One of the joys and freedoms of being young (at least it was) is choosing a summer job. I had a diversity of these, most not necessarily in “the grand manner” mode. I went to summer camps for several years (Camp Alpine in Parksville, N.Y., a camp that was owned by my dentist who first lived in Sunlite Gardens where I grew up in Brooklyn, and then who lived virtually across the street in Woodmere, L.I., where our families moved when I was almost 14 (1950). If you as a parent could afford it, sending your child/children to summer camp (before air conditioning) was a “thing” to do. It also afforded parents some respite from child care, gave the city-kid a country experience, and gave parents a place to visit for a weekend or two during the summer daze.
“Doc” Halpern combined his dental practice with running this camp with his sister each summer. It was there, in Parksville, NY, that I had this great counselor named Hal Burkan, who had polio that affected his legs. He also had a Studebaker (1947) that was the first one produced with automatic drive. (Funny what one remembers!) I am not sure what Hal did the rest of the year. My fuzzy recollection involves his doing magic for parties and small gigs. Hal was also into photography. I got hooked on working in the dark room, developing the films, using the enlarger to create fascinating images from the photos. I good hooked on the smells of the developers, the timelessness of being in an enclosed dark space with red safety lights, and the magic of images appearing on blank paper.
I fast-forward to a similar sense and experience when I spent about 36 hours straight in a video studio with Raphael Sasson in Manhattan, where we put together a sales video for potential Japanese investors for “Laurel Lake” (aka Mud Lake), a property that I acquired for Larry Rockefeller as a place to relocate property owners: the firemen, policemen, etc. who had hunting cabins in the area where we were assembling property for a project that grew like Topsy.
It all started from an initial intent to protect views from the farm that Larry had recently bought in the Beaverkill Valley of upstate New York. The project then took on a “bear went over the mountain and what do you think he saw? Well, another view that had to be protected. The project then morphed into a selective, environmentally oriented one. [See Chapter ___, pages _____ for more on this development and Larry R.].
A most interesting process that emerged from this project was what I call: “The relocation concept.” This was hatched as a solution to how to get a change in mindset by a resident – mostly NYC firemen, cops, or those who prized getting away from the bustle of the City for the peace of shooting at defenseless animals and being with their fellows around lots of alcoholic drinks. Their “dream” was to own a trailer on a lot next to State Land. Their visits were primarily during hunting season. After preserving mountain views, there then was the concern with driving around in the valleys and being confronted with these trailers and cabins with their less than desirable appearances. So my task was to see about acquiring these properties. The response to my inquiry relating to the owner’s interest in selling the trailer or run-down cabin was something like: “Arthur, this place is my dream; it is where I escape from the City, where I am at peace and can enjoy time with my friends, a few cases of beer, and the pursuit of game in a special place. A million dollars couldn’t get me to sell this place.”
What to do if you wanted to restore that site to its natural state? One answer was to find out when the guy’s wife made her once-a-year visit. I would show up and ask them to “take a ride.” We would then visit a new cabin situated in a special place away from the outlined area of the “Project” or to one of the homes we had purchased and had moved (another challenge with power lines, etc. along a relocation route). I would then take out the key to the house, leave it on the table, and say to the couple: “I’m going to take a short walk and be back in ten minutes. I’ll trade this place for yours. I’d like an answer when I get back.” It often worked and was a satisfying way to achieve our goal while treating the owners in a special way.
Failing a “yes” answer, or if the ride offer was refused, I’d go to “Plan B.” That involved filling the owner in on a plan for the “improvement” of immediate area around his place, and saying that we wanted him and his friends as neighbors and asking if it would be O.K. to add some landscaping to his property. This then would involve planting screening materials, conifers that would basically screen the property from the road that would be traveled by Larry and those who would be new residents of the area.
Regarding the “Mud Lake” property, suffice it to say that Larry ended up saying the property was “too nice” to be included in the relocation idea and it was then incorporated into the development plan. The video that got produced in the “Star Wars” facility over the 36 hours was designed to appeal to potential Japanese purchasers as, at that time, the major buyers of property in the U.S. seemed to be of nationality. The was used as a sales piece for a while, attracting NO Japanese, and then lots were sold by word of mouth to a series of professionals. My wife and I became the first owners in this development. How did that happen?
