COLUMN THIRTY-FIVE, JULY 1, 1998
(Copyright © 1998 Al Aronowitz)
SCHOLARSHIP BY BLACKLIST
(A LETTER TO THE BEAT COMMUNITY)
This letter is being sent to all scholars and writers in the Beat/Kerouac field.
Last week I opened my email to find a letter from Paul Maher, Jr., inviting me to see what he had printed about me on his Kerouac Quarterly webpage.
There, I found, besides the usual sarcasm about my book Memory Babe, a reference to myself as "a pompous, belligerent ass" and a cartoon of myself standing next to a tombstone. Most disturbing was a message that ended: "...the Beat Generation where words still carry the ammunition of guns. Gerry I think they have an open teaching position for you over at that Arkansas school."
A few days before, a teacher had been gunned down at "that Arkansas school" by an embittered young student. Was Mr. Maher suggesting that I may also be murdered for my beliefs? Was he threatening me? It would not surprise me.
For the past five years, Kerouac scholarship has proceeded by blacklist, hate mongering, and now, apparently, even death threats.
I myself have been one of the prime targets of this hate campaign, though there have been other targets as well, including Kerouac's own daughter Jan, and friends of Jan and myself such as Lowell Corporation for the Humanities President Brad Parker and Bookzen webmaster Joe Grant.
These charges are strong and, to some, may even seem incredible. I will therefore back them up with a detailed history.
Mr. Maher is a convicted thief, and his vicious language (which includes a flood of private emails to me filled with epithets such as "rapist" and "mountain of shit" referring to myself) could perhaps be dismissed as beneath my notice--except for the fact that Mr. Maher's magazine and webpage have benefited for the past year from the sponsorship (in terms of material and permissions) from the most powerful man in the area of Kerouac studies: John Sampas, the literary executor for Stella Sampas Kerouac. The name of Mr. Sampas recurs regularly, and hardly by coincidence, in the following history.
There has recently appeared a webpage called jackofdays by a woman named Diane De Rooy, a putative "journalist." On Ms. De Rooy's web page I am accused of committing fraud and perjury in my role as Jan Kerouac's literary executor; I am also accused of having illegally sold documents belonging to the New York Public Library and Columbia University to the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Ms. De Rooy also manages to suggest that I "badgered" and took advantage of a "weak-willed tiny person" (Jan Kerouac) for my own "self-aggrandizement," that I raised money for Kerouac's nephew Paul Blake that I kept for myself, that I stole $20,000 from Jan Kerouac's heirs, and that I am "incredibly unstable." Ms. De Rooy provides no solid evidence for any of these charges. No criminal charge has ever been filed against me, nor has any mark of psychological instability ever been logged in any of my personal and medical records. My life, incidentally, has come under more psychological scrutiny than most, as I am the adoptive father of two children.
On her webpage, Ms. De Rooy acknowledges having recently spent "two entire days" with John Sampas and his family. She is putting together a Jack Kerouac datebook filled with Kerouac quotations, for commercial publication, for which Mr. Sampas will have to give permission. On the Beat-List, Ms. De Rooy writes that Mr. Sampas has been "very helpful" and that he is "smart, tough, literate, sensitive and caring."
The Beat-List was a list-serve based at the City University of New York, Brooklyn, and overseen by CUNY librarian Bill Gargan. In a Wired News Besides De Rooy and Maher, one of my most vicious assailants on the Beat-List was an individual named Phil Chaput, whom Gargan had to kick off the list at least twice for his gutter language. In one post he asked: "How long did your father jerk off in the flower pot to raise a blooming idiot like you?" More recently, he referred to me on the list as a "paranoid delusional person" conducting a "bogus lawsuit" [Jan Kerouac's lawsuit against the Sampases] and suggested that anyone who supports me be moved to a "I want to suck Gerry's big fat ass and little weenie list."
Mr. Chaput is a member of the official Lowell Kerouac Committee, which by his own account is dominated by Mr. Sampas and his nephew Jim Sampas. Mr. Chaput also admitted that Mr. Sampas has been to his house.
