Boston Solutions Incorporated
Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac
“I ran a campaign based on the promise that I would eliminate corruption in government,” Richard O’Toole said. He was a handsome man. The slight smattering of gray hair at his temples gave him a distinguished appearance. Not a single hair was out of place. He wore a nice tailored suit that spoke of money. His shoes were polished to a bright shine.
“I read about your campaign,” Magus replied. “I was less than overwhelmed by your promises.”
Richard ignored the snide comment about his campaign promises. He said, “The problem is that the corruption is so wide-spread that I can’t keep my campaign promise.”
Magus looked at the man incredulously and said, “Don’t tell me you were surprised to discover that.”
“I knew there was a lot of corruption, but I didn’t realize how bad it was. I swear that everyone in my government is on the take.”
“You don’t belong in politics,” Magus said shaking his head.
Irritated, Richard asked, “Why do you say that?”
“You’re too naïve,” Magus answered.
“You might think I’m naïve, but I’m going to do what I promised. I believe that I’m exactly what my community needs — an honest man who will eliminate corruption just by being an honest man,” Richard said.
Magus was disgusted. Again the man had fallen back onto empty words without a plan to back them up. He said, “Now that is load of bullshit piled higher and deeper if I’ve ever heard it.”
“I’m sorry that you feel that way,” Richard said. “I came here for you to tell me how to clean up my town.”
Magus opened an envelope and started dropping business cards in it. He paused in thought for a second and then pulled out a sheet of paper from a drawer. He shoved it into the envelope with a smile. Sliding the package across the desk, he said, “Here it is.”
“What is it?” Richard asked.
“That is your solution,” Magus answered. He looked Richard in the eye and asked, “Do you have the balls to do what is necessary to get rid of the corruption?”
Confident, Richard answered, “Yes.”
“Even if your family comes under attack?” Magus asked.
“It wouldn’t come to that,” Richard said faltering a little in his convictions.
Magus snorted in disgust. He said, “It will come to that. It will start with a little comment from someone who works close to you about how they heard that gangs have started hanging around St. John’s School. A little later in the same conversation they’ll mention that your kids go to school there while acting all surprised that they remembered that little fact. They will change the subject for a minute or two and then casually mention that if the kids were killed by a gang that odds were good that they’d never catch the ones who did it.”
“I’d add patrol cars to the area,” Richard said full of confidence. He could easily imagine such a conversation taking place.
“No. You’d ask the police chief to add patrol cars to the area. He’d tell you that he’s got a budget crunch and can’t pull the cars out of higher crime areas,” Magus said.
“I would agree to expand his budget,” Richard said a little less certainly.
“So you’d add a bit more money to the budget to be skimmed off by the very crooks you are trying to eliminate. I’m sure that some folks would view that as a payoff. If you step over the line the least bit, you’ve just landed with both feet on a slippery slope. Next thing you know, you’ll have the city building maintenance crew out at your house installing new storm windows,” Magus said.
“Okay. Rather than expanding his budget I would hire bodyguards to protect the kids,” Richard said hopefully.
“That will look real good in the newspaper. Having bodyguards hired by the mayor to protect his children at one of the most expensive private schools in the state would make the front page of the newspaper. I’m sure that the voters will be thrilled about that.”
“So what do you suggest?” Richard asked getting angry. He could imagine the political backwash that such a story would create.
Magus said, “I suggest that you do what is specified in that envelope. You will follow the directions step by step regardless of how much it costs you politically. You will call the names on the cards that I have given you. You will pay them the money that they ask and then get out of their way so that they can do their jobs. When they talk to you, you will listen to them.”
“What are telling me to do?”
Magus answered, “I am telling how to evolve the situation to a point where you can hire someone like J. Edgar Hoover. You’ll need someone who is willing to dig up every skeleton and use that information to clean out the closets. Once you’ve got him, stay out of his way and never ever sin again because he’ll turn on you faster than you can whistle Dixie.”
“Hoover wasn’t exactly a nice guy. That sounds ... I don’t know ... kind of dirty,” Richard said.
“Dirty? No. Nasty? Yes,” Magus said. “That’s just the beginning.”
“It is?” Richard said. He wasn’t pleased with the beginning and could only imagine how much worse it would get.
“Next we’ve got to get someone like Buford Hayes Pusser to be Hoover’s deputy,” Magus said.
“Who?” Richard asked.
“He was a famous Sheriff in the late 1960s. He carried a big stick and wasn’t afraid to use it. He busted a few heads, but he took down a vicious vice and gambling ring that was destroying his county,” Magus said.
“Uh, that sounds kind of violent. This is Massachusetts, not the wild west,” Richard said.
“You start cutting crooks out of million dollar scams and they’ll get violent real quick. People will die. The question is whether it will be innocent people or crooks. When the bullets start flying, you need someone who can and will walk into a nest of rattlesnakes and come out with a bunch belts,” Magus said.
“This sounds like police brutality,” Richard said horrified by the idea of police violence.
“It isn’t a matter of brutality; it is a matter of ruthlessness,” Magus said. “You are dealing with corrupt people who will escalate the violence beyond your ability to imagine.”
“I don’t know,” Richard said. It had been so easy to say that he was going to clean up government during the campaign. Now that he was beginning to get an idea of what was involved, he wasn’t sure that he was willing to do it.
“Look. You aren’t dealing with just a corrupt person or two. You are dealing with a culture of corruption. You have to destroy that culture and replace it with one that demands integrity. That’s not easy to do. You’re going to have to remove a hundred people almost all at once. Otherwise you end up replacing one crook with another in a process that never ends,” Magus said.
Richard asked, “How can I know this plan of yours will work?”
“History,” Magus said. “The experiences of the past let us know what works and what doesn’t.”
“I’d like to try something a little less drastic and violent,” Richard said.
“Your predecessor went about cleaning up corruption the same way that you are going about it. He managed to get rid of two guys who were immediately replaced by individuals just as corrupt. We know that your way won’t work.”
“Well,” Richard said. “That just shows my way doesn’t work. It doesn’t mean that your way will work.”
“There are a lot of examples where a strong lawman came in and successfully cleaned house because he wasn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty. They also did it without breaking the law. Those are the examples you have to follow,” Magus said.
“Still, I just don’t like the idea of it,” Richard said shifting in his seat uncomfortably.
“A police department has two major branches: criminal investigation and law enforcement. You need a guy that will investigate the hell out of the criminals and you need a guy that will enforce the law,” Magus said. Looking at Richard, he said, “Anything less than that will not work.”
“What about afterwards? Won’t I be stuck with two wild cannons?”