May 3, 2019 at 3:39 pm #5106
Editor’s note: For some unknown reason, several months ago David Berman told Dan that he knew about his past history and may, at some time publish it. Since then he has constantly made threats to do so over and over again, culminating in a nasty confrontation regarding this with me after the election count. For that reason Dan has decided to publish the truth, as he did several years ago in a book, “Life Choices – Navigating Difficult Paths” Now that these fact are “out there” perhaps Mr. Berman will allow us to live in peace.
My Open Letter to David Berman
Time to end your “I know your secret past and I will continue to hold it over your head.”
Now that the SCA election is over, I am responding to your April 27th post that I had done something “very bad” (and as you wrote – even worse than you!).
Unfortunately, you failed to mention my frankness in disclosing a very sad episode in my life. Unlike some, I never hid or provided excuses.
The basics: Your “journalistic investigation” of my life occurred 20 years ago – before my family moved to Nevada, prior to the formation of The Vegas Voice and before Rana ever met me.
I want to be clear: I never shied away from my past, just the opposite. I wrote about it in a chapter of “Life Choices” (ISBN: 978-0-9825264-0-8) nearly 10 years ago; posted it on The Vegas Voice website and discussed it in previous Vegas Voice editions as well as, “Listening to The Vegas Voice” radio shows.
My chapter in “Life Choices” and book cover is attached below for all to read.
And rather than hide it, I told Rana about my “past” during our 2nd week of dating. It’s also known by my family, friends, partner Ray and Vegas Voice editors, the non-profit Medicare Advisory Foundation officers, the guardianship group Rana and I worked with, as well as, two state senators & assemblymen that we lobbied for guardianship reforms.
By the way, I fully disclosed this situation to not only the New Tradition candidates, but the entire NT team and Rana even offered to resign her candidacy over it. To a man (and woman) they all requested that my PILL (that’s partner in love & life – I’m too old to be called her “boyfriend”) remain on the ticket.
So where do we go from here?
If you agree, I would be more than willing to attend any meeting, any forum (perhaps Lifelong Learning?) and we can both stand up and fully discuss our past. At the very least, you’ll have the opportunity to put to rest (as you wrote) the “misleading attacks by some in our community over an incident in my distant past” and not only explain the event(s) in our respective lives, but more importantly, how we learned from it.
From one disgraced former attorney to another: It’s now your decision if your “better angels” want us to trash each other – or work together for our community.
“Life Choices – Navigating Difficult Paths”
Copyright 2010 Turning Point International
Library of Congress Control Number: 2009940194
Martha, George and I
By: Dan Roberts
What do TV/Celebrity hostess Martha Stewart, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and yours truly have in common? We’re all convicted felons.
Ex-Con is the common term, but nevertheless we are all branded with this Scarlet letter for the rest of our lives.
Unlike Martha and George, I was not a multi-millionaire when the “stuff hit the fan” so my fellow former criminals have no idea what it is like to lose everything in the blink of an eye. Your job, your life-long profession, your home, your cars and bank accounts; everything that you accumulated over your life – gone.
They say every convict has a story. This is mine.
Ask anyone who knows me (and I’ll be the first to admit) I’m not the smartest person in a room. While my college buddies were out partying and enjoying the benefits of youth, I studied. Friday nights for me – as well as the rest of the week – meant going to the library and studying.
Somehow, I made it through law school and after failing the New York State Bar (like I said, not the smartest guy in the world) made it on the second try and was admitted to the Bar.
Through fate, luck and more hours working than you can imagine, I became the “man” for the medical transportation industry in New York State. Medical transportation is just a fancy “legal term” for the private ambulance and wheelchair accessible van companies.
In New York City alone, there were over 150 separate companies – and I knew them all; or more importantly, they knew me as “the lawyer” to call whenever they had a legal problem.
To an attorney’s delight, the medical transportation industry was heavily regulated by separate City, State and Federal rules, regulations and laws. I became and was the expert on all medical transportation legal issues.
Besides individual’s company problems that might require my legal services, there were many times when certain governmental agencies would “target” the industry. Whenever that occurred, I would receive the first frantic phone call, quickly followed by the second, third, fourth and on and on.
It really was not a question of whether I was a “great attorney,” but mostly the quality of my opposition. It was always a good talking point to remind my clients that the administrative agencies that were challenging them on any given moment were as “arrogant as they were incompetent.”
My win/loss record was quiet impressive and my ambulance clients respected me. The administrative agencies did not.
