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Monday, August 10, 2020


“La Poitrine, 1961” is a painting by Rene Magritte that is just one of many art purchases ($7+ million) made by shell companies on behalf of Russian oligarchs.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists just released an impressive white paper—one in a series—exposing rogue offshore finances.  Penned by ICIJ reporters Will Fitzgibbon and Hamish Boland-Rudder, the piece is titled “Artful Dodgers: US Senate finds billionaire Putin Pals evaded sanctions through art deals.”  The big takeaway from this reporting shows how the $64 billion art industry has ballooned with transactions often obscured by offshore companies, stand-ins, free trade zones, manipulated auctions and private sales. ICIJ names the names.  For the complete article click here.

Godspeed, Pete Hamill
Tom Jones, senior media writer with the Poynter Report penned the following and apt obit for media colleague Pete Hamill:  “...The headline to describe Pete Hamill, in the New York Daily News — the paper where Hamill worked for so many years — was impeccable. They called him a “legendary journalist and author.”

Using “legendary” to describe anyone can be tired and lazy — a cliche. But in this case, the description fits. It’s not hyperbole. It’s just right. Hamill was a legend. Truly.

In another time and place, the proper way to really show your respect would be to call him by another word:

Newspaperman — said with all the reverence that word can mean.

The legendary journalist, author and newspaperman died Wednesday, four days after a fall that broke his hip. He was 85.

Where do you even start? In New York, that’s where.

Hamill was pure New York, born in Brooklyn. A high-school dropout, he would go on to be the voice of New York, writing for FIVE New York papers: the New York Post, the New York Herald Tribune, the Daily News, Newsday and The Village Voice. He served as an editor at the Post and Daily News. He wrote 21 novels and more than 100 short stories. He also wrote for The New Yorker, Esquire, Rolling Stone and New York Magazine.

And he wrote about everything.

The Daily News’ Larry McShane wrote that Hamill was a constant witness to history: “As a kid watching Jackie Robinson break the baseball color barrier in Ebbets Field. Walking decades later with Robert F. Kennedy in the Ambassador Hotel when an assassin opened fire. And again on 9/11 in the shadows of the Twin Towers. … He went south to cover Martin Luther King, and stayed home for the last interview with fellow New Yorker John Lennon. He reported on ‘The Troubles’ in his ancestral homeland, and covered wars in Vietnam, Nicaragua and Lebanon. Hamill stood in Lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001, with paper and pen in hand as the World Trade Center’s 110 stories came tumbling down.”

Trying to capture Hamill’s career here in the confines of this newsletter is impossible, but his life and career need to be celebrated and remembered. If you get a chance, watch “Deadline Artists” — last year’s HBO documentary that chronicled the careers of Hamill and his longtime newspaper rival/friend Jimmy Breslin.
Many of Hamill’s columns can be found on the internet, but as we say goodbye to Hamill, I want to leave you with this:

Another McShane piece in the Daily News in which colleagues, friends and fans remember Hamill. The Daily News’ Mike Lupica called him New York City’s poet laureate. The New York Times’ Robert D. McFadden called him the “quintessential New York journalist.” The New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo called him a “tabloid journalism hero.”

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