Whitcomb: Making R.I. One Big Port; Big Hydro for MA?; Facebook Should Pay for Journalism

Monday, February 05, 2018
Robert Whitcomb, Columnist

Robert Whitcomb, GoLocal Columnist
“Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.”

-- Robert Frost


“Keep this in mind: the solution to every human problem contains within itself the seeds of a new problem.”


-- Former Maine Sen. George Mitchell


My take on Trump’s boffo State of the Union show last Tuesday: The event befitted our optics-obsessed, post-literate, post-respect-for-facts times. Much of it consisted of heavily choreographed mini-dramas with human props invited to sit in the gallery too, in effect, promote the president’s program and feed his voracious ego.  The use of heroic individuals as actors on State of the Union nights has been expanding for many years. Some of it is touching.The Democrats, by the way, would have been wise to have shown more respect for the head of state than they did; too many of them looked churlish. (Of course, some GOP legislators were much more rude to Obama in his State of the Union shows. One shouted “You lie!”) Trump is, character-wise, an odious creature but federal officials should show at least a modicum of respect for the office.


Trump, as you would expect from a “reality’’ TV star,  performed very well indeed in his highly effective if cynical,  hypocritical, jingoistic and detail-scarce show.  As for the “substance’’ of the event, despite calls for unity, there was little real outreach to the Democrats. And his calls for improving infrastructure (yes, slash the regulatory-approval time!), boosting the military, fighting opiates, improving vocational education and so on lacked details about how to pay for them. (For a sound approach to the infrastructure challenge, please hit this link:


President Donald Trump
Those are especially intriguing gaps given that the Republicans, now almost totally in thrall to our Demagogue-in-Chief, have just enacted a $1.5 trillion tax cut, mostly for business (okay) and rich individuals (unwise). The Congressional Budget Office said last week that the United States will bump up against its borrowing limit a month earlier than previously expected because of the tax cut, which is cutting revenue for the Treasury Department. Still, few people seem to care about our rapidly swelling debt. The bond market will tell them when to get anxious.


Trump’s TV show was fundamentally a pitch to his base, which will probably stick with him until the economy, which has been growing since 2009, starts sinking. The folks who get most of their “news” from the Grand Old Party’s Fox News subsidiary will not seek out other information and opinions. They, like those on the left who only watch MSNBC, seek to avoid the anxiety of hearing information and opinions that might upset their worldviews. Intellectual cowardice and confirmation bias, not to mention false equivalence, reign.


The President’s prime-time program had plenty of evasions of the truth.   You can look them up. The most important one to me was his suggestion that many immigrants were apt to be lethally dangerous to God-fearing U.S. citizens. In fact, U.S. citizens commit crimes at a higher rate than illegal immigrants.

For instance, a March 2017 study by Republican-leaning Cato Institute found that “all immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than natives relative to their shares of the population” and that “even illegal immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans.”


A successful con man never lets the facts get in the way of a pitch to his suckers.


Trump is playing his anti-immigrant cards well. Not only do the fanatical followers of this crafty if chaotic would-be fuehrer want more rigorous controls on immigration; most Americans in general do. If the Dems ally themselves with those seeking to increase, or at least maintain current levels of, and rules governing,  legal immigration and continue to go light on illegals, they lose. Most of us know that if you have very porous borders, eventually you’ll have no country. And most Americans don’t like the idea of
“sanctuary cities’’.


Bruce Cain, a political scientist at Stanford, made the case in The New York Times that Democrats should cooperate with Trump on immigration:

“If the Democrats compromise on a few of the non-DACA items {e.g., more border security} and the (Congressional) Republican position is no DACA relief, then the Republican position becomes untenable and looks as though they are caving to their extreme nativist faction. And if the Democrats make their position a clean bill on DACA and no compromise on the other items, it hands the Republicans a perfect wedge item going into the 2018 election, possibly keeping them in control of both houses.’’


As do all presidents, but much more so, Trump took credit for economic growth, now in the ninth year of the post-crash expansion. (Many other nations have faster-growing economies than America’s.) It will be fun to see how he rhetorically navigates the inevitable recession. Maybe he’ll blame it on “Crooked Hillary.’’




