Bill Hope: His Story. A young pickpocket recounts his wild adventures in nineteenth-century New York. Historical fiction; action/adventure; crime.
Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Signed copies available from the author (firstname.lastname@example.org).
"A must read." Five-star Amazon customer review by nicole w brown.
"A fun book. The main character seemed like a cross between Huck Finn and a Charles Dickens character." Four-star LibraryThing review by stephvin.
For more books by Clifford Browder, see below following the post.
Recently I noticed an online reference to an article about the most hated CEO in America. Thinking it was about Harvey Weinstein, I decided to have a glance, and was surprised to find that the subject was none other than Martin Shkreli, whose youthful charm and financial escapades have graced this blog more than once. Mr. Shkreli now languishes in Brooklyn’s Durance Vile, the result of his having, while out on bail last September, published a post on Facebook offering to pay $5,000 per hair to anyone who stole a hair from Hillary Clinton, who was then on a book tour. He insisted that this was just a prank, and when the Secret Service, concerned about Hillary’s security, protested to the court, America’s bad boy deleted the post. But Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, like Queen Victoria in her time, was not amused and therefore revoked his bail and sent him to jail. And now the courts have given him more bad news. On February 26, 2018, a U.S. district judge ruled that Shkreli was legally responsible for $10.4 million that his investors lost because of his financial hanky panky.
And why is Mr. Shkreli in jail? It’s a complicated story that I have tried to tell in posts #306 and #317, not to mention earlier accounts in posts #214 and #223. His status as most hated CEO stems not from his financial misdeeds, but from his misdeeds as a pharmaceutical company CEO, in which capacity he arbitrarily raised the price of a drug by 5,000 percent, thus provoking the public to an outburst of protest and rage. But he was on trial in Federal District Court in Brooklyn for other dubious undertakings. To put it simply, the government accused him of robbing Peter to pay Paul, Peter being a financial concoction of his, and Paul its predecessor, another enterprise whose investors he paid off with funds from his latest creation. This, said the government prosecutors, amounted to fraud, and on August 4 the jury announced its verdict: guilty on five out of eight counts of fraud, which could mean up to 20 years in prison. So now he languishes, awaiting sentencing on March 9.
I confess that Mr. Shkreli fascinates me, hence this series of posts. He is my polar opposite, and I am shocked, intrigued, and amazed not just by his misdeeds, but by his obsessive vanity, his imagination and daring, his arrogance, his utter lack of shame or guilt. Only 32 at the time of his arrest, he is boyishly handsome, with a few dark curls dangling on his forehead, and a smile that seems mockingly insolent. He revels in notoriety, insisting that his status as most hated CEO enhances his image and makes him that much more attractive to women. When not involved in financial or legal matters, he used to tweet provocatively online, and indulged in endless live-streaming on YouTube, chronicling his moods and trivial daily doings and playing online chess. Whatever he did, it was always me me me, and if a young woman posted that she would like a date with him, he assured her that the waiting line was long. Such was his life, prior to confinement. How it is today I have no idea.
Speculation now is rampant regarding his forthcoming sentencing. Judge Matsumoto could note that he is a first-time offender and give him modest time. Or she could emphasize the amount of the loss to investors and his unrepentant attitude, and give him the maximum. We should know on March 9. Meanwhile the once irrepressible Mr. Shkreli continues to languish, a unique New York hustler, Donald Trump writ small.
Here is a reprint of my post #208 on The Donald, published on November 29, 2015, before he became the Republican candidate for the presidency. Like most of us, I couldn't believe he'd become the GOP candidate, which gives my post a certain quaint charm . It drew much of its information from Michael D’Antonio's biography Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success (St. Martin's Press, NY: 2015), which I had just read. D'Antonio interviewed many paople who have known Trump, and was granted several interviews with Trump himself, until the Donald cut him off.