About This Series | Chapters:

Chapter 5

After a difficult beginning, the new firm of Schlossberg-Cassidy begins to make money. A third lobbyist, James P. Fabiani, joins the firm and brings discipline to its operations. But prosperity begins to bring out the differences between Ken Schlossberg and Gerry Cassidy.

By Robert G. Kaiser

As their new lobbying firm began to thrive, Kenneth Schlossberg and Gerald Cassidy were the closest of pals. Their bond was obvious in March 1977, two years after they had launched their business, when Schlossberg was married for the second time. He asked Cassidy to be his best man. The Schlossbergs and Cassidys could celebrate their good and improving fortunes together.

As it often does, prosperity brought unintended consequences. Both men started to see themselves in a new light -- but not the same new light. Their relations grew more complicated and more competitive.

Schlossberg , a small man with boyish good looks and energy, was a bit of a romantic. He was a '60s liberal, a former newspaperman who didn't really want to be a lobbyist. He wanted to be a consultant -- an advisor, a policy wonk, a creative counselor who would guide clients through Washington's bureaucratic and political thickets.

[Photo]
Kenneth Schlossberg's wedding reception in 1977. Schlossberg (standing, left) asked Cassidy (standing, right) to be his best man.

Cassidy, the squarely built former football player, had a more commercial attitude. Unlike Schlossberg, he was a lawyer. He considered himself a liberal Democrat, too, but once he left Sen. George McGovern's staff, politics moved out of first place on his list of personal priorities. "I'm a big fan of financial security," Cassidy explained in an interview in 2005. "I didn't have a lot of it as a kid, so I wanted to be successful and financially secure."

The Web site of what is now Cassidy & Associates describes Cassidy as the founder of the firm, though the early corporate records suggest Schlossberg was the original moving force. In an early filing with the D.C. Government, Schlossberg is listed as the company's president, Cassidy as secretary-treasurer. (view the firm's original incorporation papers [pdf]) "It was my idea," Schlossberg said.

But Cassidy sees himself as the initiator: "I wanted to start a lobbying business." Asked why the firm was called Schlossberg-Cassidy, Cassidy replied: "We did it by age." Schlossberg was the oldest by five months. Moreover, when they considered what "sounded best, we decided that Schlossberg-Cassidy sounded better than Cassidy-Schlossberg."

When told this explanation, Schlossberg just laughs.

Both men agree that Cassidy and his wife, Loretta, took care of many practical tasks. Cassidy recalled: "Around December [1975] we had enough money, I thought, to get an office. We found -- actually Loretta and I found -- a place at L'Enfant Plaza that was a single office that you could have a little reception area if you put in book cases to block it off. That was our first office. We moved in there like March or so. We initially rented furniture."

Loretta Cassidy did most of the secretarial work in the early days. When, with Schlossberg's blessing, Cassidy arranged for the legal incorporation of the firm, he listed Schlossberg, Loretta and himself as its three directors.

In 1976 a new client materialized, the Ocean Spray cranberry cooperative, a marketing organization owned by farmers in six states and Canada. Cassidy got the call this time, both men remember. The cranberry growers were having trouble getting their juice approved for use in the school lunch program.

Schlossberg did not warm to Ocean Spray. The representative who first visited their new office in L'Enfant Plaza "was a cigar smoker who dropped his ashes," Schlossberg remembered. "I thought he was a big jerk." He was also put off by the conservative politics of some Ocean Spray executives. He recalled playing golf with one who "delivered a diatribe against Franklin D. Roosevelt. You'd have thought we were back in 1933."

But Cassidy was pleased with the client, and particularly pleased when, in 1979, Ocean Spray accepted his suggestion to create its own political action committee (PAC). Cassidy managed the PAC, and has done so for many years. Schlossberg found the idea of a PAC distasteful:

"Gerry explained to me ..... how this could make us a bigger player and help get things done. ..... We began going down this corporate PAC route as a new line of business." Schlossberg says he didn't like the idea of simultaneously representing colleges and universities and helping a corporate client make political contributions, obviously to win friends on Capitol Hill. This felt corrupting, he said. Cassidy says he doesn't remember Schlossberg ever complaining about it.

Sometime after Ocean Spray became a client, Cassidy, his wife, Schlossberg and his new second wife, Sophia, a Russian-born woman who had recently immigrated to the United States, traveled together to San Diego for an Ocean Spray convention.

Schlossberg and his wife both remember a dinner they shared on that trip with the Cassidys. During the meal the Cassidys confided that they had chosen not to have children, that their great ambition in life was to acquire wealth. Sophia Schlossberg found this startling. She said years later that she tried to warn Cassidy that money would leave him lonely, would provide little solace. Later, when Sophia became pregnant, the Cassidys reacted coolly, both Schlossbergs recalled. Cassidy made clear his fear that a new child would divert Schlossberg's attention from the business, according to the Scholssbergs. (Ilyana Schlossberg was born in 1978.)

Cassidy strongly disputed the Schlossbergs' memories of his and his wife's attitude toward having children. "To suggest it was based on economics is just simply cruel," Cassidy wrote in a statement he posted on his blog on March 9. "The painful fact is we could not have children on our own and made a difficult decision not to adopt." [Gerald Cassidy Responds to This Chapter]

Working at close quarters with Cassidy and a new secretary in a one-room office in L'Enfant Plaza in Southwest Washington made Schlossberg uncomfortable. He says he didn't like hearing Cassidy lose his temper on the telephone, or bang the desk in frustration. His irritation with his partner was growing. Cassidy shared similar feelings: "I was starting to be annoyed with things. ..... He would not be around." Cassidy thought Schlossberg did less than his share of the work.

[Photo]
Schlossberg, sitting, and Cassidy in 1983. (Colin Norman, Science)

Nevertheless, the business kept growing. They got a larger office in L'Enfant Plaza, one which put a shared receptionist between their separate offices. Schlossberg remembers reading an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education reporting on how much universities paid professionals who helped them do fundraising. He realized that Tufts University had been getting a bargain by paying them just $60,000 a year. They went to Tufts to demand an increase-to $250,000. Tufts offered $125,000, "take it or leave it," Schlossberg remembered

"Gerry was incensed" when we left that meeting, Schlossberg said, but they accepted Tufts' offer -- the equivalent of about $415,000 in today's dollars. "Despite the fact that things were going great, he was causing a ruckus and I didn't know how to talk to him about it," Schlossberg recalled. "Maybe it was my fault. ..... I don't have a good way to deal with those kinds of problems."

No stickler for detail, Schlossberg had never carefully read the corporate documents drawn up when the firm was founded. But he did so now. "I realized that Cassidy could fire me, at least technically." Gerry and Loretta could outvote him two-to-one on the board of the company. He consulted a lawyer friend, seeking advice. The lawyer suggested he make a strong effort to enlarge the business and increase its revenues, so there would be more to divide if this marriage collapsed.

With that in mind, Schlossberg persuaded Cassidy that they should offer a job to James P. Fabiani, the then-34-year-old principal aide to Rep. Silvio Conte (R-Mass.). Schlossberg hoped that adding a third person would create a buffer between the partners. He also thought it would be good to add a Republican to the firm.

Fabiani's tenure began gloriously with a reception in the Capitol hosted by Conte. Schlossberg-Cassidy paid for the bash, but Conte greeted virtually all the 500 or so guests in a receiving line that included Schlossberg, Cassidy and their new hire. Cassidy recalled being amazed by the event, which of course was great PR for their firm: "I was going up [to the Hill] to something that I thought would be a couple of dozen people. It was in one of those rooms in the Rayburn Building, and it was just totally filled. ..... And Sil [Conte] stood in the reception line for an hour just saying hello to people."

Several months later, still trying to grow the business, Schlossberg persuaded Cassidy and Fabiani to offer a job to Frank Godfrey, executive assistant to House Speaker Tip O'Neill. Godfrey was just 27, a bear of a man, widely beloved, including by many members of the House. One of his jobs for O'Neill was doing favors for Democratic members, particularly Massachusetts congressmen. When Godfrey was hired, O'Neill also gave a big reception on the Hill, another free advertisement for Schlossberg-Cassidy.

By the time Fabiani started work in July 1982, he could see the tensions that were developing between Cassidy and Schlossberg. "Gerry was the hard charger," Fabiani said, "and Ken was just a very different, more reflective, creative person [who] had more of a philosophical approach to clients." Schlossberg acted more like the boss, but "Gerry was emerging. ..... My observation was of Ken not liking what the firm was becoming, therefore doing a lot less, removing himself, not showing up for days."

This was Cassidy's perception as well. "All I wanted him to do was to decide whether he was in the business or out of the business, and work as hard as I was working," he recalled recently. Revenues were up, but spirits were down. After nine years, after establishing a whole new way to make money in Washington, Schlossberg-Cassidy was heading for rough water.

Schlossberg disputes the suggestion that he was a slacker. " I was giving up a highly visible, important job [as staff director of McGovern's nutrition committee] paying the highest staff salary in the Senate to try my luck at independent fortune. You think I would take such a decision lightly? That I would not, in my own way, put my heart and soul into the new venture?"