The Democratic response to the Trump event was another heavily visual event. U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III, without a jacket and with blinding lip balm, spoke in a Fall River vocational school. The redhead spoke intensely to an enthusiastic local crowd. Behind him was a car with the hood up. (Maybe not necessarily a good optic for us old folks who remember his Great Uncle Edward Kennedy’s incident at Chappaquiddick.)


Congressman Kennedy
Appealing to blue-collar workers by speaking in such a venue would probably have been more effective if the school had been in one of the Rust Belt states that handed Electoral College victory to a rich guy from New York, mentored by Roy Cohn, with a more than 40-year record of sleaze. (Many Trump voters said they mostly knew of Trump from his TV star stretch and admired his act; most avoided researching his career. New Yorkers, who know Trump’s deeply shady career well, voted overwhelmingly against him. For an entertaining look at Trump’s rise to celebrity, view http://www.trumpthemovie.com)


The congressman was very articulate and, I thought, sincerely passionate. Still, most people have no memory of the glory days of his family, and some folks, including Democrats, didn’t want to hear from another East Coast child of privilege. (But Republicans admire their chief East Coast child of privilege.)


I remain convinced that the Democrats would do better to back off from their obsession with identity politics and instead tout above all else their programs to improve the socio-economic condition of all people in the middle class and below. Kennedy alluded to that but spent too much time talking about immigrants and others you’d  put under the heading of “identity politics.’’ As I wrote above, most Americans want more controls on immigration. And most Americans are still getting used to such new developments as, for example, bathroom rights for the transgendered. Young Kennedy should have positioned himself and his party as the party of FDR, Truman, JFK and LBJ (minus the Vietnam War) and less as movers of social movements most popular on the East and West Coasts. And the Democrats should have gotten somebody from, say, Ohio, to give the speech.





With its big and mostly sheltered bay on the Northeast Corridor and proximity to major shipping lanes, Rhode Island is very well-situated for the state to expand its foreign-trade zone to the entire state. As I remember from my business editor days here and in Europe, Free Trade Zones, if promoted well, can be big prosperity builders in the jurisdictions that have them. Rhode Island’s compactness, ports on Narragansett Bay and increasingly international T.F. Green Airport should make it an easier place than most to go after revenues from international trade.


In the Jan. 26-Feb. 1 Providence Business News, Mary MacDonald well summarized the attractions of Free Trade Zones in her article headlined “R.I. bids to become a statewide foreign trade zone. Who will benefit?’’


“{A}approved companies that make use of a zone do not have to go through Customs entry or pay import duties on certain merchandise. Duties and excise taxes are only paid when products move into the U.S. market for sale. If the items are then moved on to another country, the company pays no duties or taxes on those items.


‘’Companies will often move product through a FTZ if they want to hold it before sale, because this allows them to delay the payment of their tariff, and frees that money for other purposes….there is no time limit for how long something can be stored in the trade zone.’’



Is Massachusetts wise to put so many of its energy eggs in one basket? Consider the Northern Pass project, which would send electricity from massive Quebec hydro-electric operations via a power line (some of it buried) through New Hampshire. The Bay State has given preliminary approval to having the utility Eversource deliver the hydropower. But the project may never happen: New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee has just rejected the plan, after all, other appropriate state agencies had approved it. The company is expected to appeal.


{image_4The $1.6 billion Northern Pass project,  which would be the largest renewable-energy-source in the state's history, would benefit from a 2016 state law mandating a big increase in green energy in Massachusetts. The aim is for the project to provide the equivalent of 17 percent of the state’s current electricity needs.


It’s not environmentally perfect. Generating the power necessitates big dam projects in Canada that flood wide areas and of course putting the line (some of it buried) through New Hampshire would require some disruption.


The Bay State ought to be wary of over-dependence on one source. A big expansion of small-scale solar-, wind-, hydro- and tidal-energy projects should continue to be encouraged. Homeowners are increasingly turning to roof-top and backyard solar panels to get around high electricity prices on the grid and exacerbated by the political difficulty of running natural gas lines (to generate heat and electricity) lines into New England.


Anyway, it’s hard to see that we could have too much diversification, which ought to include even stronger conservation efforts, too.


