I have occasionally mentioned Chris, my Significant Other, in this space. Chris is a sportswriter, which means that unlike the Philadelphia Eagles, he’s going to be at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey’s Mosquito Coast for the Super Bowl this weekend.
He was also a political-science major, which means he’s as conversant in my language (politics) as I am in his (sports).
But every once in a while, our worlds intersect. For example, when former Eagles lineman Jon Runyan decided he wanted to be Congressman Jon Runyan, Chris was able to fill in the football-related blanks for me.
And when I called him as he was traveling to North Jersey to tell him that I was heading to the press conference announcing the arrest of State Rep. J.P. Miranda on political corruption charges, he was able to give me some insight based on the interactions they’d had in various sports-related chat spaces.
In a lot of ways, the metaphor of a compulsive gambler with a sports book betting problem works in Rep. Miranda’s case. He and his sister, Michelle Wilson, have been charged with conflict of interest, conspiracy to commit conflict of interest, and perjury in connection with a “ghost worker” who was funneling money to Wilson on Rep. Miranda’s behalf.
How does the sports betting analogy work? Here’s how: Miranda was told by the Democratic Caucus he couldn’t hire Wilson because she’s his sister and anti-nepotism rules apply.
So he allegedly decided to do it anyway by giving his sister her pay through a guy, Timothy Duckett, who would drive him around every once in a while, but actually continue to work in his auto-repair place. This is the bad bet. And he kept making it. Miranda even gave Duckett a $10,000 raise … a nice chunk of which was designated for Wilson.
His “bookie”, Duckett, kept paying his markers, but when Fox29’s Jeff Cole got a tip about this illegal “book”, he started following Duckett around.
And like any bookie looking at hard time, Duckett gave Miranda and Wilson up. He testified to the Grand Jury and got immunity, while the firs-term State Rep and his sister are contemplating jail time.
Assuming these charges are valid, this all could have been avoided by the simple act of following the rules. If you can’t hire family, you can’t hire family. The rule is in place for a reason. Trying to get around the rules almost always winds you up on “Action News.”
But then again, Miranda would occasionally try to challenge Chris’s football knowledge.
Doing that with a guy who can give you stats on Super Bowl III is kinda dumb….