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Everyone Has a Price

James Delayo, New York City’s former chief crane inspector, is headed to up to six years in prison because 10 grand in sweaty money was too much to pass up. It’s time to contemplate pricing.

By DAVID MANTEY, Editor, Product Design & Development (PD&D)

With all of the bribing in the news lately, it reminded me of a conversation I had with my grandfather a long time ago. It was back when I first read Tuesdays With Morrie and I was looking for anyone in the senior demographic to bestow wisdom upon me.

After many conversations with many men and women, the consensus was that they knew less than they ever had. We’re all wandering about this life in no discernable direction. The longer you wander, the more you realize how little you know.

While it seemed poignant when I made the note, I figured the literary knowledge bestowment market had been put on tilt by authors looking to help you before they help themselves. I was 24 years old at the time. Who takes life advice from someone who’s only been drinking for three years?

It wasn’t a new saying. On the topic of over-saturation, Hollywood had been selling the point before talkies hit the reel. As I filled out the supplementary school loan application (which still holds a higher balance than originally borrowed) and ignorantly discussed, with disgust, the role of money in pursuit of my own Morrie, my grandfather replied, “Money is everything and everyone has their price.”

Mobsters, hit men and spouses without options had been telling me this for years, but typically as the result of a loose gun-running plot with a secondary love tryst (see also: every other movie/serial television show). It was different to hear if from my Morrie, but I immediately began tallying personal price points for malicious acts — all of which have yet to be met. Bidders flirt with the idea, but given my lack of expertise and professional mercenary level of pricing, Craigslist seems to be the better option.

Now that James Delayo, New York City’s former chief crane inspector, is headed to up to six years in prison because the 10 grand in sweaty money to fake inspection and crane operator licensing exam results was too much to pass up, it’s time to contemplate pricing.

I’m not sure how deviously severe my actions could be as an editor; I’ll have to contemplate which fixes I could be in. Maybe a series dedicated to purchased poor reviews of a competitor’s product line – oh wait, corporations already hire blogger assassins to rail on anything not in the best interest of special interest groups. I’ll come up with an algorithm to include word count, connotation severity and context when determining a price point.            

I find it most interesting that many people are concentrating on how a man could throw away a 28-year career, which culminated at the top of the crane inspection food chain, for ten large. I could use $10K, but I’m trying to work my angle as a back alley editorial merc and I need the language patterns to jive.

Let’s focus on the career he threw away. After all, the body count didn’t reach double digits so he can’t be held too accountable. Delayo was arrested after the second of two huge cranes collapsed and killed nine people in 2008. According to authorities, the charges had to do more with shortchanging safety for profit than manslaughter. Had he not taken the bribes, wouldn’t those nine be alive?

According to his lawyer, Delayo is “devastated by what happened.” Oh happy day, the man has a soul.  

Am I wrong, or have the price points for bribery come down in this competitive market? Delayo's payoffs ranged from $200 to $3,000; maybe it is my remaining optimism that has me believing that it would take a lot more money to bribe the majority. Of course, no one is waving dollar bills in my face as I write this. And who knows, if that happens, I may never hit “publish” and this piece will remain an exercise in free association thought.

It’s important to remember that Delayo is not alone. A crane rigging contractor, an owner and a former mechanic have all been charged with manslaughter. Another inspector is also on the hook for false reporting.  

Everyone has a price, but fewer seem to have integrity. And because of MasterCard’s successful marketing campaign, it seems cheesy and outdated to call anything priceless, so we’ll dub it invaluable.

What’s your price? Leave dollar amounts and bids below or e-mail them to [email protected], and I’ll send you to an anonymous PayPal account.