“Carlo says this all the time to developers:
“’ You need to show me incentive for this project to fly,’” the Blue Suit recalled. “Not all developers take his bait. I know one that he’s hooked without Carlo having to be a fisherman.“
– The Mayor’s Blue Suit talking with Josh Resnek
By JOSH RESNEK
The Blue Suit and I sipped on Brazilian coffee and ate delicious pastries at Common Ground in the Pioneer apartment building on the Parkway. It was Monday afternoon, about 2:30 p.m. We sat at a table for two off to the side where no one could see us.
A steady stream of customers came and went as we talked.
“You know that article you wrote recently about a proposed 21 story apartment building with a penthouse level bar and restaurant on Spring Street?” the Blue Suit asked me.
“If it is approved – permitted, that is – Carlo makes out like a bandit.”
“How do you figure?” I shot back to the Blue Suit.
“Come on, Josh. You’re supposed to be smart. I can give you $1 million worth of reasons that Carlo will make certain the site is permitted.”
“You mean to say he will be paid to make sure the permitting takes place?” I asked.
“Yes,” the Blue Suit replied. “He won’t want to act too fast and make it look easy, that would cut down on his bouquet.”
“Is he getting a floral display or flowers if the site is permitted?” I joked.
‘What is this bouquet you are talking about?” I asked.
The Blue Suit laughed. He answered.
“Bouquet is the term gangsters used in Chelsea back when. The “bouquet” was most often a bag of cash, US green, c-notes, Ben Franklin’s if you will. Anything else would be terribly disappointing for a favor done.”
“So, let me get this straight again. You say that Carlo will get paid for his help in permitting the site for the 21 story building on Spring Street. That means Carlo will guide the project from beginning to end and hand his buddy a fully permitted site. Yes?”
“Yes,” said the Blue Suit.
“Why?” I asked.
“Why, what, Josh? What don’t you get?”
“Can’t the project be approved on its own merit? What is Carlo being paid for to do?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“He runs interference for the developers. He tells the various boards what to do and what not to do. He personally manages getting affirmative votes from all the committees and the Building Department. He might as well be a broker working for a commission except as mayor I don’t think he’s allowed to do that.”
“Oh really?” I said whimsically to the Blue Suit. “Didn’t the mayor collect a commission for getting Steve Wynn the land the Encore Casino and Hotel are built on? Isn’t that what the FBI alluded to? And wasn’t it included as part of a Federal lawsuit – pointing directly at Carlo as having charged and received a commission?”
We high-fived one another. We smiled. We laughed. We were frankly in awe.
“Yes, and yes. Carlo does this all the time. He has become a master at it. I know, I’ve been around him a long time,” the Blue Suit said.
The Blue Suit has taken to smoking Newport cigarettes. He smoked Marlboros for years until he read that smoking Marlboros could cause him to go sterile. “That’s when I switched,” the Blue Suit told me.
I asked him to put out his cigarette. I hate cigarettes. He put it out. We walked outside the Pioneer. We talked about the $1 million commission the mayor might be receiving for shepherding the Spring Street project to a successful, seamless conclusion fully permitted.
“How is Carlo given the $1 million?” I asked. I really wondered about that. How do you accept $1 million on a city project that you should be receiving a dime for?
“Oh, that’s easy, Josh,” the Blue Suit gushed. “Do you think they cut a check with his name on it and hand it to him and then he takes it to the bank and deposits the check?”
“Wrong. That isn’t what happens at all,” he pointed out. “Then how is it done, with cash?” I asked.
“Yes, Josh. $1 million in cash isn’t delivered in a paper bag. If cash is the payment method, then that would come in monthly increments, say $90,000 a month for twelve months. That’s possible to do. But Carlo wouldn’t put that kind of dough into his bank account. He’d have to hide it here or maybe in Aruba.”
The Blue Suit lit another Newport.
“There is always the chance that Carlo gets paid in Aruba with chips he can use at the local casino. It is nothing during the height of the season for gamblers to cash in $100,000 worth of chips. It is a great way to launder money.”
“How do you know this?” I asked the Blue Suit.
“I’ve been around Carlo a long, long time. I know all his tricks,” he added.
“Do you think he can get away with Spring Street?”
“Oh yeah. Definitely. Absolutely. He needs that bouquet but then, we all need bouquets, don’t we?”
“You got that straight, Josh.”
“Bouquets are beautiful. Carlo loves bouquets. Take it from me,” the Blue Suit finished.