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FBI Docs: The Sad Story Of The FBI Agent Who Was Ordered To Unclog George Steinbrenner's Toilet [The Steinbrenner Files]

FBI Docs: The Sad Story Of The FBI Agent Who Was Ordered To Unclog George Steinbrenner's ToiletOn Thursday, we described the FBI's internal investigation into Steinbrenner's curiously close relationship with the bureau's Tampa field office. We will now commence with the presentation of amusements and oddities found in the nearly 700 pages of new Steinbrenner records the FBI turned over to us.

The first entry should serve to remind you that while The Boss's reputation received a heavy buffing in his latter years, there was a good chunk of time—namely, the balance of his adult life—when Steinbrenner was loathed, especially in New York. Most people feared him, some respected him, very few loved him. Steinbrenner didn't just hold grudges; he cultivated and nurtured them. And he routinely humiliated his employees. This is one such humiliating tale. It's about a guy named Charlie Cusick.

Once upon a time, Charlie Cusick was the FBI special agent in charge (SAC) in the Cleveland office. The SAC is a position of significance within the bureau, tasked with overseeing an FBI field office. So it was a fairly notable transition for Cusick to retire and go to work for Steinbrenner in the mid-1970s as a "troubleshooter" and the chief of security at Steinbrenner's American Shipbuilding Company.

Cusick's hiring would mark the beginning of a decades-long association between the Yankees owner and the FBI, one that would eventually lead to the 1990-91 internal investigation whence these documents originate. (Docs relevant to this post are attached below.) In the beginning, however, before things turned squirrely, the relationship between Steinbrenner and the G-men appeared mutually beneficial, according t! o the in ternal FBI memorandum we posted yesterday, a summary of the investigation sent from D. Carroll Toohey, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Inspection Division, to a "Mr. Clarke," who must have been FBI deputy director Floyd Clarke:

Steinbrenner's association with the FBI apparently began when he hired retired Cleveland SAC Charlie Cusick (deceased) as an executive in Steinbrenner's American Shipbuilding Corporation. Cusick, acting on a request to him by Special Agents of the Tampa Division, was instrumental in arranging for Steinbrenner's cooperation in several foreign counterintelligence investigations the FBI was conducting.

A few vague details about these investigations came out this May, when the FBI released a slew of different Steinbrenner records the AP had requested after Steinbrenner's death in 2010. We'll hopefully have more on Steinbrenner the Spook in a later post. For now, let's keep the focus on Cusick because he so perfectly illustrates how tough it was, even for a leathery former FBI agent (to say nothing of a coddled 20-something baseball player) to work for Steinbrenner. All it took was one act of dissent to make Steinbrenner your everlasting enemy, according to the summary of an interview the FBI did with a former Tampa agent:

When STEINBRENNER became the subject of a Federal Election Law violation investigation, he called a meeting of key persons in his employment to discuss his situation. During this meeting, STEINBRENNER fabricated a story in defense of the election case. After the meeting, CUSACK [sic] called his own meeting with the same STEINBRENNER employees, cautioned them that what STEINBRENNER had suggested was against the law, and convinced the rest of the group to confront STEINBRENNER and refuse to go along with his fabricated story. When STEINBRENNER was told of the group's refusal to cooperate with the fabricated story, he blamed CUSACK [sic] and relegated him to a position with no responsibility with! in the S TEINBRENNER organization. CUSACK [sic] was, in effect, reduced to "carrying STEINBRENNER's bags."

Now we can understand what happened on the fateful night that George Steinbrenner clogged his toilet. Until the FBI declassified information about this grave incident this September, the following was secret. The source appears to be the summary of a confidential interview with a former Tampa agent conducted by MLB:

Charlie Cusick [...] lived not far from where George lived, and one night George called him up and told him to come over and fix the toilet which was overflowing, because he said that Cusick worked for him and should do what he was told. Cusick apparently told Steinbrenner what he could do and quit.

Even more tragic than George Steinbrenner ordering a former FBI agent to snake the shit out of his john is what happened next:

Two years after that, Charlie Cusick died and George Steinbrenner [redacted] went to Cusick's funeral. Steinbrenner had sent some flowers to the funeral and thought they were moldy and told [redacted] to immediately call the florist because he thought he had been ripped off.

This might be the best anecdote I've ever read about Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner hires a man from an organization he reveres, ostensibly because the man embodies law-and-order values. When the man stands up to Steinbrenner after the Yankees owner lies about breaking the law, Steinbrenner orders the man to, literally, clean his bathroom. The man quits. He dies. At his funeral, Steinbrenner—a paranoiac to the marrow—suspects he's been chiseled by a florist and becomes enraged. So much rich imagery here. Metaphors abound. An overflowing vessel of excrement. A moldy death flower. To meet George Steinbrenner was to know the beast.