After major efforts at acquiring hundreds of acres around a small lake and pond adjacent to State land, behind a junk yard bordering one of New York City’s reservoirs (the Pepacton), a cabin was built near the lake as a first effort for a relocation place. I meet Larry R. there to show him the place. We had a short chat and then he sat at the table in the cabin for what seemed an eternity (it was at least two hours or more). Finally, I was offered the cabin in lieu of certain amount of salary. I guess this was a confirmation that, at least at that time, I and my family would “fit in.” Later, a few large lots were sold in this area and homes put on them by “acceptable people.” The balance of the property had roads put in and underground utilities. I had planned a 9 hole golf course. The lots on the bulk of the property remained unsold and that property is now owned by former Governor Weld (of Connecticut). I should mention that my ex-wife Elaine, who had a love affair with our place on the lake, and spent many “retreats” there and who became the sole owner thereof after we agreed to part, remains as the “mayor” of that place and seems to continue in bliss in that house, at that place.
Back to Camp Alpine and Hal: He loved the kids in his bunk, and we loved him. Between camp seasons, we would have “reunions” at the St. George Hotel in Brooklyn Heights where we would go swimming. (This was one of the few places where I ever did anything with my father, finally getting to be tall enough to measure up to the bar that determined if you could be admitted to the pool complex there. I remember to this day the sauna, steam room, and the mirrors over the enormous swimming pool, where there was a great slide into the water, water which was salty – perhaps taken from NY Harbor? Hopefully it got some filtration!). Several decades later, I was to return to an apartment on Hicks Street, in Brooklyn Heights - a block from the hotel. To get to my work at One Chase Manhattan Plaza, 46th floor, where I worked at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, I often walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, one of the great walks on this planet in an urban environment,
I had other early summer jobs. Several summer were spent as an office boy in my father’s law office, running errands and deliveries, working in the library putting in supplements, running the switchboard when Miss McGorry was on break or off (what a gas, plugging in the incoming lines to the holes representing the office to which the caller was asking for, and (shhhhh) sometimes listening in on the calls). My lunches were a big deal as I was out on the streets “on my own.” I would go to either the Horn & Hardart or “eat” at a bar and sandwich place where I could eat all the pickles and sauerkraut I wanted, sometimes without buying a sandwich. I loved the H & H cafeteria, putting nickels and dimes in the slot next to a glassed-in selection that popped open the door allowing one to get out a sandwich, a piece of cake, or whatever looked great through the glass, and usually - after getting to taste it – being disappointed.
Anyway, I did return to Camp Alpine as a waiter during the summer after I graduated from high school, serving mostly the “guests” who were parents visiting their kids (allowed one weekend a month). Here I met Naomi, my first “girlfriend” – she had held herself out as much more senior and sophisticated than I was – certainly true regarding the latter. I could drive then (licensed at 16) and had my own car (graduation present for being first in my class). After camp, we went out some, I visit her brownstone in Brooklyn, and my naiveté certainly put an end to that budding relationship, she going off to Brooklyn College and me to Colgate. I had another camp job as the golf instructor at a girl’s camp in Honesdale, PA, - Camp Geneva. More on that below.
I spent another summer during high school working at Eliot Frank’s father’s company in Manhattan, Purepac Drugs. Eliot was one of the two “friends” I initially had after moving from Brooklyn to this new development in Woodmere. The other friend was Jerry Salinger, whose main effect on my life was to introduce me to Elaine, my second wife and who opened to door for me to Fire Island. I did officiate at Jerry’s wedding on a boat – the “Honey Fizz” which was John F. Kennedy’s boat when President -- somewhere off the shore in the Atlantic.
As an aside, I felt that the way most weddings were and are done could be done better and with more consideration to what the ceremony means and should mean. Basically, the current practice is for the officiant to face the assembled family and friends and then tell the betrothed couple what to say. My weddings had the couple face the invited guests, and say to each other how they feel and what vows they want to take. My job as the officiant was to provide some contextual readings, guide the couple in their interactions, and invite selected members of the invited guests, primarily members of each family to say welcoming words and also have special friends say some special words. I did a number of these weddings (either for friends of mine or to couples who were referred). I loved doing them and pretty much cried at each one. I also enjoyed the parties that followed. My “fee” for the wedding was always a request that the couple (or whoever would be paying the “fee” would make a donation to their favorite charity.