Meanwhile, Eversource is getting pushback in the Massachusetts legislature about its new charge for homeowners who start using solar power next year. The fee, $120 a year, is meant to ensure that solar users pay to help maintain wires and poles for the grid. This may seem unfair but we’ll need many years to transition away completely from an electricity system based on burning fossil fuel and nuclear energy. In the meantime, society needs to maintain the infrastructure we have now. The typical solar-energy user might pay $25,000 (partly offset by tax credits and other incentives)  to put up a system.  But after that, they’re basically getting free power and perhaps even making money by selling excess electricity to the grid. So the $120-a-year charge seems reasonable.


Meanwhile,  as NIMBYs and their political allies strive to prevent new gas pipelines from Pennsylvania fracking fields from being extended into New England, the Russians are shipping liquefied natural gas to Boston!




The complaints from car-hailing services and their passengers about the $6 pickup fee at T.F. Green Airport ring hollow to me. Jim Hummel wrote about this in a good Jan. 28 Providence Journal story, “Driving revenue: Price of arrival rises at T.F. Green’’. All users should help pay for the airport, which has been much improved in recent years. Uber and Lyft have taken away some of the airport’s revenue from rental cars and taxis. It’s generally cheaper to take a car-hailing service than a cab. Further, many airports charge to drop off and pick up passengers.


As usual, people want more services but lower charges. Take the federal gasoline tax. It was last raised in 1993! No wonder the roads are such a mess. And while Trump talks about improving transportation infrastructure, he got Congress to enact a huge tax cut, mostly for business and the rich. America remains a fiscal Fantasyland.




Southern New England lobstermen (or should I say lobsterpersons?) may have hurt themselves by taking as many lobsters as they can, without looking at the species’ ability to reproduce. It may be a case of “the tragedy of the commons’’ -- wherein individual users in a shared-resource system acting independently in what they see as their own self-interest undermine the common good by depleting that resource through their collective action.


Has that attitude had as much impact on the plunging lobster stocks along the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut coasts as environmental changes, especially warming seas? Hard to tell. Commercial fishermen are notoriously independent and secretive about their catches.


You can’t but think of that when you learn that many Maine lobsterman have long used what seems to be a very effective conservation method. As reported by Fred Bever for Maine Public Radio:


For years, Maine lobstermen have used "’V-notching’: when they found an egg-bearing female in their traps, they would clip a ‘V’ into the end of its tail, and throw it back. The next time it turns up in someone's trap, even if it's not showing eggs, the harvester knows it's a fertile female, and throws it back. Later, the lobstermen also pushed the Legislature to impose limits on the size of the lobster they can keep — because the biggest ones produce the most eggs.’’


“And those fertile females have been doing that job very well in Maine. Since the 1980s, lobster abundance here has grown by more than 500 percent, with landings shooting up from fewer than 20 million pounds in 1985, to more than 120 million pounds in 2015 with a value of more than a half-billion dollars.’’


To read more, please hit this link:



One of the world’s most important but under-reported stories is the transformation of China into a vast  24/7 surveillance system aimed at quashing all dissent. It’s backed up by a vast network of what are in effect concentration camps. Orwell would have been impressed.



There ought to be a prize competition to find an economical replacement for the rock salt dumped on our roads in the winter. That salt is polluting water supplies and killing fish and other wildlife as well as causing severe corrosion to vehicles, bridges and other objects, as well as to cement.


Some public works departments have been trying to cut their salt use by using such substances as beet juice, molasses, and beer waste, but usually with only marginal benefits. Can’t some chemist come up with something better?




Facebook and the media
Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of News Corp., has told Facebook that it should pay credible news organizations for use of their content that shows up on that social-media site. He said: “Publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for their services.’’ That’s putting it mildly. Murdoch, whose Fox News is not exactly a pillar of integrity, and nor is Murdoch personally, is quite right, even if he does employ such sleazoids as Sean Hannity.


Murdoch wants Facebook to do what cable- and satellite-TV companies do: Pay for content from TV channels, such as Fox News, via a monthly, per-subscriber charge.


America has suffered from the Internet-wrought destruction of much of journalism. Murdoch’s organization, which also includes The Wall Street Journal, would, of course, profit if Facebook accepts his request. At least some of that would go into hiring more journalists, hopefully, more for the still highly respected Wall Street Journal (where I worked many moons ago) than for Fox.


Even a modest increase in revenues for news providers would help slow such sad developments, as, for example, good reporters at The Providence Journal leaving to work in state government because they see no future in paid journalism. Not good for a country whose FIRST amendment enshrines the importance of a free press.




