Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Tale Of Two Alans.

“I hurt for Hevesi. I know that many of you are with me on this. I pity those who are not.”--Alan Chartock

Upstream was right. The woman Glenn Heller alleges that Alan Chartock sexually harassed is Karen Perozi-Guistina. Heller did not let the cat out of the bag. A former employee of WAMC, Josh Cohen, left a comment on Upstream, stating that he was the person who left an anonymous comment recently on Glen Heller’s blog stating that Guistina was the alleged victim of Chartock. Furthermore, Cohen says in his comment on Upstream that he personally witnessed Chartock harassing Guistina.

Up until now, the news media have refused to investigate this story, claiming there was a lack of information, among other things. Now, however, we have the name of the woman who allegedly was harassed and paid $20,000 to keep her mouth shut, and we have the name of a man who claims to be a witness of the harassment. With these two new pieces of information, it seems to me that it’s time that the media investigate this story. (A FOIL request for financial records might reveal a $20,000 pay out).

Before I continue, I have to state my usual disclaimers. Other than a few e-mails back and forth and one telephone conversation, I don’t know Glenn Heller. Furthermore, I have no beef with Alan Chartock or WAMC. I listen to WAMC and feel that if the station did not exist, the Capital Region and the Mohawk Valley would be the losers. What I can’t abide is people in power abusing their power. If you have been a regular reader of this blog, I am sure you are aware of that by now.

One problem the media have with the above story is its source--Glenn Heller. They feel that Heller has an axe to grind, therefore, the story is not valid. But that didn’t stop them from covering and investigating State Comptroller Alan Hevesi’s alleged misuse of a state car and driver, even though the story’s source was Hevesi’s political opponent, Chris Callaghan. Talk about having an axe to grind.

Chartock himself discussed the other Alan in a recent Legislative Gazette piece that then appeared on his blog on October 10.

Alan Hevesi is now under tremendous fire for having used state funds to protect and escort his ailing wife. He knows that there is really no excuse for what he did. Rules are rules. Apparently when he was the New York City comptroller, the rules were different. The truth is that his wife is in bad shape and the poor guy has been worried sick over her. Worry, with its accompanying pain and anxiety, can sometimes cloud the reasoning process. Who among us can’t relate? Hevesi has tried to make it better. He has owned up to his mistake and repaid the money that was spent using his personal (not campaign) funds. It’s all made worse because as comptroller, he is the guy responsible for making sure that everyone else in the state plays by the rules. He has done that well and many of the people he caught did not get second chances.

Alan Hevesi has acknowledged his mistake and is desperately trying to move on. His opponent is doing what opponents do. He is trying to beat Hevesi in this election. That’s the nature of the beast. Elections are adversarial events much like trials where the defense and prosecution try to murder one another. The truth is that if you have any dirty laundry you proceed at your own risk. You just have to assume that any past sins will find their way into the public eye. It is refreshing to see gubernatorial and presidential candidates fessing up to having smoked pot in their younger days. Not too long ago, newspaper columnists would have murdered them for less.

I know that newspaper editorial boards are exasperated by this. They like Alan Hevesi, too, and want to endorse him. I think many voters find themselves in the same situation. They wonder how much slack they would be granted if they had found themselves in a similar mess. Now what should have been a runaway election victory for Hevesi will be a closer race. We’ll have to see what happens and what new developments emerge. But assuming it stops here and no new entanglements emerge, my bet is that Hevesi still manages to win in this Democratic tsunami year. But I do admit, from a personal point of view, my heart is heavy. The tabloids may love this stuff but I hate it.


I agree with Chartock’s assessment. I too pity Hevesi. I don’t believe he should do prison time if ever indicted and found guilty. On the other hand, I don’t think he should be our State Comptroller.

Do I pity Chartock? Not at the moment. But should the media ever investigate Chatock’s alleged sexual harassment and should Chartock ever come under the same pressure that Hevesi is now facing, I will pity him.

I’ve always found it hard not to pity the hare when the hounds are on his tail, even if the hare once ran with the hounds.

Note: This post was written on October 30, 2006, but I have dated it a later date. I have done that so the post will remain at the top of this blog. Because I feel that it is time that the media looked more closely at these allegations against Alan Chartock, this post will remain at the top of this blog until I feel it‘s time to move on.

24 Comments:

  • Dear Mr. Weaver:
    So the State Comptroller uses a state employee to chauffeur his wife. At the risk of sounding like a Johnny-One-Note, is this any different from the CEO of a 501c3 tax-exempt organization using org employees to chauffeur its CEO on personal errands and commutes, simultaneous with the org not declaring to IRS the perks it gives that CEO?

