After Campanella lost, the democrats took over and newly elected commissioner Mary Boyle was happy to fire me. I entered the republican primary for council, won, but lost in the general election. After kicking the stuffings out of my opponent, Ken "the horse" Johnson, was rescued by a letter to voters from George Forbes and an endorsement from Republican Mayor George Voinovch. I am sure Forbes did the dirty deed to preserve his own interest, as I would not be another rubber stamp idiot in council and Voinovich did it to fullfil a promise he had made to Johnson earlier, after Johnson supported his city tax increase. Voinovich continued to play the dirty side of Cleveland politics allowing the police force to set up a a drug selling operation in the black community, flooding the east-side with cocaine and losing city money to drug thugs in Florida. Congressman Lou Stokes was furious, calling for an investigation Voinovich could ill afford. Disappointed with losing but still strong, I had not planned what I would do if I won, I planned what I would do if I lost the election. Several months passed when I saw a curious help wanted ad in the paper. A statewide campaign was looking for media savvy staff. I answered the ad and found the best, yet weirdest job I ever had. The law firm of Frutig, Polito and Travis was functioning as the fund raising mechanism for the campaign of Thomas J. Moyer who was a candidate for Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. Thomas R. Frutig was the boss. He was tall, with a unruly shock of prematurely white hair. He walked fast, his limbs seemed to flail about in disparate directions. He talked fast, sometimes frothing at the mouth, he used really big words unneccessarily and left you with the impression he was a serviceble maniac. This impression, however, turned out to be on point. Frutig was simply a rich boy (his wife's money) playing lawyer and political king maker. The entire staff was intimidated of him, not to mention incompetent. To date, they had spent $50,000 to raise $5,000! Most days, they looked in books from the republican congressional office about campaigning to decide what to do, really.

I was given a very strange IQ or aptitude test of sorts; required of all potential candidates. Apparently, I passed for Frutig kept me out till 11 p.m. discussing "the matrix". The matrix was his favorite term. No one ever figured out what the hell it was, but he would often come storming into the office, like a big angry scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz, hair flying, eyes bulging and in a semi-comatose rage, draw huge, undecipherable hieroglyphics on the conference room walls; all the while lecturing us about the matrix! His trade mark saying, that we would later tongue-in-cheek adopt for the campaign slogan was "Keep your spinnaker full, blow sunshine up their asses and run up their backs with hobnail boots!" He probably stole it from some one else, but it was colorful and illustrative of Frutig's energy and delusion.

The night I was hired, I was at home in bed; around midnight, when the phone rang. It was Frutig! He told me to be at Cleveland Hopkins Airport gate number whatever, pick up my ticket that would be waiting for me and join him and Moyer in Cincinnati at the Queen City Club. Needless to say, I went. There I met a shy, intelligent and totally frustrated candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court, Frutig and his cast of various other looney toons. I did not do much that day. I basically spent it observing the internal machinations of a doomed campaign. Not only did Moyer lack the professionals he needed, a coherent campaign plan, but he was running against big, bad Frankie "Frankenstein" Celebreeze. Celebreeze had cowed the entire Ohio bar by suspending licenses at will and with the help of associate justice brother Jimmy Celebreeze turned the Supreme Court into his personal play thing. He had mafia connections and violated the judicial canons of ethics with his blatantly political maneuvers. Internally, the supreme court was a sophmoric war zone under Celebreeze. Justice's offices were broken into and in at least one instance, someone urinated in a justice's waste basket. The Celebreezes were horrible, but "the airplane boys", Andy Douglass and Craig Wright were no angels either. They goaded Celebreeze at every oppertunity, especially Douglas, who delights in devilments and mischiefs any way.

