Archive for the ‘Reputation’ Category

Service of Appearances Matter But Pick Your Battles Carefully When Contesting Questionable Choices

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

Glasgow Prestwick Airport

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings picked an example that, at first blush, looked like the Trump organization was yet again driving–and profiting from–government business at one of its properties while the head of the family ran the country. Digging deeper, while the situation doesn’t look right, the severity of the malfeasance is feeble at best.

Brigadier General Edward Thomas spoke with Lalita Clozel and Joshua Jamerson for their Wall Street Journal article “Air Force Reviews Travel Policies Amid Scrutiny Over Trump Resort –Aircrew’s March stay at Scotland resort followed guidelines, Air Force says; House Democrats probe the expenditures.”

Brigadier General Edward Thomas. Photo:

The general didn’t address the issue of the property’s owner. He said “U.S. Service members lodging at resort accommodations, even if within government rates, might be allowable but not advisable.”

The general added: “We are not only stewards of American tax dollars but we represent our nation as we travel abroad.”

The fact is that the crew spent $30 less than the maximum hotel per diem allowed at the Trump Turnberry golf resort which is some 40 minutes from Glasgow Prestwick Airport. In addition, the reporters wrote that it was the cheapest option.

According to Clozel and Jamerson the president tweeted: “I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!). NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.”

The reporters continued: “The C-17 plane and its crew were on a multi-leg journey that took them from Anchorage, Alaska, to Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, to Portsmouth, N.H., Glasgow and Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait and then back.”

Prestwick was selected as a refueling location in August 2016, months before Trump was elected, because it has better weather than Shannon, Ireland, is open 24 hours and doesn’t attract a lot of air traffic.

“Since October 2017, the U.S. military has paid the airport hundreds of times for fuel purchases totaling $11 million Cummings said. The U.S. government has also made tens of thousands of dollars in purchases at the Turnberry resort in 2018 and 2019, according to procurement records.

“Both the Scottish government-owned airport and the Turnberry resort have lost money in recent years, Mr. Cummings said in his letter.”

Since no laws or regulations have been broken and the crew spent well under the per diem hotel ceiling, should Representative Cummings look for a better example of the enrichment of the Trump empire while the company’s namesake is in office? Should the Air Force forbid crews from staying at any resort for appearance’s sake? Should there be a regulation prohibiting any government employee from staying at a property owned by a president, cabinet member, senator or congress man or woman?

Boeing C-17 Photo:

Service of Judgment and Reputation: Flaunting the Rules

Thursday, July 14th, 2016


Some must feel immune to scrutiny or enjoy taking tremendous risks–even though they make a living based on equal parts image and talent and are or were top of their games. Ethics aside, they are willing to jeopardize everything for the short term and even stir the hornet’s nest.

It’s In the Bag

In “Flap over Jacobs purse in THR star’s exit,” New York Post reporter Keith J. Kelly wrote “One $750 handbag from Marc Jacobs may have hastened the exit of well-known fashion writer Merle Ginsberg from The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year.” The writer denied claims by former colleagues that she’d received other “expensive fashion items over the years.”

JudgmentAccording to Kelly, Ginsberg boasted about the handbag on Instagram. It “arrived the same day THR ran a favorable story she penned on Marc Jacobs,” wrote Kelly. “Ginsberg acknowledges the Marc Jacobs gift, but insists there was no quid pro quo in her coverage.”

The magazine’s policy for staff is that they not accept gifts worth over $200. Wrote Kelly, “Ginsberg said, ‘It’s pretty normal standard operating procedure in fashion and beauty — gift bags, etc. — and yet other editors outside of fashion raised eyebrows over that.’”

I’ve not worked in this area and don’t know Ms. Ginsberg, but can attest that there were editors in industries I cover who put the squeeze for freebies on clients/manufacturers and they were known by their colleagues and the PR practitioners in their field. Those who won’t accept a crumb or cup of coffee are also known.

How Are the Grandkids?

So your wife is running for President. One of her previous decisions—she had installed and used a private server for government business when she had a top secret clearance and handled top secret info—is under scrutiny. You see the attorney general at the Phoenix airport. Any American who has served on a jury—or has watched moves such as “The Verdict,” [1982]–knows that a juror can’t speak with a lawyer, plaintiff, or defendant during the trial: No wave, no smile, no thumbs up or down, no “hi.”  Maybe so—but you’re safe, you’re not a juror.

No rulesYou take advantage of the coincidental meeting to chat about the grandkids for 20 minutes alone with the director of the department that is examining your wife’s potential culpability. She’s an old friend. For that reason she’d understand why this wasn’t the best time to share the brilliant things an almost two year old and infant had done. Chatting isn’t illegal. What’s the big deal?

If you’re going to break the company policy by $550, why blab about it? If you’ve done it once and claim you’ve not done it before, will people believe you? If all you’re going to do is update an old friend about the family, why not wave and promise to send an email or text with a photo of the kids? Why add fuel of uncertainty to the fire of “the rules are not for us,” that exists and potentially cripple a spouse running for office?





Service of Reputation

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012


I wrote most of this before the ceiling fell in on Sesame Street’s Kevin Clash, puppet Elmo’s handler. Given the allegation of the sexual abuse of two minors his case had become a distraction and Sesame Street accepted his resignation. Even a hint of such accusations are catastrophic in his business.

jacuse1I question the accusers’ motives because money is so much part of the story. The second one is suing Clash for millions. The first one accepted a settlement in the low six figures to drop charges. Is money or justice what inspired the two to speak up? But I digress. The purpose of this post is not to put Clash or his accusers on trial even though it seems he’s already lost his case.

What happened to Clash proves how fragile a reputation is-especially a high profile one–and how easy it is for someone to ruin it.

On a miniscule scale, I was falsely accused of something in 5th grade and I’ve never forgotten it. My math teacher sent me out of the room for having exclaimed “Oh God!”  I’d said “Oh gosh.” I was mortified both for having been reprimanded in front of my classmates but at that time I’d never punishmenthave said “God” in that context and was shocked that someone thought I had. Looking back, my classmates could have cared less. I bet none remember the incident and my parents, who usually backed the teacher, stood with me on this one.

Even so my experience didn’t affect my reputation nor did it threaten my place at the school or a livelihood.

I wonder how people become the head a company [that neither they nor their family owns], or get promoted in the military or in public service with so many out there either looking to blackmail or jumping to the wrong conclusion or even pointing a finger out of jealousy. Your thoughts?


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