To Wired News, John Sampas "admitted giving verbal encouragement to some of the posters offline"--though he did not mention any names.
In September 1997, Mr. Sampas's publisher, Viking/Penguin, issued a 40th anniversary edition of Jack Kerouac's On the Road. The press release mentioned a dozen other Kerouac biographers and critics, but not Gerald Nicosia or Memory Babe. However, the press release from Viking/Penguin lifted nearly 100 words word-for-word from my biography without any kind of credit whatsoever.
In February 1996, I received a letter from John Sampas's agent, Sterling Lord. It stated that Mr. Sampas had "brought to their attention" the fact that my biography, >Memory Babe, quoted extensively from Jack Kerouac's Mexico City Blues and suggested that I had never obtained the proper permission to use this material; and that therefore I was guilty of copyright infringement. The letter challenged me to produce "documentation of the permission and any fees you paid for it [the Mexico City Blues material]."
This letter seemed a clear act of harassment. Memory Babe had been published 13 years earlier. At that time, Memory Babe had received over 150 reviews worldwide, including front cover reviews in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times. It was astonishing beyond belief that Mr. Sampas had not noticed the existence of my quotations from Mexico City Blues for 13 years! As near as I could tell from my records, permission to quote from MCB had been obtained from Grove Press in November 1980, which was over 15 years earlier. In that 15-year-period, Grove Press had changed ownership several times--purchased from Barney Rosset by Ann Getty, then by Lord Weidenfeld, and lastly by Atlantic Monthly Press. When I called Grove's permission department, they told me they could not locate the correspondence pertaining to Memory Babe's permissions.
I wrote to Barbara Ryan, Mr. Lord's assistant, and pointed out that I had written to Mr. Lord in 1983 concerning changes that needed to be made in Memory Babe for accuracy. I asked why Mr. Lord had not brought up the issue of the allegedly missing permissions at
he was threatened
with a slander suit
that time, 13 years earlier. I suggested that no court in the land would demand that I keep financial records for more than a decade. I also mentioned the burglary of my archive of papers at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, from which many important documents had vanished. I asked, further, if all the other Kerouac biographers were having their permissions scrutinized, or if I was being singled out. There was no reply.
In September, 1995, I received a letter from Mr. Sampas's attorney George Tobia. The letter essentially threatened me with a slander suit if I continued to speak out in support of Jan Kerouac's lawsuit against the Sampases and if I continued to claim that the Sampases have been selling off pieces of Jack Kerouac's archive to collectors and dealers--even though similar claims have been made by dozens of individuals, including Mr. Sampas's own former dealer, Jeffrey Weinberg.
In mid-June, 1995, I received a post card from scholar/professor James Jones (of Southwest Missouri State College), informing me that my Memory Babe collection at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, had been closed: "I just tried to look at the papers you donated to the University of Lowell, and the librarian in the Morgan Center told me your collection is closed to the public until the lawsuit [against the Sampases] is resolved." In a subsequent call to the librarian, Martha Mayo, I learned that the closing [which I consider both illegal and a breach of my contract with the university] had resulted from complaints by John Sampas.
On June 5-6, 1995, a Jack Kerouac Conference was held at New York University. From September 1994 on, Jan Kerouac and I had been hearing rumors of this conference, but we were unable to obtain any specific information about it. In late March 1995, I saw Ann Charters on her book tour at City Lights Books in San Francisco. Bookstore owner Nancy Peters was present at our meeting. Ms. Charters has been doing work for hire for John Sampas continuously since 1991. I asked Ms. Charters if she knew anything about an upcoming Kerouac conference at NYU. She said she did not. Two weeks later, NYU mailed out hundreds of brochures for the conference, with Ms. Charters' name listed at the very top, along with Allen Ginsberg's (not in alphabetical sequence). It later turned out that Ms. Charters and her husband Sam chaired two of the most important panels at the conference.
