Saturday, April 28, 2007

tobias resigns over "massages" from call girls

scandal is in the air...

first we learn that a high-profile DoJ official has resigned because of possible ties to jack abramoff:

Making the situation more awkward for the embattled Department, the official, Robert E. Coughlin II, was deputy chief of staff for the criminal division, which is overseeing the Department's probe of Abramoff.

then a second high-profile resignation:

Deputy Secretary of State Randall L. Tobias submitted his resignation Friday, one day after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of a Washington, D.C. escort service whose owner has been charged by federal prosecutors with running a prostitution operation.

On Thursday, Tobias told ABC News he had several times called the "Pamela Martin and Associates" escort service "to have gals come over to the condo to give me a massage." Tobias, who is married, said there had been "no sex," and that recently he had been using another service "with Central Americans" to provide massages.

wow, that's a big day! but it wasn't until i stopped by advance indiana that i truly acknowledged the significance of this second scandal. this is former lilly CEO randall tobias, an indianapolis institution, 2005's international citizen of the year. in local circles, tobias is a household name, and randy's son todd tobias has become a minor celebrity himself (though not enough to save his mediocre indy men's magazine, the final issue of which should hit the stands any day now).

anyway, randy tobias, like many powerful rich men, has worked hard to achieve the kind of immortality only the wealthy can. not only did he co-write a book about "leadership" with todd, but he's a noted philanthropist whose name graces the donor boards at various local museums and other institutions. and when that wasn't enough, he founded the randall l tobias foundation, and then the randall tobias center on leadership excellence at IU.

normally i wouldn't mock a man for his philanthropic activity, which is really honorable even if done for reasons of vanity, but the irony of a former abstinence-preachin' AIDS czar who founded a "center of leadership excellence" having to resign because of a hooker scandal is too rich to pass up.

and here's the cherry on top. right now, as in april 26 through april 28, the tobias center is holding a leadership forum in downtown indianapolis:

The Conference will bring together scholars and practitioners from the entire spectrum of leadership including corporate leadership, non-for-profit leadership, religious leadership, educational leadership, medical leadership, and political leadership. The Forum will explore a broad range of leadership ideas, subjects and theories including but not limited to: ethical leadership, authentic leadership, transformational leadership and charismatic leadership.

i suspect the mood at tomorrow's presentations on ethical leadership will be a bit awkward.

also, i see from a comment in the star's talkback section that tobias is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the IU law school graduation this year. i suspect a new speaker will be selected in short order... but will it be soon enough to change the programs?

(the maureen groppe story currently on the indy star site and others does not mention the "notorious dc madam" angle of tobias's resignation, but i suspect this is simply because the story was filed before that revelation came out, and that the star will have more coverage by the time i get up in the morning.)

1 comment:

Wilson46201 said...

Former U.S. AID director Randall Tobias, who resigned yesterday upon admitting that he frequented a Washington escort service, oversaw a controversial policy advocated by the religious right that required any US-based group receiving anti-AIDS funds to take an anti-prostitution “loyalty oath.” Aid groups bitterly opposed the policy, charging that it “was so broad — and applied even to their private funds — that it would obstruct their outreach to sex workers who are at high risk of transmitting the AIDS virus.” But President Bush wouldn’t budge. He signed a 2003 National Security Presidential Directive saying prostitution “and related activities” were “inherently harmful and dehumanizing.”