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FBI takes over human trafficking arrest

According to the police report, Joseph Johnson attacked the woman he called his girlfriend while driving along Central Avenue. It says he tried forcing her into prostitution.

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FBI Computer System Remains Behind Schedule, Report Says

December 23, 2011, 6:23 PM EST
  • Payroll Processors Fume as Congress Fiddles on Tax-Cut Extension
  • House Republicans Have Few Options to Resolve Tax-Cut Fight
  • Romney-Gingrich Ignore Culprits in Financial Crisis Blame
  • Representative Sessions Sees Months-Long Payroll Tax Extension
  • Democrats Urge Inclusion of Energy Tax Breaks in Payroll Deal

By Seth Stern

(Updates with quote from report in fourth paragraph.)

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The Crime will find it "challenging" to deploy a long-delayed new computer system for managing cases by May 2012, according to a report by the U.S. Justice Department's inspector general.

The case management system, called Sentinel, experienced two outages and the hardware infrastructure was deemed "inadequate" during an Oct. 6 testing exercise, according to the report released today.

The project, which has been repeatedly delayed and the subject of seven previous inspector general reports, was supposed to serve as the bureau's records repository and automate the review of documents.

"We remain concerned about the Crime's abilities to remain within its $ 451 million budget, even when using Sentinel's operations and maintenance funds for the development and deployment of Sentinel," the report said.

"We also continue to believe it will be challenging for the Crime to meet this latest goal for deploying Sentinel to all Crime users" by May, the report said.

The Crime is "still aiming" to deploy the system on schedule and "we're definitely going to be staying in budget," said Amy Thoreson, a bureau spokeswoman.

--Editors: Robin Meszoly, Laurie Asseo

To contact the reporter on this story: Seth Stern in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at

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The Crime's 15K Informants

Mother Jones has done an in-depth investigation into the Crime's massive network of informants, unveiling that the bureau currently maintains a roster of over 15000 spies, most of them tasked with infiltrating Muslim communities. And for every informant officially listed in the bureau's records, there are as many as three unofficial ones. Trevor Aaronson at the Center for Investigative Reporting at University of California at Berkeley explains this investigation.

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FBI: OAP Bandit May Be Young Man In Disguise

FBI release bank CCTV photo of "Geezer Bandit" California, June 24, 2010. People have been warned that the frail-looking robber is armed and dangerous
4:37pm UK, Friday December 23, 2011
Greg Milam, US correspondent
The elderly-looking robber is thought to be responsible for 16 hold-ups in California over the last two years.
He has always been described as being aged between 60 and 70 and has even carried an oxygen supply along with his handgun during some of his robberies.
But following the latest heist the FBI says there is evidence he may be someone much younger wearing an elaborate costume.
The FBI believe the Detectives believe the robber may be using latex gloves and a face mask to appear older
"The robber was described as someone who appeared to be an elderly white male but may have been wearing a synthetic-like mask and gloves to conceal his true physical characteristics," the FBI said.
Detectives are reviewing security camera footage and questioning witnesses and bank staff following the latest robbery, in San Luis Obispo.
They have also recovered a day planner the robber had been carrying. It is now being examined at the FBI's crime laboratories at Quantico in Virginia.
After exiting the bank, a security dye pack received by the robber exploded, causing the robber to drop the day planner. Smoke and red dye from the dye pack covered the robber and money.
Surveillance video shows the robber drop to his knees in an attempt to gather some of the money and his belongings. After gathering what he could, the robber sprinted away across the bank parking lot.
FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said the speed with which the "Geezer" was able to run away does not match his apparent age.
The Geezer Bandit attracted something of a cult following after his initial robberies. A Facebook page set up for supporters now has 12,000 followers and sells merchandise.
But his frequent use of threats to kill and the willingness to produce the revolver he carries is causing alarm among detectives.
The FBI has now offered a $20,000 (£12,750) reward for information leading to his capture but have warned the public that he should be considered "armed and dangerous."

'Teen Mom' Amber Portwood accused of two new felonies

Madison County Sheriff Dept.
The Madison County Sheriffs Department released Amber Portwood's mugshot in December 2010 when she was charged with felony domestic battery.
By Anna Chan
Things continue to get worse for troubled "Teen Mom" star Amber Portwood.
On Monday, a judge issued a warrant for her arrest and was taken into custody for allegedly violating the terms of her probation. She had pled guilty in June to two counts of felony domestic violence after MTV aired an episode during season two of "Teen Mom" in which she was seen repeatedly punching and slapping ex-fiance Gary Shirley, who is also the father of her daughter, Leah. Portwood was given a two-year suspended sentence and placed and two years of probation in the case.
On Friday, she appeared in a Madison County, Ind., court from jail via video conference. According to TMZ andRadar Online, Portwood was not only accused of violating probation, but was also accused of committing two new crimes: felony battery and possession of a controlled substance. According to several reports, Portwood had too much to drink and hit someone while at a restaurant recently, which has now resulted in one of the new charges.
As for the possession charge, the reality personality's brother, Shawn, told our friends at E! Online earlier this week that when his sister missed a probation hearing, authorities went to her home. While there, they reportedly found some "old pills" in her purse that she couldn't show she had a prescription for.
According to the Herald Bulletin, Portwood testified that she has back issues and scoliosis, and that a doctor prescribed hydrocodone, which she said she abused. (It is not clear if the pills authorities found were hydrocodone.)
Sources also told TMZ that she failed to submit to drug tests on Dec. 16 and 19.
The paper also reports that Portwood said she felt exploited for her work on MTV's "Teen Mom." "I want to quit and I will," the Herald Bulletin quotes her as saying.
MTV did not have a comment.
Judge David Happe ordered her to remain in jail until at least Jan. 27. Shirley currently has custody of daughter Leah.

