I share two nieces and a nephew with a recently departed Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental and Technology Initiatives—Reed Cordish. This BFF to ‘Javanka’ has announced his resignation from a top White House post and with exquisite and unprecedented timeliness.
Albeit flattering press, with no less than a commendation from Jared Kushner, the release may have been purposely scheduled during a week when the public was indundated with more newsworthy items, like a mass shooting. Indeed, I suspect the strategic savvy of some very expensive corporate public relations expert skilled in crisis publicity management may have come into service with the intention of burying this announcement.
Perhap for me, the optics are under the influence of bias, but I would think a more or less discerning and astute publicist might recognize such an impeccably well-timed press release. And as more luck would have it, the “Russian Probe” indictments and a cursory internal investigation into the FBI’s surveillance mishap regarding the school shooter were announced just days after news of the resignation. Since the the adviser’s departure, there has been a mass exodus of a White House staffers. I suspect few may have benefitted from such a timely announcement as Mr. Cordish has.
And speaking of luck, this ranking member of “The Very Lucky Sperm Club” will be “resuming” his role as a Principal and Vice President of his renowned fourth generation family-owned commercial realestate business The Cordish Companies, following his sabbatical as a public servant.
The company is most recently known for several new MLB franchise-anchored developments, in partnership with the teams themselves. The Cordish Companies graciously saved a spot for the youngest of three brothers, and son of a third-generation realestate scion at the helm of the company. Reed Cordish is also President of Entertainment Consulting International, which appears to be a subsidiary of The Cordish Companies.
#hoodwinkers | #grifters | #white_house_aides | #cronyism | #nepotism | #bullshit 🇺🇸🇷🇺
I was not a political activist until last week. In fact, I didn’t even exercise my right to vote in the last Presidential election, which reflects my inexcusable neglect and irresponsibility as a citizen of the United States. So it is with much regret and dismay, that I extend belated apologies to our distraught citizenry and troubled nation.
While it is our right to ✔️vote, it is our responsibility to “support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. We are often so cognizant of our constitutional rights, but we sometimes forget our responsibilities. Today, I exercise my responsibilities by “Calling BS” on some of our better and less known domestic enemies.https://www.uscis.gov/citizenship/learners/citizenship-rights-and-responsibilities
A Responsible Citizen’s Tribute to Reed Cordish, Ivanka Trump & Lucky Sperm Club Members Advising Presidents, Monarchs & Heads of State Worldwide.
As with many Trump campaign benefactors appointed to advisory positions, I’m not sure what subject matter, if any, Mr. Cordish was qualified to counsel the President on, or in what, if any, capacity. I’m not sure he is qualified to be an intern in the West Wing, but he was appointed to serve alongside the likes of Stephen Miller and an interesting and eclectic assemblage of American innovators. Under the direction of his close friend Jared Kushner, the Office of American Innovation is tasked with reducing bureaucracy in government.
When a senior White House aide is appointed to advise a sitting POTUS and ostensibly the de-facto leader of the free world, I would hope they passed a background check. I would also hope, at the very least, that they possess marginal academic and experiential credentials, which would be among some of the basic pre-requisites for the job.
Irregardless of overt cronyism (and obvious nepotism) at play in the appointment of White House aides, I’m struck by more than just purported conflicts of interest. Is it simply a lack of self-respect to voluntarily pursue this trajectory into public life? Has he ever watched the news?
For Ivanka or Jared, it is certainly a conundrum. But if you are admittedly just a BFF and campaign donor, how does one reconcile selling their soul in front of a global audience. It can’t just be greed; I’m convinced he lost a bet. Mr. Cordish handed in his resignation last week and is returning to the refuge conferred by the family real estate business. I could be mistaken. Perhaps he made all the right career moves?
This is not just a farewell to White House staffer Cordish—the outgoing Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental and Technology Initiatives. This is a retrospective critique of the Trump Administration’s blatant favoritism and its lousy attempt at governing. And in a small way, my apolitical sentiment may hopefully encourage more civilian citizens to render preemptive discourse and rhetoric with the intent of fostering a semblance of integrity in our leaders. And from there I hope we can encourage these public servants to participate in more open and honest dialogue with the populous. We can’t thwart more turmoil and tragedy for a democracy in peril simply by “liking” and sharing FB posts.