Jan Kerouac, Jack Kerouac's only child, had written and lectured extensively on her father. I had written the only critical biography of Kerouac to date and had already given over 100 lectures on Jack Kerouac across the U.S. and in several different countries. Jan and I contacted Helen Kelly of the Coordinating Committee at NYU, asking to be allowed to take part in the Jack Kerouac Conference. We were informed by Ms. Kelly on April 20, 1995, that we could not take part in the conference because it would "focus on the writings rather than the life of the writer" and because she wished to concentrate on "individuals who did not speak previously" at NYU.
As it turned out, both statements were lies. There were panels dealing with jazz music, painting, Kerouac's fantasy life, literary careers, and Kerouac's life on the road. And over a dozen participants--including Ginsberg, Charters, Ferlinghetti, Corso, Waldman, Dave Amram, Joyce Johnson, David Stanford, James Jones, Gordon Ball, John Tytell, Regina Weinreich, and Ed Sanders--had spoken at NYU the previous year.
Ms. Kelly also claimed that Allen Ginsberg had selected the participants for the 1995 conference. I phoned Allen in May, and he said that he had only asked NYU--as a personal favor--to invite Ray Bremser, Andy Clausen, and David Henderson, and that he had left the actual organizing of the conference to Charters because he was too ill to get more deeply involved.
On June 5, 1995--a year to the day before she died--Jan Kerouac was removed by police at the start of the Jack Kerouac Conference, after paying $120 to get in the door. She was removed because she asked for 5 minutes on stage to announce the desire of two major libraries to purchase and house her father's literary archive. When I stood up to object to her removal, I was removed as well.
At the final conference event, the panel called "Kerouac: An American On the Road," I came back in to listen to the last few minutes. Conference organizer Ron Janoff took the microphone and gave profuse thanks to John Sampas and Jim Sampas "for allowing us to use all their Kerouac materials."
The session ended with questions and answers from the audience. There were three questions in a row that the panelists--Joy Gould Boyum, Morris Dickstein, Ed Adler, and Gordon Ball--could not answer. I answered all of them from the audience. One was about the extent of Bob Dylan's influence on Kerouac. The second was about the wording of Updike's praise for Kerouac. The third was about the location of Kerouac Alley in San Francisco. Adler said it was at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Adler Place; I corrected him, explaining that Adler place had become Kerouac Alley. At that point, Joy Gould Boyum exclaimed: "Who are you, anyway?" I said, "I'm the person who wasn't allowed to speak at this conference."
On stage after the event, I told Ed Adler, "I should have been invited to take part in this conference." He said, "You know, Gerry, we couldn't have done this conference without John Sampas's cooperation."
In September 1994, I was not invited to Lowell by the official Kerouac Committee, filled with friends of John Sampas. In ten years, I never have received an invitation from them. But I was invited that year by Brad Parker's Lowell Corporation for the Humanities. When the Lowell Office of Cultural Affairs publicized my presentation during Kerouac Week, John Sampas angrily demanded that the Office of Cultural Affairs return the photograph of Kerouac he had lent them. Mr. Sampas also complained that the Office of Cultural Affairs had printed my photo and that of Jan Kerouac alongside the schedule of his committee's events. During Kerouac Week, Mr. Sampas found me in the lobby of the Lowell Sheraton, speaking to Allen Ginsberg and Robert Creeley. Several literary and news people were gathered around. Mr. Sampas looked at me and said, "Get this piece of trash out of here!" The incident was reported in the Lowell Sun (September 25, 1994).
It was a year earlier, in October, 1993, when Brad Parker's corporation had also brought me to Lowell for Kerouac Week, that I overheard NYU's Helen Kelly talking about the upcoming Beat Generation Conference (scheduled for May 1994). I told Ms. Kelly that I would like to participate. She told me that I needed to call Ann Charters, the chairwoman of the program. When I called Ann Charters, she told me there was "no room" in the conference for me. This rebuff puzzled me, especially since I had arranged for Ms. Charters' way to be paid to Lowell for the dedication of the Kerouac Commemorative in 1988, when she had been excluded by the Sampas family (this was three years before Ms. Charters was hired by John Sampas). I had also helped Ms. Charters early on in her editing of Jack Kerouac's Selected Letters by sending her Kerouac letters she did not have. It later turned out that the cast of participants was far from finalized at this point; and some, like Harold Norse and Andrei Voznesensky, were added only weeks before the conference took place.