Jerry became a major pen mogul working in Providence, R.I. and died early and untimely from pancreatic cancer. My job at Purepac related to collecting the dimes that were sent in for a sample product, making a list of the people to send them to, etc. The “commute” was by car and the job really boring. But I am attracted to dimes to this day. Eliot, Jerry, and I spent hours and days in the area behind the development where we lived, playing stick ball against an old barn, where there was batter, pitcher, and fielder. As I got into golf, and got into a car I could drive, this activity disappeared. A few other friends appeared in Woodmere Park who went to Lawrence High School but none I got close to.
Colgate Junior Year Summer: Roberto DeVincenzo
I spent the summer after my junior year at Colgate traveling to and from Mexico in my red Ford convertible with Louie Rafkin and Murray Azzaria, friends from my Lawrence High School daze. I attended the Universidad Nacional de Mexico, taking courses in Spanish. What I mostly remember (and did) is lounging around the fabulous swimming pool at the University and, when early afternoon came, going out to the Club de Mexico where I played golf almost every day. Pure bliss. My Father’s “boss,” Jerome Sayles Hess, had arranged for a membership for me at the Club de Mexico. I would have lunch and then, with a caddy, play a round, usually alone. This was the pinnacle of my golfing prowess, where I enjoyed the thin air at seven thousand feet above sea level to crush the golf ball and tone up the rest of my game. The end of the day would usually see us going to “El hoyo diez y nueve” (the 19th hole restaurant) where we would pick out a steak to eat and have it cooked with appropriate side dishes of onion rings and potato.
My claim to fame from a golfing standpoint was that I beat the professional golfer Roberto DeVincenzo in a head to head match. This was arranged by the pro at my club in Mexico. . DeVincenzo was famous for a mis-signing gaff at the 1968 Master’s Tournament (long after we played). Roberto’s playing partner, Tommy Aaron, inadvertently entered a 4 instead of 3 on the scorecard. He did not check the scorecard for the error before signing it, and according to the Rules of Golf the higher score had to stand and be counted. If not for this mistake, DeVincenzo would have tied for first place with Bob Goalby, and the two would have met in an 18-hole playoff the next day. His quote afterwards became legendary for its poignancy: "What a stupid I am!"
There were a number of adventures we had in Mexico, including travelling to Acapulco, suffering three flat tires the same evening, resulting in our persuading a local farmer who we woke up to lend us a burro at 2 AM (and where we found out that a burro could go 22 miles an hour when pulled by a car), getting stranded with a busted radiator hose in the middle of the desert, etc. We also survived a rather severe earthquake, where, in the middle of the night, after a thunderous clap, our beds banged off the walls of the home we were staying in. We fell back asleep, only to be roused by our landlady around 6 in the morning who said my father was on the phone from New York. He had heard about the earthquake and was quite concerned. I assured him we were fine and, on hanging up, looked out the window and saw that the house next to ours had completely collapsed. So much for being sound sleepers! On the trip home we stopped in Las Vegas (just getting started in 1957) where Louie, who clearly was addicted to gambling, refused to leave with us and, as far as I know, stayed indefinitely in Vegas.
Colgate Sophomore Summer: Roy Cohn
The summer after my sophomore year at Colgate, I spent as a lifeguard and car parker at a beach club on the South Shore of Long Island – and the movies about that are accurate – cabanas, spoiled wives and daughters, card-playing husbands and fathers, etc. My claim to fame as a lifeguard was the rescue (with one other) of none other than Roy Cohn of The House Un-American Activities fame. He would stroll the beach front often, going into the water in front of several of the beach clubs. One day the undertow was ferocious and, yup, he got caught and was bobbing up and under the waves.