    The only difference I see is that Comptroller Hevesi is elected and WAMC CEO Chartock is not -- but both situations involve abuse of taxpayer or tax-exempt funds! So what else is new?

    Glenn M. Heller, editor
    WAMC Northeast Pirate Network --
    E-mail: editor@wamc.net
    Web site: http://www.wamc.net
    Blog: WAMC Pirates' Blog -- http://www.wamcnet.blogspot.com
    Snail mail: P.O. Box 100, Monterey, MA 01245
    Telephone: 202.973.2141

    By Anonymous Glenn M. Heller, editor, WAMC Pirates, at 11:03 AM  

  • It doesn't seem to be any different except for one thing. Chartock is not elected by the people living in the area that WAMC radio reaches, nor does he have to run against an opponent for his job. If his job were an elected, political job, I think the media would have covered some of this by now.

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 11:22 AM  

  • Perhaps I'm off the mark in saying this, but I think one of the reasons no one in the media has really given this story in credance is that no one really cares. While Chartock is indeed a polarizing personality, his work with WAMC has undoubtedly made that station one of the most powerful forces in northeastern public radio, if not the most powerful. And I doubt there are many people in the mass media that are intereted in investing the time and effort into tracking down an abuse-of-power story about a guy that many feel is behind the success of WAMC. Simply put, tax stories are difficult to hammer down with accuracy and often come across as boring to readers, unless we're talking about Al Capone, Ruppert Murdoch or some other figure of highly national noteriety. With this said, I'll posit this question to Glenn Heller: if the station is blatently in violation of tax exempt laws, then how come the IRS hasn't investigated this? Hell, I leave one stock holding off my tax returns and I'm liable to get audited. It seems that a public agency would be under even more intense scrutiny, especially seeing as though you've probably brough this to their attention, if you've brought it to the blogosphere. As I've opined before, I'm not sure what to think of the other allegation, other than if she didn't file a complaint with WAMC's board of trustees, then there's nothing there to report, especially if she got $20,000 out of Chartock's pocket directly, as is likely the case if there was a payout, and not from the station itself. In closing, I'd say their are bigger fish to fry and larger sharks to catch in the fetid cesspool of Albany politics. All the wrongdoing I've read here would make local headlines for a few weeks and that's about it.

    By Blogger Horatio Alger, at 12:30 PM  

  • Horatio, I think you are right about the media not caring, however, I disagree with the rest of what you say. The fact that someone is successful doesn't mean they shouldn't be investigated. There is no question that without Alan Chartock WAMC would not be what it is. But some people are trying to do the same with Alan Hevesi. "Look at the good Hevesi has done." The whole Hevesi story shows that the media, State Tax Department, the IRS, and Governor Pataki were not on top of things. Everyday now there are new revelations about Hevesi. Today we find out that he had six drivers. Even Spitzer doesn't have that many. We wouldn't know about any of this if Callaghan hadn't dug it up. Just because the IRS and the media haven't investigated something, it doesn't mean it hasn't happened.

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 1:41 PM  

  • Also, let me remind everyone I was the one who drove Alan Chartock to his SUNY New Paltz and SUNY Albany teaching jobs, on WAMC time as an employee and using a WAMC vehicle.

    JOSHUA COHEN

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:27 AM  

  • Josh, if you were driving Alan Hevesi around, everyone would listen to your story.

    If you had witnessed a Catholic Bishop sexually harassing a woman and spoken up about it, the media would have printed your story.

    There is an unhealthy double standard here.

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 12:41 PM  

  • As a former WAMC employee I know what Josh has to say about Alan's sexual harassment of Gusitina's wife, because Guisitina told me so himself.

    Horatio Alger is clearly wrong in his assertion that Chartock
    "likely paid" Guistina's wife out of his own pocket. During my time there Chartock never paid a dime out of his own pocket for anything, including his very many sushi luncheons. Its up to Chartock to prove he did not use pledge dollars to pay for his sexual harassment.

    As for Horatio's suggestion that because Guistina's wife "didn't file a complaint with WAMC's board of trustees, then there's nothing there to report," a greater rationalization for excusing unethical and immoral behavior I cannot imagine, particularly from Alan's sycopantic supporters who always claim the high moral ground.

    If Horatio's defense of Alan is that since no authorities haven't investigated him then he must not have done anything wrong seems a rather weak and desperate defense.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:58 PM  

  • I don't believe the payoff would have come from Alan Chartock's own private funds, look, he does not even use a private vehicle for his work and off-work activities, WAMC provides that so why would he even dream of paying out of his pocket.

