Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another Phony War Hero? Atlantic City's Democrat Mayor Goes AWOL

Looks like we have another case of a Democrat embellishing his military record. Though, of course, this account from the Philadelphia Inquirer doesn't identify his party affiliation.

To be fair, the Mayor of Atlantic City did indeed serve in the military, but claimed to be a Green Beret when he was not.

A.C. mayor goes AWOL
ATLANTIC CITY - Where's the mayor? Not since "Where's Waldo?" and "Where's the Beef?" has such a query caused such a stir.

In this resort, where the streets are literally paved by gambling revenues, they're taking bets on what might have become of Mayor Bob Levy and whether his disappearance signals another impending scandal involving the city's top job.

Amid reports of a federal probe into false claims that Levy admits he made regarding his Vietnam military service, the mayor drove off last Wednesday in a silver, city-owned Dodge Durango and has not officially been heard from since.

His lawyer says that Levy is in a hospital, but isn't giving up anything else.

Rumors flew last week that Levy was ready to resign and would hold a news conference. But his assistants insisted that none of that was true.
Then where is he? Might this have something to do with it?
Levy's public problems started last fall, when he acknowledged to a reporter for the Press of Atlantic City that he misrepresented his military background during his mayoral campaign.

He had claimed to have served in the Army Green Berets during the Vietnam War, but in November said he never was in the elite Army Special Forces group.

Levy's service record shows he served two tours in Vietnam and was decorated for bravery twice.
Why would someone who was decorated for bravery twice find it necessary to embellish his record?

Nonetheless, like many Democrat officeholders in New Jersey, many in Atlantic City face assorted corruption charges.
Currently, one-third of Atlantic City's City Council members are in prison or awaiting sentencing. Another city councilman was caught in a videotaped sex act with a prostitute last year. He said he was set up by political opponents.

Since taking office two years ago, Levy may have spent as much time out of his City Hall office as he did serving in it.

As 2006 closed, the mayor turned over city government to the city business administrator, Domenic Cappella, without telling anyone while he took a mysterious 11-day medical leave.

After Levy returned to work, his attendance record around the office and at City Council meetings has been spotty, according to colleagues. He rarely makes ceremonial appearances for groundbreakings or ribbon-cuttings.
More from the Star-Ledger.
By all accounts, Robert Levy, now the 60-year-old mayor of Atlantic City, was a fine soldier during his two tours of Vietnam.

The former lifeguard came home with two Bronze Stars. He was a native son who, before enlisting, had risen above his own family's prejudice to marry a local African-American woman. After his homecoming, he remained in the military until he became eligible to retire, with 20 years of service.

But at some point, Levy began to embellish his service record in Vietnam by saying he had been a member of the Green Berets, the elite special force of the Army and stirring figures in the popular imagination. During his campaign for mayor in 2005, the trim 6-footer even campaigned as a former Green Beret.

Since then, Levy has been outed by the local newspaper, The Press of Atlantic City, for padding his résumé, and he has admitted the lie. Last Friday, amid reports that the federal government was investigating his military record, he abruptly went on medical leave and dropped out of sight.

Yesterday, as federal sources confirmed the investigation, Levy remained missing. His spokesman, Nick Morici, said he was in a hospital somewhere.

In the meantime, state Assemblyman Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic), a former Atlantic City mayor and lifeguard as well as a longtime friend of Levy, complained that the mayor's unexplained absence has "paralyzed" the city. Atlantic City officials fought over who was entitled to fill the void, and Council President William Marsh hired a legal adviser. But at City Hall, where workers planted colorful mums in planters, Domenic Capella, the city business administrator and self-described acting mayor, said Atlantic City was functioning just fine.

Two people familiar with the federal probe said Levy is under investigation on suspicion that he lied about his service for financial gain. According to one of the sources, Levy is suspected of lying about having received a Combat Infantryman's Badge, a medal given to soldiers who participate in active ground combat, and about having post-traumatic stress disorder.

As a veteran, he was entitled to veteran's payments, but by embellishing his record, he could get more money, the sources said. The total financial benefit gained in this way would be less than $25,000, they said. His current salary is around $101,000, according to the acting mayor.

The controversy bubbling around Levy erupted in November 2006, when the Atlantic City paper reported he had "knowingly misrepresented" his military record to family, friends, reporters and the public for years.

The newspaper said it began examining Levy's record after a local veteran expressed doubts that Levy had been a Green Beret. The Press examined Levy's claims by contacting the National Archives and Records Administration's National Personnel Records Center, which reported Levy had never been involved with the Special Forces.

The government left no doubt that Levy had a distinguished war record. He was awarded two Bronze Stars for valor over two tours in the combat zone. Yet for some reason, Levy told people he'd also been a Green Beret. The elite unit was formed early in the Vietnam War and its members -- soldiers with additional training in ways to kill and elude capture by the enemy -- wore distinctive green berets.

Over the years, so many Vietnam veterans have made false claims about having been Green Berets that actual Green Berets have taken to trying to expose people who have told the lie.
This lengthy account from the Star-Ledger also mysteriously leaves out his party affiliation. As it turns out, he's a former Republican.

Since it's so easy to identify his party, why does the media omit this information?

UPDATE: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the Insta-lanche. Also linked by Don Surber and Gateway Pundit.

Here also is the latest from CBS3 in Philadelphia. Mysteriously, still no mention of his party affiliation.
(CBS 3) ATLANTIC CITY There is growing frustration in Atlantic City as the mayor remains missing.

The question of "where is the mayor?" was asked quite frequently during a meeting in Atlantic City Wednesday evening and angry residents are demanding answers.

Mayor Bob Levy went AWOL last week and many are wondering where he is and who is in charge during his absence.

Residents and City Council members alike are looking for and demanding answers.

"If you are sick, if you are in the hospital, let the public know, let the council know," City Councilman Tim Mancuso said.

Levy's attorney said his client is on extended medical leave but would not give specific details.

Business Administrator Domenic Cappella has been acting mayor. Some residents and council members are asking him to step down because they said he was not officially appointed.
The Press of Atlantic City is also apparently unaware he's a Democrat or intentionally omits this fact.

One would think with all the manufactured outrage over Rush Limbaugh, his party affiliation would be noteworthy.

UPDATE II: Well, we've really hit the bigtime, as this post was mentioned by Rush Limbaugh himself today. Major thanks, Rush, from a longtime fan.
Unfortunately, I had stepped away and didn't hear it, but was alerted to it by the folks from Little Green Footballs, where this is also now linked, so thanks also go out to to Charles Johnson.

I hope the twerps from Hillary Clinton's Media Matters wet their pants when they heard it. And you know they were monitoring every word out of Rush's mouth.

UPDATE III: Here's the link from Rush's Stack of Stuff Quick Hits Page. Scroll down to Story #3.

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