Do the math.
Let’s say you owe $431,000. You have to pay that bill at a rate of $627 a month. How many years will it be before THAT debt is settled?
By my calculation, a little over 57 years.
Now if you were 18, it would take you 10 years past the traditional age of retirement – 65 – to make all those payments.
But Tawana Brawley is 41. And she owes former New York prosecutor Steven Pagones that $431,000, which she has to pay from the nursing job she works in Richmond, Virginia.
Remember Brawley? According to news reports, she’s been calling herself either Tawana Thompson or Tawana Gutierrez these days.
A Virginia court recently ordered that Brawley’s wages be garnished to pay the $431,000 she owes Pagones, after she was found liable for defaming him back in 1998.
The original judgment was for $190,000, but Brawley made no payments during the 15-year period from 1998-2013. With an interest rate of 9 percent, that total amount of what she owed Pagones ballooned to $431,000.
The back story about that judgment began some 11 years before 1998, after Brawley claimed that two white men in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., abducted her and drove her to some woods. There, Brawley claimed, they and four other white men raped her over a period of four days.
Brawley was only 15 at the time. Her story received some credibility because she was found in a trash bag, smeared with feces and with the letters KKK and the “n” written on her body.
Enter attorneys C. Vernon Mason and Alton Maddox, and a then-obscure minister named Al Sharpton. They set themselves up as Brawley’s defenders and “advisers.”
After a year of naked race-baiting in which Sharpton accused then-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo of being a racist and claiming that Brawley talking to the state attorney general about her allegations would be akin to having a concentration camp inmate talk to Adolf Hitler, a grand jury investigated Brawley’s accusation.
What did those grand jurors conclude, after listening to 180 witnesses, conducting a seven-month investigation and compiling a transcript of testimony that ran to 6,000 pages?
That Brawley’s story was worth considerably less than bat guano.
How did the jurors reach their conclusion? Stories from several different papers might provide the clues.
From the Daily Mail of the United Kingdom of Aug. 4: ““(The jurors) found evidence that Brawley had (run) away from home and was hiding out in her parents’ former apartment after they got evicted….Traces of the charcoal-like material used to scrawl the hateful word on her body were found under her fingernails, and she showed no signs of genital trauma or exposure, the jury found. One witness said Brawley was spotted crawling into the (trash) bag.”
From a story in The New York Times of June 3, 2013: “A Sharpton associate told news media at the time (of the grand jury investigation) that Ms. Brawley’s lawyers….and Mr. Sharpton ‘were frauds from the beginning.’ About six months after the hoax, Ms. Brawley’s former boyfriend told Newsday she had invented the allegations, apparently to avoid a beating by her mother’s boyfriend after running away from home for four days.”
Seeking to clear what was left of his good name after Brawley called him a “gang-raping, kidnapping racist,” Pagones hauled her, Maddox, Mason and Sharpton into court.
That court ruled in Pagones’ favor. Mason was ordered to pay $188,000; Maddox had to pay $97,000; Sharpton, who led the race baiting, got off relatively easy. He only had to pay $66,000, part of which was paid by attorney Johnnie Cochran and other “benefactors,” according to The New York Post.
Will Reverend Al step up for Brawley, the way Cochran and others stepped up for him?
You would think that after aiding and abetting one of the cruelest hoaxes in American history, that Sharpton’s career would have been done after that 1988 grand jury investigation.
But Sharpton’s career took off. He portrayed himself as a bold crusader for civil rights and the defender of black folks across the land.
Today, he even has his own show on the MSNBC network, for which I suspect he’s getting paid a pretty darned good penny.
Since Brawley is mainly responsible for Sharpton being where he is today, he really ought to hook the sister up with a little something-something.
And that something-something should come to about, oh, $431,000.