Fortunately, I wasn’t asleep and on that day I hadn’t posted the temperature at a very low number so we’d keep most of the beach club members out of the water enabling the lifeguard who had a late night before to rest. Anyway, I did notice Mr. Cohn’s perilous plight, blew my whistle quite loudly that summoned help from my neighboring lifeguard at the next beach club, and together we launched the rescue boat and had our floatation gear and I did my first (and only) rescue as I had been taught (dive under, come up from behind, basically immobilize, level, and pull him to ground (or the boat). On the beach, we laid him flat, got him to cough up a gallon of sea water, and up he got . . . and off he went with nary a “thank-you.” You can bet if we had seen him again in trouble, we would have looked the other way.
Although my interaction with Roy Cohn was limited to this one event, his life and contributions (positive and negative) give an interesting look into what was going on at that time in America. It was the actions and activities of lawyers like Roy Cohn and too many others that contributed to what I look at as the “falling off the cliff” by the legal profession from a status of reasonably high esteem and great respect to becoming the butt of the worst (best?) jokes being told. Part of that “fall” may relate to the nature of the litigation process. Another part may relate to the change in the ability of lawyers to advertise. In my whole life, I avoided any direct involvement with the litigation process. There are many other and good ways to resolve problems between and among people and organizations. Mediation is a good one. And, as will be seen from my involvement – again peripherally – with Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. during the summer four years later, it seems that life wanted to (and has) served up to me a variety of encounters with people deemed “successful” in their lives who did walk down paths that had more than a few briars catching them as they meandered.
So who was Roy Cohn and what did he do and should we have let him drown? *
It is my view that the respect and admiration that was the prevailing general view held by the public as regards the legal profession and lawyers that was held in my earlier days and basically was the general view held and the heritage of those in the legal profession until the later part of the twentieth century has gone to hell in a hand basket due to the attitudes and activities of people like Roy Cohn. The evolution that resulted in turning away from professionalism to profitability, from single practitioners and small law firms to the growth of firms with offices all over the planet cannot, of course, be laid at the feet of just a few lawyers. And, yes, we as a society have created very complex laws and situations requiring expertise that did not exist (and was not needed) in past days.
When I worked in the Counsel’s Office for the Rockefeller Family, there were two full time tax lawyers and three of us in the more general practice. I thought having two tax lawyers was perhaps over the top. The top tax rate at that time was 70%, which was down from 77% in 1964, which was down from 91% prior to that. Times do change, as do attitudes of those whose obsession is about making (and keeping) more money. And, yes, we were able to tap into a pool of legal expertise when needed (primarily my old law firm, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy). And, yes, I believe that our focus was on the question that I still recommend that people ask when consulting experts – be they lawyers, accountants, investment advisors, etc. The advice I give is: “Don’t ask CAN I DO THAT?” but rather ask: “HOW CAN I DO THAT/” Then a positive direction is unleashed and the ‘easy’ way out of saying ‘no’ is avoided. Best to have everyone sitting on the same side of the table, and engaged in finding solutions! And, it can even be fun and creative!
When my father was a lawyer and when I was deciding upon whether or not to go to law school, the the legal profession and those who were members of the legal bar were respected and held in esteem. One did not hesitate to divulge his or her status as a lawyer. How times have changed!
In the courtroom, Cohn was agile, cool and impressive. He became closely identified in the public eye with the trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg after conducting what was described as a brilliant direct examination in which David Greenglass identified his sister, Mrs. Rosenberg, as a member of a Soviet spy ring. The Rosenbergs were convicted of conspiring to pass atomic secrets to the Russians and were eventually electrocuted.
In 1950, Irving Saypol, then the United States Attorney, promoted Cohn, making him his confidential assistant. One of Cohn's first duties in Washington was to prepare the indictment of Owen Lattimore on perjury charges. The charges against Mr. Lattimore, a China expert who taught at Johns Hopkins University, stemmed from the rampaging McCarthy subcommittee, which in the early 1950's was branding dozens of Americans -government officials, writers, actors and others - as traitors, Communists or fellow travelers. Senator McCarthy, the subcommittee chairman, called Mr. Lattimore "the top Russian espionage agent in the United States."
By early 1953, Cohn's brand of anti-Communism had won him so much admiration from Senator McCarthy, the Wisconsin Republican who was the chairman of the Senate's Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, that Cohn was named chief counsel to the Subcommittee. This was much to the chagrin of Robert Kennedy, the Democratic minority's counsel, who coveted the job, and this was the beginning of an enmity between the two men that was to last for years.