True Heroes: Our Youth
If only I could find and muster the profound courage and poise of these traumatized, but resilient, and (as I see it) triumphant Floridian teenagers. I would say they just “schooled” all of us with their galvanizing and inspiring display of advocacy, adopting the #NeverAgain moniker and movement. This week, they pushed for legislative reform on multiple fronts, challenging government officials and the NRA, and demanding they take accountability in a live “Town Hall” concerning gun control.
Awe-inspired by these heroic high schoolers, I see it as a dereliction of my citizenship, if I don’t take a more proactive stance on behalf of these young people we have so miserably and tragically failed. The least I can do is call “bullshit” on federal officials when and wherever it applies. It is not much, but it is a start and it is not hard to do.
In response to dysfunction in the organizational behavior of my own family system, this coincidental resignation of a relation (through marriage) was a timely, but not at all surprising. Announcement of this departure was widely circulated and picked up by numerous news outlets, as is all White House news. But the the press is remarkable if you condsider it served as more of an introduction than a farewell to Mr. Cordish for most people news consumers. But for me, it prompted consideration of bigger concerns facing myself and so many other Americans and lead me to share these evidence-based suppositions, which in science we call formulating a hypothesis.
This critique may inflict some collateral damage, warranting future curation of familial relations and “crisis PR” via some tactical triage. But other than the FB image below of my family at the White House, nothing I divulge here is private or confidential. As a former zoo curator and celebrity publicist, I may just be up to the task.
When English majors advise the POTUS on intergovernmental affairs and tech…
We all know it would behoove the President to recruit a proxy to tweet on his behalf. A seasoned grammarian or English major might be a good choice, but selecting someone on policy issues requires a different skill set. Appointing a commercial real estate scion and Trump family crony with a lofty title of “Principal” of his multi-generation family business, perplexes me. While family business leadership skills may offer something to North Korea, I can’t imagine how Mr. Cordish has served the vast majority of Americans. Furthermore, how has he improved upon the organizational behavior and infrastructure of our complex merit-based bureaucracy.
I surmise that no one, including Mr. Cordish, will disassociate or extricate themselves from the Trump administration unscathed. I suspect all of these charlatans will be held accountable or be cited on with honorable mention for a multitude of ethics violations. But any subsequent punitive actions taken will pale in comparison to negative exposure, which can’t be erased or forgotten.
Arguably, joining the Trump regime in the first place, speaks of compromised character and questionable integrity. I don’t work for my dad, as Mr. Cordish does for his. But judgement aside, the last person I’d choose to advise on reform for bureaucratic agencies, is someone who works for daddy.
Our democracy has devolved because of Presidential advisers as much as the Presidentb himself. These aides can’t improve upon bureaucratic organizational behavior because they don’t understand it.
Attempting to advance one’s own economic interests with blatant disregard for the welfare of the rest of us is obviously the work of the greediest among us and is nothing new. This culture defines the ethos for a revolving door of unqualified White House aides. Relevant to others, the transgressions of the likes of Mr. Cordish, get lost in the noise and the announcement of his departure was perfectly timed to get lost in the news.
The Cordish Companies partnership with the Saint Louis Cardinals on Ballpark Village, a mixed-use development next to Busch Stadium. A newer project—Texas Live—is a new mixed use MLB franchise-anchored development in partnership with the Texas Rangers in Arlington. This connection to baseball reminded me of my cousin Mickey Monus and his foray into the business of baseball, which is both alluring and dangerous.