In December 1993, Jan Kerouac and I both called Allen Ginsberg, who spoke to Helen Kelly in our behalf. Jan and I were both finally invited (in about January 1994). But we were told that our airfare could not be paid and that we would not have a place to stay, as everyone else would. It later turned out that even Gregory Corso's children were offered guest rooms at the University Suites; and Douglas Brinkley would later report that there were six or seven empty rooms there throughout the conference.
It has sometimes been asserted that John Sampas only engaged in hostile actions against me because of my support for Jan Kerouac's lawsuit against his family. But Jan Kerouac's lawsuit was not filed and announced until May 1994. In fact, Mr. Sampas's attack on my scholarship began well before that lawsuit had even been thought of by Jan Kerouac.
In the fall of 1993, I had several exchanges by telephone and letter with Mr. Sampas's lawyer George Tobia. The gist of these communications was that Mr. Tobia (relaying the wishes of his employer) sought to have me denounce the famous "Paul Blake letter" (Jack Kerouac to Paul Blake, Jr., October 20, 1969) as a forgery. The letter actually came to light during the course of my research for Memory Babe. In this letter, Jack Kerouac announces that he is divorcing Stella Sampas, that he wishes to leave his estate to his "bloodline," and that he does not want the Sampases to get "a dingblasted fucking goddamn thing." Mr. Tobia assured me that there was no typewriter in Jack Kerouac's St. Petersburg house that matched the typeface of the Blake letter. I then went to my archive in Lowell and copied at least ten letters typed by Jack Kerouac in the last year of his life, which all matched the typeface of the Blake letter down to the filled-in "e." Mr. Tobia then suggested that Mr. Blake had forged the letter by typing it on Jack Kerouac's own typewriter after he died. When I refused to subscribe to that theory, Mr. Tobia suggested that Mr. Sampas could be much more helpful to my career if I was not so "antagonistic" to him. I told Mr. Tobia that I still believed the Blake letter was genuine and would not say otherwise.
It is of note that in the spring of 1997, Mr. Tobia threatened publisher Joe Grant with a copyright infringement action if Mr. Grant published the Blake letter on his website. It is hard to understand how one can sue for copyright infringement regarding the publication of a non-authentic letter, but then nothing in this history seems very logical--especially when one considers that I have written a book which has given a huge boost to the recognition of Jack Kerouac's works, a goal Mr. Sampas also claims to have in mind.
My research has always been a subject of intense concern to Mr. Sampas. On January 31, 1993, John Sampas wrote to Thomas Staley, director of the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin. Mr. Sampas sought a list of all Kerouac materials I had viewed there; he also demanded to know how I had gotten permission to use this material. (I have since learned that Mr. Sampas has attempted and failed to control access to Kerouac materials at both the Bancroft Library and the University of Texas.) Mr. Staley refused to provide Mr. Sampas with the information about my usage of the Kerouac collection, which he claimed was privileged under Texas law.
During late 1991 and all of 1992, Memory Babe, although in print as a Penguin paperback, became increasingly unavailable at bookstores. I was teaching at UCLA, and my students could not find the book in any bookstores. At this time, there was a huge Kerouac/Beat
A Penguin editor
of being 'feisty'
boom going on worldwide, and Viking/Penguin was busy reissuing a number of Jack Kerouac titles. Yet sales of Memory Babe were anomalously low. At one point, my royalty statement showed a sale of only fifty copies of Memory Babe in one six-month period. Viking/Penguin had not even bothered to list Memory Babe in the back of its other Kerouac titles, where they had the usual list of "other books you might like to read."
I complained again and again to Penguin editor David Stanford about this situation, but was continually rebuffed by Mr. Stanford, who repeatedly criticized me for being "feisty" and using him as "a punching bag for outrage against some megacorporation behind me." I also asked why, as Penguin's only Kerouac biographer, I had not been considered as a candidate to edit and introduce any of their new Kerouac and Beat titles---jobs that were going exclusively to Ann Charters, who was not a Penguin author. Stanford's response was to accuse me of a "ridiculous" and "weird" paranoia.
