I'm an avowed ageist. I believe people over the age of 35 should be restricted from forwarding emails and should be prohibited from operating a cell phone while driving. For more evidence that the middle-aged have little concept of how the internets work, see the case of deposed state representative Frank LaGrotta.
State prosecutors are charging LaGrotta with two felony counts of violating the state's conflict of interest law. It seems LaGrotta added his sister to the state payroll for a sinecure position, then back-dated her start date so they could receive lump sum payments of $19,329. He also hired his niece, Alissa Lemmon, whom work sparingly before leaving for an secretarial post at the Pittsburgh Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Here's the most memorable exchange between LaGrotta and his niece:
In a series of e-mails on Jan. 18, 2006, grand jurors found Mr. LaGrotta explaining a state check Ms. Lemmon received after leaving state employment. Mr. LaGrotta later told investigators the exchange was an attempt at humor, an explanation the grand jury rejected.
"Did you ever figure out the paycheck thing?" Ms. Lemmon wrote her uncle.
"They kept you on benefits through Jan. 31 and mistakenly kept you on payroll. Just keep it. They don't want back," Mr. LaGrotta replied.
Ms. Lemmon: "Well, isn't that nice of them :)."
Mr. LaGrotta: "You may get one more too!"
Ms. Lemmon: "Isn't this illegal? Not that I'm complaining!!!"
Mr. LaGrotta: "Not illegal. Mistake. You can pay it back if you choose -- but no one here is asking that. Besides, it is like your severance pay."
Ms. Lemmon: "Eh -- works for me!!!!!"'Niece' to know ya, Frank. Keep a bed warm in Western Pen for Billy DeWeese!