    After so many fund drives, raising so much money, why would Chartock not start to act like WAMC funds are his to do as he wishes.

    Another issue here is Rex Smith, Editor of the Times Union, he has been sent many emails and press notices from some concerned folk regarding the Chartock-Perozi issue, he has done nothing. Why? Rex is Alan's pal, on the 'Media Project' each week.

    Point is, Rex and the TU refuse to look into a huge story, one that would be sure to sell more papers - and are not print media on the decline so far as subscribers - so Rex is hurting his employer by not going after a story that would, again, sell papers. If Rex won't go after this story, because of his relationship with Alan, I wonder what else the Editor of the Times Union won't touch, and why.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:54 PM  

  • The TU's motto seems to be "all the news that's print to fit."

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 6:41 AM  

  • Dear Mr. Weaver,
    My name is Karen Pirozzi. I used to work at WAMC Northeast Public Radio. I was not sexually harassed by Alan Chartock. End of story.

    By Anonymous Karen Pirozzi, at 4:43 PM  

  • "Sexual harassment" has become a bit of a catch all-phrase that can mean many different things.

    -It can claimed in a case where there are unwanted sexual advances.

    -It can be claimed when there is blue language or sexually charged conversation used in the workplace.

    -It can be claimed when someone feels they are being treated differently because of their gender. And so on...

    I think it would be helpful if someone would define the exact nature of the incident in question.

    These days, companies are quick to pay off disgruntled employees to make them go away, rather than go to court to fight charges of abuse or harassment. In the world of such settlements, $20,000 is not much of a payout.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:34 AM  

  • I don't have any way to verify whether the above comment attributed to Karen P. was actually left by Karen P. For now I will let it stand.

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 5:04 PM  

  • It can mean when Alan Chartock walks out of his office and sees you, Karen Perozzi, after you have moved your desk, Alan makes a the comment 'What's the matter don't you like it from behind'. Karen, then you speak with you lawyer, share this with several folks at the WAMC front office, soon after you leave WAMC, your then boyfriend tells all his WAMC friend, and who knows who else, that you had started a legal process to sue Chartock for, your own works, you told me, sexual harassment.

    Your husband later let us all know Alan settled out of court.

    Stop lying.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:22 PM  

  • Anonymous - If you've got a working understanding of the media, then you'll also understand that they can't print hersay as a fact. No documentation, no verifiable sources other than this Cohen fellow, no story. Take the recent Sweeney story in the TU and Daily News as one example. What does that hinge on? A POLICE REPORT, albeit slightly questionable. If the authorities were involved, or a notice of claim was filed, then the story has teeth. Otherwise, it's got nothing but the assertions of some fellow who claims to be Chartock's driver and a blogger who obviously has a sour opinion of the man.

    And as for MY "weak and desperate" defense, I'm not Chartock's attorney nor am a sympathizer. I've got no vested interest in defending him. What I do have is a journalistic sense that this story is about one concrete piece of evidence --and a critical one at that --from ever being even fodder for the B section. The fact that he's not a public servant, rather more of a private citizen puts it on even thinner ice. True, he is the chief of the tax-exempt public radio, but he's still not elected to the position. Frankly, I'd like to meet the editor would give the OK to running with a story based on what's been mentioned here.

    By Blogger Horatio Alger, at 9:34 AM  

  • Horatio, There may not be enough to run a story, but there is at least enough for a newspaper to launch an investigation.

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 10:43 AM  

  • Horatio,

    This is Cohen, did you know that I also had to drive Alan Chartock to his SUNY New Paltz job, in WAMC vehicle, on the WAMC dime.

    Don't you think Chartock should let people who pledge to the station at least know that. I see a big story here but it won't get it's start in smalbany.!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:59 AM  

  • Reprinted below is the letter about alleged sexual harassment at WAMC that has been on Glenn Heller's web site for several years. If this had been about John Sweeney, the TU would have published it last week.

    After listening to Fred Dicker's radio show the other morning on WROW 590-AM--he was talking about WAMC and he gave your site a free plug--I decided to write and let you know there is something you should know about the inner world of WAMC and Alan Chartock.

    It's that Alan Chartock continually fosters a very disturbing and truly inappropriate environment of sexual tension and harassment within the walls of WAMC Northeast Public Radio. It's relentless and it's been this way for a very long time. I've been told that Alan has acted like this even from the very beginning when he first got the station in the 1980's. Alan's nasty and sometimes disgusting comments and his disrespectful behavior towards many wonderful women on WAMC's staff have been a contributing reason why female employees have quit this station over the years.

