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An Activist With A Past

Patricia Sullivan

What do you say when you don't have much good to say?

Your grandmother would say if you can't say something nice, don't say anything. But granny didn't work for newspapers, where you have to tell the truth, in all its messy glory.

The San Francisco Weekly grappled with this dilemma in an obit for August Longo, a local Democratic Party activist who had a past, you might say: In 1981, he was indicted in New York of impersonating three different doctors, filling out false credit-card and loan applications, and passing more than 40 bad checks -- to the tune of $467,000. He pleaded guilty to nine charges involving around $125,000.

In 1984 he skipped his probation to travel to California -- where he was later convicted of felony credit-card fraud in 1985. He was paroled in 1990, violated parole in '91 and went back inside, and then left prison for good one year later.

Hey Joe Eskenazi, that was a fine obit -- FYI, there's no longer any such thing as "obituary style," that might leave out what's newsworthy in deference to the grandmothers and others who wish to only remember the non-controversial.

By Patricia Sullivan  |  April 7, 2010; 11:43 AM ET
Categories:  Patricia Sullivan  | Tags: August Longo, disability activist, felony, fraud, impersonations, obituary  
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