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Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

March 15, 2008

What Was He Thinking?

On the Monday that the Eliot Spitzer Scandal broke, I was on a
train headed down for two and a half days of meetings in the D.C.
area. Having signed up for CNN Alerts, I got one for Breaking
News about halfway through the train ride. Eliot Spitzer was
telling his staff that he had been involved in a prostitution
ring. I recall reading it several times because I thought it was
a joke - this was something out of Comedy Central posing as CNN.

THEN, when I realized it was true, I thought: what? He doesn't
need the money; he's rich. Why's he running a prostitution ring?
It just didn't occur to me that he might have been involved as a
client. Not super stiff Eliot Spitzer, Mr. Clean, the man who was
going to clean up Albany after having brought down a few high
flyers on Wall Street. I voted for him. He seemed such a - how
can I even describe it - squeaky clean kind of guy. If I had been
asked to describe him, the kind of things I would have said would
be: earnest, priggish, smug, self-satisfied, honest, on the
straight and very, very narrow, wound up like a tight drum, Mr.
Energizer Bunny. I mean: it seemed like he managed four moral
showers a day.

The idea that he had frequented a prostitute just didn't make

After arriving in DC, I had dinner with my friend Dawn McCall and
at the restaurant we looked at each other, started to laugh and
said simultaneously: what WAS he thinking? Well, okay, obviously
he wasn't thinking. At least not with his brain.

And then, when it was found out how much he'd paid for the
services of Ashley Alexandra Dupre aka "Kristen," well, it was
just too much. Everyone I know asked what you got for that kind
of money? Everyone I know wants to know but hasn't found out even
though "The Spitzer Scandal" has dominated the news.

In fact, it loomed so large in the news that most people
originally glossed over that fact the Bear Stearns, a venerable
investment bank, had to be bailed out by the Fed - something that
hasn't happened since the Great Depression. While Mr. Spitzer was
slowly turning in the wind, the country has been buffeted by the
most serious financial crisis in more than a generation. Bear
Stearns found itself sold to J.P. Morgan at a bargain basement
price of $2.00 a share in what was one of Wall Street's most
dramatic collapses.

Standing outside, looking in, it appears as if the jugglers are at
work, keeping their balls in the air. However, it is taking more
concentration than anyone expected. The dollar is weak and will
get weaker. The Fed and the Treasury Department are doing
everything they can to prevent a really catastrophic end to the
sub-prime mortgage crisis - it is really bad and we might weather
it because government officials have learned - since the Great
Depression, when they did almost everything wrong - that they have
to play an active role, a really active role right now, to keep
the game going.

I am not sure whether Eliot Spitzer did us a service or disservice
by distracting us from the reality we are in the midst of a really
big problem. We are guffawing over the price of call girls while
foreclosures surge and the dollar plunges, all while we are
engaged in - and I'm sorry to say it - the quagmire of Iraq.