None of this breaks the guy. He's still loaded. Even after conviction, the feds say he pulls $1 million a-year from real estate and investments.
Which raises a point: Is the ongoing time and effort to squeeze more money out of Fumo worth it, fair or just plain anger that he didn't get a longer term?
The complexities of restitution — who owes what from stealing how much from whom — makes for a number in this case that's been a moveable feast.
When first sentenced in July 2009, Fumo owed $2.3 million.
He paid it in full with a check.
When resentenced last November, the total jumped to $3.4 million due to a new ruling saying that initial costs undervalued losses by Fumo's "victims."
Now, in a 14,000-word, 82-page brief, federal prosecutors want a third restitution order to get Vince's total to $4.2 million.
The government brief was filed in April. Fumo attorney Peter Goldberger was to file an answer this week but seeks an extension. He says that the government's "piling on."
In one way, he's right.
The feds should finish with Fumo. They got lots of his money and five years of his life. He's in a Kentucky prison since 2009, due for release in 2014.
They lost efforts to put him away for good. He's 69. They wanted 20 years-plus.
It just seems a mix of sour grapes and vindictiveness to keep coming back.
But having said that, the issue they're back on both makes sense and raises questions about questioning judicial discretion.
It's dense, so bear down or go read something else.
Fumo and long-time aide Ruth Arnao both were convicted of defrauding Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, a nonprofit that Fumo created and ran with Arnao.
The pair used Citizens funds for whatever they wanted: Jersey Shore shopping sprees, power tools, 19 Oreck vacuum cleaners (one for each floor of Fumo's various homes), a $27,000 bulldozer for Fumo's farm, a $52,000 SUV for use by Fumo's drivers, a $25,000 Jeep for Arnao's personal use, and more.
The court last November said that Fumo and Arnao should each pay half of a new restitution number just for Citizens of $1.6 million, so $800,000 apiece.
(Fumo also had to pay the state Senate for overpaying aides and using tax-paid employees for personal and political work; and the Independent Seaport Museum, where he was a board member, for personal use of its yachts.)
The feds say that ordering Arnao to pay half is "a gross abuse of discretion."
Their brief notes that Fumo's net worth at sentencing was $11.3 million; more than 10 times that of Arnao's.
The feds also say that since Fumo benefited from 96 percent of Citizens funds and is better positioned to pay restitution, he should pay the full $1.6 million. So, after collecting the lien on Fumo's Florida house, they say he owes $783,264.
It's clear that Fumo ran Citizens and that almost all the stuff Citizens paid for, including political polling, was for Fumo not Arnao.
But courts have discretion, on sentencing, on restitution and more.
At some point, the ongoing cost of questioning such discretion ought to itself be questioned. n
For recent columns, go to philly.com/JohnBaer. Read his blog at philly.com/BaerGrowls.