A Tale of Three Brothers

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

For years, Sue sold people on the concept that she was intimately

connected with mobsters, the CIA and the FBI. Later, while researching

an article for the Village Voice, she would add the Russian Mafia to

this list.

 

Although later, she would sing Rob Hardin's praising in admiring his

high IQ and bemoaning how hers did not compete with her, Sue nearly

constantly told people how she was being recruited by the FBI because of

her remarkably high IQ.

 

Yet for all her fantasies and her wandering through the underworld, Sue

did not come close to making significant connections with men of power

until she arrived in Nutley, and began to uncover the remarkable story

of three brothers and their quest to build an empire built on sewage,

trash collection and water resources.

 

Frank, Carmine and Carl all grew up in the same part of town where Sue

settled in 1990, the sons of a woman who sold fruit from a roadside

stand along Washington Avenue at a time when New Jersey was still

considered a truly garden state. All three brothers seemed driven by the

need to make themselves important after years of being looked down upon

by those in the better side of town.

 

Of the three, Carl was the most successful, and the most respected, a

man who made few enemies, yet as a commissioner on several water

authorities and eventually a state senator, managed to reshape the

future of the Meadowlands area, guaranteeing development and housing for

nearly two decades.

 

I met Carl briefly during my short term as a stringer for the Paterson

News. He was a professional man, someone who built empires out of

knowing and talking with people, not just in New Jersey, but in

Washington DC But in every aspect, he proved an admirable political

animal, one who outshone bother his brothers, Frank and Carmine, though

in many cases, gave credit to both of them.

 

Before his death in the 1980s, Carl became a mover and shaker in the

Republican party, but one who kept out of the limelight, not because he

had anything to hide, but because he believed he could best shape policy

out of the glare of media attention.

 

In many respects, he was everything new immigrants could aspire, too, a

picture perfect image of the modern businessman. Even his opponents

admit his abilities, and were wary of him in a way they are not wary of

either of his brothers, though Carmine struggled hardest to achieve a

similar distinct. But Carmine, despite attaining an equally impressive

tract record as money man for the National Republican Party, lacked the

remarkable integrity Carl had.

 

I'm not sure how many of his brother's shortcomings Carl knew about, or

overlooked, or maybe helped to hide. Did Carl sanction Carmine's boat

ride picnic to which no women were invited? Did he approve of the nearly

constant social agenda Frank kept among pretty young women?

 

Carl and Frank served on the Wanaque Water Board during the mid 1980s,

which formed the foundation of the family's state-wide power base, just

as Carmine would later influence other inter-municipal groups such as

the Suburban Essex Joint Insurance Fund during the 1990s. While Carl

guided the other commissioners through the ins and outs of the water

industry, Frank Pontificated, often leading commissioners into

self-congratulatory hours-long rap sessions, while Carl dealt with the

professionals, formulated resolutions, negotiated contracts. Frank, in

fact, talked and talked and talked, while Carl talked very little --

except to congratulate his brother and the other commissioners for their

doing what he told them to do.

 

All three brothers apparently shared the belief, that if they were

careful, they could corn the Northern New Jersey market for trash,

sewage and water. While Frank ranted about grand schemes, Carl

communicated with various state agencies, made important connections

with groups such as the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission,

and slow shaped their empire. He was intelligent and calculating, took

each step with great care, nevtrash, sewage and water. While Frank

ranted about grand schemes, Carl communicated with various state

agencies, made important connections with groups such as the Hackensack

Meadowlands Development Commission, and slow shaped their empire. He was

intelligent and calculating, took each step with great care, never

making his moves look too obvious, never taking on more than he was sure

he could do. He preached to his brothers about the benefits of

complicated systems, water boards, sewage authorities, maybe even joint

insurance groups, each of which had more than one input of cash. He

developed or involved himself in joint

 

In many respects, Carmine learned the lesson better than his brother,

and like Carl, reached beyond the boundaries of the state. Unlike Carl,

Carmine envisioned power for its own sake, not so much for the benefit

of the people. For years, Carl held Carmine's ambitions in check, but

did not hamper Carmine's networking. Like Carl, Carmine avoided the

limelight, doing his elder brother one better by holding no elected

office at all. While Carmine developed important federal connections ---

especially in the Republican party, he appeared on no ballot, and his

power base remained nearly invisible to the public eye.

 

For a time after Carl's unfortunate death from cancer, Carmine's

supporters and opponents thought he would take on a more visible

national role, either as a major fund-raiser for the Republican party or

as an elective official. This, however, ran counter to his basis nature.

Unlike his brother Frank , Carmine had no need to public accolades.

While he was recognized by many in the Republican party as an

influential man and an important source of financing, he had to come

back to New Jersey and settle for a quieter role here, partly to keep

taps on his rather reckless and exuberant brother, Frank, who had

learned little from Carl's patient lessons on self control.

 

Oddly enough, it wasn't Carmine but Frank who had the CIA connection,

one that nearly confirmed every myth Sue ever created, and would have

fed into her paranoia had she known. In fact, Frank built himself a very

powerful media empire out of Nutley itself, setting up television

studios that broadcast around the nation via Time Warner cable TV. Frank

also managed to incorporate other, odder aspects to his information

empire, from a private detective agency for the more usual kinds of

investigation to a school of psychics who would seek information through

other-than-normal means. If fact, after Sue's vanishing, Frank would

make use of this school to help confirm that Sue was dead -- despite

contradictory testimony from nationally-know psychic Dorothy Allison,

and eye witnesses who saw Sue wandering the streets of Newark.