In 1994, after 16 years of such legal services, circumstances arose where I could “practice what I preached” to my clients. Along with members of my family, I was able to purchase a struggling ambulance company.
Life was good. In all candor, it was very good. Interestingly, since ambulances are a 24 hour, 7 day a week, 365 day operation, I was never “off-duty”- but while there were killer hours, I never considered it “work.”
The family joke was that a truly successful attorney is one who owned his own ambulance company – and to a certain degree it was true. I became my own “ambulance chaser.”
The medical transportation industry grew and changed with my former clients selling and retiring. Ambulance companies became “corporate” and a wave of consolidation began so the bigger ones could go “public.”
To my benefit, a number of mid-level management guys (and gals) who did the daily operations and who knew me from my attorney days of representing their employers, began lining up to join my company. I hired them all and within 3 years, my ambulance company grew by over 200%.
And then came the next industry wide audit.
The federal government, through its Medicare program came up with a “Report” that it was overcharged by various New York ambulance companies in the total amount of $109,000,000. My former government adversaries were on TV and quoted in the newspapers lambasting the ambulance services and alleging “over-payment and fraud.”
It made quite a few headlines and the 18 “named” companies quickly looked over the list to see where they were in the pecking order. My company was number 13 at $2,600,000.
Coincidentally, as this became public, the national ambulance association was having its annual convention at the MGM Casino in Las Vegas. All New York companies attended and we had a separate meeting to discuss this issue.
The meeting was chaired by the ambulance owner who was number 1 on the list ($22 million) and he had the solution to our collective problems. He had contacts with a New York Congressman who was in the process of running for United States Senate.
If each company would contribute $25,000 to the Congressman’s future campaign, this problem would disappear. Yes, there might be some unknown “token” payment to settle, but the audit would go away.
Make no mistake, it was not a bribe, but a legal campaign contribution to a “concerned” politician reviewing the entire situation and resolving it.
If I could take back just one moment of time; a second chance with 20-20 hindsight, it would be that day.
If there was the possibility to make a pact with the Devil to do it all over again – a chance to play back that one singular moment – I would have stood up, jumped on the dais and screamed for the entire world to hear: “Damn the $25,000; let’s give him $50,000.”
Instead, I was horrified. I gave a speech, a lecture on right and wrong, the rule of law and the fairness of our situation. The audit was bogus, illegal and strictly a grandstanding bureaucratic tactic. We didn’t need a politician, I recall saying, we need justice.
To my everlasting regret, I refused to make that campaign contribution. It was the biggest mistake in my life.
Once I notified the Feds of my intention to challenge the audit, all hell broke loose. My company was accused of fraud and ripping off the Medicare system.
Medicare was able to “temporarily” suspend my company. Temporarily, as it turned out, was forever. Without Medicare reimbursement and with notice to all hospital and medical facilities of the potential “fraud and abuse,” my thriving company died overnight.
There are no words to adequately convey the fear when U. S. Marshals arrive at your door with subpoenas to take all records, file cabinets as well as your private papers. Boxes and boxes were taped shut and hauled out; all while your employees watched in indescribable horror as everything you once had disappeared.
A joint task force of state and federal workers spent the next 3 years looking over every single medical transport and the initial audit was expanded to 5 years. Every transaction was examined and re-examined.
I fought them – from hearing to hearing; from state to federal courts and appeals. It was a street fight, a legal war with guerrilla and nuclear tactics and weapons – with neither side giving an inch. It was a war of attrition.
That claim of $2,600,000.00? Even after expanding the audit two additional years, the final amount of over-payments was $4,920. Even the government dropped the allegation of “fraud.”
That’s less than a thousand dollars per year or $82 per month. Put another way, a reduction of 99.7% over the initial claim.
The government claimed “victory” in the final ruling; after all, there was indeed an overpayment of monies. And they protected the taxpayers.
They also reviewed every mailed or filed document to any government agency, looking for anything – and they found one. They claimed it contained “false statements” and since they were unsure as to who sent it – it was obviously a criminal conspiracy.
Such conspiracy by the owners and officers of the company (meaning my parents, brother and wife) would be determined by a criminal trial. With separate attorneys to avoid any “conflict of interest,” the preliminary attorney fees quoted began at $250,000.
I was done. I couldn’t go on. Five years of hand-to-hand combat without any income had taken its toll. I gave up.
I pled guilty in federal court in March 1999 of submitting a “false statement.” Even with the government admission that there was no “harm” or “monies obtained,” it was a Class D felony.
