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Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Vini, Vici, Vinnie!

Where There's Smoke, There's Fumo

By Richard Carreno
Is Vincent Fumo, disgraced state senator, community service czar, yachtsman, farmer, marksman, jealous lover, and hardware and vacuum cleaner collector extraordinaire, guilty of corruption, influence peddling, improper use of government money, and vainglory? Yeah, and he probably breathes fire, too.

There's little doubt Vince Fumo, South Philly wunderkind and now a defendant in Federal Court on the above charges, will likely be found guilty -- of something.

What he will never be found guilt of is poor constituency service. That's why I hope my pal Vince gets off lightly. And that's why I'm pleased that I had the chance this morning to wish him good fortune in person.

It goes like this: A few years ago, I ran into what, at the time, seemed to be an insurmountable roadblock from a Harrisburg bureaucracy. I was at wit's end, and I turned to Vince for help. What had previously involved months of hardship was resolved in less than 24 hours.

There was nothing exceptional, in this case, about Vince's constituency service. There was nothing exceptional really about my case: a small matter for him; big for me. And, naturally, I became beholden.

Vince was with his lawyer when I saw him about 9:30 this morning in front of the Federal Courthouse on Market Street. He was hunched over a suitcase-sized briefcase. He wore his standard-issue Burberry mac. His face was grim.

'Good luck, Vince,' I said as I passed him. 'And thank you,' I whispered under my breath.