Sunday, May 15, 2011


FA R CDL- The Florida Association of RUDE Criminal Defense Attorneys- (see below- this is a busy Sunday post...)

First: Our Presidential Candidate roundup:

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee will not run for President in 2012.

Current head of the IMF and current possible candidate for President of France, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested in an Air France Plane (first class) at JFK airport minutes before takeoff and is being investigated for the attempted sexual battery of a NYC Chambermaid.
DSK has priors of sort- a sordid affair with a fetching IMF economist a few years before. NY Times coverage here.

We received this email about events at the Saturday night FACDL Banquet and we re-reprint it here in full:

Rumpole I am outraged! Please print this.

At the FACDL Banquet tonight we honored former Assistant Public Defender Gregg Wenzel. The Miami Chapter of the FACDL unanimously agreed to re-name its award to an outstanding young attorney "The Gregg Wenzel Award."

Gregg was an Assistant Public Defender. He left the office and some of us thought he was joining the Peace Corps. In actuality he was a member of the first clandestine training class that graduated from The Farm- the CIA training facility after 9/11. Greg was posted overseas and killed in Ethiopia.

In 2009 Gregg was identified as a CIA officer and his name is among 90 stars on the wall at CIA headquarters. Many of those stars remain nameless as some agents can never be identified.

Thanks to the untiring efforts of his friend Brian Tannebaum, Gregg is not forgotten here in Miami. On Saturday night Gregg's father flew in from New York to attend the banquet and the presentation of the first award named in honor of his fallen son.

Mr. Wenzel was invited to speak about his son. I cannot even adequately explain to you the level or rudeness in that room Saturday night. Judges and defense attorneys loudly chatted and laughed at their tables. As Mr. Wenzel struggled to be heard some Judges and attorneys walked about gesticulating and speaking and laughing to the point where the room was a large roar of voices and sounds.

No respect was given to Gregg and no respect was given to his father who flew a long way at his own expense just to attend our Saturday night banquet.

I was embarrassed to be a member of the FACDL Miami chapter and I will probably resign over this incident.

There wasn't a Judge in that room that would have tolerated a tenth of the level of noise they were making in their own precious courtroom during any day of the week. But for Gregg Wenzel- a true American hero- and his grieving father- NO RESPECT WAS GIVEN. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU.

Thank you Rumpole for giving me my say. Nothing can undo the truly disgusting display of ignorance and rudeness Saturday night, but maybe some of those lunkheads will read this and realize I am speaking about them.

Rumpole says: Your email says it all. Sad.

For some strange reason the link we post to the CIA press release about Gregg Wenzel does not work. But if you google "CIA Gregg Wenzel" the first hit will be the press release about the ceremony honoring him. Please do it.


I was there said...

2 Things Rumpole- 1) every thing in the email is correct. I was very embarrassed for our rude treatment of Mr. Wenzel. 2) The current VP/New Pres of FACDL Miami kept mentioning you in her remarks. I think she has a secret crush on you. Unless you two are dating.....

brian tannebaum said...

Yeah, there was an excessive amount of talking last night, and the person who sent the email is right - Gregg was an American Hero who gave his life in service to this country. The talking went on not only during the presentation of the Gregg Wenzel Young Lawyer of the Year Award, but also during the presentation of awards to the capital litigation unit of the public defender's office, as well as to Beth Weitzner (Founder's Award recipient) and the Kogan Judicial Distinction Award to the late Roberto Pineiro (accepted by his wife and 2 children).

While it's hard to get 500 lawyers and judges in a room with open bars and get everyone silent for a while, and this behavior is not unique to FACDL-Miami, it was unfortunate that much of the important comments made last night were not heard. That's the downside to having the largest crowd in FACDL-Miami history.

I will tell you that Gregg's father, Mitch, was overwhelmed throughout the night. During the cocktail hour and dinner he met dozens of current and former public defenders and prosecutors who told him stories about and how much they love and miss Gregg.

He was particularly amazed at the number of Gregg's former colleagues that are now judges and wanted everyone to know there is currently an effort in Congress to name the post office in Gregg's hometown of Monroe, NY after him.