Fabiani's arrival at the L'Enfant Plaza office changed the chemistry of the enterprise. "I'm an organizer," Fabiani said, recalling his first days at work. "I wasn't in the top quarter of my class at Harvard or anything like that ..... but when it comes to practically structuring and executing something, I get the job done. ..... So at one point I went out and bought one of these big wipe-off boards. We had a very small conference room. I put it up on the wall. I put the names of the clients down one side, and across the top I put all of the steps that we needed to accomplish, and at what time points they needed to be accomplished, and then we had the grid, the matrix."

Fabiani in fact did go to Harvard after graduating from Phillips Andover Academy, an elite Massachusetts prep school. He'd later worked as a dean at Deerfield Academy, founded in 1797. Conte brought him to Washington to work on the staff of the House Appropriations Committee. A liberal Massachusetts Republican, Conte was a close friend of O'Neill's. A small and unprepossessing man, Fabiani looks like an accountant. His father was Dante Fabiani, a successful first generation Italian American who rose from humble origins (his father had been a gardener) to become CEO of the Crane Co., a big engineering firm.

In later years, the firm's "matrix meetings" became legendary; this was the very first one. "The three of us sat and had this meeting of filling in the boxes and setting strategies," Fabiani recalled.

[Photo]
Gerald Cassidy, right, and James Fabiani outside the offices of Cassidy & Associates in 1989. (Frank Johnston/TWP)

Fabiani remembers that "Ken got up about half way through the meeting and left, and never joined another meeting." (Schlossberg thinks he stayed on and Cassidy walked out.) Fabiani concluded that "to picture the whole thing wasn't Ken's style. To look at it and articulate it as 'These are all the tasks that we have to do to in my opinion to succeed,' that just threw Ken off."

Cassidy saw clients as a source of revenue; he always wanted "to land ten more," Fabiani said. But Cassidy was disinclined to get personally involved with the matrix: "Gerry said to himself, OK, I understand this can help us get the job done, but somebody else is going to do it. It's not my thing."

Fabiani thought he had hit on something useful, a way to be sure they were keeping tabs on their work and staying in touch with clients. Over time, his businesslike approach proved extremely effective.

With Fabiani's help, Schlossberg-Cassidy continued to grow despite the deteriorating relationship between the founders. The partners liked each other less now, but they both loved the money. Schlossberg bought a new house in Falls Church, then another, then a big place in Great Falls, with a tennis court. Cassidy bought a nice new home in McLean. The firm's revenues climbed toward $3 million dollars a year.

Washington Post research editor Alice Crites contributed to this report.

Monday: A leprechaun helps Schlossberg-Cassidy strike gold.

Key Related Materials

Documents / Newspaper Stories

Cassidy Responds to This Chapter

The Washington Post's Style of Gotcha Journalism

Today's instant access world is full of questionable headlines of celebrities and other sensational information that is passed off as legitimate news. You would think reputable news sources such as The Washington Post and its reporters would be immune from that trend. However, this morning, Lorettta and I personally experienced the slash and trash of gotcha journalism from none other than The Washington Post.

Today's article by Bob Kaiser showed a serious lapse in news judgment. He reported that Loretta and I allegedly made a callous decision not to have children purely based on his notion that we were solely focused on acquiring wealth. Let me tell you, we did not get much sleep after reading this online last night. We were both stunned to read this hurtful accusation from a source that clearly has a bias against our family.

If Bob Kaiser had asked me about this in the nearly three years of interviews I had with him, I would have told him that we, like many families across the country, were faced with a very private and personal decision early in our marriage. To suggest it was based on economics is just simply cruel. The painful fact is we could not have children on our own and made a difficult decision not to adopt.

Bob Kaiser should be ashamed of himself for reporting such a sensational falsehood. As I have shared with you, I was skeptical early on about his motives and intentions to write such an elaborate series on me and Cassidy & Associates. At the beginning of our countless number of interviews, we made a good faith agreement that Bob referred to as his "no surprises" rule. He repeatedly assured me that he would give me an opportunity to respond to any allegations or rumors that others might suggest to him.

Today, Bob Kaiser violated that rule and violated our trust.

Throughout this process we were reassured by Bob's strong reputation as a serious journalist, but his reporting today has put a big question mark next to that. I can only hope that this grossly unfair attack on my wife and me is not evidence of his further examination of my life.

-- Gerald Cassidy

Robert Kaiser on Cassidy's Response

In one of our interviews, I raised the issue with Cassidy of "your and Loretta's decision not to have children." I did not ask him specifically about the Schlossbergs' memories of that dinner. I regret that omission.

-- Robert Kaiser

About This Series | Chapters:

Photo Gallery

An overview of Gerald Cassidy's life and career.

Key Players

A "cast of characters" in the life and career of Gerald Cassidy.

Feedback

Share your thoughts about this project. Send us an e-mail, or post a comment beneath any chapter.

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



I'm puzzled by this series: While in many ways it shows Cassidy as greedy, there is nothing in it that could not be used as a sales brochure for Cassidy and Associates. The fact that an ad for Cassidy -- "read Gerry Cassidy's Diary" -- is currently running on the Post homepage, and looks exactly like this series, reinforces the impression that it is more like an advertorial than an indpedent investigative work. Why would the Post allow that impression to be created?
Further, as a former Hill staffer who occasionally dealt with (and mostly avoided) Cassidy lobbyists, so far it has not dealt with what I think is the most salient critique of Cassidy -- that they manage to get themselves paid for benefits and appropriations that their clients could easily obtain on their own, without a lobbyist. The whole series creates the impression, that "if you want something done in Washington, you better hire a good lobbyist, and Cassidy is the best there is." That's why it seems like a sales brochure.

Posted by: Mark Schmitt | March 9, 2007 01:27 AM

Mark, have you been reading this series? Maybe it started out softball, but a series that implies the guy hates kids and only loves money is an advertorial? If you do look at his blog, it's night and day different from the OPINION of the Post in the series.

I think he probably did a smart thing realizing the Post wasn't going to play nice and so he bought equal time to get his side of the story out there. If the Post implied that me and my wife hated babies, buying an ad is the least I'd do.

With a nod to Michael Steele, I will predict the next installment will reveal the Cassidy family's hatred for puppies.

Posted by: Martin | March 9, 2007 08:04 AM

in what chapter will he tell about Tom Delay and their attempt to purge the lobbyists of liberals................

Posted by: kennytal | March 9, 2007 08:12 AM

Hey Post --what's Cassidy's personal life have to do with this series? Why didn't you at least give him him the benefit of a comment? Shame on you. Lost enormous respect for the Post -- and Bob Kaiser - for this tabloid coverage.

Posted by: Foul! | March 9, 2007 08:32 AM

Mark, you gotta be kidding. Did you even read what Kaiser wrote today, that Cassidy hates kids and only loves money -- and doesn't allow him a response ... And you call that an advertorial? Gerry's ad and blog is night and day different from the OPINION and tabloid sensationalism of the Post in the piece. He's smart to make sure there is equal time and his side of the story out there rather than letting the post imply that he and his wife hate babies. Mark, the Post is wrong and you are off base. It would be comical if it weren't such a sad day for the Post.

Posted by: Craig R. | March 9, 2007 08:38 AM

I've been reading the Post for a long time. Always have been a fan of Kaiser's reporting. But today is shocking. I would call it a new low, but I've never seen Kaiser hit below the belt before. His first dabble in unfair reporting is quite a doozy. Kaiser -- get back to straight reporting. Leave personal life out of this.

Posted by: Post Reader | March 9, 2007 08:44 AM

I was Director of the G.D. Searle company washington office from 1990 to 1997. When President Clinton took office he had it in for the Drug Companies. PMA now called PhRMA was pretty sleepy back then not the power it is today. Our CEO was frustrated by an unresponsive PMA to the Clinton plan, which had been limited by then, but the part that survived was a great threat to the smaller drug companies like Searle, Warner Lambert, Lilly and Genetech.

We hired Cassidy& Co for something about 3 million dollars and they did a great job with a grass root pr campaign and strategy. But, I'll never forget, how Cassidy asked our CEO Dr. Sheldon Gilgore M.D. and me and a few other Searle executives to lunch after we had killed the rest of the bill. We thought it would be just a nice lunch to pat each other on the back. But, Cassidy made it a 90 minute hard core pitch for more money. It really turned us off. Later, we put together the team that passed the DAYPRO patent extension in 1996 and hired a number of great lobbying firms like Timmons and Company. We left Cassidy and Company out .Cassidy had just turned us off so much by the greed. Daypro passed and brought $500 of new revenue to Searle leading to the launch of Celebrex and the merger of Searle into Pfizer.

Kurt Furst, Navarre Beach FL

Posted by: Kurt Furst | March 9, 2007 08:45 AM

ha! I like your puppy line, Martin. I wish I had thought of that. But didn't, or doesn't, Michael Steele love puppies? Big difference.