Read about what the once-revered Berkshire Eagle newspaper, out in western Massachusetts, is doing under new local ownership to try to improve its journalism and make money after it was ravaged by a cost-cutting national chain. Please hit this link:




I’m impressed by how the workers on those big downtown Providence building projects carry on through cold and bad weather.




  • Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny

    Enda Kenny, former Prime Minister - the Taoiseach - of Ireland, joined GoLocal LIVE to discuss the growing trade opportunities sparked by the new direct air travel between Rhode Island's T.F. Green via Norwegian Air.


    Kenny has been instrumental with his support for the Ireland West International Trade Center in Rhode Island and the RI Trade Center in Mayo.

    At the time of the interview, a Rhode Island trade mission was visiting Ireland led in part by Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian, who also appeared on LIVE.

    Kenny served as Prime Minister from 2011 until earlier 2017.

  • Amanda Clayton, Actress

    Johnston native Amanda Clayton was almost ready to give up on her acting dreams when she got the call to travel to Atlanta to meet Tyler Perry and test-read with other actors for the then-new show “If Loving You Is Wrong," an opportunity that has been life and career changing for Clayton. 

    Having moved to New York at 19, five days before 9/11, she studied on-camera acting at New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and eventually moved to Los Angeles to pursue film and TV opportunities in Hollywood.


    She appeared in Disney’s “John Carter," multiple TV appearances like NCIS: New Orleans, Major Crimes, and The Mentalist, and as Vinny Pazienza’s sister in “Bleed for This” filmed and based right here in Rhode Island.

    Clayton just finished a Lifetime Movie “Mommy’s Little Angel”, coming out next year, and finished a role behind-the-scenes as a producer for “Dirty Dead Con Men.”

     “If Loving You Is Wrong” airs Tuesday nights on OWN.

  • Billy Gilman, Grammy Nominee

    When your career begins at age 11 as the youngest artist to reach #1 on the Billboard charts and continues on through adulthood, it’s almost difficult to believe one could still have professional firsts, but RI native and “The Voice” Alum, Billy Gilman, did just that with his first ever arena concert at the Dunkin Donuts Center.


  • Johanne Killeen, Al Forno

    Johanne Killeen of Al Forno shared both the story on GoLocal LIVE's "The Taste," of how grilled pizza began -- as well as the announcement on her new cookbook highlighting pizza.

    She told the story of how one of America's greatest restaurants was started and where it is going in the future. 


  • South African Penguins

    Mystic Aquarium’s Penguin Trainers Eric Fox and Josh Davis visited GoLocal LIVE with Blue-Purple and Blue-Red penguins, talking about how you can help the Endangered South African species.


    They also discussed trips to South Africa, what it’s like working with penguins, and what’s on the penguin’s lunch menu.

    Mystic Aquarium’s mission is to inspire people to care for and protect the ocean planet through education, conservation and research. To help accomplish that mission, Mystic Aquarium offers educational opportunities and fundraising events to continue their conservation work and teach the public about the ocean’s creatures.

  • Jai Rodriguez, Actor

    “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” alum, Jai Rodriguez, joined GoLocal LIVE to talk about his new show “Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man’’ currently running in Vegas until January of 2018. 

    Rodriguez co-stars in the audience-participation heavy live show with reality TV personality, Kendra Wilkinson, and says the subject matter of the show is perfect for the crowd in Vegas. 


    Rodriguez will also be appearing on the new CBS drama “Wisdom of the Crowd” and makes a cameo as Margaret Cho’s Husband in “Sharknato 5.”

  • Governor Lincoln Chafee

    Lincoln Chafee, former Mayor, U.S. Senator and Governor, took Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo’s administration to task for promoting economic growth by funneling tax dollars to some of America’s richest corporations, in one of a number of appearances on GoLocal LIVE.


    Appearing on GoLocal LIVE with GoLocal News Editor Kate Nagle, Chafee said the Raimondo’s transfer of taxpayers dollars to billion dollar companies such as General Electric and Johnson & Johnson was flawed.

    “I have never liked corporate welfare. It's unfair to existing businesses…some out of state business comes in and you give them the candy store. I just don’t like it," said Chafee.

  • Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero

    As only the 10th person to serve as the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero said it’s been amazing to learn responsibilities of the position and get to know the staff at the National Archives. He appeared on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O'Brien at GoLocal's downtown Providence studio.


    “The most exciting thing is getting to know the records and getting to know the richness of the documentation that tells our country’s history, starting with the oaths of allegiance signed at Valley Forge by George Washington and the troops, all the way up to the tweets that are being created as I am speaking, in the White House,” Ferriero said.

  • Governor Gina Raimondo

    Governor Gina Raimondo joined GoLocal News Editor Kate Nagle on LIVE where she discussed the UHIP technology failure, economic development, the status of 38 Studios, and how she works to build a lasting legacy for Rhode Island. 


  • Walt Mossberg, Top Tech Journalist

    Who are five of the most influential people to change personal technology? The most important journalist gave his insight on personal tech to date and outlined where we are going.

    Super tech journalist and Rhode Island native Walt Mossberg appeared on GoLocal LIVE with GoLocal's News Editor Kate Nagle.


    "Well, it was a combination of really important people - and really important technology," said Mossberg. "It took too long for the computer industry to get the memo that these things had to be usable without reading manuals."

    Mossberg, who served as the principal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal from 1991 to 2013, founded AllThingsD, Recode, and the D and Code Conferences, and from 2015 to 2017, was Executive Editor of The Verge.

  • Gretchen Morgenson, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist

    Gretchen Morgenson, a top financial writer for the New York Times [now the Wall Street Journal], joined GoLocal LIVE just hours after her newspaper published her investigative piece that unveiled that claims that financial giant TIAA was involved in improper financial practices took on new momentum.


    Rhode Island’s Treasurer Seth Magaziner has nearly $700 million invested with TIAA.

    Morgenson was first to report that, “New York’s attorney general has subpoenaed TIAA, the giant insurance company, and investment firm, seeking documents and information relating to its sales practices…”

    In October, she wrote a sweeping investigative piece that raised questions about TIAA’s selling strategies. “The subpoena to TIAA, which handles retirement accounts for over four million workers at 15,000 nonprofit institutions across the country, followed an article last month in The New York Times that raised questions about the firm’s selling techniques,” wrote Morgenson.

    On GoLocal LIVE, Morgenson told News Editor Kate Nagle in a Skype interview, “I think clients in all states should be worried -- Mr. [Seth] Magaziner should do a little more investigation into this to assure himself and the people in Rhode Island in these plans - that what TIAA is [telling them] is correct.”

  • Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

    Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Ron Powers said his recent book, “No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America” is one he promised himself he would never write.


    The book is based on the true story of his two sons' struggles with mental illness. Both were diagnosed with Schizophrenia as young men.

    While deeply personal, Powers gave insight on the battles his sons’ fought and details into their family life. He also looked at the history of mental illness, including incarceration, medication and more. 

    "I was determined to give the mentally ill, invisible to much of society and often denied the very basic acknowledgment of their own humanity, a voice,” Powers said.

    Powers is the author or co-author of 14 previous books, including New York Times bestselling “Flags of our Fathers” and “True Compass."

  • Lidia Bastianich, Chef and Author

    Lidia Bastianich, Emmy award-winning chef, restaurateur, and author joined GoLocal LIVE's The Taste with Rick Simone.


    Bastianich explained how she was inspired by family traditions and how she first got into the culinary world. She has since carried on her passion and it now has involved to include her whole family in all her endeavors.

    Big news -- Bastianich announced that Eataly could be opening in Toronto, Canada in 2018.

  • Piff the Magic Dragon

    Magician and comedian Piff the Magic Dragon appeared on LIVE before he performed five shows at the Comedy Connection in East Providence over Labor Day Weekend. 

    “New show, all new jokes, all new tricks, same dog,” Piff said. “Mr. Piffles will be doing a lot of mind reading. He’s got his whole new act with The Dog Who Knows and he’ll be attempting to see all and know all. Ask him anything and he’ll tell you.” 

    Known for his dry sense of humor and rescue K-9 sidekick Mr. Piffles, Piff gained worldwide attention after his success on season 10 of America’s Got Talent. 

    Although Piff didn’t win that season, he’s made guest appearances on America’s Got Talent, racked up 50 million YouTube views, and recently extended his show at the Flamingo in Las Vegas until the end of 2018.