Moyer was going to be the republican's sacrificial lamb. The only reason Moyer got the party nomination at all was that all of the big names had begged off. Literally, Moyer only had 19 percent name ID. I could not in all honesty participate in watching a good man have his career ruined by well meaning hacks and political cowards. When I returned home, I called Moyer at his home and told him how I felt and what my political instincts were saying. I did not mince words. To my great surprise and pleasure, he agreed. We almost instantly formed a bond and in a matter of weeks, from a shadow position, I was the man at the helm of the campaign. My first move was to change his schedule from being event driven to being fund raising driven. Without money, defeat was a foregone conclusion. This was May and by October we would need nearly a million dollars. Convincing the bar and major contributors that we were for real was no easy task. I was not the lone ranger or superman; many people helped turn the campaign around, but I provided the energy, the boldness and the daily internal leadership and I did not get it out of campaign books. Most lawyers were afraid to have their names on our contributors list because Celebreeze would see it sooner or later and major contributors just do not waste time with losing campaigns. Frutig continued in his madness. One day, he was so far out of control, he even strangled Moyer in the hallway outside my office! Frutig, Moyer and I went in my office and had a meeting of sorts after the strangling. Boy, did that ever feel weird. The better the campaign went the crazier Frutig became. I imagine he sensed that control had slipped from his hands long ago. I was fired and rehired by Frutig two or three times during the last weeks of the campaign.

We were actually catching Celebreeze in the polls and money was now flowing steadily, if not in great amounts, into the campaign. The turning point came when we were able to finally get the Plain Dealer to print a huge front page story connecting Celebreeze to the mob. The Ohio bar was emboldened and through loans and more fund raising, the money to launch an effective media assault was available. Behind the scenes I built a rock solid coalition of Black ministers in Cleveland.(An old Forbes tactic). These ministers would endorse Moyer from the pulpit the Sunday before the election. Meanwhile, the major contributors, previously invisible republican regulars and your bed rock conservatives and even the fringe John Birchers joined the effort to unseat "Frankenstein". Many people did not help because they loved Moyer, but because they hated Celebreeze. A supreme court case the Celebreeze court decided involving Cincinnati Milacron provided the afterburners; we were rolling! The campaign that had started as a little snow ball, without a chance in hell, was now a giant, rumbling avalanche! I made a permanent enemy of Lou Stokes by putting 15 people on the streets in front of his 21st congressional district caucus meeting with picket signs screaming MOB! CELEBREEZE MOB! All three networks carried it and guest speaker Jimmy Celebreeze was run off, embarrased. When the story first broke, Forbes' brother Zeke called me at the office. "Are you crazy boy, talking about the mafia, this IS the mob! Tell your wife to save your money," he said. For the first time in Ohio history, a judicial campaign raised in excess of $1 million dollars! Having done most of my business over the phone and by letter and fax, most, if not all, central Ohio republicans were stunned to find out I was black. My wife And I were two dark specks in a sea of white people election night. More than once, I had people come up to me, shake my hand and react in disbelief, "You are Joe Gilyard?", they would say almost visibly recoiling. The fact that a black man had helped pulled off one of the biggest political upsets in Ohio history was as big, if not bigger internal news, than Moyer's come from behind victory. I will not take more credit than is rightfully mine. There is an old political saying: "defeat is an orphan and victory has many fathers." This was never more true than in Moyers's campaign. Throughout the campaign I worked to get rid of some of Frutig's looney friends, if not Frutig himself. Moyer, howver, an old Governor Rhodes hand believed in the former governor's campaign philosophy "that it is better having them in the tent pissing out, than out side of the tent pissing in."


