The OD has been on a roll the last few days, taking a closer look at some of our local "leaders" seeking elected office. Todays vict....er...subject is Dan Trevisani, who seems to be suffering from a severe case of political I-don't-remember-itis.
When Utica mayoral candidate Daniel Trevisani took out an ad Aug. 26 discussing his 1998 personal bankruptcy filing, the Democrat said he wanted to bring it to the public's attention before his opponent did.
"I'm running for a major office and I want people to know everything and anything about me," Trevisani said.
As the O-D looked deeper into the situation, Trevisani wouldn't give specific reasons for what led to his financial issues.
Apparently Mr. Trevisani wants people to know everything about him...except for the delightfully sordid details of what actually triggered his bankruptcy. Ironically, I think he could have spun this into a positive if he'd just been a bit more forthcoming about what sent him into a financial tailspin. Instead, he's chosen to play dumb. Well, I hope he's just playing.
Trevisani tried to start a Syracuse nightclub a decade ago, but discontinued his business certificate a day later. He then gave at least $10,000 and possibly as much as $25,000 to a friend who opened a strip club called USA Dream Girls at the same address at which Trevisani had listed his business.
Now, however, Trevisani denies knowing about any such place or how his friend invested his money.
"I should have paid more attention to it and I didn't," Trevisani said. "I made a mistake, and I don't want all this information out in the Utica newspaper."
Let me summarize: "I owned a strip club, but I don't remember owning it."
This is an amazing assertion considering the rumor that his love of boobies, or at least a particular pair of them, seems to be the reason for his falling out with long-time friend Tim Julian. Behold, my friends, the power of the boobies! Tremble before their awesome ability to fog men's minds.
Oh, and heres a tip for anyone going into politics: never, ever tell someone from a newspaper "I don't want this information in the newspaper". That's like throwing a juicy slab of steak in front of a pack of Rottweilers.
Common Council member David Roefaro, D-at-large, is endorsed by the Democratic Party and will face Trevisani in Tuesday's primary election.
Executive members of both the city and Oneida County Democratic committees have made calls to the O-D since the Aug. 26 Trevisani ad was published, asking when a story would be printed about Trevisani's bankruptcy. Among the leaders making calls were county Democratic Chair William Morris II and city Democratic Chair Mitchell Ford.
Help me out here. These were the guys that thought running convicted felon Frank Meola for mayor was a great idea, right?
"This, to me, is very irrelevant," Trevisani said. "It should be irrelevant on your capability on running the city. It could derail a very, very expensive campaign."
Tip number two: never, ever tell anyone that a scandal could cost you lots of money. That torpedoes the spin that you've undergone any kind of redemption and just makes you look self-absorbed and arrogant. It looks even worse when you've already built up a reputation for fiscal irresponsibility by declaring bankruptcy.
During interviews this week, Trevisani first discussed why he placed an advertisement in the O-D about his financial struggle.
"I made a mistake," he said Monday. "I had a hard time 10 years ago, I came out of it and I've been very successful since."
The 1998 decision to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy was a private decision, but something he said he's not ashamed about. Asked about what led to the bankruptcy or if he had credit card debt, Trevisani said, "I'm not even going to go there."
Bzzzt! Wrong answer. Here's how you do it: "Unfortunately, based on the advice of people I trusted I made a bad investment. Because I was too trusting I failed to pay enough attention to what they were doing and ended up involved in something I ultimately didn't want to be part of. It was a hard lesson, but one I've learned from."
See what I did there? Now you're a victim, not a perpetrator. That's how a politician needs to think, and it's no coincidence that it's also how a lawyer thinks. You can tell Trevisani almost gets it by his emphasis on "making a mistake", but he failed to offer up the spin that explained how someone else made him do it.
On Tuesday, the O-D learned from an anonymous caller about Trevisani's possible connections to an adult entertainment club called Dream Girls in Syracuse. An online search of Post-Standard archives turned up a 1997 business certificate in which Trevisani discontinued Trelco Company at 117 Bruce St., Syracuse...
During a second interview, Trevisani said he never operated a business on Bruce Street in Syracuse and said he has no knowledge of any company called Trelco.
"I have no knowledge of any business that Mr. Critelli did anywhere, to be honest with you," Trevisani said before suggesting the reporter speak with Critelli directly.
Argh! That's it. Game over. Dan Trevisani's run for mayor is now effectively over. Even if he wins the primary he's just handed his opponent all the ammunition he needs. It's impossible to spin this as anything but a bald-faced lie, and a poorly thought out lie at that.
Head on over and read the rest of the article, because it's a real gem. And like all good stories it has a hanging plotline that can drive a sequel- the mystery woman that was in the middle of this whole strip club mess that no one has been able to find.
Gold, my friends. Pure comedy gold.