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Flatbush Flashback

The Newt Gingrich of Sleaze: Part 4 in a Series

A lot of people thought that last week's posting, "The Lou Perretta 20-Point Plan for Demoralizing Employees," was satire. They thought that no place of business in 21st Century America that employed highly skilled and educated professionals could possibly be that bad.

Well, the piece isn’t satire—it’s journalism written in a satirical manner.

It’s not as if Perretta did all 20 things to everybody at once. That would have violated both the eighth amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, and the Geneva Conventions. And we weren’t technically prisoners of war. It only felt that way.

The 20-Point Plan is simply a catalog of Perretta’s abysmal behavior, either toward me or toward other employees, over a 20-year period.

I doubt Perretta was even conscious of what he was doing, or thought that the “strategies” he used to control his employees were anything out of the ordinary. When he bought Swank Publications, he essentially shanghaied from New York a group of sophisticated and experienced publishing professionals, and treated them as he was accustomed to treating the people who worked in his printing plant in Poughkeepsie.

Amazingly, until Joyce Snyder (“Pam Katz” in Beaver Street) filed her age-and-sex-discrimination lawsuit, no employee or ex-employee had ever sued Perretta—for anything. Possibly, this was out of fear of losing their job and never being able to find another one; a lack of resources to pursue legal action against a wealthy businessman; or the knowledge that a lawsuit of any kind could drag on for years and they might not even win.

Perretta’s like the Newt Gingrich of sleaze—a classic schoolyard bully who nobody ever punched in the face. Then one day, Joyce Snyder, a little wisp of a woman, knocked him on his ass with a savage left hook to the jaw (metaphorically speaking). Snyder, sophisticated in the ways of the law—she’d considered going to law school at one point and had worked for private investigators—had the resources and the courage to go after Perretta. She also had nothing to lose. Snyder had devoted virtually her entire 31-year-career to pornography, and after Perretta fired her, she knew that at her age, with Perretta buying up every porn mag in existence, and with the economy in its tattered state, she’d never work again.

Perretta screamed so loud when he found out Snyder was suing him, I could hear his howls back in New York City. And that’s only a slight satirical exaggeration.
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