Michael I. “Mickey” Monus, a first cousin of my mom (the late Dana Lee Monus Schaul), in many ways revitalized my grandparent’s hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. In the early 90s Mickey was at the helm of the booming big box retailer Phar-Mor, a discount drug chain with stores in more than 30 states. He was also an avid sports fan. He owned three franchises in the World Basketball League, which he founded and brought the LPGA tour to the Mahoning Valley. Most notably, he won a bid as a principal investor of an ownership group poised to bring a new Major League Baseball franchise to Colorado. Excitement brewed in Denver over the Colorado Rockies inaugural season. But by opening day, then-commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig, would announce new ownership of the team. By coincidence, Mrs. Bud Selig (AKA Suzanne Lappin Selig) is a first cousin on my father’s side of the family. My 99 year-old grandmother Ruth Lappin Schaul is a first cousin to Suzanne Selig. While Bud and Mickey represent opposing figures in the business of baseball, the interesting degree of separation through my family is noteworthy. At the time, Monus relinquished ties to the Rockies, and served more than 10 years in federal prison on charges of fraud and embezzlement surrounding a Phar-Mor scandal. Compared to what are federal government seems to be up to, it ain’t nothin’ but a thing.
It makes sense that greed and capitalism go hand in hand. As an evolutionary biologist and psychologist, I appreciate the drive and ambition and self-interest of corporate tycoons. They flourish and thrive in a business culture founded on free enterprise. I say this with selfish disregard for those impacted by Phar-Mor scandal. But ethical and legal boundaries were breached and the penalty was fierce.
I see ethical misconduct and criminal actions differently when it comes to an abuse of power by public servants. The kind of Schmoozing of business leaders by Mr. Cordish under the guise of advising our President on bureaucratic infrastructure and social reform initiatives is unacceptable. Forget about clearance status and working uncompensated. Crime or not, this is the work of a domestic enemy crime. Conflict of interest or not, it is some of the best hoodwinking I’ve ever seen and it was conducted with an arrogant indifference and pomposity and it is our responsibility as citizens to call this bullshit what it is.
Neither Bud Selig nor Mickey Monus are known for an on-camera charisma and media presence, but they both understood and inspired and related to everyday people and galvanized communities. Bud reformed baseball to the dismay of some fans, He was the first living commissioner to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in decades and arguably the most accomplished. And while Mickey served his time, the punitive actions taken against him were for offenses he committed as a private citizen. He paid his dues.
Phar-Mor offered prices you couldn’t beat. The retailer’s epic growth, was on the radar of the late Sam Walton—owner of the world’s largest retail corporation. Walmart’s chief was impressed, if not alarmed by the fast expansion of the discount drug chain.
And as for my cousin Mickey, he was still very much an innovative and enterprising entrepreneur. Suggested to have been inspired by then 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., Mickey had provided the residents of a struggling old steel town between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, much hope. DeBartolo Jr., a shopping center scion much like Reed Cordish, left town to support his NFL franchise, But Monus stuck around and built Phar-Mor’s headquarters right in Youngstown, revitalizing the city and restoring pride among its residents.
When a Tennis Pro & a Corporate Leader Share an Office in the White House…
Compare the credentials of these two White House aides who shared an office. Chris Liddell came from humble beginnings, holds a graduate degree, and has a vast amount of leadership experience having been a c-suite executive for several publicly held companies. He is not only philanthropic, but active in environmental conservation. He may be the most qualified White House aide, if not an over-qualified one.
Contrast his CV with the 4th generation heir to a real estate company, holding a college degree and listed on the family business website as a world class athlete (tennis player). He had donated substantially to the Trump campaign before his appointment as an adviser.
“Reed S. Cordish is a Vice President for The Cordish Companies, and President of Entertainment Consulting International (ECI).
Mr. Cordish is responsible for the development and management of the company’s Live! districts, and takes the lead in seeking opportunities for growth in the entertainment market. As President of ECI, Mr. Cordish has grown the business from a start-up to a conglomerate with food, beverage, and entertainment locations across the country, over 8,000 employees, and revenues exceeding $150M annually.