Last night was meaningful to a lot of people, and I hope whomever sent the email will not resign from FACDL-Miami over the unfortunate inability to get the room quiet. It's been a problem, but not worth losing a member.

To the person to sent the email - if you're seriously reconsidering your membership in FACDL-Miami, please contact me. I'd like to talk about it with you, in a quiet place where we can hear each other talk.

Anonymous said...

Not to defend anyone's actions, but the sound quality was not very good. It was very difficult to hear anything. I could barely make out the words spoken about Judge Piniero. The moment of silence was the shortest I've ever experienced. I don't believe anyone even heard why we were supposed to be silent.

I didn't hear a single word about Wentzel. The crowd noise level was so loud, I would estimate I heard less than 10% of what was said all night.

With that many people in the room, servers, glasses clinking, forks and knives tinkling on plates, and the rest of the ambient noises, many of us completely missed the presentation. I dont chalk I all up to straight rudeness. It was not a good set up.

But the comments about Judges not giving the same respect that they demand is of course true. We see it in the courtrooms every day. Don't need to get a few drinks in them to make it happen.

Anonymous said...

Some more thoughts:
1. The acoustics in that ballroom were absolutely terrible. Even without the chatter it was extremely difficult to hear what anyone was saying.
2. Ditto re the rudeness. And this is not the first time this happens, either. It's pretty much par for the course for every FACDL banquet.
3. Not that this should have any bearing on #2, but I cannot for the life of me understand why these speeches have to be so damn long.
4. The food was absolutely terrible. It's been a long time since I've eaten food this awful. Even for a banquet.
5. Nice venue (but-for acoustics) and having the photo op by the vault was a nice touch.
6. We have a very young incoming board of directors who are very eager to make their mark and liven up the organization. Kudos and good luck. I know Betty Llorente coordinated yesterday's event and it was a huge effort. Thank you for your hard work.
7. So let the real fun begin: who are the best and worst dressed nominees?

Anonymous said...

im so glad i did not go greg was an idol of mine when i was a young pd. he was cool as hell. that post was hard to read

Anonymous said...

While true, there are some mitigating factors. The people in the far tables could barely hear the speakers (bad audio setup, shit acoustics), there were no lines of sight available, and the room was overcrowded.

Anonymous said...

Just once, I wish FACDL would find a place to have that banquet where we can actually hear what is being said at the podium.

People were not rude. They simply could not hear a fucking word in that super loud auditorium.

Anonymous said...

Gregg was a great guy who died in the battle against terrorism. A good man, a good lawyer and a patriot.

Anonymous said...

Does it really surprise anyone who reads the blog and list serve how rude and childish lawyers can be?

Anonymous said...

While I agree with that fact that people were talking throughout the entire presentation of EVERY award, I am not going to single anyone out. The fact is the sound system was horrible and you could hardly hear anything unless you were in the first few tables.

Anonymous said...


Hungry said...

FOOD was awful? WHAT F'ING FOOD?

The jackass waiter brought three dishes to my able of eight- said he would be right back and NEVER RETURNED!! FOUR PEOPLE AT MY TABLE GOT NO FOOD FOR THE F'ING $150.00 THEY PAID.




Sad but true said...

Sorry Beatrice but I have to agree. No food was ever brought to my table of 8. Then a waiter saw it when everyone else was done and came by with two dishes with absolutely burnt meat and piled high with g-dawful looking veggies and potatoes. She said she would try to get some more food- and she never returned. At one time I saw her pointing to our table to her manager and I saw him shrug and walk away and we never saw her again. Two people of 8 got food at my table and quite frankly they were the unlucky ones.

This event has gone way downhill.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to BT for keeping his friend's memory alive. A real mensch. But beyond that must we all be subjected to his endless diatribe about social media?

OK- he doesn't like lawyers who advertise. I got it.
He really doesn't like lawyers who advertise on social media. Point taken.
And he absolutely despises all attorneys who claim to be experts to help other lawyers use social media to advertise.

But on and on and on he drones about it....really enough is enough. Move on dot org and all that.

turn Dude Jude The Hammer loose! said...