Tyler the Creator Arrested on Felony Charges - Twirlit

Tyler the Creator Mugshot Photo Released from Arrest - LALATE news

Tyler the Creator Mugshot Photo Released from Arrest
LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – A mugshot photo of Tyler the Creator has been released from last night’s arrest. Tyler the Creator’s mugshot pic stems from a vandalism arrest in West Hollywood Thursday night. The rapper had allegedly vandalized sound equipment at the Roxy Theater on the Sunset Strip.
Tyler the Creator, real name Tyler Okonma, was arrested and booked at the West Hollywood Sheriff’s station. He faces a felony vandalism charge. He was released on $20,000 bail. And his mother watched the entire arrest unfold in front of her.
Online video showed Tyler the Creator allegedly smashing sound equipment, reportedly throwing his microphone at a sound engineer. Earlier this year he made news for winning Best New Artist for “Yonkers” at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
But it May, Tyler was detained at Westchester High in the Los Angeles for disturbing the peace. The creator of OFWGKTA had reportedly set up promotional teams at the Westchester, Fairfax and Pacific Palisades High that weekend. At the time, he was critical of police. He posted to Twitter on May 10 “I Swear To Atheist God Tho, F– cops.”

Rapper Tyler the Creator (aka Tyler Okonma) was arrested in West Hollywood early this morning. Reuters reports that the 20 year-old musician was arrested on suspicion of felony vandalism after trashing sound equipment at the Roxy, where he was performing with Odd Future.
Here’s a handy video of the incident:
The LA Times reports that after Tyler was arrested, an angry crowd rushed onto Sunset Boulevard. An L.A. County Sheriff’s Department helicopter and multiple police units were dispatched to the scene to make the crowd leave.
According to LAist, Roxy security guards called authorities, saying that Tyler “had just destroyed an electronic soundboard belonging to the Venue,” and the guards were “desirous of an arrest.” Tyler was arrested around 11:30 p.m. – and apparently his mother was there to see it!
Tyler took to Twitter to deny that he was even arrested: “Whoa, Its Stories On Me Even Being In Jail? The Fuck? I Wasnt In No Jail Or Arrested Or Nothing.”
But the LA Sheriff’s Department released a news alert saying that Tyler “was booked for Felony Vandalism and later released on a $20,000 bond.” Pretty sure that means “arrested,” Tyler. They also released a Tyler the Creator mugshot (above).

Rapper Arrested For Vandalism, Attacking Sound Engineer at The Roxy

Tyler Okonma (Photo by Po'Jay via Flickr)
Tyler Okonma, a 20-year-old rapper who goes by the stage name "Tyler the Creator," created a ruckus on Sunset Boulevard last night when he was arrested for "allegedly vandalizing sound equipment and attacking a sound engineer at the Roxy nightclub in West Hollywood," according to KTLA.
Okonma, who fronts the group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA), can be seen in video taken by a show attendee confronting a sound man and throwing things at him and his equipment.
Okonma mughsot (Courtesy LASD)
Security guards at the club contacted the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's West Hollywood Station to tell them Okonma "had just destroyed an electronic soundboard belonging to the Venue," said Sgt. Arthur Famble Jr. of the LASD, according to City News Service. Club security were "desirous of an arrest."The rapper was arrested at around 11:30 p.m., reportedly in the presence of his mother.
While Okonma was being taken to the patrol car, "the crowd exiting the venue became angry and rushed into the street towards the deputies,'' explains Famble. The crowd required additional deputies to be controlled, and as a result, Sunset Boulevard was closed between Doheny Drive and San Vicente Boulevard for about half an hour.
Okonma hails from the Ladera Heights area of Los Angeles, and has been criticized for his homophobic and misogynistic lyrics.
UPDATE 9:34 AM: This morning, Okonma is denying (or has blacked out) his arrest. Via Twitter:
In a news alert released by the LASD, authorities say Okonma "was booked for Felony Vandalism and later released on a $20,000 bond." They included a mugshot (above) with the news alert.
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