Posted by: Craig R. | March 9, 2007 08:49 AM

Actually Craig, I was referring to how the press can dig so low sometimes -- to take an informative series into the gutter. What a warning signal for others.

Posted by: Martin | March 9, 2007 08:54 AM

Gotcha. Lunacy.

Posted by: Craig R. | March 9, 2007 08:56 AM

It also just occurred to me as I reread the story that this is why the public holds low opinions of the media. Not sure if reporters are down there with used car salesmen, but publishing is such a huge power, it should be considered part of the public trust. I just wish they would tell us where they draw the ethical lines.

Posted by: Craig R. | March 9, 2007 09:00 AM

I've been reading this series since it started. It's sparked lots of interesting thought and insight into how Washington works. Can't figure out why they went in a different direction today.

Posted by: Martin | March 9, 2007 09:03 AM

Think from now on they're going to talk about every lobbyist's family? Even politicians are allowed to have private lives. Rudy Giuliani's son hates him, but Giuliani told the press to stop covering it, and they did. I don't think it was a big stir in the washpost.

Posted by: Steve | March 9, 2007 09:12 AM

And a PAC was born within the consulting firm, what a proud moment(sigh), out with the old in with the new, new kind of "Democracy" that is. BTW, it was Jefferson that once said "those seeking profit, were they give total freedom, would not be the ones to trust to keep our government pure and our rights secure. Indeed, it is those seeking wealth who were the source of corruption." Gerry Cassidy said his goal in life was to financially secure, I guess his wish has come true.

Posted by: Rachael | March 9, 2007 09:14 AM

Is Pharma guy calling the lobbyist greedy? Hahahahahahahaha

We're to assume that these days you protect your patents without the aid of Washington lobbyists? Because let me get this straight: Cassidy delivers for you, wants to continue to serve you (and be compensated, the horror) and you're *outraged* he would what, cut into your exorbitant profits?

Excuse me a second. Hahahahahahahaha

OK, better now.

Posted by: Ex-PHRMA | March 9, 2007 09:24 AM

I had high hopes for this series telling an interesting and insightful story of the growth of lobbying. Unfortunately, the Post has decided to go the way of tabloid journalism. Shame on you.

Posted by: Disappointed | March 9, 2007 09:25 AM

Martin, You seem to quite keen on all this K Street business-
Why is it that you love lobbying so much?

Posted by: swtexas | March 9, 2007 09:31 AM

This is a good series. Very enlightening and illuminating and the comments about Mr. Kaiser are WAY out of line. But I understand some of the criticisms, and I'll agree with just one: I think this installment makes too much of one version of one conversation from 30 years ago. How do we know that wasn't a joke? Maybe Sophia Schlossberg misinterpreted it? Not that it's an unfair conclusion to draw based on what she may have thought, but I wonder how many quotes telling other stories Mr. Kaiser heard but decided to leave out.

Posted by: Post Reader 2 | March 9, 2007 09:31 AM


To mr. ex pharma, he did not protect Searle's profit's we were actually losing money in the early 1990's.

Yes Mr. Cassidy is greedy and so is the drug companies, when it got to be
to much for me in 2000 I walked away and went to work for Governor John Kitzhaber M.D. in 2001 we passed the first evidence based prescription drug evaluation process for medicaid. Since 2007 20 states have adopted that approach. Look up the AARP reports November 2003 cover story.

A litle greed is good to much is dangerous and ultimitly unprofitable. The Drug Companies are now paying for their actions in the late 1990's when they learned they could build billion dollar brands with tv advertising. Not with a better drug. Pfizer, Merck and the lot have not seen a increase in their share price in 6 years.

kurt furst, navarre beach fl


Posted by: Kurt Furst | March 9, 2007 09:51 AM

We have been holding our comments until the end of this series, but after the shot was made about no children we could no longer wait. We, unfortunaly could not have children ourselves. I find it very irresponsible for Mr. Kaiser to use this kind of attack on a family with out even being there. I know from personal experience that this is a very emotional and stressful subject. People say and do things when faced with not having children different ways. Who is to say what is right or wrong in there decsion on how there family life should be lived. Mr. Kaiser shame on you for the way you have turned this story of a lifes journey into personal attacks on the decisions between a Husband and wife.

Posted by: Forrest & Jenny | March 9, 2007 09:59 AM

SW Texas, I don't love lobbying. I guess I'm just resigned to accepting it as the way the system works.

Posted by: Martin | March 9, 2007 10:07 AM

Today's instant access world is full of questionable headlines of celebrities and other sensational information that is passed off as legitimate news. You would think reputable news sources such as The Washington Post and its reporters would be immune from that trend. However, this morning, Lorettta and I personally experienced the slash and trash of gotcha journalism from none other than The Washington Post.

Today's article by Bob Kaiser showed a serious lapse in news judgment. He reported that Loretta and I allegedly made a callous decision not to have children purely based on his notion that we were solely focused on acquiring wealth. Let me tell you, we did not get much sleep after reading this online last night. We were both stunned to read this hurtful accusation from a source that clearly has a bias against our family.

If Bob Kaiser had asked me about this in the nearly three years of interviews I had with him, I would have told him that we, like many families across the country, were faced with a very private and personal decision early in our marriage. To suggest it was based on economics is just simply cruel. The painful fact is we could not have children on our own and made a difficult decision not to adopt.

Bob Kaiser should be ashamed of himself for reporting such a sensational falsehood. As I have shared with you, I was skeptical early on about his motives and intentions to write such an elaborate series on me and Cassidy & Associates. At the beginning of our countless number of interviews, we made a good faith agreement that Bob referred to as his "no surprises" rule. He repeatedly assured me that he would give me an opportunity to respond to any allegations or rumors that others might suggest to him.

Today, Bob Kaiser violated that rule and violated our trust.

Throughout this process we were reassured by Bob's strong reputation as a serious journalist, but his reporting today has put a big question mark next to that. I can only hope that this grossly unfair attack on my wife and me is not evidence of his further examination of my life.

*************

Kaiser Responds:

In one of our interviews, I raised the issue with Cassidy of "your and Loretta's decision not to have children." I did not ask him specifically about the Schlossbergs' memories of that dinner. I regret that omission.

-- Robert Kaiser

Posted by: Gerry Cassidy | March 9, 2007 10:09 AM

A lot worse things than lobbying.

Posted by: SW Texas | March 9, 2007 10:11 AM

I agree with many of the comments, that this story is dropping below the belt and is only giving us one person's opinion. Regarding the comments of the Cassidy's consciously deciding not to have children because it would get in the way of their dream of wealth.
The woman making this comment is an immigrant from Russia and newly married. Her goal would be to have babies and grossly misinterpret an American couple that is focused, disciplined and risking everything to make their dreams come true. This is there big chance after so much hardship from childhood. I wish I had the courage to risk it all. There are several Mr. and Mrs. Cassidy and there are thousands of us paid employees out there. And I don't have children!

Posted by: Dutchess of Data | March 9, 2007 10:12 AM

SW Texas, you're confusing me. Are you for or against lobbying. You seem to be having it both ways.

Posted by: Martin | March 9, 2007 10:32 AM

I think it is well-written, fascinating, and fair. It also proves the worthlessness of eye-witness testimony and memory.

Posted by: DC on the Hill | March 9, 2007 10:40 AM

I'm surprised the Post even printed Cassidy's response. Normally, if they're wrong about a story, however damaging to someone's reputation, they merely forget it - and seldom correct it. As the WP ombudsman said 20 years ago about such a story, "when it was published, it was news but it wasn't true. Now it isn't true, but now that isn't news." I think the blogs have forced the major media to clean up their act; but just a little.

Posted by: Chris | March 9, 2007 10:55 AM

Fair? It had been until today.

Posted by: Post Reader 3 | March 9, 2007 10:57 AM

I agree, Really low blow today, Post...

Posted by: Dwight | March 9, 2007 11:01 AM

I belong to the Society of Professional Journalists - I've been a member for more than 20 years. SPJ members agree to abide by a Code of Ethics (see http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp). I would encourage Mr. Kaiser to review them.

Posted by: SPJ Member | March 9, 2007 11:21 AM

Sorry - Bad link. try this. http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp or go to www.spj.org and click on Ethics on the lefthand menu.

Posted by: SPJ MEmber | March 9, 2007 11:23 AM

If Cassidy hates children so much, why does he host an elaborate Christmas Party each year for employees to bring their children. Gifts are provided for each child under 10. He also contributes heavily to the orphan children of DC at Christmas. He goes out of his way to support little ones who are needy. That was an untrue picture of him and his wife. The Post should really be ashamed.

Posted by: Been There | March 9, 2007 11:23 AM

In one of our interviews, I raised the issue with Cassidy of "your and Loretta's decision not to have children." I did not ask him specifically about the Schlossbergs' memories of that dinner. I regret that omission.

-- Robert Kaiser

Editor's Note: Cassidy's response is now included above in the text of the chapter.