Prior to joining The Cordish Companies, he was a world-class professional athlete on the Association of Tennis Professionals Tour (ATP). Mr. Cordish graduated from Princeton University, where he was awarded the prestigious William Roper Award for scholastic and athletic excellence. Mr. Cordish is involved in fundraising for numerous charitable agencies and non-profit institutions.” – Http://CordishCares.Com
The Tales (Tails?) Behind Very Lucky Sperm Club Members…
Bureaucrats don’t like following rules and adhering to regulation either, but they respect and recognize how Americans are served by this “administrative infrastructure”. A young academic or novice agency official is more poised to navigate and negotiate intergovernmental affairs, but knowing the system, few would even contemplate assuming such an audacious role. But Mr. Cordish was so eager, he did’t take a salary.
Apparently, those born into fortune have profound deficits. They don’t know what they don’t know and they don’t care. This profound ignorance and arrogance, and an inability to relate makes them unfit for government.
When it comes to these very lucky sperm club members-turned-public servants, their ignorance is our biggest loss. The plight of the privileged and entitled like Cordish, Kushner and the Ivanka Trump can’t be understated. It would never occur to these pretentious, posh and pampered “impostors” to consider their own qualifications or lack thereof. Nor would they selflessly admit to the ethical conundrum of benefiting from such nepotism and cronyism by furthering their own financial gain as public servants. It is all they know.
Here is the good news and it relates to “interim clearance” and access to highly classified information. These charlatans may be reckless, and they may find themselves in compromised positions, but unless they somehow get remedial assistance interpreting classified information, they wouldn’t know what to make of it or do with it.
Soon after the inauguration, I took pause in the way of a near anaphylactic reaction. I could not and still can’t wrap my head around real news, as it was reported in the 24-hour cycle. Processing the notion that rich and moderately educated Americans, including Presidential offspring and their BFFs, willfully exercised their own judgement and volition and voluntarily agreed to serve the newly elected “Reality TV Star-In-Chief” was incredulous!
True uber elitists couldn’t imagine leveraging career advancement opportunities without some kind of favoritism. In their world view, which I’m quite familiar with, it is absolutely uncouth to be appointed or promoted to anything on the basis of merit. I’m not sure they could handle it, as a sense of entitlement may be the only sense they have.
The vast majority of these novice public officials like Mr. Cordish are under-credentialed, undereducated and far too inexperienced to work for anyone but their parents and respective corporate family businesses. But if guilt by choice and voluntary association wasn’t enough, to audaciously claim, as news reports have, that these charlatans actually accomplished anything this past year, is as asinine as it is insulting to the public.
The dubious suggestion that they have done us a favor, serving our country uncompensated is just as insulting. Many Americans who aren’t members of the lucky sperm club would give their tax-qualified pensions just for just one opportunity conferred to White House officials in regard to exposure, publicity, contacts. And they would do it I. good faith for the benefit of others less fortunate.
Instead, Mr. Cordish hosted a fundraiser and donated substantially to the Trump campaign. He then capitalized on every single possible opportunity to meet with those poised to help him and the special business interestsof his family company. He leveraged a position created specifically for him and for which he was completely unqualified for. Are you kidding me!? While he probably doesn’t come close to recognizing this as a conflict of interest. Usually when positions are created for people they are tailored to their qualifications.
Perhaps, what is most egregious, but not at all surprising, is this. Mr. Cordish seemed to hang around until, we can only presume, his reputation was under question and assault. I have no way to know this, but I would imagine that the possibility of becoming the next official implicated in another ethics violation or even criminal activity is a motivating enough reason to bail.
I could show more restraint and could be ashamed of exploiting such an easy target. But it is very low-hanging fruit. I’ve worked for and with local, state and federal agencies, but this circus makes rejoining a bureaucratic government organization more enticing than ever.
Case Study: Prison Reform
Here is just more of the ridiculousness. Apparently, Mr. Cordish—an English major—had been an instrumental figure tasked with advancing prison reform initiatives, according to a statement from his “supervisor” Jared Kushner. After a cursory evidence-based review, the data seems to show that Mr. Cordish left the Trump Administration after having not improved the fate of a single inmate or parolee. At least his replacement as appropriate credentials.