What about the Dude Jude "The Hammer" Facciammo? Isn't he sergeant at arms of the FACDL? SOmeone should give him a cattle prod and turn him loose. He would shut those judges up.

Anonymous said...

Talking during the presentation of awards was the result of drunk lawyers and judges who love to talk over each other. Not just a lawyer thing, really, more of a Miami thing.

But a huge part of it was the horrible acoustics. I couldn't hear anything and could barely see on those blurry screens.

Food was akin to high school cafeteria fare. The drinks were served in 6 oz Dixie cups. Very overpriced.

I thank those who planned it, but the venue was not suitable for 500 people.

Anonymous said...

Question-- whenever somebody goes to one of these shindigs the first thing people tend to complain about is the food? Is that the only reason you go-- for the food? if so why not switch careers and get into the catering biz or be a food critic for the Herald?

not hungry now said...

Here's the answer- if you want to serve me crap then charge 40 bucks, have a pay bar, throw out some chips and dip and some salsa and a few veggie plates from Publix and I ain't expecting anything more. BUT when you charge a 150 a plate and tell me I'm having steak, well, then I feel ripped off. I left early, scooted over the the Mortons on Brickell and for half my dinner ticket I had the best damn steak in the place, plus a great salad, soup and a pretty decent dessert.

Anonymous said...

'm watching the final holes of the TPC. Can someone help me remember the APD in the late 60's early 70's who made a charge at a major tourney?

was he framed? said...

I hear that chambermaid the IMF chief tried to snorkel with was a super duper hottie dressed in a super duper short skirt and sexy outfit. sounds like a Mossad Honey-trap to me, but then, I'm an ex-pickle factory guy retired in so fla enjoying the time floating by.

Anonymous said...

I hate to pile on but we didn't get our food either. Some plates were brought out- I had the temerity to inform our very very snotty waiter that other tables had a bread basket and we didn't (need those carbs rump!) and she left in a huff and we didn't see her again for 40 minutes, at which point she stopped by to sweetly tell us the kitchen was behind and she was working on it.

But the deserts weren't bad. Although $150 seems a bit high for one drink, a cookie and a few chips.

RFB said...


500 PEOPLE- 150 PER- THATS 75K- sounds to me like this shingding didn't cost 20 considering half of you weren't fed and almost no one got drinks.


old old pd said...

5:13 I think you are referring to Big Jimbo James Mifflin. Was a big wig under Hubbart in the PDs office from the beginning and a hell of a golfer. I think he qualified as an amateur for the US open circa 69-71 and in the final round lasered a 4 iron on a two hundred yard second shot to within 18 inches of the hole on a big par 5 to take the lead at the turn on the 10h hole. Nicklaus said it was the singular best golf shot he'd ever seen. But big jim faltered on the back 7 or so and ended up tied for 8th. But for that one brief moment the Dade Pds was in the national spotlight and I remember a bunch of us in a local Miami Beach bar going nuts when we saw the shot and he eagled the hole for a lead

Anonymous said...

Let's go HEAT!

PGA TODAY said...

David Tom's birdie 3 at the Player's Championship - with his 11 foot birdie putt to force a playoff reminds me of Fuzzy Zoller and the way he birdied the 14th at The Congressional in 77. Clutch play all the way.

Anonymous said...

At least 10-20 attys got no food as per this blog. Assume half the lawyers who attended viewed the blog. Extraoplate and you have 40-50 people who paid 150 and got ripped off. I am smelling a Michael Hanzman class action lawsuit brewing.

Anonymous said...

Me, my wife my secretary and her boyfriend all got nothing for dinner. Exiled to a far table in the corner, we were treated like dirt and as if we didnt belong. Last one of these I will ever go to.

Anonymous said...

Oh. And I paid 600 for the privilege of being humiliated.

Anonymous said...

As soon as Toms blew that Putt on 17 in sudden death playoff is there anyone who wasn't thinking of Stadler at Shinnecock in 83?

Anonymous said...