Roy M. Cohn, was chief counsel to Joseph R. McCarthy's Senate investigations in the 1950's into Communist influence in American life. Cohn’s 38-year career brought him prominence, political influence and personal celebrity but ended in disbarment in New York State. Although Cohn’s immediate cause of death was "cardio-pulmonary arrest," the death certificate also listed two secondary causes of death: "dementia" and "underlying HTLV-3 infections." Near death with what he said was liver cancer, Mr. Cohn was disbarred from the practice of law in New York State. In a unanimous decision, a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court said his conduct in four legal matters was "unethical," "unprofessional" and, in one case, "particularly reprehensible." Cohn denied that there was any substance to the allegations and contended that his disbarment was the result of a smear campaign engineered by his enemies - "a bunch of yo-yos" - because "the establishment bar hates my guts."
Nearly two decades after he had become, almost overnight, a nationally known personality, Cohn predicted that even if he died at age 100, his obituary would be headlined: "Roy Cohn Dead; Was McCarthy Investigations Aide." It was for his work as chief counsel to Senator McCarthy's Communist-hunting subcommittee in the early 1950's, the age of McCarthyism, that he became an often celebrated, often denigrated national figure.
When Cohn left the Washington scene in 1954, he did not become, as some predicted, a has-been. Instead, he returned to New York to practice law and in the process became a political power broker, a friend of the rich and the fashionable, one of the city's most sought-after legal talents and probably a very wealthy man. He won a reputation for loyalty to his friends and clients, and they returned it. Devoted to celebrating his birthday, he gave lavish annual parties, usually at his estate in Greenwich, and his famous friends and clients all came. At the 1983 gathering, for instance, the guest list included such diverse personalities as former Mayor Abraham D. Beame of New York, the former Tammany boss Carmine G. de Sapio, Andy Warhol, Calvin Klein, the Brooklyn Democratic leader Meade H. Esposito, several Federal judges and Richard A. Viguerie, the publisher of the Conservative Digest, who praised his host as "24-carat, one of life's great Americans."
Cohn counted among his friends such people as President Reagan (although a Democrat, Mr. Cohn tended to support Republican Presidents), Norman Mailer, Bianca Jagger, Barbara Walters, Rupert Murdoch, William F. Buckley Jr., William Safire, George Steinbrenner, Estee Lauder, Warren Avis and dozens of politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, at every level, from Cabinet members to county judges. As a lawyer he represented such diverse clients as Donald Trump and Sam Lefrak, the real-estate executives; Francis Cardinal Spellman and Terence Cardinal Cooke and, on occasion, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. He also represented Carmine Galante, who before his death was said by authorities to be Mafia "boss of all bosses," and Tony (Fat Tony) Salerno, also said to be a Mafia chieftain.
"Truth is hardly ever an absolute -there are so many elements," Cohn said after successfully defending Mr. Salerno, who was accused of income-tax violations. He said Mr. Salerno, known as a gambling kingpin, was "technically guilty," but the lawyer said he had won the case because he had shown that Mr. Salerno, unlike most gamblers, had actually declared and paid taxes on most of his income.
Cohn himself was almost constantly in conflict with the Internal Revenue Service, which audited his tax returns more than 20 years in a row. In 1979 alone, the I.R.S. had claims of almost $1 million against him, and there were liens totaling $3.18 million, dating back a quarter century, against any assets he might accumulate. He had many other legal troubles, some of which he seemed to enjoy. He was tried and acquitted three times in Federal court on charges ranging from conspiracy to bribery to fraud. Cohn maintained that he was subjected to these "ordeals" because of "vendettas" arranged by Robert F. Kennedy or by Robert M. Morgenthau, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
That kind of combativeness came naturally to Mr. Cohn, who once said: "My scare value is high. My area is controversy. My tough front is my biggest asset. I don't write polite letters. I don't like to plea-bargain. I like to fight. You might want a nice gentle fight, but once you get in the ring and take a couple of pokes, it gets under your skin. "It's fair to say that in an adversary situation I've got one role - to win for my client. Law is an adversary profession. But within the bounds which are permitted, most lawyers are Caspar Milquetoasts. They don't realize that they are in a fight. To them, a lawsuit is nothing more than going to court, then going out to lunch with your adversary. To me it's serious business."