Moyer rewarded me by appointing me director of the Ohio Court of Claims. The court was unique in as much as it was a statutory court, a court created by an act of the legislature, rather than deriving its jurisdiction from the Ohio Constitution. The court had state-wide jurisdiction over all claims against the State of Ohio, its officers and properties. Additionally, the court administered Ohio's Crime Victim Compensation Program. The years at the court were good ones. I continued to grow as an administrator and political operative. The only problem at the court of claims was Miles Durfey, the clerk. Miles was sixty going on sixteen. He prided himself on his young man's physique and worked hard to maintain it. He often said he did not like being around old folks, preferring us because of our youth, An ex commanding general of the Ohio National Air Guard, Miles had been drummed out due to his wildness and lack of maturity. Imagine working with someone in the public arena who at one time took a flight of 4 A-6 Air Force intruder jets and conducted an unauthorized, low level flight over Ohio Stadium during a Michigan game. Durfey scared the hell out of the crowd, endangered commercial air traffic at Port Columbus, posed a serious threat to the low, slow flying advertising planes pulling banners over the stadium and broke enough air force flight regulations to be stripped of his command! Miles is also your worst kind of bigot and consistently got himself in trouble with Moyer. One weekend he was so close to being fired Moyer had a deputy clerk and myself baby sit him for the weekend, It was one of the worst Saturdays I remember. Sitting in Mile's kitchen, making small talk with him and trying to fend off his constant push to get us to drink another rolling rock beer. Seeing Miles' wife Elanor was sad, you could tell by her weary eyes she had been through the 'Miles is in trouble again drill' many times before. I was Moyer's warrior knight on the state political chessboard. I handled the heavy lifting and if the need arose to actually engage in battle, I was charged with conducting the unpleasantness. I kept Moyer far enough away so as to get no blood on his shirt, but close enough to get there in a hurry for victories. the individual Justices all had distinct personalities. Moyer was collegial and naive, much too nice for his own good. He barely understood his position as "most equal" among seven equals and the leadership skills the position demanded. He also was barely aware of his status as the only state-wide elected republican, which gave him a huge amount of intra- party influence. He was a just, honorable man with integrity, however, some of that would change soon enough. The other justice that impressed one as honest and full of integrity was Herb Brown who only served one term ,quitting in disgust over the internal politics. Robert Holmes, a gentleman, a true conservative, was also a good man with keen mind and integrity, but the old war horse was growing tired and would soon voluntarily go to pasture. Freckled faced, Howdy Doody looking, imp Andy Douglas was anything but what he looked like, a troublesome imp. If there was trouble, Andy started it. He was a practiced political infighter, however. During Moyer's first two years, Andy Douglas practically ran the court. Additionally, he is a democrat, a sham republican. The sad part is that Andy is on medication for a psychiatric condition and when he does not take his medicine, there is hell to pay. We are sure that some times he skipped his medicine on purpose. He was even bold enough to live with his secretary. Andy favored the democrats so much, he leaked case decisions to them before they were published. The AG, democrat Tony Celebreeze, called me to his office to discuss Andy's leaks because they were so blatant they threatened to corrupt the entire state judicial process and were a clear violation of the cannons of ethics as well as black letter law. Andy was so out of control that at one point we considered running someone against him in the primary, but Moyer backed down at the last minute. Craig Wright was just a plain good ole boy, with a big mouth. A product of Franklin County's Wolfe dominated judicial machine, politically conservative, but with a good legal mind. He always seemed more fit to be a back woods bourbon drinking, card playing, Kentucky justice of the peace or Matlock type, defense attorney. Asher Sweeney, however, was the dictionary definition of a brilliant legal mind dulled with years of drink. At this point, Asher was so bad off, that he made more sense and functioned better when he was drunk. It was a sad thing to see. The oldest war horse and also a man of great integrity with a brilliant legal mind and a practical touch was Ralph Locher, the former Mayor of Cleveland. He was in his final days on the court at this point. Still learning on the job, Tom Moyer would miss Locher's steady guidance down the road.