150 a plate?? They clipped me for 2k for a table for ten and said I was "getting a discount". I got nailed for 200 per and two of ten at my table didn't get food until everyone else was leaving - then the waiter came running out with two plates like that made all the difference in the world - which it didn't.

I was ripped off big time.

Anonymous said...

I was told the tix were 165 per but that I could get a deal if I bought 5 or more- which I did- and paid 130 each. How did I do?

Anonymous said...

Brian- I sent Rumpole the email. You are trying mightily hard to put a good face on absolutely boorish behavior. I was at a table with judges. They would not shut up. They barely shut up for the moment of silent requested by the monsignor. They didn't keep their yaps shut when Rob Pinero was memorialized. You were there. You heard the din that never stopped. I have to believe that if the Governor or President was there and they felt that their boorish behavior would hurt their career that they would have been as silent as a church mouse.

I'm quitting. These people make me ashamed to be an attorney from Miami.

Anonymous said...

The caterer screwed up on the food. Absolutely. And the venue was originally booked to hold around 300 or so people. No one anticipated that 500 people would show up. The venue is not designed for it. But rather than tell late comers (many of which were younger APDs who were sponsored at a rate lower than cost) that there was no room for them, the organizers made a point to ensure they could attend to support the award winners. There was a lot of talking by EVERYONE and the placed looked like a U2 concert with that many people. But lets just celebrate one night where we all got together, had some drinks, honored the best among us and Nancy Wear didn't say something nasty.

Anonymous said...


As if we didn't need further proof that she was nuts...here it is

old guy said...

...and what really bothers me is that the money is not going for something useful - like lobbying or free CLE seminars...
Where does it all go?
What are we paying for?

Anonymous said...

Enough complaint about the FACDL dinner (or lack thereof). Let's talk about important things - like da bulls kicking the heats ass!!!! Go chi-town!

Anonymous said...

I got food but, I couldn't hear a thing anyone said.

Although I got food, I could not see what I was eating and the steak was over cooked. I didn't dare ask for anything as it was obvious those waiters were understaffed and couldn't help us out. We asked for red wine 3 times and nobody came back.

That being said, still, we love the women who put that on and they should not be insulted for trying to make that night special. Unfortunately, it was a nice night with a crappy banquet and a really bad place to hold it.

For you morons who think FACDL made lots of money, go look at the books. FACDL is low on funds right now.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what's sadder......

that so many SOB's were so disrespectful during the Piniero or Wenzel memorials........or that so many of you seem to think that the lousy acoustics, meals (or lack of a meal), cost, Miami culture or anything else excuses the boorishness.

What happened at the dinner was an embarassment to all. And a perfect example of why people hate lawyers. There are NO excuses. Period.

The same boorishness that plagued the dinner also plagues this blog. There are a minority (yes, even at the dinner, the problem was created by a minority) of folks who carry far more anger than pride and take it out everyone they can. The only way things will change is if we all work to overcome their incivility. It's really that simple.

Rob, Greg and our community deserve better.


PS----I know at least one of you will comment that I'm self-righteous and that's fine. The fact is that 10 years ago I was as nasty or nastier than anyone I can think of to opposing counsel and those who I felt slighted me. Then I realized the problem was me, not them. I couldn't control what they did, but I could control my reaction. When I learned to channel my energy differently and settled down, I became a far happier person and more successful lawyer. Do what you will, you reap the benefits you earn or the punishments you inflict upon yourself.

South Florida Lawyers said...

Re: the food.

This reminds me of the old Catskills joke:

Old woman to friend: "What's with the food here? It's terrible."

Friend: "It's true, and such small portions!"

Anonymous said...

Every year its is the same people talk too loud and no one really hears the speeches. This is a part of the way it is. SO get over it. Sorry that it may sound disrespectful but if you want all the atty and lawyers to shut up then before you start the awards make sure to do something that may make them shut up. I don't have any suggestions but oh well

Anonymous said...

Does any of you single handedly plan and coordinate events with large crowds like this? Didn't think so! To the people that took the time to do so, thank you for your efforts. Plenty went well. Terrible that people kept talking during the awards'presentation. For those of you who don't get invited out much, typically conversation, laughter and endless chatter = joy!