PHILIPPE DAUMAN AND JOE ARPAIO — TWO PEAS IN A POD YET DIFFERENT AS NIGHT AND DAY

Philippe Dauman stepped down — he was effectively ousted — as Viacom’s chief executive officer at the end of August with a tidy severance package worth a reported $72 million give or take.

In fact since assuming this post at Viacom in 2006 the embattled and no doubt beleaguered Dauman has added $409.7 million to his portfolio irrespective of the company’s travails during recent times.

The company, which owns MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon along with the Paramount Pictures film and television studio has suffered a back-breaking, precipitous 50 percent lose-your-stomach share price plunge in the past two years.

But it surely seems as if Dauman will be alright.

Joe Arpaio is a long-serving sheriff in Arizona’s Maricopa County.

He and his deputy were referred for criminal prosecution by a federal judge in late-August.

The finding: “…they ignored and misrepresented to subordinates court orders designed to keep the sheriff’s office from racially profiling Latinos.”

Arpaio — known as a dogged pursuer of undocumented immigrants — and his Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan were sternly upbraided by Judge G. Murray Snow of the Federal District Court in Phoenix who described the two as guilty of writing their own “history of obfuscation and subversion of this court’s orders that is as old as this case.”

According to Snow the two “had also made numerous false statements under oath [and] there is also probable cause to believe that many if not all of the statements were made in an attempt to obstruct any inquiry into their further wrongdoing or negligence.”

When Dauman stepped down two weeks ago, he stepped aside.

Replaced on an interim basis by Thomas Dooley, his exit deal according to hollywoodreporter.com, “called on him to remain as non-executive chairman until three days after the board voted on possibly selling a minority stake in Paramount, or until [September 13th.], whichever was first.” (See Hollywood Reporter article).

In addition, Dauman will be granted the opportunity “to present his proposal to sell a 49 percent stake in Paramount to the Viacom board.”

Although the consummation of this transaction is deemed dubious as it would require the unanimous approval of Viacom’s board, what remains in no doubt to the layperson as well as to insiders is that Dauman came out smelling like a very expensive rose.

Arpaio, (self?)-proclaimed as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” is no shrinking violet, earning the sobriquet very naturally, without batting an eyelid.

The Springfield, MA. native assumed the office of 36th. Sheriff of Maricopa County on January 1, 1993 and appears to have yearned for Federal court monitoring and investigation, repeatedly acting in open defiance of the law.

(In 2010, he became the hot button poster-boy opposing Arizona’s SB1070 anti-illegal immigrant law, largely struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court).

“The U.S. Department of Justice concluded that Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history, and subsequently filed suit against him for unlawful discriminatory police conduct.” [Santos, Fernanda (November 8, 2012). “Times Topics: Joe Arpaio”; The NYT — Retrieved March 3, 2013].

The ACLU has sued Arpaio over racial profiling allegations.

And “as of September 2015, cases involving Arpaio or his office have cost Maricopa County taxpayers $142 million in legal expenses, settlements, and court awards.” [Kiefer, Michael (September 11, 2015). “Sheriff Joe Arpaio has always done it his way: Chapter 2; A lone wolf from the outset”; The Arizona Republic — Retrieved September 14, 2015].

Philippe Dauman and Joe Arpaio couldn’t be more different in terms of background and in all likelihood, philosophy.

(A tribute to America’s melting-pot reality and imagery no doubt).

They have been eminently successful in their chosen pursuits albeit amidst a pervasive and odiferous piscine aura.

Dauman is a well-educated billionaire and Arpaio a black-hatted renegade who has parlayed his independent rule-making and blatant flaunting and abuse of power into 5 re-elections over a 24-year career as sheriff.

What does this suggest?

That being a way-too-wealthy corporate vulture or a “my-way’s right” oligarch, truth or laws be damned, is good?

Is right?

Is American?

That people of highly-questionable ethics or morals triumph?

I don’t get it; the more I know, the less I understand.

Maybe it’s all good.

But these men must look in the mirror each morning as do we all.

Delusion is grandeur I suppose.

[Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Mr. Kaplan in October 2016.]

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