Good Morning Ted and Jody:
I ran across a post comparing various regions of the country to inclement weather. I do no know from whence it cometh. It drives home the relative importance of regular events and infrastructure for little things like snowflakes. I suppose it is all a matter of cost. If the events are regular it is worth the cost for burying water pipes properly, having lots of snow removal equipment and stock piles of stuff (salt and sand) to put on the roads when they become skating rinks. This morning the Portland local news was expanded in time to cover the roads that have been, involuntarily, converted to ice rinks. While we have not yet enjoyed the change in weather (what they are calling the ice storm is still to the south of us) we do anticipate the experience later in the day. So far, we have only seen the temperature approach freezing from below. One more degree and we will be in a warmer climate.
From the attached, I am probably more astounded at the local reaction to borderline winter weather from a Michigan perspective that I developed over the quarter of a century I lived there. Nancy has regular reports on the weather in Flushing, Boyne Mountain and over near Kalamazoo since she has relatives living in those places (and generally wants to feel that she made the right decision in moving out here). So, we are well aware of the real winter you are experiencing while reading about our pathetic semblance of the same.
Nancy continues to progress. I am attaching the next installment in the Amanda Saga.
I do trust this finds you in good health and warm.
Warmest regards, Ed
032 Technical Section Room 17
Fiction in 1389 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
When Jeremy Eastman opened the door to Room 17 in the technical section, he thought he had walked into a disorganized museum dedicated to paper. There was paper taped, thumbtacked or pinned to walls and draped over everything and anything that would allow for a foot or two of exposed print, bound ledgers, hand written loose sheets, or printer generated texts and columns of numbers to be read hanging on chair backs, long necked lamps and even broomsticks spanning the space between desks.
Over and around the ubiquitous paper and between moveable bulletin boards with paper tacked and taped to them Jeremy Eastman noticed red threads pinned to paper connecting one piece of paper with another on another surface or another draped over a broom stick. A voice penetrated his awareness “Mr. Eastman, over here.”
Jeremy Eastman looked around and saw, off in a far corner lit by a computer screen, Detective Philipson waving at him.
Jeremy looked around for a path though the paper and Detective Philipson called out. “Go back to the door and take the perimeter around to get to us. Mind the threads.”
It took a while, but Jeremy Eastman finally got to where Detective Philipson, his partner and a petite woman with the most incredible blue eyes were standing. Jeremy Eastman stuck his hand out to the woman and said, “Hi, I’m Jeremy Eastman.”
The woman smiled. Here smile made her eyes even more striking and she said, “I’m Technical Officer Renee O’Brian; and, I am old enough to be your mother.”
Jeremy Eastman blushed. “Sorry Mam. But you have the most beautiful eyes.”
Technical Officer O’Brian smiled and said “Thank you.” She paused for a moment. “The red threads connect transactions in the late Judge Belemany’s many financial accounts. The yellow flags, indicate what we think is new money coming in from the outside. Income, if you will.”
Jeremy Eastman looked around. He could see the yellow flags increasing as the paper got farther and farther away from him. He said in a very quiet voice. “And to think I have one credit card a checking account and an online account with a virtual bank.” He maintained silence as he kept moving his eyes from one surface to another. Then he said with a tone of awe. “These are all Judge Belemany’s accounts?”
Technical Officer O’Brian chuckled. “These are what we know from the paper records he kept in his offices. Either the SEC and Attorney General’s Office has the electronic records fom all institutions where the late Judge had accounts. They preempted us. But, they did not seem interested in his paper records except for the thick binder with paper falling apart.”
Jeremy Eastman asked. “What was in that binder that was of interest to the SEC or Attorney General?”
“Stock prices at various dates in the past and future.” Replied Technical Officer O’Brian.
“So, the late judge made a note of stock prices in the future and came back to make a profit by knowing what the market was going to do.” Said Jeremy.
Technical Officer O’Brian turned to Detective Batan and said, “We work for four days to figure that out and this kid walks in here and sums it all up after we tell him the red threads connect transactions and the yellow flags we think are income sources. Where was this kid when we needed him?”
