Friday, July 27, 2012

Now That's A Creative Resume

He said he was the trash man for the shah of Iran.

It sounded exotic to city officials, sure, but he knew the city could never check his references.

It was 1980, and the shah -- Mohammad Reza Pahlavi -- had just been run off by the Iranian revolution a year before.

The applicant knew the city of Riverside, California wasn't about to pick up the phone and call Iran's new supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, for a job reference.

So, the city hired him as its superintendent of solid waste on the good faith of his resume.

Within a year, they were wishing they had called the ayatollah.

That's when Riverside officials learned, after he got tangled in a trash equipment fraud, that he was a former associate of a New Jersey mob and was a federally protected witness.

More than a decade earlier he had helped the Justice Department prosecute Campisi mobsters in cases involving murder, gambling and stolen securities. He served a little time, and was freed with a new identity.

After he entered the witness protection program in 1971, he bounced around from city to city and was hired as municipal garbage chief in Illinois, New York and Florida. When he tried to get a job in North Carolina, city officials got wind of who he really was, and the feds had to quickly move him. In some cities where he managed solid waste, he was praised for his work.

However, he left as Miami's sanitation director after several thousand dollars worth of copper and brass became missing from a city site. He was later found innocent of theft.

"I worked very hard and got him acquitted," his attorney told me at the time, "and he gave me a bad check for part of my fee."

Yes, it is hard to deny where you come from.

Interestingly, Miami officials had tried to check his past and complained they were "hoodwinked" by federal officials about his background.

About the time he was fired from the Riverside job, his colorful background was pieced together by a newspaper -- as much as possible in light of laws forbidding disclosure of information about protected witnesses.

The Riverside police chief at the time was asked whether cops were ever asked to check his resume claims.

"As much trouble as federal officials had in coming up with his background, we may not have come up with anything that would have been useful," he said.

His resume was imaginative -- I mean, really, trash man to the shah? That must have taken more than one meeting of bureaucrats to dream up.

When he applied for the Miami job, he said he had worked for a federal agency that managed solid waste projects. While there, he claimed he was lent to the Justice Department "to head a special task force to prosecute possible infiltration and influence of mob elements into funded federal projects."

Which only tends to show that every phony resume has scraps of truth in it.

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