Posted by: washingtonpost.com Editors | March 9, 2007 11:29 AM

I did not make the 10:11 am entry- someone's trying to be cute making a statement in my name. Yes I am against lobbying. Because it obviously DOES NOT work. Maybe it does for Wall Street and for Martin! But it is obviously at the crux of why the people have lost control of our democracy-

Posted by: swtexas | March 9, 2007 11:46 AM

How is exposing Cassidy's desire to "not be distracted" by having children, wanting to spend his time concentrating on earning bucketloads of money not newsworthy, especially if it was a calculated decision. I'm sorry to say, but in the battle of Schlossbergs memory versus Cassidy's memory, the score is 3-0 Schlossberg. His version of events has repeatedly been confirmed by both people and supporting documents. I don't think many of you understand the ego Cassidy has and his inability to recall the past as it was, not how he rewrote it. No man is going to admit publicly that he didn't want to have kids. He knows the reaction that brings. So of course he's going to deny it and try to draw sympathy. Even if the truth was that they were unable to have children, if he told his best friend at the time that they just decided not to, that's no one's fault but his own for creating a callous image. Give me a break people. Like Really.

Posted by: Grace | March 9, 2007 12:08 PM

Hooo boy Gracie! Either you're really extrapolating/making up facts, or you've got some inside information that's not available in the Kaiser article posted here. Care to share your source(s) for your wealth of insight and interpretation?

Posted by: Bobby | March 9, 2007 12:31 PM

Data chick what are you implying by mentioning the immigrant wife?? Is it your position that because she was an immigrant her only purpose in life was to have loads of American babies...and curse shame on "ambitious" "hard-working" lobbyist wives who wouldn't??

Posted by: WHAT!! | March 9, 2007 12:35 PM

No inside information. If you have been reading the story, you can find the information yourself. IE: Schlossbergs memory of Cassidy being fired by McGovern,which Cassidy denied but documents prove. Cassidy's idea of what the mission of the business was vs. Schlossbergs, again, documents backing up Schlossberg. Cassidy taking credit for getting the first phone call and engineering the Larry Foods deal that started the business, though both Schlossberg and Chip Goodman of Larry Foods say thats just not true. It's all in black and white if you're reading.

Posted by: Grace | March 9, 2007 12:51 PM

Grace, OF COURSE its 3-0 to Schlossberg, OF COURSE it is 3-0 to the underdog, OF COURSE the WPO can find people willing to confirm the underdog. That's how American tabloid journalism works. Just look at the way the WPO describes their personal features for crying out loud. They want you to fall in love with the poor guy who is so put upon and hate the hard charger!Its rampant in the news...Find a way to breakdown the achievers so they don't get to full of themselves. Writing that there was a legitimate split in business vision wouldn't be news, won't sell the paper (or this new Web site) But turn into a melodrama with good against evil then by God we're gonna sell some newspapers!

I can't wait to see how they spin the part about Gerry being demanding in the business world and expecting everyone to work as hard as he did to make it. Then I am sure the "uninvited alumni" will come out in droves and whine about the expecation that they put in a honest day's work and be accountable for their actions. Maybe "Cassidy creates indentured servant business environment for personal gain"

It's all about selling the paper, not balanced education of the public

Posted by: Alex L | March 9, 2007 01:05 PM

I knew Gerry and Loretta for a long time. I had two daughters. I wondered why they didn't have children. I assumed that it was because of physical reasons. Since it was such a personal matter, I never asked Gerry about it directly and was, if anything, very sympathetic. I always tried to be their friend. After Sophia and I married, I adopted Sophhia's teenage son and then we had Ilyana. So when Gerry and Loretta volunteered that they had decided not to have children because it didn't fit into their plans and Loretta volunteered that they had stuck to that decision despite great pressure from their families, I was shocked.

Posted by: Ken Schlossberg | March 9, 2007 01:14 PM

To: What

It's Duchess not Data Chic

I am only responding to the story, I don't know any of the parties. Gerry's wife was working hard to support the business. Life for women in Russia in 1977 seemed hopeless. The story doesn't paint a picture of Sophia doing any work with the business but concentrating on building a family. And also warning Gerry that life is shallow with money. Where does she get that righteous philosophy? BTW she did have a baby one year after marriage.

Posted by: Duchess of Data | March 9, 2007 01:22 PM

Ok, now I get it a couple makes a decision that everyone including Mr. Schlossberg agree is very personal and rightfully no one breaches the personal boundry at the time or since to fully understand the facts (even though it is none of their business) and the WPO extrapolates that (with people all to willing to "confirm")to

Money Hungry Couple Forsakes Children in Their Puruit of Wealth.

Gosh, with freedom of expression like this I should have become a journalist. What was that ethics link again?

Sell those papers boys!

Posted by: Alex L | March 9, 2007 01:29 PM

Bob:

So what did Gerry have to say to your quesry about Loretta and him not having children? It is imperative you come clean if you want us readers to take this series seriously!

Posted by: fairnessrules | March 9, 2007 01:32 PM

I agree with the above. Bob -- perhaps make another appearance in the comment section? might clear it up.

Posted by: Fairness Really Does Rule | March 9, 2007 02:10 PM

As a Cassidy alumnus, but more importantly, as someone who along with my wife, Mary, spent personal time with Loretta and Gerry in the early years, I find it - even in a painstakingly crafted and comprehensive account of an intriguing life - nearly reckless that the Schlossberg's would state and Mr. Kaiser would print that the Cassidy's chose the pursuit of money over having children. In fact, they couldn't have children. And when I was interviewed by Mr. Kaiser and this topic was mentioned, he may recall that I responded by saying 'that it was a good thing that my wife, Mary, was not sitting here because she might reach across the table and slap you' on Loretta's behalf. For two women with Italian heritage, children and family were at the very core of their souls. We were blessed to go on to raise six children. I also know that the Cassidy's have changed the lives of so many children - abandoned, orphaned and unwanted - with a generosity of heart that no one will ever know about. Mr. Kaiser has a reputation for fairness and circumspection. On this one, it was an uncalled for decision to include their comment.

Posted by: Jim Collins, Boston | March 9, 2007 02:17 PM

Anybody still think this series is a PR campaign for Cassidy's company? "Hates Kids, Loves Money". Unless you believe the Post intentionally "allowed" Kaiser to go over the line in order to garner sympathy for Cassidy.

Until most of the discussion has been about the appropriateness (or lack thereof) or the lobbying profession. Now it's about the Post supposedly turning into a tabloid.

Posted by: Scott | March 9, 2007 02:33 PM

Good lord Schlossberg -- you were "shocked" that the Cassidys didn't want kids, for whatever reason? The height of arrogance! It's none of your business. I'm a dad, and I love it, and I have friends who aren't now, and may never be, on the baby track. But so what? I'd never pass judgment on that. It's such a personal decision. You put the Cassidys into your 1920s view of the world. Shame on you! And so sad that Kaiser took that warped sensibility and turned it into fact. It's nothing worthy denying -- because it's nothing worth printing.

Posted by: A Proud Dad | March 9, 2007 02:34 PM

I'm dying to know how many of these "commenters" have been or are on the Cassidy payroll. "waah, waah, waah. Don't you say Cassidy chose money over family. It's so low." The guy agreed to participate in an expose on his life and family.

Posted by: Da Silva | March 9, 2007 02:43 PM

Weeeeee!!! Now we've got some fireworks. I'm not sure why people always feel this need to create Hero's and Villians. Aren't we all just a little bit of both. I've been reading this series(as well as the comments)and up until now didn't feel a need to join the fray. But, I felt the need to clear up one thing. Because it just made me laugh so hard. The picture that "Dutchess" painted of Sophia Schlossberg as some destitute Russian Mail order bride, though entertaining and fun to play with, just couldn't be further from reality. She was, in fact, a Political Refugee, highly educated, working as a Professor in Moscow. She came to this country for nothing other than an opportunity to work, and did so, as a professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University(among others). She was and is fiercely independant, and never worked at "Schlossberg Cassidy" simply because she was a teacher, and not a secretary. She had no intentions of marrying and having a child, but like many people, she fell in love, and realizing that she was nearly forty, decided if she was going to have a child, she probably needed to do it while she still could. Not because she was "in a rush to have American babies" though I really do think thats great stuff! I know all of this, of course, because I am the aforementioned "American Baby:)"

Posted by: American Baby | March 9, 2007 04:20 PM

I have read with interest Robert G. Kaiser's unfolding biography of Gerry Cassidy and found it fascinating and largely convincing.

But with regard to the relationship of Cassidy and Schlossberg as discussed in Chapter 4, I find Kaiser's account seriously incomplete. I had never heard of Schlossberg or Cassidy when I was asked by a member of the faculty of the Boston University School of Medicine to attend a public hearing on the provision of a grant by the Department of Agriculture to establish a USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University. To show the flag for my colleague I agreed to attend the hearing.

