Jun 24, 2010

Jack Abramoff starts over

Jack Abramoff, Pizza Guy. Is there a category for that on LinkedIn?

Kol HaKavod to Abramoff who has served his time for his crimes of fraud and corruption. He is now out of jail. A lot of people who serve their time, go right back to their old business when they get out of prison. Abramoff could have gone back to wheeling and dealing and been tempted again by the power and money. I am sure he has his connections and people who would hook him up.

Yet there Jack Abramoff is not walking the halls of Washington DC power, but working in a kosher pizza joint. he might be out of his field, but kol hakavod to him for starting over and not jumping right back into the same mistakes he made in his previous life..

The New York Times reports:

Mr. Abramoff started his new gig this week at Tov Pizza — “the best kosher pizza in town,” according to a catchy jingle that plays while callers are on hold.

He has so far stayed largely cloistered in a back office. He will work about 40 hours a week, said the owner, Ron Rosenbluth. He comes in around 10:30 a.m., leaves around 5:30 p.m., and wears a yarmulke to work, as many of the male customers and employees here do. He earns between $7.50 and $10 an hour (“or a little less than what he used to make”). He has been responsible, punctual, courteous. “He is not the monster he has been portrayed as,” Mr. Rosenbluth said.

Mr. Abramoff did not appear at the front of the restaurant during a two-hour stretch late Wednesday afternoon as families walked in and out, having ordered slices, veggie burgers and baked ziti. There was, however, a chance sighting in a back office (he wore a red polo shirt and appeared to be reading something).


“People ask me, ‘Why would you ever hire Jack Abramoff?’ ” said Mr. Rosenbluth, who said he has not bothered to learn much about Mr. Abramoff’s past. “I say, ‘Why wouldn’t I hire Jack Abramoff?’ He’s paying his debt to society, right?”

While in prison, Mr. Abramoff reportedly gave regular Torah lectures, according to a report this week in The Baltimore Jewish Times, quoting a former inmate. Mr. Abramoff focused on Jewish law and also led an introduction to prayer course, the publication said.

Mr. Rosenbluth says he is hoping that he can get help with marketing strategies from Mr. Abramoff, who used to run Signatures, a kosher restaurant in Washington.

By “marketing,” Mr. Rosenbluth does not mean that Mr. Abramoff will win notoriety for his establishment — though he clearly has, since the media attention has been steady and, judging from Mr. Rosenbluth’s disposition, somewhat annoying. “I have a restaurant I need to run,” he said.

Still, better Tov Pizza get the attention than the other kosher pizzerias in Baltimore, said Jason Broth, the restaurant’s night manager.

He added, “I think the marketing term is, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

And as per that last quote, Tov Pizza is probably raking it in with all the publicity they are getting this week by having Jack Abramoff working for them..


  1. baruch Hashem some mussar out there for the madoff fans

  2. "...He is now living at a nearby halfway house, which arranged for Mr. Abramoff’s employment here...."

    I'm not sure it was his decision to work at a pizza joint.

  3. I dont know how these things work, but a powerful guy like that is working in a pizza shop and not kvetching or using his connections to get himself placed somewhere more prestigious

  4. Rafi,

    its not up to him. Living in a halfway house he is only allowed part time unskilled labor jobs. He is barred from "wheeling and dealing." And given his conviction there is no protexia to get around this.

    Once he is free and clear then he will most likely return to being a dealmaker

  5. Mr. Rosenbluth has a history of tzedakka. IIRC, when the owner of the competing kosher pizza shop was robbed/stabbed (something along those lines), Mr. Rosenbluth stepped in and ran that store as well.

  6. I found the story really obnoxious. It reeked of schadenfreude, like this Times reporter couldn't get enough of seeing a formerly powerful Yid reduced to working in a pizza shop. Like this reporter had nothing better to do than hang around a pizza shop (and take pics nonetheless)


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