Friday, April 03, 2009

Post-April Foolery;

FRANKLIN MARONE, a former Windham Mountain Ski Patrol member, would like a judge to remove two words from records that contributed to his incarceration. He is nearing the time when the State Parole Board will assess his application for release from the Otisville Correctional Facility after serving the minimum portion of a sentence meted out back in Septemberr 2004 by GreeneLand judge George Pulver Jr. The presence of those two words, he contends, would prejudice his bid for early parole. -----The words were used in a pre-sentencing report to characterize Marone's method of swindling 29 victims, most of them Ski Patrol comrades or their relatives and friends, out of $8 million. To induce his suckers to believe that they were making sound investments under his guidance, he passed some money elicited from fresh "investors" along to earlier "investors." At the same time he diverted most of the money to his yacht, his Connecticut mansion and luxury Windham abode, his sports cars, his extravagant living. When the scheme collapsed, the victims learned that what they thought were nicely appreciating funds earmarked for retirement, for medical care, and for the college education of children and grandchildren, were gone. On the day Marone was sentenced, some victims spoke of their experiences. "Once Frank...wormed his way in" to the fraternity of rescue volunteers, said Kevin Kennedy, director of the Ski Patrol, "he was free to work his devious, swindling scheme." He "gained our trust, then stole our hard-earned money, our security, our future...." The experience "devastated me both financially and emotionally." In keeping with the plea bargain worked out with the prosecutor, Marone pleaded guilty to a couple of counts of grand larceny, and was sentenced by Judge Pulver to a prison term that could range from six years to 18 years. Marone's sixth year will arrive early in 2010. He is asking Judge Pulver to remove, from the 2004 pre-sentencing report that will be reviewed by the Parole Board, the words "Ponzi scheme." DONALD J. CASE JR. got shot during a quarrel, and he was the one who got arrested. According to police reports, Case evidently broke in to the home of his estranged wife, Mary Sue, subjected her to drunken abuse and threats, but was induced to back off when her sister, Geraldine Finelli, displayed a shotgun. After he retreated to the driveway but continued to threaten, Ms Finelli fired a blast that hit him in the left leg. He then limped off, encountered an acquaintance who lived near the scene on State Route 32 in Catskill, and induced the acquaintance to drive him away. Meanwhile, Ms Finelli made a 911 call which prompted police to stop the escape car at the east end of Catskill Village. Case was taken by ambulance to Columbia Memorial Hospital, treated for the leg wound, then charged with burglary, arraigned by a Village justice, and jailed in lieu of $50,000 cash or $100,000 bail. Ms Finelli's use of a firearm has been treated as a legal act of home protection. -----The incident is not Case's first brush with law enforcement. There have been previous convictions, with prison time, for attempted burglary and assault and for drug-related crimes. Back in 2003, after completing a five-year sentence, Case was released into the custody of his wife. -----(The foregoing account is drawn from Times Union and Daily Mail stories plus county records. Part of a D M report, incidentally, says "Finelli allegedly fired one round towards the gun and struck Case in the lower left leg.") CASEY BIGGS is not a murderer. He only pretends to be one, namely, the fratricidal Claudius, king of Denmark, as depicted in "Hamlet" by budding playwright William Shakespeare. That chore, at the Duke Theatre in Manhattan, has not altogether disrupted Mr Bigg's work here in GreeneLand with the musical adaptation of Hudson Talbott's book River of Dreams. BRIGIT BINNS is not a pig. She is a cookbook cooker, an InsideOut columnist and, reliable sources (including Mr Biggs) attest, a tasty dish, who has just come back to Athens after an expedition devoted to pork. For musings and pictures on that subject and others, see Her advice to the pork-lorn: "Feel the wind in your hair, the sinews between your teeth." J. GRAY SWEENEY is not a theologian, but nonetheless he plans to expound on "The Divinity of the Hudson River." It's all about unfinished paintings by Thomas Cole, as well as about Cole's influence on American art. For more on this finale of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site's Sunday Salon series, see

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