At the hearing I learned that the project was to be directed by noted nutritionist Jean Mayer whom I had come to know quite well when he had invited me to assist him at President Richard Nixon's White House Conference on Nutrition. I was then at the University of Texas.

Mayer impressed me as a brilliant man, skilled in administration. By the end of the conference I held him in exceedingly high regard.

When I heard his presentation of the USDA project and after Gerry Cassidy spoke on how the project would be funded, I turned to my colleague and said, "I can't oppose this project. It makes excellent sense. It is a worthy cause. Jean Mayer is better qualified to carry it out than we are." I told him I would never be a dog in a manger.

Later in the meeting when public comment was solicited, I rose to commend the project and express my hope that it would be funded. Mr. Schlossberg was nowhere to be seen.

After the meeting, Gerry Cassidy came up to me and thanked me for my remarks. He mentioned that he had heard that I would speak in opposition and was very pleased that I had looked favorably on the project. I found Cassidy earnest, fair and competent, and I thought this man might have something to offer Boston University.

Sometime later I received a call from Cassidy's office asking me if I would testify once again on behalf of Tufts in a proposal to build a facility for the Fletcher School of Diplomacy. He explained the project would also involve a similar grant to provide a facility for an international relations program at Georgetown University. I agreed that I would and I brushed up on the two institutions. Later I appeared in Washington before the committee chaired by Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts, whom I knew quite well. A representative of Senator Magnussen was also present at the hearing. When I was asked to testify I reviewed the outstanding quality of the programs offered by Tufts and Georgetown in international relations and diplomacy. I pointed out that they were by far the two most distinguished programs in this area in the United States with many graduates who had become ambassadors or distinguished themselves in other ways in international affairs.

Senator Magnussen's representative challenged me on this issue and said that there should be a competition for a project of this sort. I asked, "Who would compete? You can look in the state of Washington, Texas or Massachusetts or anywhere else in the United States and you won't find two programs as distinguished in diplomacy as those at Tufts and Georgetown." I insisted that they were singularly best qualified. When it came to competition, I suggested that would come later in the selection of architects and contractors to build the structures to be financed by the grants under consideration. I closed by saying that introducing competition, not with regard to construction of the buildings, but with regard to the academic programs themselves was like mixing ice cream and spinach: it doesn't do anything for the spinach, but it ruins the ice cream.

Senator Brooke and most of the people in the hearing room laughed, and that was the end of the matter.

Once again Mr. Schlossberg was not present.

Later, after seeing the success of the Schlossberg/Cassidy firm in securing grants for Tufts and Georgetown, I decided to close Boston University's Washington office and hire Schlossberg/Cassidy as our lobbyist.

Later, when the partners went their separate ways, each solicited Boston University's business. I had to make a decision regarding which partner was the more effective. I had to rely on my experience. I liked both partners. Schlossberg was an attractive young man who had taken me to dinner with his wife, a Russian émigré. I enjoyed our conversations which involved philosophy and literature. But I also got the feeling that Schlossberg was not so energetic as Cassidy and lacked follow-through. I decided Cassidy was both the brains and the dynamism behind the success of the firm. It was he, not Schlossberg, who had engaged me in service for Tufts and Georgetown. And I concluded that he would do more good for Boston University than Schlossberg.

The impression Mr. Kaiser leaves that somehow Schlossberg was so important in the projects with Tufts violates everything I experienced at first-hand in that issue. It was his absence that prompted me to go with Cassidy.

-- John Silber, President Emeritus, Boston University

Posted by: John Silber | March 9, 2007 04:22 PM

I was on the Cassidy payroll from 1987 until 1994. This has been a fascinating story to read. But what does it matter to the lobbying business whether Gerry and Loretta Cassidy had children? I see the point that Gerry was a demanding boss - no news there. But to imply that Gerry thought that people who had children were less effective employees is ludicrous. Gerry Cassidy is a lot of things (aren't we all?), but this very private and personal decision that he and his wife made (or rather, had made for them) is so irrelevent to the story. And is it a crime for Gerry to have a cadre of loyal employees - past and present? It was hard work much of the time, but working for Gerry taught me so much about people, politics, business, and corporate dynamics. And knowing that he was married to a warm, wonderful woman like Loretta made me realize that there was a lot of goodness in this man. So many of us benefitted from decisions he made with his employees in mind. I benefitted from so much given to me by the Cassidys in an anonymous manner.

I am grateful for my association with Mr. and Mrs. Cassidy, and I hope that they know there are many of us out here who are loyal to them.

Posted by: ciciinfla | March 9, 2007 04:24 PM

As to the decision by the Cassidys not to have children, a truly personal matter, has anyone posting in this forum considered that Mr. Cassidy simply wanted to shield Mrs. Cassidy from any discussion of the matter? Rather than point fingers at possible infertility (back then all too often blamed on the wife) it was better to term it a personal decision. That way no-one was to blame, and control was retained.

Posted by: Medic | March 9, 2007 04:39 PM

All of these warm and fuzzy feelings for G.C. are interesting, at least as they relate to him as a person. THe comparison between Mr. Cassidy and Citizen Kane is that Citizen Kane pretended to be the defender of the nations family values while keeping a mistress and a love nest on the side. Is this going to be part of the Cassidy story too? Since everyone seems to want to portray him as such a virtous man. Newt Gingrich just announced that he was having an affair while leading the charge for Clinton's impeachment. So I ask, does this carefully created image of Citizen Cassidy really hold true.

Posted by: Inside K. Street | March 9, 2007 05:15 PM

The psychology of people is interesting. The real issue here, the one that needs to be remembered, is that somewhere, in this new "consulting" endeavor, the People's Democracy had been horribly distorted, distorted beyond recognition.

With respect to Mr. Silber, I believe he continues to make the point that we all can see unfolding. Gerry Cassidy was the go getter for the money, no matter who it came from. I found myself almost smelling the nasty cigar smell and seeing the ashes as they fall on the carpet from the Ocean Spray executive as Schlossberg describes it.

P.S. to Alex, Grace's point should be noted by people searching for credibility in this story. So far, Schlossberg's recollections can be verified, verifed to the contrary of Cassidy.

Posted by: Rachael | March 9, 2007 05:34 PM

Fascinating comment by John Silber above. Really good context and history. Perhaps Mr. Kaiser can incorporate more of Silber's recollection and facts into his reporting? Might be helpful for the full picture. Just a thought.

Posted by: Hiyo | March 9, 2007 05:49 PM

I'm afraid that many of the dogs who sleep together feel the need to defend one another as well. Heaven forbid the cozy kingdome they have built on corruption should come crumbling down, and all of them exposed. I wonder how much money Mr.Silber and Mr.Cassidy have made over the years together. Enough to write history in a much more favorable light perhaps?

Posted by: Suspicious | March 9, 2007 05:57 PM

Can we please get back to the story...............The rise of modern lobbying. Not this soap opera story of "The Bold and Betrayed"

Posted by: Just outside of K Street | March 9, 2007 06:12 PM

Well it will be interesting to see if this series will have any impact on his business.

Posted by: Mary | March 9, 2007 07:20 PM


The only thing that has grown faster than the income of Washinton lobbyists is their ego and sense of self importance. Mr. Cassidy is so injured by Kaiser's reference to he and his wife's decision not to have chilren. Give me a break Cassidy, your sitting on $125 million send Don Imus a million for his Kid's with cancer ranch in New Mexico or a million to the Semper Fi fund. If you do maybe your huge ego will feel a little better poor boy.

Kurt Furst, Navarre Beach, FL

Posted by: Kurt Furst | March 9, 2007 07:42 PM

I think Kaiser has done an outstanding job of both reporting and writing. The to-do over the decision/non-decision about having children is, in my view, irrelevant. If I come to the conclusion that Mr. Cassidy was inordinately greedy it will take a geat deal more than that to convince me. For instance the recollection by one person that Cassidy wanted clients, more cleints and yet more clients looks to me like a tipoff. Over the years I woked for a number of DC firms, mostly PR but a couple of lobbying outfits although, none near the major calibre of Cassidy. In ALL of them the pressure for new business was immense and unrelenting. That pressure covered everyone like a fog. Once a client had been landed the interest in serving it effecively dropped sharply. Account executives were expected to handle many more clients than they could possibly service effectively. And the pressure to list billable hours in excess of the truth was equally great. It will be interesting to me, as the series progresses, whether these kinds of symptoms emerge in the world of Gerald Cassidy.