I have stood in the breech for Moyer several times. I endured Frutig, silently suffered the disrespect of others in the campaign who did not like me simply for my race, watched others take credit for my work, accepted a position with the Court of Claims when I should have been appointed to a position at the Supreme Court itself, but I finally lost respect for Moyer when after all this, he did not come to my aid in a time of need and I had literally helped carry him to where he was now; and more importantly, took a political bullet for him that would have ended his tenure as chief justice within six months of his taking office. He had let Frutig run wild with the fund raising. Frutig was charging Moyer 15% of the take and there was a irregularity uncovered by the press shortly after he took office. The news stories said if it was true, Moyer would have to give up being chief justice. He was interviewed by the Plain Dealer and blamed me. He then breathlessly called me to warn me the PD was coming to talk to me to confirm his story. He said I should tell them I was severely reprimanded for the infraction. In reality, Frutig was leaking the story as he was angry with Moyer for not giving him enough credit and for not appointing him and others to various positions. I told him the plain dealer had already been here and left. I could hear him draw in his breath saying "Oh my god, what did you tell them?" I told him I said I was severely reprimanded! It worked, Moyer is still chief justice. I thought he could have returned the favor with out risking any harm to himself, but he did not. When you have been to war with a man, you do not expect him to desert you when the fire fight is yours. Yet another court personality worthy of mention is administrative director Steve Stover. We called him "little Stevie Wonder" not just because he was exceedingly small, but for the longest time he seemed to be'wondering' what was going on all around him. He clearly was a mistake and one of Moyer's worst appointments. Moyer was trying to make a statement that his administration would have ethics and principle, so he hired Stover, the head of the ethics commission. Good thought, bad move. Stover was a nose picker. His clothes were weird, his demenor was weird and upon meeting him one immediately lost a certain amount of respect for the court, and unfortunately, Moyer. Instead of talking court reorgnization, judicial appointments and currying the bar, Stover incessantly talked about gourmet cooking. He went on his first trip for the court and embarrased everyone by getting in the paper talking about how he clipped coupons to pay for part of the airline ticket. Being frugal is one thing, but coupon clipping for the administrative director of the Ohio Suprme Court is yet another. it was clear he did not understand the venue he was playing in. One of my secretarial supervisors, an outstanding, long term, employee of the court, said it best, she called him a "fidget". My reputation as an operative was now approaching legendary proportions. In the next round of state-wide election, My team played a key role in every race, significantly contributing to the winning of nearly every state wide office, with the exception of treasurer. I was refered to simply as "captain". We lost the attorney general's race by less than 200 votes. Current supreme court justice Paul Pheiffier was the candidate and we took him to the doorstep of victory, but Paul's ego got in the way. Current state senator Bruce Johnson held the title of campaign manager. To say he did not know what he was doing is understatement and charity. He was more an opportunist, going along for a free ride to supposed glory. If his ego had not been so large, he would have taken my advice and despite Paul's personal blunders we might have won the AG's race. We (ATCO) had put togetheran excellent campaign plan for Paul, but Johnson failed to execute. He just sat around the headquarters, ducking any real decisions and smiling that big horsey toothed John Elway-like smile. Early on, the party brought in the same team of media people and strategist that had so masterfully coordinated Ronald Reagan's re-election with the "Its morning in America" theme. These team was contracted to handle all the media for the republican slate. Paul objected, saying he would do his own media. The party instantly put him back in line by telling him if he wanted to do his own media, he would also have to do his own fund raising! Faced with that task, Pheiffer relented and allowed us to do our work. We had effortlessly ran away from Lee Fisher and hid. Up by 10 points, two weeks to go, we were confidant of victory. Then something strange began to happen. Fisher was closing on us at an astounding rate, almost a point, point and one half a day! We expected the race to tighten up down the stretch, but nothing like this.The Sunday before the election we found out that Phieffer had taken it upon himself to call the media buyer and change the campaign commercial rotation. He had gotten hold of some 19 year old intern and intimidated her into doing his bidding. Being new to the game, she complied. Instead of the standard 75 percent negative and 25 percent positive commercial mix we were getting just the opposite. This allowed Fisher to deliver body blow upon body blow, eroding our lead. When we found out on Sunday what Paul had done it was too late the election was Tuesday. We changed the rotation, crossed our fingers and prayed, but to no avail. The best we could do was a dead heat. Several recounts declared Fisher the winner by as little as 123 votes. Personally, I was crushed, as I had mounted an effective internal campaign to become chief-of-staff of the attorney general's office. My team and I had already created transition plans, a budget and a philosophical basis for the office's operation.

While the attorney general's race was a big disappointment, my reputation as a political strategist was in full bloom. My group of people were affectionately known within republican circles as ATCO, Ace Trucking Company of Ohio. Our motto? We deliver! Political delivery was our specialty in the statehouse and all points in Ohio and when need be, we also ran the Columbus to D.C. route. Our disappointment in the AG's race was short lived as the Voinovich-Dewine people were now our chief clients. Bill Schenk, Green County Prosecutor, best friend and political confidant to Lt. Governor-elect Mike Dewine was on the phone with me from D. C. and Greene County daily. Seems he and the other Dewine people were worried about Dewine playing "in the big leagues." He wanted to know if I would forego an appointment directly from Voinovich and be part of Mike's staff. I explained I was already the highest appointed black official in the state judiciary and that I would only leave for a cabinet slot.

