Monday, February 26, 2007

139 count indictment for spending OPM


It's a bizarre account of the adventures of a millionaire pol whose over-the-top greed makes recently convicted ex-congressmen Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney seem like penny-ante pikers. If this indictment is accurate, Vincent J. Fumo is a man driven by a compulsion to get somebody else to pay for everything his heart desires, including the aforementioned tiki torches, gourmet paint, vacuum cleaners and bobblehead dolls.

"Fumo stated to a close confidant his philosophy that a person is best advised to spend 'other people's money,' " the indictment states. "Fumo often referred to this goal by the acronym 'OPM.' "

But don't get the impression that Fumo was completely selfish. That would be wrong. The man had a big heart, and consequently he allegedly used $50,000 of other people's money to provide the good citizens of Bristol, Pa., with a statue of a heroic war dog.

By all accounts, Vincent J. Fumo is a man of wealth, taste and charm. A hotshot Philadelphia lawyer and director of a bank founded by his grandfather, he is the proprietor of four homes -- a 33-room mansion in Philadelphia, a 100-acre Pennsylvania farm, a beach house on the Jersey shore and what the indictment calls "a multi-million dollar oceanfront home" in Florida.

In 1978, Fumo, who is a Democrat, was elected to the state Senate. A skillful pol, he quickly rose to power, becoming head of the Senate Democratic Appropriations Committee, a post that put him in charge of dozens of Senate employees. According to the indictment, he worked them to the bone.