No members of my family were ever implicated; but as the government pointed out, it was not a deal. It was also a “coincidence” that once I pled guilty, the government returned nearly $100,000.
I can say however, that I am the only convict in New York who ever received a refund after pleading guilty. How’s that for a lasting legacy?
Let’s be clear. I am not stating that I was framed or that there was a secret understanding. I pled guilty and I am and will forever remain a convicted felon. It is, what it is…pure and simple.
Am I bitter? I guess the honest answer is “not anymore.” But I sure was.
I have realized that it does not pay being bitter or angry or resentful. Life goes on (whether you want it to or not) and looking back does not accomplish anything except making you ill. It’s been nearly 10 years – enough already.
Where does one pick up the pieces of his life after such conviction? How does a family stay together after losing their home…their lifestyle… and after the shame and humiliation?
They say when God shuts a door, He opens a window. I hope that’s true.
Because if it is, then I guess I’m still going through that window. Maybe I gained a few pounds over the years, or that window may not be very large, but I do believe that such window exists.
That window allowed me to keep my proudest accomplishment. I still have my family. I’m still with my wife. And all our sons are with us in our new home state of Nevada.
I don’t know how many families could survive what we went through. I don’t know if it made us stronger, but I sure do know the meaning of love.
I learned that there is nothing like a crisis to discover who your friends are. Everybody likes you when you’re successful and have money…but it takes a very special individual; a true friend that stands by your side and watches your back when the bombs are incoming.
Let me remind you of another inspirational cliché – it’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up. Yes, I was knocked down; knocked completely out of the ring as a matter of fact – but was able to stagger and eventually stand up again.
With the help of my family, business partners and friends, we’ve established The Vegas Voice – the largest monthly senior newspaper in Nevada. With the economy being what it is and with newspapers in general dying by the day, I’m proud to say that our publication is still growing; still expanding.
And that’s no small feat.
No, I never met Martha Stewart or George Steinbrenner who were able to successfully return to their original profession. However, I must admit that I love my life as publisher; working with my family and friends and meeting new people every day.
Maybe, just maybe, if I lose a few pounds and squeeze a little harder, I’ll push through that window yet.May 3, 2019 at 4:49 pm #5109
Thank you for sharing your amazing story. Congratulations on turning your life around & finding happiness.
You absolutely went through the greatest storm of the “power hungry” corruption within the govt. bureaucracy. Your story, has to be one of great inspiration for others, who may feel that their life is destroyed & not worth fighting for.
We have the greatest respect & admiration for the work you do now, toward improvements & communication for Las Vegas Residents and within your SCA friendships.
Best of wishes, always, Jan & Sam PalermoMay 3, 2019 at 6:17 pm #5110
Dan, I commend you for rejecting what was, in fact, a bribe to a politician. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it was still a bribe. That takes the integrity that have always possessed and I admire you for picking up the pieces of your life and starting over. I am happy to call you my friend.
Shame on the “other guy” for his blackmail tactics. A zebra can’t change its stripes and he has proved what an unsavory character he is.
PatsyMay 3, 2019 at 11:56 pm #5114
WOW…thank you for sharing this Dan. You certainly were put through the wringer and you DO prove that we Bronx folks are some of the toughest cookies anywhere; knock us down, but we get right back up! Bob and I congratulate you on picking yourself up and becoming the successful man you are. The thought that an individual would threaten to expose a past indiscretion over an election for a seat on a HOA Board of Directors is just beyond belief. THIS IS NOT A PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY, Mr. Berman; how juvenile and vindictive can you be! Hold your head up high Dan and soldier on with yours and Rana’s assistance to the senior community here in the Las Vegas Valley. We appreciate you more than you could ever know. Congratulations Rana…I was so thrilled to see that you were the #1 vote getter in the Board election despite every attempt to drag you through the mud. I hope the Board will recognize the value you and Karen bring and allow you to put some of your ideas on the table and implement them.
Ann and Bob BocchinoMay 7, 2019 at 1:28 pm #5124
May 7, 2019
To Anthem Today readers:
Yesterday, May 6, 2019, the Dan Roberts article broke our daily visits to Anthem Opinions.
A total of 2,920 visits were recorded and NOT ONE PERSON IN ANY WAY CRITICIZED MR. Roberts.
All comments received looked at David Berman in a negative light for his continual harassing behavior toward Sun City Anthem Residents.May 14, 2019 at 5:48 pm #5177
Thank you so much for your comment.
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