(June 2, 2016) Inmate Roman Empire is leaving Otisville and heading South to Miami, to get into the drug addict program that will cut a year or more off his sentence. He got a long 10 year sentence for mortgage fraud. He was a Bukarian Jewish lawyer from Queens who got involved with a sexy mortgage broker. They all got busted in the end, but only Roman went to jail. Roman is an outgoing, brash, arrogant, aggressive, young man. He fought the Feds. He should know better. You never fight the Feds. You will always lose. And then you get hammered at sentencing. Roman went to trial and lost, and got ten years. A man in his 30’s with a family, serving 10 long years. And he didn’t even deal drugs, or run up losses in the tens of millions of dollars like some of the other guys doing ten years.
He was an inmate you didn’t mess with. He was close with the blueboyz. He would set you up if he didn’t like you. There is an old saying, keep your friends close but your enemies even closer. With Roman it was better to be his friend than his enemy. He was demanding, self centered and manipulative. But he could also be charming, protective and loyal. You had to deal with him. You couldn’t get away from him. Just like the rest of the guys, somehow you had to deal with everyone in the camp, regardless of how they acted. You were all locked up together.
When Roman went to the drug program in Miami everyone expected him to get kicked out because of his personality. The drug program is supposed to be tough. You have to take a bunch of classes all day to help you kick the habit. Most guys in the program were not real drug addicts to begin with. But they got a letter from a doctor before they got sentenced that said they were drug dependent, so they were eligible for the program. Like most Federal programs it is a waste of time.
The blueboyz encourage guys to rat each other out in the drug program, so many guys get kicked out of the program. Not sure why it is set up this way, but this is the way it works. The first thing you learn in prison is that you don’t ask the question, “why?”
Roman ended up not getting kicked out of the program, but I heard that he was instrumental in getting three other guys kicked out of the program. I last saw him when he left Otisville and gave his parting speech at the Friday night Shabbos dinner. Here is the speech:
“Friends,Countrymen, Shabbat Shalom… in the famous quote from James LeBron, ‘I’m taking my talents to South Beach.’ This prison has 50 shades of Judaism, from Ashkanazi to Sephardic to Hasidic to Litvish to Satmar to Slonim to Chabad to Conservative to Reform to Lenny Kalish, a self hating Jew. In reality, Lenny doesn’t actually hate himself, he loves himself tremendously, never missing an opportunity to talk about his latest achievements, its just that he doesn’t like other Jews too much. Which is understandable in this prison, Jews tend to get on each others nerves living in prison conditions.
Most of you know me by now, I don’t sugarcoat, I say it how it is. I hope nobody will get offended. I tried to find good things to say about some of you. Those that were just too difficult I politely skipped. After all, my grandmother taught me that if I have nothing nice to say, just say it in Yiddish. Since Haim is no longer here, I will only speak in English. I have many people to thank. First I would like to thank G-d. I would like to thank guys who are no longer here, ie., David Schick, Jacobowitz brothers and Effraim Stern, and my study partners Rovner and Altman.
I would like to thank Naftali for the public reading of the Torah each week, and for not inducting me as a member of his elite club known as “shmuckos” and “behemoths”. I would like to thank the four guys who left for Passover furloughs, Badduch, Pinter, Naftali and Jacobowitz. It was not just four furloughs for four inmates. It was 61 furloughs for the 61 Jews in the camp who didn’t have to put up with you guys over Passover
I would like to thank Rabbi Pinter for his classes, mussar speeches, and latest updates from the A-1 lobby (the medium next door where Pinter worked). Thanks for running for gabbai in all the elections. Sorry you never won. Please don’t run again, you are 0 for 6, which is the current batting average of the NY Yankees shortstop. Thanks for the fun working in the warehouse. I will never forget how I ended up in the SHU for taking 2 peaches.
I would like to thank inmate Useless, for serving us challah on Shabbos without any crumbs, and all the work that you did behind the scenes, your classes and words of advice. I would like to ask you a question: Who is the best businesswoman in the Bible? Pharoah’s daughter, she pulled a prophet out of a basket floating in the Nile.
Thank you inmate Sweet, for sharing the details of your most intimate stories in our drug rehab classes, I will forever be emotionally damaged by them.
Thank you Baddouch, I see that you struggle daily with making peace with Don Isaac, I realize how difficult this is, you are in the same position as the State of Israel trying to make peace with the Arabs. I heard that Universal is coming out with a sequel that will feature your criminal case story called “Dumb and Dumber II”.
Thank you Don Isaac, thanks for leaving our Shabbat table, and thank you for all the questions you asked during the rabbi’s class, no matter how irrelevant. Thank you for your priestly blessings.
Thank you Dr. Muss, the foot doctor. I give you a blessing that you finally find a soul mate, a woman who won’t press charges or file restraining orders.
Best of luck to you David Biotech Blech. With recent amendments passed to reduce the sentencing guidelines, I see that you are already writing your goodbye speech, I hope you get out soon.
Thank you Larry Dressler, Larry Love, Larry Noodles, Larry Ding-Dong, Larry Warehouse gabbai. You are like the Otisville Kardashian, everyone wants to give you a new name. Thank you for keeping Neighborhood Mitch happy and safe. Thank you for blogging to the outside world. I look forward to reading what you had to say about all of us.
Thank you Earl David, the official camp stenographer, you always had a pen and paper in hand, jotting down notes of what goes on in the camp. I saw him taking notes of himself taking notes.
Thank you Moshe Butler. You are a unique person, in that your body converts more simple carbs into sugars than the biggest sugarcane refineries in Brazil. Thank you for shoveling snow, that one time. Thank you for singing at the Shabbos table.
Thank you Gabbai Glucksman. I have to be careful of what I say about you, or I will end up in the SHU, or be investigated by SIS. Thank you for doing a good job at maintaining peace among the most diverse group of people in the shul, with mood swings and “pill lines.”
Thank you Herman Jacobowitz. You were there for me in the most difficult times I had in this prison. Staying up late with me and keeping me sane. I want to thank you for helping me get through some very hard times in my life.
Thank you Lev. You are one of the nicest people in the camp, you are like my uncle, only nicer. You always ask me if I need anything. You play backgammon with me, and you are quite successful.
Thank you Houdini. With you I felt like I had my own Sam’s Club. You provided me with enough food to feed a family of four on a daily basis. When the kitchen ran out of produce you have been known to supply them with what they needed. Thank you for making it a fun experience here. You are truly one of a kind.
Thank you Rabbi Ben Chaim. I kindly and humbly thank you for all that you have done here for me. Thank you for the blessings you gave me and my family. I vividly remember a blessing you gave to my brother and his bride before they got married and now they are married and have a baby boy. Thank you for playing gin with me and making me feel good by losing to me. Thank you for all the stories that you told to everyone in the shul. I hope to tell some over to my family. In case I forgot any of them I’ll just start by using your default beginning in every story, “There once was a rich man with five golden coins…” Thank you for heeding my advice and starting a class on the outdoor patio on Shabbat afternoons three years ago, it still continues to this day.
Thank you Head Blueboy S. Mr. S asked me to mention his name in my speech, after all I worked for this man for almost three years, so here it goes, goodbye Mr. S, I hope I never see or hear from you ever again!!!
Shabbat Shalom everyone, may we speedily return to our families, and live to see the coming of the Messiah… Next year in Jerusalem!!!