Opinion » Shredder

What's good for the Geaslen


Does anyone know a good seamstress, or seamster perhaps? (There’s no sexism here, just good ol’ fashioned equal opportunity incoherent rage.) I’m not looking for anything fancy, just someone who can sew white collars onto my collection of ironic T-shirts. Most of them don’t really have collars, which is OK for passing out on the curb a block or so from the bar, but when you’re plotting a bank heist—which I’m not; as far as I’m concerned, we’re speaking hypothetically here—it pays to have a get-out-of-jail free card.

Around here, a white collar and a get-out-of-jail free card seem to be the same thing. Actually, a white collar trumps a get-out-of-jail free card. A white collar means law enforcement usually never bothers to recommend that the DA file charges against you, even if you filched more than $37,000 from taxpayers. What’s a little embezzlement between people who own multiple vacation homes? What our society really can’t—and shouldn’t—tolerate is people who don’t own a home, and who are struggling to eat and pay off medical bills, turning to stealing. It’s people who steal a couple thousand dollars from a bank, for example. Those no-good low-lifes belong behind bars, and we’re gonna dedicate as many resources as possible to making sure they wind up there. We’ll hunt them down, make them pay. Hell, there’s a good number of people out there only too happy to slam welfare recipients as selfish leeches with no work ethic. (One of them ran for president in the 2012 election, if you recall.)

But the guy who was caught overpaying himself by more than $37,000 from the Oceano Community Services District about three months ago? The guy whose base salary was already $126,000? He’ll offer a sheepish grin, cite a “compensation dispute” or something, fork over the money, and then he’s gonna walk away from the situation. Why? It all boils down to class. Everyone knows it, even if we all pretend we kicked those spoiled-ass royals—and their elitist snobbery—out with the Revolution. I can’t help myself to $100, much less $1,000, much less $37,000 without winding up in jail facing criminal charges, even if I’m a chump and try to return the money after the fact. And you can’t either. Unless you happen to be wealthy enough that you don’t actually need it. And then you hand over the money and slink off into the shadows for a while until people forget that you bilked your last employer—in this case, the taxpayers—out of tens of thousands of dollars.

Tom Geaslen’s collar must be whiter than an angel’s ass. And he’s got more nerve than so-called news sources that do their reporting based on rumor, innuendo, and a string of unidentified sources. (I’m talking about People, obviously, because I’m paranoid that I’m not up to date about the latest celebrity waif breakdown. What if someone rode a cow down Hollywood Boulevard while wearing a green wig?)

Fortunately for Geaslen—very, very fortunately—the Oceano Community Services District signed a settlement in which they agreed not to discuss the incident. They got their money back in exchange, but I’m still a little baffled as to why anyone would sign a non-disclosure agreement with someone who violated their trust and attempted to walk away with tens of thousands of dollars. If it’s as simple as that, why aren’t the bulk of the county’s petty criminals racing to get their hands on a non-disclosure agreement? Geaslen has somehow kept the Sheriff’s Department, the DA, and the organization he stole from at bay. I guess it’s a word thing. It wasn’t “stealing,” it was a “misunderstanding,” right?

Of course, before we go and give the guy a prize for mastermind criminal behavior, we have to remember that he was taking more than his employer was officially dishing out, signing his own paychecks, and it doesn’t seem to have occurred to the fellow that he ought to have laid a false trail. So it really was just a matter of time before an auditor ferreted out his misdeeds and he was hauled before a merciless Oceano Community Services District that politely demanded he return their money and then obligingly signed a non-disclosure agreement. And fired him. Which was kind of obligatory, given the circumstances. But I’ll bet they felt really, really bad about it. Maybe they sent him a fruit basket afterward.

So now I’m booking bets on which will happen first: A talented seamster willing to work for peanut shells I found on the floor at Harry’s finishes sewing white collars onto my extensive T-shirt collection or the Sheriff’s Department will get off its ass—their ass? How many asses, exactly, do they collectively possess?—and pursue a man who almost made off with in excess of $37,000? I mean, I know it’s a tough investigative trail to follow. They’d probably have to read the Internal Control Letter produced by Caliber Audit and Attest, and that might take up to an hour. Maybe even an hour and a half for a slow reader. And who wants to go after someone who didn’t even need the money he stole? Where’s the fun in that?


Shredder’s a no-collar criminal. Send diamond chokers to shredder@newtimesslo.com.


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