    I can give you examples aplenty of what I think represent outright sexual harassment by Alan, but I think for now one typical example will be enough to make my point. It's a true story and it was witnessed at the time by at least four persons in WAMC's front office at 318 Central Avenue, and the incident involved a young, attractive woman who worked behind a desk there.

    The woman did not like the positioning of her desk because it faced the wall and required her to sit with her back to the room. So one day she simply changed the desk's direction and turned it around so that it faced inward towards the center of the room. Of course, she also changed her chair so that her back now was to the wall and she could sit facing the room. It was all a very minor change in the way the front office was set up since the room is pretty big and it seemed like no big deal.

    Well, when Alan found out that the woman had moved her desk, he was very annoyed that he had not been consulted beforehand. He came out of his office in the room just next door, and in front of everyone who was in the front office at that moment, he approached the young woman and asked her why she had made this change in the position of her desk, and why he had not been asked first. She responded honestly: "I don't like people sneaking-up on me from behind." To which Alan immediately shot back: "Whatsamatter, don't you like getting it from behind?" At this remark, a second female employee who appeared quite annoyed and uncomfortable at Alan's comment, said to Alan in front of everybody, "I think you'd better go back into your office."

    Later, to his credit, Alan came back out and apologized to the young woman, but by then the emotional damage had already taken place, with obvious embarrassment inflicted on the young woman. Like I said, this is ONE typical example of many such incidents in the day-to-day work environment at WAMC with Alan in charge.

    How can someone who's supposed to be a responsible, respected SUNY professor, and chairman of an NPR station that gets listener money and hundreds of thousands of dollars from government and foundations be allowed to continually get away with purposely demeaning and insulting behavior towards the great women who always have made up most of WAMC's staff? Don't Army Generals get drummed-out of the service for this type of behavior? Aren't high-level corporate business officials forced to resign in disgrace when they act like this? So how does Alan keep getting away with it?

    Thank you for your site. Something like this is long overdue. I hope your site does some good at WAMC. Please do NOT print my name or email address or identification of me in any way because Alan DOES retaliate against people who cross him no matter how long it takes him to find a way to do it. He has a long memory and knows many people in the New York State legislature and SUNY, and he uses his contacts to hurt people who cross him even in the small things.

    IN THE KNOW
    (Name Withheld By Request)
    Thursday, May 18, 2000

    By Blogger Dan Weaver, at 6:17 AM  

  • Yea, here are the names of the people who saw the incident re Karen Perozzi,

    1. Karen Froio; WAMC bookkeeper
    2. Sharon Lesac; WAMC office assistant
    3. Colleen Sulivan; WAMC National Productions.
    4. Moria Klingerman (spelling may be off) WAMC membership.
    5. Josh Cohen, WAMC office assistant

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:12 AM  

  • It sounds like Chartock is mostly guilty of being stupid.

    Make a dumb, crass joke and be accused of sexual harassment by a disgruntled employeee. That's the reality these days, and everyone knows it.

    You guys have made it sound like he was hitting on this woman, or threatening her or something. All he did was exercise extremely poor judgement.

    This has been blown way out of proportion. Stupid? Yes. A sexual harasser? That's stretching.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:09 AM  

  • Yes, but the point is that he used WAMC funds to pay her not to bring forth a sexual harassment maw suit.

    Also Chartock used WAMC equipment, those employed by the station to further his own SUNY career, why should those who support WAMC have to support that too, does Chartock not have enough already.

    Ever consider this may be a reason WAMC always needs money, forget about all the underwriting. Give that station money and you are only helping Chartock to build his private empire, however this house of cards is on it't way down.

    By Anonymous Suzey Cream Cheese, at 2:07 PM  

  • Or you could look at this situation and say that the organization paid out a severance package to get rid of a problem employee. Companies do it all the time ---just as unhappy workers look for reasons to sue you on flimsy sexual harassment charges. What do you think it costs to pay a lawyer to defend you against something like that?

    Oh, boo-hoo...Alan Chartock hurt my feelings. He mad a stupid joke and I can't function at my job...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:31 AM  

  • That is another way to look at it, I don't agree that it was an isolated incident thou...

    Let me ask, what do you think of Chartock using WAMC vehicles and employees to drive him back and forth so he could teach at his SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Albany teaching jobs?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:49 PM  

  • Also, what think you of WAMC's not declaring to IRS the annual value of Alan's numerous 'perks' -- his taxable fringe benefits from the station? (And don't tell me that everyone who works for charities gets away with this kind of stealing.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:43 AM  

  • Well that is all is the process of being reported to multiple watchdog agencies, even Eliot Spitzer might get into the act.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:13 AM  

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