At his insistence we met for dinner at the Clermont in German Village. Oh, what a dinner it was; prime rib, lobster, all the booze you could drink and Schenk drank plenty. I, however, was impatient and wanted to cut to the chase, after all with my income and status in the Moyer administration I could eat steak and lobster when ever I wanted. Additionally, two or three beers was my limit when driving. Finally, he filled hmself with enough liquid courage to tell me what he had come to tell me. He swore me to secrecy and said he would call me a liar if I ever repeated it. The big secret was that the big, bad congressman from Urbana was in reality a wimp. In essence, he was born on third base, but thinks he hit a triple! It seems Mike was the proverbial 98 pound weakling. One difference, however, was that his old man was the richest person in the county. Mike had nothing to do, but go to college and law school, He was a skinny asthmatic mommy's boy who could not work in the family farm business. When he graduated from law school daddy made sure there was a position waiting for him in the prosecutor's office. When the prosecutor ran for the state rep seat, well, Mike was naturally appointed county prosecutor. Again, daddy cleared the way and bright, young attorney Bill Schenk came to be Mike's assistant/babysitter. They were a good team, Bill did the work, Mike took all the credit. The prosecutor turned state rep. took the next step up to State Senator. Dewine followed him into the state rep. seat just long enough to get a cup of coffee, when the Senator died. No one in the county dared challenge old man Dewine's boy. Mike Dewine, State Senator had a nice ring to it. But now there was a U. S. Congressional seat to be filled as long time Congressman Clarence Brown was retiring. Again, luck and Mike's father smiled on him. The next thing you know, Dewine is sleeping through the Iran-Contra hearings, live on CNN! The rest is history. So here we have a labile little rich boy from the country, no longer safely sequestered in congress's 235 member body having to deal with city folk and some of them from that big terrible place up north on the lake called Cleveland! That's where I come in. Schenk proposed that I would be a cabinet director, in fact a 'cluster director', handling all criminal justice policy in Ohio. My real job, in fact, was to be Mike's hired gun. I was to protect him from sharks like Mifsud and even Voinovich himself. Mike had me investigated closely. He knew of my days as Forbes' designated gunner. He knew I had a reputation for being a strong 'infighter'. Not to brag, but in close hand to hand political combat I was undefeated in 10 years. While at the court, once I had once even called out the legendary Speaker of the House, Vern Riffe and lived to tell about it!

In short order, I was appointed to the cabinet as Director of Criminal Justice Services. I was what was known as a cluster director, in as much as several state departments reported to me. Those departments included corrections, youth services, liquor control, the state highway patrol and The Ohio Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. In addition, I was in charge of all of Ohio's multi-jurisdictional drug task forces and its jail building program. These last two responsibilities proved my undoing.

Voinovich had promised before and during the election that his family members, expressly brother Paul, would not bid on state contracts. Paul had a well deserved reputation for greed, unlawful interests in public contracts and the rumors that he was connected state-wide to mafioso figures seemed legitimate. Paul also owned the fourth largest prison construction company in the United States. Voinovich Chief of staff Paul Mifsud, released from prison just this past (May 1998), was the former executive vice president in charge of finance with the prison building firm. Apparently, the firm was in financial straights when Voinovich took office. Paul and Pauly, as we called them in Cleveland, had collapsed a savings and loan behind an erstwhile real estate development scheme. V.P. George Bush, up for election was not happy with the national savings and loan fiasco as many of the participants were republicans. The Reagan-Bush justice department ordered as many of the fat cats that could to pay off the loans now, so Bush would not have to face it as an issue in the election.

