Well, now I know there is a Jewish version of Donald Trump. And he’s right here in Chicago.
From the start let me admit that my nerves are pretty raw these days. My mother passed away recently and my grief about that is pretty intense. All compounded by some family issues. And I must admit the part of the burial service when the casket my mom was in for her flight from Chicago to Israel, was opened and I was told by the Jerusalem rabbis in charge to look and identify that she was in fact my mom is haunting my brain. Seeing her lying there, her mouth frozen open, was a traumatic sight.
Adding to it is when I found out there is a living breathing Jewish version of Donald Trump right here in the Windy City. I usually don’t like to bother you with the inner workings, the challenges of running a weekly Jewish newspaper but I am going to this time because I am very upset. Let’s just say it ain’t easy putting out a weekly paper, especially because we try to produce quality journalism week in and week out.
This October we are scheduled to celebrate 25 years of doing that. It’s also not easy because we are committed to Jewish unity which means we give voice to, respect all Jewish points of view, all Jewish denominations, believe all Jews are of value and should have their perspectives heard.
Anyway so in trying to close our books for 2018, I compiled a list of those who still had unpaid invoices. I contacted them all and almost all said they would send us a check right out.
But then there was one. The one that is a Jewish Donald Trump.
I so badly want to give you his name, indeed I am tempted to give you his home address and his email address but I am trying to act honorably even if he didn’t. His behavior was so Trumpesque, so disturbing, I feel I need to write about it as a cautionary tale of what is happening to too many of us.
See here’s the thing about Trump that I am so concerned about. It’s not his policies, though I think the damage they do will be significant. But I believe the next president can fix a lot of that. What I think is the most damaging thing Trump does and the thing that is affecting the most people and that will be with us for a long time is the total breakdown in civility, in honorability, in humanity, in acting like a mensch.
The way Trump talks, the way he acts, the way he attacks, the way he belittles, the way he lies, the way he cheats is having such a corrosive effect on our society. I see it all around. He has made it okay to be a lying, self-absorbed, callous, bullying jerk.
Anyway so I am contacting those who still haven’t paid for their 2018 ads when I contact someone named William S., who I will refer to as Billy S., or by his initials BS. Because that is what he showed me he is full of, the spitting image of the Donald.
Billy S. owns a small theatre in Chicago which puts on a couple productions a year. Last year he put on a play which he wrote about President Truman and the birth of Israel. Here’s the thing. When I told Billy S. he still owed us for the full page full color back cover ad we ran at his request for his play he flat out refused to pay. Just like Trump who is notorious for stiffing people who provide services for him.
But that wasn’t Trumpy enough for Billy. He then actually denied he owed us any money. Denied indeed he even asked us to run the ad. It’s like with Trump where facts don’t matter, truth doesn’t matter, where he just makes things up, creates his own reality.
And so when I sent him his old invoice and a copy of the ad we ran for him, he emailed me back, “I DIDN’T PLACE ANY NEW ADS.” Oh, most of Billy’s emails, like many of Fat Donny’s tweets, are in all capital letters.
And then like Donald, he not only denied the reality, he created a new, false one where you are the guilty party not him. And so Billy S. wrote me, “IF YOU DID RUN IT IN ERROR, THAT’S YOUR SCREW-UP SO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.” He then told me “DON’T LIE…
I NEVER GAVE YOU INSTRUCTIONS TO RUN AN AD… NOR DID I WANT YOU TO DO SO.”
Like Trump he not only piled lie on top of lie, but he turned reality around so that the person calling out his lies he calls a liar. He said he didn’t want to place any ads. It was me who screwed up. Well, here are the facts. On Oct. 25, Billy sent an email to his marketing manager, with a copy to me, which read “Joe is the person you should contact at Jewish News.”
And indeed on that same day Oct. 25 his guy whose name is Zach sent an email back to Billy S. with me being copied on it that read “Hey Joe, I got the dimensions for the full ad from your website….what format would you like it to be?”
Sounds like wanting to place an ad to me. He tells Zach to contact me, Zach contacts me and says he has the dimensions for a full page ad and just needs to know what format it should be in. And yet just now when I asked Billy to finally pay his bill, he wrote me, “ZACH HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ORDERING ADVERTISING, JUST SUPPLYING COPY.” Which makes no sense. Why was he supplying copy for an ad that Billy now claims he never wanted to run in the first place? And is also a lie since after I told Zach the format I needed the ad to be in, he in fact, sent me a full page ad.
The very same day I told Zach that the ad would appear in our Nov. 2 issue, and two days after Nov. 2 I sent an invoice for the ad, having sent Billy the rates for ads back in September, at his request. Now Billy says the invoice “WASN’T PAID BECAUSE WE NEVER GOT AN INVOICE… IT’S INTERESTING THAT 6 MONTHS LATER YOU DECIDE WE OWE MONEY. WELL PROVE IT.”
And so I did. I sent Billy my email to Zach of Nov. 4, which included the invoice. And if as he now claims, he did not want to run the ad, why didn’t he back then ask why the invoice or dispute the invoice. And how can he say now he never got an invoice when I have an email from Nov. 4 showing I did send the invoice.
As for his snarky, “it’s interesting that six months later you decide we owe money.” Actually I told him six months ago he owed money. Having never paid the invoice, I have to yes now remind him again to stop being a deadbeat.
And then like deadbeat Donald, he adds, “I’M NOT PAYING JUST BECAUSE YOU SCREWED UP AND WON’T ADMIT IT.” In fact, he screwed up by lying, saying he didn’t want an ad he instructed Zach to place and which Zach sent me with Billy’s full knowledge and so he says I screwed up because that’s what the Donald does, never admits, only attacks, always punches.
Then having pointed out all his lies, all his inaccuracies, he, like Donald, reverted to playing legal games. First he wrote me that “IF YOU ARE SO SURE YOU ARE RIGHT – SMALL CLAIMS COURT IS THE PLACE TO RESOLVE THIS. IT WOULD GIVE ME GREAT PLEASURE IN PROVING YOUR ACCUSATIONS ARE WITHOUT MERIT.”
Just like Trump. So sue me. The guy owes me 1600 bucks. He knows that it simply is not worth it to get a lawyer and go to court for $1,600. Trump is famous for stiffing people just enough to make it not worth it for them to sue.
Then Billy S. threatened to sue me, a classic Donald move. All this to stiff me of $1,600 which in the newspaper business these days is not a sum to sneeze at. But for Billy S. it’s all fun and games.
Trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, I thought it’s not easy running a small theater so maybe Billy S. can’t afford to pay for the ad he ordered. So I do what anyone today would and looked the guy up on LinkedIn. Well, turns out this little theatre of his is just his side hobby. According to LinkedIn, Billy S. “develops and manages shopping centers around the country. Bought and sold over $300,000,000 in shopping centers. Currently owns 18 centers in 10 states.”
So like Trump he’s very wealthy yet like Trump he loves to screw over, lie to, threaten and intimidate the little guy. In this case that would be me. It’s not that Billy S. can’t pay his bill, it’s that he feels it’s beneath him to do so, that he’s rich so the rules don’t apply to him.
I go into all this detail because I am very upset. Yes upset about losing that dough but more upset that a Jew could act like this, do this to a fellow Jew, could behave like this, act as the president of the United States acts.
This makes me very depressed. I work and try so hard to produce a quality newspaper, I was so helpful to this guy and I got totally messed over in the end. Lied to by someone who can pay, who should pay, but who instead played every game in the book not to pay because well why should he. He’s rich William S., living in a time when the truth doesn’t matter and being a mensch is considered being a chump.
I feel like giving up.