Years ago, on behalf of The Ohio State University extension, a small team of us provided contractual preventive herd health and wellness services to the Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s now defunct prison farm program. At the time, the program served at least 10 medium and maximum security prisons housing food animal populations. We moved freely among prison staff and inmates careful to secure any potential contraband. Their help restraining or corralling animals was much appreciated. I was touched by the compassion many of these convicted felons, including onetime perpetrators of violent crimes, had for these domestic animals.
In addition, I conducted basic research on the neurobiology of aggression in conjunction with studies examining neurodiversity among inmates in New York State’s prison system. While I do know a little bit about prisoners and their plight I can only begin to appreciate what Mr. Cordish doesn’t know about prisons and prison reform needs and initiatives.
And there are all kinds of experiential credentials! I spent three days in “general population” while in the custody of the LA County Sheriff’s Department (Twin Towers). Known for my candor and perhaps “pathological” honesty, I must call “bullshit” when i learn about it as a service to my fellow Americans.
While my understanding of prison culture, rehab and reform is more extensive than that of Mr. Cordish, it does not remotely qualify me to advise a sitting US President on any scale of prison reform. And yet, inexperience Mr. Cordish armed with an undergraduate liberal arts degree, graciously assumed a role advising the POTUS on prisons, veterans affairs, environmental regulation and technology and tech policy among other things.
I applaud Mr. Kushner for launching any initiative on behalf of the American Office of Innovation, which can help with much needed prison reform. I understand that interest in the plight of prisoners was inspired by his father’s incarceration. However, there is a stark contrast between the re-entry experience of a white collar inmate at a federal correction’s facility and a convicted felon out on parole after serving a lengthy sentence at a state penitentary.
Citing personal experience in general population at LA Sherrif County’s Twin Towers—the largest county jail in the world—I would offer that metro-center county jails are much more similar to state penitentaries than a federal “minimum security” facility housing white collar criminals or local suburban detention centers
If and when Mr. Cordish reads this and I’m sure he will, I encourage him to give me a phone call on the topic of prison reform. I’m not certain, but my guess is that Mr. Cordish has barely seen the inside of a detention hall at a college prep school.
And despite his selfless and noble return from this sabbatical to resume his role with his Baltimore-based fourth-generation, family-owned commercial realestate development company, I’m sure he will still remain active in pressing social issues. Whether he chooses to financially contribute to nonprofit and veterans affairs and prison reform or serve in an advisory capacities to to government and nongovernment organizations, I hope he puts grace and gratitude before greed. In fact, I respectfully invite him to come out for a visit to Pelican Bay or San Quentin. I’ll gladly introduce him to some inmates who have been upstate and inside for more than a minute.
Easter at the White House…
I’m not a big fan of White House receptions, but apparently my family (see below) now celebrates Easter on the South Lawn with ‘The Donald’ et al. While the event does not seem to cater to a particularly diverse gathering, representative of a country of immigrants, it does look like it was fun and festive enough for government affairs.
I do commend these ambitious, exuberant, meagerly credentialed, and inexperienced advisors. It is exceedingly gracious of Cordish, Kushner and his wife to serve their country without financial compensation, at least in the way of a salary. But I surmise that when the going gets tough, those unrelated with interim clearance get going fast.
Schooled in biomedical and natural science, which surprisingly is fairly helpful training for a publicist and burgeoning investigative journalist, I’m always inclined to operate with best evidence-based practices in mind. Vetting sources and analyzing data is a lifestyle for science types as much as a profession. Hence, I’m eager to learn just what Cordish and his team of innovative “tech experts” have accomplished after a year in office.
Reading this report and others suggests the original source of fake news in the way of unsubstantiated claims was generated by the White House. With that said, announcement of the departure, while not surprising, is probably a good career move.
“Pending a full security clearance an applicant may be granted a temporary security clearance of indefinite duration, which gives the applicant access to classified information while the original application is being vetted.”
Dr. Schaul is the Acting Executive Director of Los Angeles-based Safe Harbor.
Safe Harbor is the largest Complimentary & Alternative Mental Health Literacy & Advocacy Organization & Referral Service for Practitioners & Providers Worldwide.