The Indictment


So I testified before the grand jury in the matter of the People vs. Richard Sheeran and life went on.  The only person I talked to about it was my mother.

I had been hired by Dr. Gerald Grant to work on the competence-based education project through the Syracuse Research Corporation, formerly the Syracuse University Research Corporation (SURC).  SURC existed as the research branch of the university but a substantial portion of its research contracts were with the U.S. Department of Defense—then came the Vietnam war and SURC was seen as engaging in bigger, better ways to kill people.  SURC disaffiliated with the university and became simply SRC—the Syracuse Research Corporation, however SRC’s only clients were Syracuse University professors who got government research grants, such as Jerry Grant’s.

The competence-based education project had to produce a final report of eighteen chapters—nine on research and nine “think” pieces.  I was hired as a secretary to type, file and photocopy but took it upon myself to do some editing.  Jerry Grant discovered that I was really good at it and turned all the style editing over to me.  I was the happiest I’d ever been on a job.  I got to get up every morning and make words right!  There were two of us secretaries working full-time in a converted house on the north side of campus—professors and students would wander in and out from time to time, but basically we were alone there.  That was the jobsite to which I returned after my grand jury testimony.

Then Jerry Grant decided to quit the project.  He was under contract to bring in the final report in three years however he was pretty poor at keeping his researchers—nine located all over the country—on schedule.  The job wasn’t done but Jerry was tired of it so he decided to reinterpret his contract as a three-year contract, not a complete-the-project contract, and he quit.  And who was to bring in the final report?  Annie, the secretary.

My work was moved from the main campus to SRC headquarters, a sprawling one-story brick building located down the road and over the hill on the south side of Syracuse University.  I had just been screwed and didn’t know it.  In the early years of feminism, we proceeded on the dutiful-daughter basis that good work would be rewarded.  If you did a particularly outstanding job then the good old boy network would reward you with more money and a more important title.

In fact, I was a secretary working as an editor and I never got the title or the money.  I was happy to be doing work I enjoyed—and have never been particularly motivated by money—so I didn’t pay much attention to it.  I tracked four drafts of eighteen chapters with researchers all over the country.  I worked with the production department and designed the layout of the two-volume book, choose the typeface and colors for it, and periodically met with the president of the company who kept asking when the project would be completed.

I had my own large, multi-windowed, paper-filled office at the back of the building and that’s where I was working on the day the indictments were announced on the radio.  I grabbed a draft of “On Comptence” and wrote notes on the back of it as I listened to the news.

Sheeran & Bachman   yesterday        Edward Gerber           “stunned”

First arrests

Three Republicans      Deputy County Comptroller, County Purchasing, “D Co Co”

Released on own recognizance

Bribe receiving           coercion

Hanlon shocked “smear these individuals”  “I know these three individuals and I know them to be honest”

Three employees        Dept. of Audit

            Purchasing Director

            216 violations             felony              bribery                        extortion            conspiracy

Pled innocent              Lyman Smith

Onondaga County’s Deputy Comptroller Richard Sheeran, Purchasing Director John Bachman and one other person—all Republicans—were the first people arrested on indictments produced by the Special Prosecutor’s Office.  Sheeran’s attorney was Edward Gerber and his client was “stunned.”  The men were released on their own recognizance.  The charges against them included bribe-receiving and coercion.  Richard Hanlon was shocked that the Special Prosecutor was smearing these men.  “I know these three individuals and I know them to be honest” said he, chairman of the Onondaga County Republican Committee.  The three defendants were charged with 216 violations, mostly misdemeanor charges, but also felony charges of bribery, attempted extortion and conspiracy.  The defendants pled innocent before State Supreme Court Justice Lyman Smith.

I went home and called my best friend—the one who had told me to grow up and accept the shakedown.  She still worked for an attorney who was the son of the Onondaga County Attorney.  She said, “We just won’t be able to talk about this.”  It was the beginning of the end of our friendship.

The next morning I bought a copy of the Post-Standard and read it on my way to work, wondering if I would be mentioned in any story about the arrest of Richard Sheeran.  Uh, yeah.  In a box in the lower right-hand corner of the front page, the charges were reported.  Two of the felony charges were based on my testimony.  Holy shit.

In the middle of the morning, Dr. Warren Zeigler, foster-father of the Citizen Power group of the Civic Literacy Project, walked into my office, handed me a bottle of wine from his briefcase and said, “While we were talking civic literacy, you were practicing it.”

All people share the right and the responsibility to make the decisions that affect their lives together.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
This entry was posted in Fraud, Government Services, Onondaga County, political corruption, Power, Powerlessness, Republican Party, Values and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Indictment

  1. Whats up this is kinda of off topic but
    I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.

    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  2. idebenone says:

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 7:07 PM Copyright 2012 syracuse.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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