Big Money or Bust
When the weather cooperated, I ate lunch at my desk and then headed outdoors for a brisk walk south along Water Street toward downtown Milwaukee. That one-hour break in the fresh air, so different from the oppressive Florida heat so prevalent while I worked at Columbia/HCA, helped clear my mind. Perhaps that's why the unexpected telephone call from the FBI jolted me so.
I had just returned to the office one blustery day in November 1997, when FBI Agent Deanna Clark called from Tampa. What now? I thought.
Clark said that although no date had been set for the criminal trial, she had been asked to perform routine background checks on all cooperating government witnesses. It's a little late for that, I thought to myself. Still, I took it as a good sign when Clark said she was asking these questions now so that the prosecutors at the trial would not stumble upon any “surprises.”
“What sort of surprises?” I asked. Clark explained that the defense attorneys would be looking for ways to discredit the government's witnesses and would attempt to portray me as untrustworthy to the jury. She asked if there was anything about me that would concern prosecutors.
“Is there anything unusual in your past?” she asked. “Do you mean anything besides a parking ticket or a speeding ticket?” I responded. “Well, do you use any drugs?” Clark asked. “No,” I said. “What about alcohol?” she asked. “I have a glass of wine on occasion,” I replied.
“Are you a cross-dresser?” “What?” I asked incredulously. Clark