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Frank R Fioramonti
New York tobacco-friendly lawyer-lobbyist and ghost-writer of pro-industry op-ed articles. There are 102 documents carrying the Fioramoni name in the tobacco archives, and most of them are about Frank's ghost-written articles and letters to the editor.
Fioramonti was a New York lawyer-lobbyist who worked extensively for the tobacco industry (often via Covington & Burling). He also had some emphasis on tort-reform issues. His speciality was in ghost-writing Op-eds which C&B would pass on to Philip Morris or the Tobacco Institute. The press officers would then find a prominent person willing to have their name attached, and the article would be sent to some newspaper.
1995: His C/V shows that he:
- Has spent 15 years as chief lobbyist for the New York State Attorney-General (1979-94), and was now
- looking for a job as "A senior level government relations, external affairs or community/public relations position with a trade or professional association. corporation or major non profit organization or institution."
1995 Sep 21: Peggy Carter a lawyer-lobbyist with RJ Reynolds Tobacco in Winston-Salem has flown to New York to interview him. (Blixt is an RJR VP and General Counsel).
1995 Nov 10: For some reason the tobacco archives have this copy of a contract/proposal between Fioramonti and the National Football League — which suggests that the tobacco industry didn't give him a job immediately, but simply chose to employ him on a part time basis.
This is actually a highly manipulative PR proposal. It is suggesting ways the NRL could mislead the media and the public by preparing a loaded 'Report' on the 'economic benefits of NFL' then utilising it in a multi-aspect PR campaign.
He wanted the football league to provide a desk and telephone and give him the title of "Special Counsel to the NFL" (or similar).
1996 Feb 26: Keith Teel of tobacco lawyers Covington & Burling has visited Fioramonti in his office and they have some sort of tentative agreement that he will provide them with a range of ghosted articles (on spec) of use to the tobacco industry. He writes that a TV document on breast implants ...
"gave me some ideas about other themes that we can develop.
[The film was] in short, a very sobering 90 minutes of television that gave me a much better feel for what the tobacco companies face and why this project, whatever direction it eventually takes, is needed."
1996 Mar 3: This is the draft of an article he has written entitled "Clinton to Trial Lawyers: Let Me Make Your Day, Twice". It is a plea for relaxation of product-liability and tort reform, and a general reduction in people's rights to sue for damages.
It also promotes the old tobacco-industry-generated urban-myths about $2.6m spilled-coffee damages payouts and the flood of avaricious trial lawyers — all generated by the Manhattan Institute. President Clinton has said he will veto tort-refom legislation:
The principal beneficiaries in both instances will be a relatively few of this nation's 60,000 plaintiff's lawyers. That's right,
The same men (and a handful of women) who brought America the $2.6 million spilled cup of McDonald's coffee, the bankruptcy of such industrial giants as Dow-Corning and Johns Manville. and sharply higher auto, home owner and, medical malpractice insurance premium rates have scored a double bull's-eye, with plenty of help from the occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
1996 March 25: The anti-Clinton diatribe must have pleased Keith Teel, because Teel now suggests that they should bring him more into "the project"
As you will see, Frank has started doing some drafting of articles and possible op-eds that would be useful to us. Peggy asked me last week whether there might not be more of a role for Fioramonti in our project, and these articles suggest that there is.
Could you review them and consider whether you want to try to bring Frank more directly into the project? I know he is eager to do more, we are paying him a lot, and we probably could use him far more extensively.
This memo is to Peggy Carter (RJR lawyer), Joseph Helewicz (B&W) and John Sorrells (Philip Morris) which suggests that the 'project' was fighting the Castano group of lawyers who were attacking the tobacco industry. (Rather than the Philip Morris product recall mentioned), See
1996 May 13.: These accounts show that he was already making $23,407 a year from these activities. (paid through C&B by the tobacco companies)
1996 May 20: A copy of an article in support of the tobacco industry from lawyer-lobbyist (tort-reform) Frank R Fioramonti: It includes an attack on Scruggs, the Mississippi lawyer who eventually broke the tobacco industry's defences.
The ethical quagmire that has developed because of the Moore-Scrugga connection reminds me of a ball of knitting yarn after the cat has gotten hold of it : the strands are all tangled up and they spread out in several directions .
[Why would they not hire the lawyer who had already successfully sued the asbestos companies? — The article disproved its own intimations of corruption, later]
Scruggs, a major financial backer in one of Moore's campaigns for Attorney General, is thought to have won millions of dollars from successful lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers a few years ago. Moore subsequently gave Scruggs a plum appointment by having him represent Mississippi when the state sued asbestos makers.
Proving the tobacco industry's culpability for the illness and premature death of some smokers is seen as the key to a proverbial treasure chest worth tens of millions of dollars in legal fees to anyone who can find a way through the thicket of decisions rendered by courts and juries in all parts of the nation that heretofore have placed responsibility for such unfortunate outcomes squarely on the individual smoker him, or herself.
[The so-called 'plum' job that Scruggs took on, is clearly the opposite — the tobacco industry had won every case previously brought against it for 50 years]
1997 Apr 4: He is now writing letters-to-the-editor (LTEs) on behalf of he tobacco industry (predominantly Philip Morris) to the New York Times. Here he attacks Bennett LeBow agreement to settle Liggett Group lawsuits.
1998 Oct 9: He has a side business ghost-writing pro-tobacco articles as op-eds for the industry. Here he writes to Keith Teel (Covington & Burling) and Neal Cohen (APCO) the two principle lobbyists for tobacco on tort reform.
"I came across this turkey while checking the Internet tobacco sites [and] since the Tobacco Institute is leading the opposition charge, maybe they can find someone to submit this essay as an Op-Ed in the Californian media market."
This is an article opposing California's Children and Families Initiative (Prop 10) which is an anti-smoking referendum.
Note the ccs to Lance Morgan, Sawyer Miller Consulting (Press relations) and to Ed Rippey (C&B Medicaid and tort reform lawyer-lobbyist).
1998 Oct 26: The Tobacco Institute appears to have bought Fioramonti's article, but they've sub-edited it and tightened it up. (This is from the Philip Morris files, not from the Tobacco Institute. ?? )
1998 Dec 22: Fittingly the last ghosted article he wrote (that we have in the tobacco archive) is entitled "Tobacco Litigation Lawyers Fees: Is it all about money?" It is pretty hard to beat that for a curtain call!