 

Sue met Frank through his role as publisher of the Nutley Sun, and

inadvertently stumbled into the middle of CIA connections she only

dreamed about in college. Because Frank's best friend for years was one

of the most notorious directors in the history of the Central

Intelligence Agency, William Casey.

 

Casey is a conspiracy theorists dream, a figure so tied into arms sales,

drug shipments, secret negotiations as well as political assassinations,

that anyone associated with him is immediately suspect, and the closer

the person the more likely is the involvement with illegal and immoral

activities. Under Casey's reign, secret arms were sold to the contras

from a money deal with Iran. This funded by Cocaine deals -- the drugs

of which eventually won up on the streets of the United States.

 

Just how much Frank knew of these dealings is anyone's guess. But if Sue

knew of the friendship, she would have believed the worst, little

realizing how incompetent Frank was to pull off such schemes. While s

worst, little realizing how incompetent Frank was to pull off such

schemes. While some evidence exists to connect Frank with some local tax

schemes, his information empire lacked a firm enough-base t

 

While, Carmine did build his empire, setting himself and his brother up

with seats on various commissions, from the Passaic Valley Water or

Sewage Authority to shadow positions on Hackensack Meadowlands

Development Commission-- both of which oversaw vast amounts of cash and

controlled vast amounts of future development -- Carmine grew in

importance as a money man for the Republican party, someone the national

organization could count on to come up with capital in a pinch. In many

ways, Carmine was more powerful than governors or senators, and his

lowly posts very much disguised the kind of power he possessed.

 

The only man who felt strong enough to speak out against these brothers,

was the former Mayor of Paterson, and state senator, Frank X. Graves,

who would call up reporters from my paper and others the moment he

suspected these brothers of a power play. While Graves respected Carl,

he told me once he thought the other brothers posed a serious danger for

residents of New Jersey. non-elected powerbrokers who could shape

people's lives without voters having a voice, controlling sewage, water,

trash and even how land around places like the Meadowlands get

developed. Graves disliked and distrusted these brothers and his open

opposition often created difficulties for the revival of Paterson --

since they had power to thwart Graves initiatives in Trenton.

 

After Carl's death, the two brothers seemed to fall into their

respective niches, lacking the formal authority to keep them in check.

Carmine, now the brains of the family, realized his ambition, moving

from the sleazy southside of town, over the tracks, into a posh upscale

side. Yet for all this, and all the titles Carmine bestowed on his

brother, Frank remained an embarrassment.

 

In fact, Frank was the stereotypical Italian, full of the flash and

vigor of successful old world, and a style many immigrants seek

deliberately seek to shed once they've become Americanized. Yet many of

the elder immigrants loved Frank, mistaking this sense of style for

talent, mistaking his love of decoration for substance. Frank collected

awards and titles like a kid collecting Halloween candy. He was

boisterous, and outspoken, living his life on blood oaths and family

ties, emphasizing the old school of loyalty straight out of the movie

"The Godfather." He was ostentatious, from pinkie rings to public

demonstrations of his rage, and every very fond of pretty women,

flirting constantly and making a point of getting himself as close to

the prettiest woman in a room, scoping out the opposite sex as if he had

built in radar. One old acquaintance said Frank would sniff out a pretty

woman in a football stadium full of men. At meetings, Frank would often

stare down at women reporter's shirts when speaking, and made no effort

to hide his attraction.

 

"If Sue worked for him," one reporter said. "He would have gravitated

towards her, and he's just the kind of man Sue loves to play up to."

 

But more importantly, Sue would have seen in Frank, everything she had

seen in Rob Hardin and the other egotistical men she had admired and

used over the years. She would have batted her eyes, smiled up, and

praised all those aspects of self Frank himself thought admirable. Where

as Sue sang the sirens song of talent and high IQ to Hardin, with Frank,

she would have crooned and cooed and made herself constantly available,

just one more step on a new ladder to success.

 

Sue would later come to regret these connections because they largely

proved false leads. No one in Nutley was interested in helping her get

on with her life. Nobody cared helping her get on with her life. Nobody

cared about some foolish little bimbo dancer except as a convenient stop

over between after work and home. But later, in July 1996, when Sue

vanished mysteriously, amid speculations that the Russian Mafia and mob

figures were stalking her, many of those people she connected with her,

grew nervous. Many saw her tales of stalking (some of which went back as

far as high school) a

 

These Nutley connections would not sit still and let anyone take Sue's

vanishing seriously. So when she disappeared, these connections tried to

ignore Sue, and when the media refused to allow Sue to vanish without

some form of investigation, these connections then moved to discredit

Sue, making sure the area's newspapers made her out as a deluded slut.

And when this also failed, someone connected to his little circus, may

even have wished Sue dead.

 

But then, no one really asked why Sue would want to vanish in the first

place, and that part of her story didn't happen only in Nutley, but in

the newsroom of several New York City weekly newspapers: Screw Magazine

and the Village Voice.

 

Back into the Underworld

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------

 


Sue Walsh story: 1998 menu

Spielberg menu

Main Menu


email to Al Sullivan