Posted by: david Jewell-Philadelphia | March 9, 2007 07:59 PM

Even allowing for the fading power of memory in our senior years, John Silber's recollection of what I did or didn't do for him and Boston University belongs in the Scooter Libby Hall of Fame. And his decision to stay with Gerry Cassidy after I decided to end our relationship had nothing to do with my absence and everything to do with his and my ethics.
First, I have no recollection of what Silber says was his first encounter with Schlossberg-Cassidy and Associates; a briefing of the academic community of Boston on the proposed Nutrition Center at Tufts where he encountered Gerry Cassidy. I take him at his word about what happened there.
Second, he recounts his participation in the Senate hearing on the Fletcher School project held by Senator Brooke and finishes by stating categorically: "Once again, Mr. Schlossberg was not present." As a once famous Washington sportscaster, Warner Wolf, used to say, "Let's go the videotape." Not only was I present with the Dean of the Fletcher School, Ed Gullion, but, in a rarity, I actually testified on behalf of the project. The printed record of the hearing, for anybody who would care to look it up, documents that I testified. Not only did I testify but I testified under oath because the matter was so contentions. If the hearing record is insufficient documentation for Dr. Silber who was present and watching, then he could telephone Terry Lerhman who was the Majority Counsel or Gar Kaganovich who was the Minority Counsel. I had a spirited exchange with both of them after the hearing concluded. Or he could give Father Bill George, the Georgetown lobbyist a call, and ask him. Furthermore, to the best of my knowledge, Senator Brooke invited Silber directly and we had no knowledge whatsoever in advance of his appearance. The tale he recounts of our getting in touch with him to support the project is a figment of his imagination.
Third, he conveniently forgets that when he first visited our office in Washington, the meeting took place in my office. Who knows? Maybe it took place in my office but I wasn't there. Between his and Gerry's stories, it seems that I was almost never there! Where was I? Did I have another life? A second wife? A getaway in Rio de Janeiro? It was an awfully nice office for whoever was using it while I was away so much. As I recall, I hadn't even started to play golf yet which would have been a really good reason not to be there.
Fourth, after Silber came to our office we went to his in Boston. That's we, Gerry and I, and got down to brass tacks, or, putting it more concretely, the Commonwealth Armory. Silber said it was the most valuable piece of property that BU didn't own in the middle of its long campus and they had been trying to get it for thirty years. He said it was the property of the Massachusetts National Guard and the Commander in charge was a hard-headed Armenian who wouldn't move out. I asked if we could meet him. Silber picked up the phone and arranged for us to walk over on the spot. We met and the Commander said that actually the location on the Avenue was a problem because in an emergency it was almost impossible to get out of there. He said he would love to have three armories in a circle around the city but he didn't have the money for it. We went back to Silber and I said I thought we might be able to pull this off. When we got back to Washington, I called in Frank Godfrey. Godfrey knew the Chairman and Chief of Staff of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funded armories. In less than a year, we had an appropriation of $12 million for three new armories in Massachusetts and the Guard was ready to move. But that was only half the battle. The property now fell under the state's surplus property disposal act. We needed the legislature and the Governor to agree to sell the property to BU at a minimal amount for educational purposes. Silber and I, in a meeting arranged by Kevin Harrington, a former state Senate President, met with the current Senate President, William Bulger, in his ornate, paneled office. We made our pitch. He listened to Silber intently. When I started to talk he interrupted me, smiling, and said, "That's okay, Counselor, I think Dr. Silber and I doing ok on our own." We walked out with Bulger's support. Now we had to get the Governor, Ed King. I met with the Governor and his chief aide on surplus property disposal in the Governor's office. The aide made his pitch, saying that the property was worth $20 million. I made mine, saying that $20 million was nuts, that BU wasn't going to build hi-rise condos, and they shouldn't pay more than a million. The Governor looked at me, then his aide, and said, "You know, I think he's right. They should get it for a million." The deal was done, except for the details, and I later spent two days working out of Silber's office coordinating the details with the BU lawyers and the staff in the legislature. Or, who knows, maybe this is all a figment of my imagination. Anyway, the one million dollar deal was done at the stroke of midnight during the last day of the session after I had returned to Washington.
Fifth, Silber also wanted funding for a science center. Silber and I flew down to Dallas-Fort Worth to meet with Majority Leader Jim Wright and his chief fundraiser in the fundraiser's office. We brought a bunch of campaign contributions from the BU Trustees. We followed that meeting up with a meeting with Wright in his Majority Leader's office in the Capitol. Wright said we needed to talk directly with the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, William Natcher and he walked us over to Natcher's office. We had a lovely meeting with Natcher and Natcher said we should talk to the chairman of the education authorizing committee, and he escorted us over there where we had another lovely meeting. There's a lot more I could say about what I did on this project which became incredibly complicated but, who knows, maybe I was absent on all of that too.
Sixth, Silber accurately recalls that my wife and I took him and his lovely wife out to dinner in Boston. It was a nice evening. He got into a spirited debate with Sophia over Dostoyevsky. That was a mistake. Sophia was reading Dostoyevsky while she was still in diapers. Apparently, Silber has forgotten that he invited Sophia and I to a gala dinner at BU honoring the President of Israel; Sophia sat next to the President's Military Advisor who told her that if a million Russian Jews immigrated to Israel it was over for the Arabs. I had a lovely conversation with the Chairman of the BU Board of Trustees, Arthur Metcalf, a diminutive, bewhiskered fellow who looked like a Scot but was actually Jewish, owned a successful electronics company across the Charles and loved pretty girls and planes. Silber told me that Metcalf told him that if Silber never did another thing for BU, getting the Armory made his tenure as President of the university. Silber later invited me to meet with Metcalf and his top executives at their private club on Commonwealth Avenue to talk about representing Metcalf's company on tax legislation in Puerto Rico.
By the way, at some point, Silber also asked me if I had any interest taking the job as Dean of the BU School of Communications (Gerry was not amused) and he also asked me I'd like to go in with him on buying a house on the West Bank in Israel.
In the months leading up to my decision to end my partnership with Gerry, I got a call from Gerry. He said Silber wanted to talk to me about our company pension fund and investing our pension fund money in a venture that he was going to invest in for BU. I called Silber. He told me the venture was a start-up biotech company. I asked him to send me some more information. He did. I called him back and said that I didn't think that kind of high-risk venture was an appropriate investment for our pension fund money. He was not pleased. During the months that I negotiated my buy-out deal with Gerry, I didn't speak to any clients to solicit their business, including Silber and BU. He called me unsolicited to tell me he was sticking with Gerry. Subsequently, I understand that Gerry did invest in Silber's venture or ventures, one of them, Seragen, almost destroying BU's endowment. Before we signed Silber as client originally, I called Jean Mayer to ask if he was okay with it. He said he was but that I should be very careful. Silber was a complicated and mercurial character. He was right.

Posted by: Ken Schlossberg, Absent | March 9, 2007 09:03 PM

Here here to Jewell's commentary! You better believe that Cassidy would rather have everyone focusing on the to have or not to have a baby topic. Because the real issue, the change in the way lobbying once worked, has just happened within this chapter and it was all due to Cassidy. Cassidy saw the easy way to gain access to elected officials was not through the power of an intelligent discussion based on the merit of the project, but through the power of the purse, i.e. the PAC. His intention was never to follow the mission statement, only to be a lobbyist, getting fat on the taxpayers dime, yours and mine fellow citizens.

Posted by: Rachael | March 9, 2007 09:28 PM

there was very little humanity in d.c. when i lived there, and there is apparently even less today. it seems that mr. schlossberg has deep, serious feelings about this whole story, and that is certainly understandable. but this relationship, as stated in the story, has been over for more than twenty years. so much passion about something so far in the past - it sounds like a love affair gone bad.

as someone said yesterday, i need to go take a shower.

Posted by: ciciinfla | March 9, 2007 10:48 PM

I can't help but notice the connections in the story line to Mass. politics, Bill Bulger, Dr. Sibler and Mr. Schlossberg and Mr. Cassidy. Here's a story about my experience in Mass. politics. I was a newly minted political operative from Alabama in 1983 when I moved to D.C. and got a job with E. Bruce Harrison and Co. I had been fire tested in Alabama politics, but still was fairly green with a deep southern drawl.

My first assignment was to go to Boston and work on legislation which would ban PVC pipe in construction. Our client was the plastics industry and the advocates of PVC pipe ban were a combination of Firefighter Unions and the Steel Conduit Industry which was losing huge market share to PVC pipe.

We hired a well known Irish lobbyist, but after returning to D.C. we learned the bill died in committee due to the legislative calender. We sent a very nice letter to our Irish lobbyist with a check for $5,000. A $5,000 check for lunch we thought was significant compensation.

Later in the week I got a call from a Mass. State Senator who told me it was urgent that I come to Boston, because he was "unhappy with how this bill was handled and was going to keep the bill alive".

I flew up to Boston on the shuttle took a cab directly to the state capitol. Even though I had never been to the capitol building. As I walked up to the doors of the Senate Chamber, a uniformed state capitol officer, asked if I was Mr. Furst. I said yes. The State Senator who had called me came out looked me straight in the eye and said he was not pleased with how the PVC pipe issue had been handled and he was going to be re-introducing the bill the next day and we should expect committee hearings very soon.

I said can you give me 24 hours. He said he would. I went directly to the Airport took the shuttle to D.C. we cut a check for $25,000 to our Irish Lobbyist and mailed it that afternoon.

The bill died three weeks later without a hearing.