Mifsud as chief of staff, had the perfect solution. The new director of criminal justice, Joseph Gilyard, had bonding authority, he signs his name three times a year and each time the state issues $50 million dollars in bonds to build non-violent misdemeanant jail facilities. We will just have Gilyard divert $30 million dollars in bonds to the V Group (Paul's company), although illegal as hell, we can then pay back the feds! After all, it is better to owe the State of Ohio ,than the feds, besides, I am chief of staff, your brother is the governor and if we get caught, it is Gilyard's name on all the documents; perfect! They set this plan in motion almost immediately. Phil Hamilton, the director of transition and a long time sleazy, shyster was the point man. He invited me over to his office right away. No, he insisted that I come to his office and sent several henchmen to persuade me. Finally, on day 6 of my brief tenure, I gave in and went over to his office at 8 East Long Street. As I got off the elevator, I was quite shocked. There in gold leaf script above Hamilton's door was "HAMILTON AND ASSOCIATES;THE VOINOVICH COMPANIES". As Hamilton and his wife Pat came out to greet me, I immediately said, "we can't do this; it is a conflict of interest, could hurt the Governor and at the very least has the appearance of impropriety!" Having come from the judicial branch of government I was especially sensitive to 'conducting myself in a manner that does not even hint at an appearance of impropriety' (judicial cannon 8). Hamilton was all over me, saying no problem we just want to get to know you. I told them the only thing I could tell them about the jail building program was how it worked, that was it; the same thing I would tell anyone. Within five minutes the purpose of the meeting was clear. I was supposed to give the Voinovich company inside track on all county jail building contracts and $30 million dollars of the first bond allocation was to go to the company. I excused my self, consulted bond counsel and began a delaying tactic. I told Lt.Governor Dewine, he was furious and said he thought Mifsud was a crook and we should go after him. I still had to tell Mifsud the score at least once. When I confronted him in the old cabinet room one morning before our regular cabinet meeting, I was surprised, embarrassed and angry with his response. The man literally put his hands over his ears, running around the large cabinet table away from me, shouting "I can't hear you, I can't hear you!" I knew at this point that we were through the looking glass. Almost immediateley, the pressure tactics began. I recieved anonymous phone calls at midnight saying "a black criminal justice official was covertly being investigated for fucking white girls and I had better watch out". As it turned out, it was prisons director Reginald Wilkinson. We met, Wilkinson was terrified and sweating like a pig. He never said who it was , but he acknowledged 'some white girl' was out to get him. Wilkinson got on board with "the boys" and his problem went away.

Meanwhile, yet another major problem was brewing. I was the administrative executive in charge of Ohio's multi-jurisdictional drug task forces. For reasons unbeknownst to me, Franklin County's nine or so jurisdictions that participated in the Sheriff's drug task force were dropping out at the rate of one or two per day! On top of that, very credible law enforcement officials from the Columbus P.D., Westerville P.D., Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the F. B. I. and a host of small jurisdictions were dropping off enough evidence in my office to send Franklin County Sheriff Earl Smith to jail for life. There was even a mysterious, watergate like 'deep throat'. I was also getting a strong message from the U. S. Justice Department to, at the very least, freeze funding for the Sheriff's task force and conduct an audit. The sheriff (Earl Smith) was and is an angry paranoid. It was not beyond him to seek retribution. He almost immediately began sabre rattling and making threats towards the administration. I consulted with Mifsud, who blew it off, instead using it as a lever to push me towards issuing the bonds to Pauly. He said he would handle Earl.

The Feds were now becoming strident in their demands for an audit. Dewine, naive and looking for anything to boost his public image and stature in the administration, began trading public barbs with Earl. We tried to tell Mike that Earl was a dangerous snake and not to poke him unless he could politically kill him. Mike, however, was enjoying his daily jousts in the paper with Earl. The evidence continued to pour unsolicited into my office. The proverbial straw that broke camel's back came from BCI, the State Bureau of Criminal Investigation. An agent came to my office on the sly and told me that they too would be dropping out of the sheriff's task force as they believed it to be a criminal enterprise. They knew that Sgt. Ernie Cook, in charge, was not only a convicted felon himself, but a cocaine addict and alcoholic. According to the BCI agent, they were going to drop out early the next week, but announce it was for budget reasons. That left me with a ticking bomb on my desk. After consulting with Mike, we decided to freeze Earl's funding and do an audit. I believed since Earl was a republican and an elected public official, we owed him the courtesy of telling him in advance and creating an understanding that nothing was personal and every thing would be done on a professional basis.

As planned, I met with Earl in my office and laid out the problem honestly and gave him my word that we would not talk to the media. He was gracious and seemed to agree and understand. Were we ever wrong! The next morning in the Dispatch was Earl's declaration of war. He had gone directly from my office to the dispatch and spilled all the beans; except the spin left us looking like the bad guys. Despite my misgivings, Dewine now had his war. He could not wait to engage. I kept my word and conducted the investigation on a professional basis. In fact, I cut Earl a break. I could have demanded a full blown 'programmatic audit', but instead, in an effort to reduce tensions, ordered only a fiscal audit. No matter, things had reeled out of control. Between Dewine's naivete and Earl's evil machinations we had crossed the rubicon for sure.

Earl's threats soon became crude realities. My office was broken into and several bullets were left on my desk. We worried if the place had been bugged a