To assist Senator McCarthy in his much-publicized crusade to "root out Communism in government," Mr. Cohn enlisted the services of his closest friend, his fellow 25-year-old, G. David Schine. Schine was the son of J. Myer Schine, a multimillionaire who owned a string of hotels and movie theaters. Schine, who received no pay, was billed as the subcommittee's consultant on psychological warfare. As they plowed through investigations of the State Department and the Voice of America, relentlessly trying to sniff out Communists or their sympathizers, Cohn, Schine and Senator McCarthy, all bachelors at the time, were themselves the targets of what some called "reverse McCarthyism." There were snickering suggestions that the three men were homosexuals, and attacks such as that by the playwright Lillian Hellman who called them "Bonnie, Bonnie and Clyde."
Years later, Cohn denied that he was "ever gay-inclined" and pointed out that Mr. McCarthy got married and had a son, and that Dave Schine married a former Miss Universe and had a bunch of kids Nevertheless, it was Cohn's intense devotion to Schine at the time they were working for the McCarthy committee that got them both into serious trouble. After Schine was drafted into the Army in November 1953, and Cohn, with Senator McCarthy's aid, was unable to help him win a commission, Cohn in effect declared war on the Army. The Army had already run into trouble with the McCarthy committee, which accused Army Secretary Robert T. Stevens and other officials of trying to conceal evidence of espionage activities that Cohn and his staff were said to have uncovered at Fort Monmouth, N.J.
When Mr. Schine became Private Schine, Cohn was initially able to win many concessions for him from the Army, such as nightly passes while he was in basic training at Fort Dix, N.J., and guarantees that there would be no noxious kitchen duties for his friend and that he was to be treated generally as an important person. Finally, however, Stevens, fed up with Cohn's frequent interference on behalf of Private Schine, released a detailed 34-page report on the Cohn demands. Included in the report was Cohn's threat to "wreck the Army" for not giving Private Schine all the special treatment that had been sought for him by Cohn and Senator McCarthy. Mr. Stevens formally charged McCarthy, Cohn and another subcommittee staff member with seeking by improper means to obtain preferential treatment for Private Schine.
In the resulting televised Army-McCarthy hearings, Cohn and Senator McCarthy were cleared in August 1954 of the Army's charges. But the public had witnessed Senator McCarthy's often irrational behavior in action and the methods of McCarthyism in the raw, and the Senator's popularity quickly began to wane. In December, 1954, Senator McCarthy was formally censured by his colleagues, when the Senate voted to "condemn" him on a number of points, including contempt for a Senate elections subcommittee that had investigated his conduct and financial affairs, and insults to the Senate itself during the censure proceedings. After that rebuke, and with the Democrats back in control following the 1954 elections, McCarthy's influence in the Senate and on the national scene steadily diminished until his death in 1957.
Leaving Washington, Cohn joined the New York law firm that became Saxe, Bacon & Bolan, where he put his family's political power to work, along with his considerable knowledge of the law. Devoting himself almost entirely to his work, he brought into the firm a long list of high-paying clients. So close was he to his job that he even made his New York home in the East Side town house that served as Saxe, Bacon's offices. Through the years, Cohn honed his reputation as a ferociously loyal advocate, one whose courtroom technique was admired even by his detractors. He seemed always on the attack, intimidating prosecutors, flustering witnesses and impressing jurors by seldom referring to notes. He was said to have a photographic memory.
In a variety of trials relating to accusations of a variety of his misconducts, Cohn said his chief persecutor was Robert Kennedy, his fellow staff counsel on the McCarthy committee, who later became Attorney General of the United States. Their mutual hatred had been so intense that at one point during the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954, they got into a hallway push-and-shove match that nearly turned into a fistfight. Cohn also liked to identify as his chief tormentor Robert Morgenthau, then the United States Attorney in Manhattan, the son of Henry M. Morgenthau, the Treasury Secretary in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration. He maintained that Robert Morgenthau bore a "mortal grudge" against him because, during his McCarthy days, he "exposed" Henry Morgenthau's decision to allow the Soviet Union to use United States-occupation currency plates briefly at the end of World War II.