Mr. Cassidy and Mr. Schlossberg brought a hardball style to Washington learned in the Mass. political world. Each took a different path when the lobbying world in Washington developed and money and influence became more important than
policy and process. So many of us who have been lobbyist have made the same decison, who is right, who is wrong?

Kurt Furst, Navarre Beach FL

Posted by: Kurt Furst | March 9, 2007 11:42 PM

Amazingly brilliant. Use State taxpayer money to pay Cassidy to influence Congress to give the State federal taxpayer money. I guess you would have to look at each ear mark to see what rate of return the State taxpayers are getting for their Cassidy investment. But wait! Something doesn't quite add up. How transparent is all this anyway? I would like to see Cassidy's books, complete with the names of all clients. If what is being done is above board, my request isn't overboard, right?

Posted by: Sonja Poet | March 10, 2007 12:19 AM

Great article on lobbying. Here's another one worth reading. Washington Post. Democrats Offer Up Chairmen For Donors: Partys Campaigns Had Faulted GOP For Selling Access, By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and John Solomon, Washington Post Staff Writers, February 24, 2007 Page A01.

Posted by: BaLANCE | March 10, 2007 12:26 AM

Grima Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings would be a lobbyist were he a real person. You Tolkien fans know I am right on this.

Posted by: Bobby | March 10, 2007 07:29 AM

Go get em' Todd!

Posted by: Rachael | March 10, 2007 07:59 AM

Todd: Is there any way you might reserve judgement on Citizen K Street until it has concluded?

Posted by: Mary | March 10, 2007 08:07 AM

I'll take John Silber over Schlossberg any day. Why should we take Schlossberg seriously? Silber, on the other hand, has great accomplishments. And, yes, let's reform. More transparency.

Posted by: Quicksand | March 10, 2007 08:14 AM

Is the Post taking a break today? Maybe Kaiser is doing more reporting based on facts he's sleuthing out in the comments section here.

Posted by: Bizzy | March 10, 2007 08:17 AM

So wild to see Schlossberg all over the comments. Every time someone presents facts, he has to get involved. Poor guy. How can anyone believe him anymore?

Posted by: Lakes | March 10, 2007 08:25 AM

Hey Lakes, not sure why you say "poor guy". He's the only the one that has his facts substantiated. And to Quicksand, apparently you have NOT been to the printed record of the hearing to which Schlossberg disproves Silber. One stayed in the lobbying business, to make millions, one did not....hmmmm, doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who could not live with dirt and scum of the lobbying world.

Posted by: Rachael | March 10, 2007 08:53 AM

So maybe someone can help me out here... I forget, who is the successful one, who might have an edge, and who is the one who runs a funeral parlor and looks like Dr. Evil with a dog on his lap?

Posted by: curious | March 10, 2007 10:08 AM

I have been reading all the post and it is clear that many people have viseral feelings about lobbists, I am interested to see how this saga plays out. To Curious, I actually viewed the video tapes much differently. Schlossberg seemed at ease and articulate with his memories, while Cassidy appeared stiff and very pretentious in his expensive suit. Success to some of us is actually NOT about money.

Posted by: Louise | March 10, 2007 11:03 AM

Quicksand says Why should we take Scholssberg seriously? Lakes says How can we believe him anymore? Well,by paying enough attention to the series to realize that time after time his memory of events is verified by documents or third parties. I would believe the one who has his facts in order. Or at least take him seriously.

Posted by: scorecard | March 10, 2007 11:19 AM

excuse my typo...Visceral!

Posted by: Louise | March 10, 2007 11:30 AM

I agree Louise, money is not the only measure of success and my Dr. Evil comment was just a joke - you have to admit it was a little funny to see him with his dog on his lap for most of the interview. But you can't discount the fact that this Cassidy guy grew up with nothing and instead of using it as a crutch for failure, he used it as motivation to succeed. It seems like the other guy threw his hands up in the air and gave up on trying to make a difference, whether to change how Washington works or not - he just gave up and decided to work in the family funeral business. I'm not putting that down as a profession, we need to have morticians, just seems like an odd turn of events for him. Now he gets his 15 minutes back in the spotlight, so let's just be mindful of his motivation.

Posted by: curious | March 10, 2007 12:03 PM

So WaPo, you intend to publish another 20 chapters of this self serving pablum PR garbage judging by your index. Why not just change the name of the paper to "Kiss A Lobbyist" or "Will Spin For Fee". You could run 50 chapters and it will not change that the current K-Street graft merchants know the blood they are starting to taste in the water is their own. Fear has motivated this PR. Why else would there be such an offensive and blatant PR blitz? None. On any other given day, lobbyists DO NOT want you to know what they do. But your Citizen K Street is still just spin PR garbage and not news. It is backfiring nicely.

Posted by: Todd | March 10, 2007 12:06 PM

Mary, I read ahead. Plus stories of greed and avarice always end badly. Now if this were a literary critique, you might have a point about waiting until the end, but this isn't literature. It is PR. You don't like what I say, don't read my comments.

Posted by: Todd | March 10, 2007 12:09 PM

Curious, having been an activist, and having dealt with people who believe they are entitled to whatever they want because they have the money to do it,is NOTHING to be envious of and does NOT qualify as a success story to me. To me, the success story is having all that money at the tip of your fingers and having the moral backbone to turn it away. His motivation?.... Kaiser was the one who decided to write the story. Maybe it isn't too late to fix it what is went wrong in our government. I certainly don't know how, but I sure know it's broken. You see, the way democracy is SUPPOSE to work is that you elect someone, pay them a salary with YOUR tax dollars, and they are suppose to do the hard work of researching the legislation, make a decision based on what is in the best interest of the citizens and vote accordingly. It is NOT suppose to be about a lobbyist, via a PAC, paying to get access to "convince$$$$" the elected official of why their corporations interest take precedence over citizens.

Posted by: Louise | March 10, 2007 02:24 PM

Mr. Cassidy: Your wife and children you really needs to overcome the deep sadness and separation from society you experienced as a child. You are no longer on the outside looking in. However, you are now inside something dark looking out. Like any addiction, there is only one way out of your risky, elbow rubbing, immensely profitable business. Just Quit! Go back to Florida and help the poor and needy. For what is gaining all of the world if you lose your soul. LOL, with compassion. You can do it, Mr. Cassidy. We will all respect you and will definitely buy the book you write exposing the whole lot of em.

Posted by: Sonja Poet | March 10, 2007 04:44 PM

Mr. Cassidy: Your wife and children are all you really need to overcome the deep sadness and separation from society you experienced as a child. You are no longer on the outside looking in. However, you are now inside something dark looking out. Like any addiction, there is only one way out of your risky, elbow rubbing, immensely profitable business. Just Quit! Go back to Florida and help the poor and needy. For what is gaining all of the world if you lose your soul. LOL, with compassion. You can do it, Mr. Cassidy. We will all respect you and will definitely buy the book you write exposing the whole lot of em

Posted by: Sonja Poet | March 10, 2007 04:47 PM

So tune in tomorrow for another episode of "Fascist Greed Marches On".

Posted by: Todd | March 10, 2007 07:52 PM

Even Deborah Howell is incredulous that this whole series is taking 27 parts to unfold. And Kaiser has already apologized by part 5. Hooo boy, tough to take the Post seriously on this one. Find another target, everyone!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 10, 2007 10:01 PM

This whole thing is becoming so surreal. A few days ago the Post called Cassidy's helping secure money for Tufts as "bacon." Now, in Sunday's Outlook, there's a really smart piece by a Tufts guy. If that's bacon, then America needs another serving! LOL.

Posted by: Gooden | March 10, 2007 10:05 PM

What is the matter K-Street? Run out of staff to send out anonymously insulting posts to anyone and everyone who thinks lobbying is nothing but graft and fraud? Where are your big mouthed and oh so semi-skilled insult throwing defenders that tried to browbeat me (and others) down during the middle of the week? Oh, that is right! It is the weekend and you sent the hired help home . . . not all the way back to Mexico though. Why go to the trouble of paying them less than minimum wage, no taxes and no benefits if you are going to pay for travel expenses back to Juarez. Can't have you K-Streeter's doing your own dirty work in public, no sir. Or did someone at Schlossberg-Cassidy realize that your personal non-factual attacks were indeed counterproductive to the PR campaign blitz and reign you in? K-Street is not only going to lose this PR campaign, you are hoisting yourselves on your own petard. Have a nice day.

Posted by: Todd | March 11, 2007 08:13 AM

Hey "Anonymous" and "Bobby", an obvious Cassidy plant that is clearly the same person. Who would think to write Hoo Boy(whatever that means) in both responses signed by different people. The "average joe" gets how lobbying has ruined the foundation of our Democracy and there is no way you can get past that reality.

Posted by: Rachael | March 11, 2007 10:42 AM

Fabiani was a couple of classes behind me at Andover, and he was an exceptional athlete (track and football). We were both on the track team, and he was a lot faster than I was! I think his 100 yard dash record still stands.