Detective Batan laughed out loud. “This kid went back 20 years just yesterday. He is a seasoned time traveler.” He winked at Jeremy Eastman and turned conspiratorially to Technical Officer O’Brian, “and we think he has a touch of larceny in his soul.”
Technical Officer O’Brian smiled and asked “Are you sure it is larceny and not lechery?” She then pointed to the other side of the room. “That is Ms. Gunderson. I’ll show her the way over.” With that, Technical Officer O’Brian left the three men and followed a circuitous path through the room.
When the two women returned to where the men were standing by the computer, Edith Gunderson said “Janice here tells me that you put some moves on her Mr. Eastman.”
Jeremy Eastman again blushed.
Detective Batan interceded for the red faced young man. “In the country my parents came from they would not only make Technical Officer O’Brian wear a burka, but make her wear dark glasses too.”
Jeremy Eastman jumped in. “That would be criminal.”
Edith Gunderson recovered first. “So, this is a map of Judge Belemany’s ill-gotten gains.” Then she turned to Jeremy Eastman, “Have you told them what little we found.”
“Actually, I just got here before you did.” Said Jeremy Eastman.
Technical Officer O’Brian asked. “OK, what do you have that will complicate or solve this?” As she swept her arm to encompass the entire room.
“Some names and dates.” Said Edith Gunderson handing to list to everyone but Jeremy Eastman, “You still have yours?”
“Yes Mam.” Replied Jeremy.
“OK, does any name or date on this list of foster children correspond to anything in this wealth map of Judge Belemany’s holdings?” As she swept her arm to encompasses the room?
Technical Officer O’Brian smiled at Edith Gunderson and said, “Sill looking for instant answers, Edith?”
Jeremy Eastman asked “Say, do you two know each other?”
Edith Gunderson said laughingly, “Yes, women of our age were so rare in the day we had to know each other for support in this man’s world of law. In the old days, we had to use this kind of analysis,” she said pointing around the room. “Renee here was the best as this kind of analysis. After we got the State to require electronic data filing for prospective adoptive parents, we no longer had to do this to find out if they could afford to be parents.” Then she looked at the two detectives and Renee O’Brian and asked, “Any names or dates ring a bell.”
“Just Amanda White. But the date is about three years off the one I recall.” Said, Technical Officer O’Brian.
Edith Gunderson swung her right index finger around the room “Is Amanda White here in his financial empire?”
“No,” replied Technical Officer O’Brian. “It was the first patent in the binder we had until the SEC came and took it away with the stock prices and dates.”
“So, Technical Officer O’Brian, What does your financial analysis tell us?” Asked Detective Batan.
“Only that the late Judge left a very sizeable estate; one well over a billion dollars. And it is ninety percent in cash, equities and bonds. With a few real properties and one hell of a stamp collection.”
Detective Batan asked “Where did the late Judge get the money to amass billions in assets? Surely not on a Judge’s salary.”
“I do know it all started about 30 years ago. He made some small equity purchases that paid off handsomely when he sold, then he reinvested. However, 10 years ago, he started to make equity buys that were not reinvestments. Those are the yellow flags. You will notice from the increase in flags as you get farther across the room that his ‘unexplained’ income for those purchases increase over time. I don’t know the source of those funds yet. I’ll bet the SEC or Attorney General’s Inside Trader Squad could tell me.” She grew silent for a moment and then added. “On balance, he acted like a conservative trader who always knew what the market was going to do. Every one of his purchases resulted in a gain. Indeed, the least profitable one resulted in his tripling the money he invested in it in 15 months.” Said Technical Officer O’Brian.
Detective Batan said, “My partner and I took photos of the paper before the Federal and State guys took them away.” He pulled a thumb drive out of her coat pocket. “Here is a copy.”
He handed the copy to Technical Officer O’Brian who, mouth agape, immediately plugged it into her computer. “All jpg files.” Technical Officer O’Brian said. Sitting down to hear keyboard and mouse she clicked the mouse over an icon and said, “give me some time to get this in to usable form.” And with that Technical Officer O’Brian was in her own world.
The two detectives, caseworker and journalism student left Technical Section Room 17 quietly.