  • Jean Lesieur, French Journalist

    Leading French journalist Jean Lesieur has appeared twice on GoLocal LIVE. 

    He is a novelist and a co-founder of France 24, the French version of CNN, warned of the rise of Trump and nationalism.


    “He is the symptom and agent of the emerging nationalism. And, nationalism should not be considered patriotism. Patriotism is the love of your own. Nationalism is the hatred of others,” said Lesieur at the Hope Club.

    In a sweeping discussion with GoLocal, he spoke about Europe in the Brexit, the Trump relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the wild French election campaign.

  • Patrick Kennedy, Former Congressman

    Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy spoke with GoLocal LIVE about efforts in Rhode Island in 2017 to legalize marijuana - and what he said is the country’s crisis of addiction, and why he is opposed to marijuana legalization. 


    “We’re going through an epidemic of addiction and depression…and we’re in the midst of the rollback the biggest expansion of healthcare coverage that benefits people with mental illness [and] addiction, and this was the first time the ever got coverage,” Kennedy told GoLocal’s Kate Nagle on Wednesday.

    “We ought to think do we want to throw gasoline on the fire,” said Kennedy, of legalizing marijuana in Rhode Island. “We know what’s happened with other addictive substances where’s basically there’s no perception of ‘risk’ — alcohol is ubiquitous; tobacco, until the settlements, there was no appetite for addressing [the impact of that].”

    “Going down this road of adding a new intoxicant is not a good thing,” said Kennedy.

  • Beverly Daniel Tatum, Former Spelman College President

    Former president of Spelman College, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., is one of the nation’s leading experts on race, and the psychology of race.

    Tatum recently released a fully revised and updated edition of her bestselling book “Why Are the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race.” 


    In an interview with LIVE, Tatum said it’s important to have conversations about race and listen for opportunities to have natural discussions.

    “We can’t solve a problem if we can’t talk about it,” the Brock International Prize in Education winner said. 

    To make a change, she said, we all have a role to play and each of us has an opportunity.

    “We all have a sphere of influence. Everybody influences someone, and we should not be afraid to use that influence to bring about the changes we hope to see,” she said.

  • Mark Baillie, Top British Security Expert

    Terrorism and international relations expert Mark Baillie of King's College in London's War Studies Department spoke with GoLocal's Kate Nagle regarding the post-Manchester landscape in England - and the world. 

    "The young guy...did it in his mother's basement. Any lone actor can make a powerful bomb," said Baillie following the terrorism incident. "We're in the midst of a general election where politicians talk about there being no political or cultural backlash."


    "And estimated 300 people are 'ready to go' -  400 who have been fighting with Isis in Syria  -- and in a group of about 20,000 supporters," noted Baillie of the UK landscape, calling Manchester and acts like it the "terrorism of the mundane" -- and much more frightening than "spectacular" acts of terrorism. 

    Baillie, who runs seminars on a wide range of security matters at King's and at the UK Joint Staff College, has lived or worked in more than 14 countries in the fields of news, security, finance, economics, business and politics and appears widely in international news media on terrorism and international security.

  • Mark Geragos, Celebrity Attorney

    Geragos is one of Hollywood's biggest celebrity lawyers having represented rapper Chris Brown and Michael Jackson over the years. When asked about his relationship with the often legal troubled Brown, Geragos said that the rapper is "like a son and an annuity" to him.

    In reference to a lawsuit that he is representing Alex and Ani over, Geragos said, "For lack of a better word, we've got a couple of knuckleheads, [and] it's not at the forefront of anything we're worried about."

    "Unfortunately when you become successful people want to take an elevator to the penthouse and that won't happen here, trust me," said Geragos.

    Geragos explained how he met Alex and Ani CEO Carolyn Rafaelian - and spoke to how the "company culture" brought him in.

    "I was at a charity event at Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard -- she was doing a fundraiser for an Armenian orphanage," said Geragos. "They have a unique blend of doing humanitarian work...Carolyn was the hit in New York this week."

    Model, entrepreneur and activist Gisele Bündchen, co-anchor of Good Morning America Robin Roberts; and Rafaelian were among the women recognized Tuesday in New York City by the David Lynch Foundation (DLF), a global charitable organization that addresses the epidemic of trauma and toxic stress amongst at-risk populations.



Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email