Posted by: C. Downing | March 11, 2007 11:07 AM

What troubles me about Friday's article: The Post's late addition of Mr. Cassidy's response to the Schlossbergs' accusation about the decision not to have children.

The original article did not include this balance. Adding it later leaves the mistaken impression that this particular section of the original report was fair, which in my mind it was not and which the writer seems to acknowledge himself in his own comments below the article.

If The Post is serious about fairness here, a formal correction should be appended -- and not just a comment by the author that looks exactly like every other reader comment and an after-the-fact paragraph that suddenly and seamlessly makes everything OK again.

Online journalism makes revisionism really easy. But if The Post feels it screwed up, the newspaper has a responsibility to make that as easy as possible for the reader to understand. I'm not sure that's the case here.

Posted by: John | March 11, 2007 11:19 AM

Strikes me that we all benefit in some ways from lobbyists, whether or not you agree with all of them. Health, education, environment, welfare, Medicare -- they all have lobbyists, too, right? You can't pick and choose which you like and which you don't. Even the Post has lobbyists. Nothing in this Cassidy series really changes that fact. It's interesting, but kind of what we expect, right?

Posted by: Sixty Plus | March 11, 2007 01:51 PM

Sixty Plus, I don't begrudge the idea that people have right to hire someone to represent their point of view. My points are this 1)the average citizen does NOT have the resources to hire a lobbyist 2)you cannot deny the money that is exchanged by big profit corporations to PAC's in order to be in "good standing" with elected officials is by its very nature corrosive to the very tenets of our Democracy 3) donations by corporations to elected officials is not illegal, but you would have to have your head stuck in the clouds not to recognize the corruption that lobbying has brought our Democracy 4)you cannot compare an entity like, let's say, the Sierra Club, an organization based upon donations(i.e. it doesn't have a product to sell) to a company like Exxon, with billions in revenue from oil. There is no comparison and citizens are sick and tired of being screwed by this process.

Posted by: Rachael | March 11, 2007 07:23 PM

In my earlier contribution to this website, I did not denigrate Mr. Schlossberg in any way. I treated him with respect, despite differences of opinion. I am sorry to see that he has decided to respond with acrimony. His suggestion that my memory has failed is belied by the specific things I recall for which factual evidence is available. But I will compliment Mr. Schlossberg by saying that he has the most extraordinary imagination that I have ever encountered.

My decision to go with Cassidy rather than Schlossberg had nothing to do with his ethics or mine. I am proud that by winning "earmarks" to construct science facilities, Boston University was able to recruit an outstanding faculty that has won about $300 million per annum in peer reviewed grants, and we have been able to attract such luminaries as Sheldon Glashow, Nobel Laureate in Physics.

Schlossberg counters my earlier contribution with six points. First, he has no recollection of my first encounter with Schlossberg, Cassidy and Associates. How could he, since as I stated he wasn't there?

Second, he is quite wrong about my testimony before Senator Brooke and Senator Magnusson's representative regarding the Fletcher School and the Georgetown projects. If Mr. Schlossberg testified before that committee on that subject, he did so either at a different day or time or he testified before I was present or after I had left. Contrary to Schlossberg's assertion, he did not invite me to that meeting, nor did Senator Brooke. When he says, "We had no knowledge whatsoever in advance of his [Silber's] appearance," he should change "we" to "I." Schlossberg didn't know, but Gerry Cassidy had to know because it was he who invited me and if I hadn't been invited I wouldn't have been there. He writes, "The detail he recounts of our getting in touch with him to support the project is a figment of his imagination." Once again, he should change the word "our" to "Cassidy." Cassidy got in touch with me, and it's not a figment of my imagination. If he had not invited and urged me to come, and even pointed out the importance of being generous in supporting a project of a sister institution, I wouldn't have been there. Senator Brooke had no idea that I would be present until my name was posted as one of the witnesses.

Third, I agree that when I visited the Cassidy/Schlossberg office in Washington, I didn't know whose office it was. Maybe Schlossberg was present; maybe he wasn't present. Maybe it was his office; maybe it wasn't his office. But I don't know, for the offices of Cassidy and Schlossberg were so small that I'm not clear that each had a private office. But I won't argue that point.

Fourth, with regard to the acquisition of the Armory project, Mr. Schlossberg gets most of the facts wrong. I had already talked to the commander of the Armory and knew exactly what he wanted: alternative armory sites. This was not a discovery made by Schlossberg. It was a reiteration since he wanted to hear it from the commander rather than from me. The twelve million dollars for the three new armories in Massachusetts was not done primarily by Schlossberg but largely through my influence and my personal friendship with former Speaker Jim Wright, whom I had known for over 20 years. In going to the Commonwealth for approval, even Schlossberg admits that Harrington and Bulger cut him off and said that my presentation of the project was sufficient. Schlossberg did nothing to gain the support of Harrington and Bulger. Nor did he have any influence in gaining the support of Governor King. He had met King for the first time, whereas I had known him for years, had dinners with him and had contributed to his political campaigns. The apogee of Schlossberg's fantasy is when he claimed we acquired the Armory for $1 million. As a matter of fact, we acquired the Armory for $2.5 million after three independent audits were made. It would have been very nice to have acquired it for $1 million, but that's not what happened. The purchase price is a matter of record not fantasy.

Fifth, the funding of the Science Center was again organized by Gerry Cassidy, who had me meet with Jim Wright not in Dallas but in Washington and also with Senator Kennedy and other senators, as well as Congressman Rowe of New Jersey. I did meet with Natcher. Schlossberg accompanied me to many of these meetings, but I knew the people we were meeting with far better than he did.

Sixth, Schlossberg even fantasizes about the evening when I took him and Sophia to dinner. As I said, we discussed literature. It was not a spirited debate in my book, and I fail to see how it could have been a mistake. I was delighted to get Sophia's point of view, although I believe the claim that she was reading Dostoyevsky while still in diapers is another exercise in fantasy. I can't imagine any Russian child remaining in diapers until age 10 or 12, the minimum age for reading Dostoyevsky.

It was absolute fantasy for Schlossberg to suggest that Metcalf "was actually Jewish." Metcalf's mother was a Metcalf, a WASP family that had lived in Massachusetts for twelve generations. His father was an Armenian. After his mother divorced his father, Metcalf was reared by his maternal grandmother and for that reason took the Metcalf name.

The decisive reason why I chose to remain with Cassidy rather than Schlossberg was because of Schlossberg's ineptitude in representing Metcalf's company in tax legislation in Puerto Rico. He was asleep at the switch when he should have been securing approvals in Congress.

Schlossberg's fantasy exceeded all measure when he claimed that I asked him to go with me to buy a house on the West Bank in Israel. I never had the slightest interest in any such project.

Finally, he claims that Boston University's investment in Seragen almost destroyed BU's endowment. As a matter of fact, not a single penny of Boston University's investment in Seragen came from the endowment. After the company was sold to Ligand, Seragen's product generated has produced an income of over $40 million per year for Ligand. The science and the technology was a great success, and although Boston University lost some money on it, hundreds of lives have been saved.

Jean Mayer and I were good friends for many more years than Schlossberg knew him. He invited me to assist as a member of his staff at the White House conference on nutrition during the presidency of Richard Nixon. Our friendship was established then and endured until his death.

Since Mr. Schlossberg has admitted that he doesn't like to work too hard and regards those who do as abnormal, why should he have been surprised when those of us who do work hard decided to leave him smelling the roses?

I suspect given the power of his imagination Schlossberg would be a fine fiction writer, unless that would be too much hard work.

-- John Silber, President Emeritus, Boston University

Posted by: John Silber | March 15, 2007 09:01 PM

I only learned today that John Silber was not content to leave alone our previous exchange in the blog after Chapter Five of the Kaiser series. He decided to return again to his self-justifying and unconvincing allegation that I was a slacker. In addition, he accuses me of treating him with a lack of respect and with acrimony. On that subject, John is a well-known expert.

I have no intention of once again rebutting John point for point. There are too many people in Washington with whom I worked for three decades to waste my time. From John's recitation, it would appear that he paid me a million dollars for the pleasure of taking my wife and me out to dinner. Not a bad deal. I'm waiting for a second invitation.

I decided to break up my partnership with Gerry for one reason and one reason alone. I started what I thought was a good thing and saw it turning into something else. I was no longer sure that I knew what was going on either ethically or legally. In my time in Washington, I'd seen more than a few wise-guys and some fairly decent people go to jail who found themselves in that position. Under no circumstance did I intend to be one of them, to have my wife and children visiting me in Allenwood. I didn't want that for another million, ten or even a hundred million. I saw the Jack Abramhoff phenomenon coming from a hundred miles away. I never regretted that decision and that was the reason I wrote my "Greening of America" Op-Ed article in the New York Times. The rampant corruption in Washington is now evident to all. I only hope that the Democrats have the gumption and the votes to do something about it. Ken Schlossberg.

Posted by: ken70000 | March 21, 2007 09:04 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2006-2007 The Washington Post Company