A lifelong bachelor, Roy lived extremely well. To avoid high taxes, he drew a comparatively low salary of $100,000 a year from his law firm, which compensated him further, and regally, by giving him a rent-free Manhattan apartment, paying part of the rent on his Greenwich home, supplying him with the use of a chauffeured Rolls-Royce and other fine cars and paying all his bills at expensive restaurants such as Le Cirque, "21" and many others. These expenses were said to run to $1 million a year. Roy's friends, some of whom said they loved him despite his roguish ways, prized his ability to represent them in court or just to get them tickets to sports events and the theater or easy entry into a popular discotheque.
Cohn was a short, ungainly man with thinning hair and blue eyes, which were often bloodshot, perhaps because he kept late hours at fashionable discotheques such as Studio 54 and the Palladium, although he said he "adored" the sun. Despite his tan, Mr. Cohn's bantam body (he weighed 145 pounds) gave the impression that his physique was fragile
I had the occasion (opportunity? misfortune?) to have had a relatively substantial interaction with Senator Joseph McCarthy during the semester I enjoyed with the Colgate Washington Study Group in the first half of 1957. See that Chapter (IV) ahead.
First Year Law School Summer: Camp Geneva
My next Summer Job recollection relates to the summer after my first year in law school. My room-mate Roger Milgrim (see Chapter ___, pages ___) and I decided, somewhat frivolously I suspect as a reaction to all the hard work we had been doing, to go to summer camp. We saw an advertisement for counselors for a girl’s camp in Pennsylvania (Camp Geneva) and both applied, he to be the tennis counselor and yours truly for golf. We got the jobs and, along with a third male who was in charge of the waterfront, became the only three males employed at the camp. Joyce, who I was then dating and who later became my first wife, got a job as a counselor there – limiting my philandering abilities – not that I had any such desire or was in that modus operandi.. Not so for Roger, who found and got involved with a most fascinating “Lolita” as well as with her stunning Aunt. I detail more of Roger’s exploits in the pages devoted to him.
At camp I did concentrate on golf, building a three hole course of a par three, par four, and par five holes and doing a lot of “hand’s on” instruction. I am still proud that, at the end of the camp season, I took 16 of my students to play at a “real” course in town and that each one who had never played on a real golf course before, each one scored under 100 – (not that I saw them count camp that we had made the Law Review – the most prestigious honor (and, at least back then, a “sentence” to untold hours of extra work beyond the rather onerous assignments that law school brings). Law Review was also pretty much a ticket to get a door open to a job at a top law firm or public service organization or a clerkship with a judge.
Second Year Law School: Adam Clayton Powell
Between my second and third years at NYU Law School, I worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Foley Square, downtown Manhattan. I was assigned to criminal investigations and spent my time divided between observing in the court rooms (all the various things that went on, mostly motions, a few trials, and a lot of back and forthing) and working on an investigation looking to indict then Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. for aiding in income tax fraud. Powell’s Church in Harlem, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, provided income tax “advice” for its parishioners, most of whom ended up with large refunds or paying no tax. The proposed charges related to Powell setting up a system where his parishioners and constituents could go and be guaranteed big refunds or no liability for paying income taxes. From what I saw, the visits by the parishioners to the office did end up with these results. However, to make “the case” testimony was needed from some of the “clients.” The results: Not one person could be found who would testify relating to the charges.
Powell was a seminal figure in American politics and did much to further the rights and interests of African-Americans as well as apparently furthering his own interests. That summer gave me some insight into the back rooms of politics and also into the divide that still exists between races in this country. Looking back, it seems clearer now that Powell had advanced to a very powerful position in the U.S. Congress at the time I was in the U.S. Attorney’s office in 1960, and that perhaps there was some pressure to “take him down a notch.” His subsequent conduct in flouting some of the House of Representatives conduct rules, his ties to Bimini, and his extreme popularity among his constituents (echoed later with Charlie Rangel, Powell’s successor in Congress) perhaps created a target on his back.