having to rely upon large financial interests that might be less sympathetic or aware of their needs. For decades it served the blacks of Springfield, until Carol Aranjo perverted that institution and the noble cause for which it was founded in order to turn her poor neighbor's bank accounts into her own private slush fund.
I'll give her this, she played a lot of high ranking people for suckers. All the leading Democrats of the Valley couldn't wait to shower her with praise and testimonials, and all the prominent people on the board supposedly overseeing the credit union never suspected anything was wrong. But then, as in the case of the Springfield Housing Authority under the Asselins, no one who showed any inclination to actually supervise would have been allowed on the board in the first place. As was the case with nearly all of the oversight boards overlooking Springfield institutions, any sign of honesty or integrity was to be instantly disqualified from serving.
So another sad chapter closes in the betrayal of Springfield by yet another of it's supposedly most trusted institutions. Now let us hope that Judge Ponsor acts out of character and gives out the lengthy prison term Carol Aranjo has earned and so richly deserves.
UPDATE - On September 25, 2008 Judge Ponsor again showed his infinite mercy towards the corrupt and denied the recommended sentence of 10-12 years for Carol Aranjo, giving her only four and a half. Her husband received merely a year.
When I got off the bus yesterday in front of the Northampton courthouse, I noticed something odd about the nude on the lawn.
Getting close I realized what it was. The nude was no longer nude! Someone had put sunglasses on her!
I also noticed that the support stem for the glasses was missing on one side.
What a clever way to make to sure that no one would steal the glasses! Is that weird or what? To paraphrase Larry Kelly, only in Hamp!
Walking past the Northampton Starbucks, I saw this blackboard advertising Acoustigasm! What does that mean, acoustic music so good it gives you an orgasm? Who could do that, a surprise appearance by Jorma Kaukonen? Looks like there was already a Swede on the bill.