What David Stanford did not reveal to me---and which was later revealed in several newspaper stories---was that during the period 1991-1992 Stanford was engaged in intense negotiations with John Sampas, both for the reissue rights to previous Kerouac titles and for the right to begin publishing much of the extremely valuable unpublished Kerouac material from the author's own archive. What Mr. Stanford also did not reveal was that in 1991 John Sampas had hired Ann Charters as his personal editor and consultant for Kerouac projects.
In December 1992, David Stanford told me he had gotten Penguin to agree to "repackage" Memory Babe in a more desirable format, with a large photo section, etc. I eagerly provided a wealth of photos for him to choose from. Two months later, in February 1993, Mr. Stanford phoned to tell me that my book had been "cancelled" and would no longer be published by Penguin. This 180-degree turnabout inside of two months stunned me. I asked why this widely regarded "definitive biography" of Kerouac would be dropped just when Penguin was becoming the primary publisher of Kerouac's works. I was told that my book was not saleable, that it was impossible to sell more than a few hundred copies a year.
I sought and received supportive letters from the two dozen most prominent authors I knew, including National Book Award winner Larry Heinemann and National Humanities Medal winner Maxine Hong Kingston. Penguin also received pleas to save Memory Babe from preeminent Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. All of these letters were astonishing (even to me) in their praise. In the words of writer Aram Saroyan: "No other book on the subject touches it [Memory Babe>]."
Still, Penguin adhered to its plan to put Memory Babe out of print. I then took the book to the University of California Press, which immediately agreed to republish it as a quality paperback. On July 2, 1993, a little over three months later, I got a call from University of California Press publisher James Clark. Clark said he had just received a call from an agent named Jacob Hoye, who worked for Sterling Lord. Hoye had told Clark that 1) John Sampas wanted Memory Babe to remain out of print; 2) Sampas insisted that I needed to purchase new permissions to quote from Jack Kerouac's works (the original permissions had been paid for in 1980 and 1981); and 3) Mr. Sampas would withhold permissions at any cost to keep the book out of print.
I called David Stanford to ask, should new permissions be necessary, whether Penguin would likewise withhold them from me. Mr. Stanford said he might have to do so if John Sampas required him to do so because of their "personal relationship." Clearly the reprint of Memory Babe was in crisis. I was given legal advice that if Mr. Sampas pursued this course of keeping my biography out of print, he might well be liable to a tort action for interference with contractual relations---a recourse I related to David Stanford. Meanwhile, serious discussions were held between myself, James Clark, and the rights person at University of California Press. It was finally decided that 1) the original permissions to quote from Jack Kerouac's books were probably still good; and 2) even if the original permissions could be construed as dead, Memory Babe as a scholarly work would probably pass the "fair use" test.
James Clark voted to go ahead with the republication. Mr. Sampas did not make good on his threat to sue for copyright infringement. The UC Press edition of Memory Babe sold over 5,000 copies the first year, and has remained one of their bestsellers.
Lest someone still accuse me of paranoia in my assertion that Mr. Sampas seeks to prevent my continued contributions to Kerouac scholarship, I here include a final quote from a letter of Sterling Lord to Jan Kerouac. Before her death, Ms. Kerouac, who owned 50 to 100% of the U.S. copyright in almost all of Jack Kerouac's published books, asked her agent Sterling Lord to allow me to edit and/or write a preface to one of the new editions of her father's works. Mr. Lord replied that he could not do so, because "John Sampas will not accept Gerald Nicosia as editor" (Sterling Lord to Jan Kerouac, August 25, 1994).
In the 1980's I had a major impact on Jack Kerouac and Beat scholarship. In 1980, well before Memory Babe had even been published, I was asked by Ann Charters to contribute three entries to the Dictionary of Literary Biography "Beat Generation" edition, which she was editing--including a major 20,000-word piece on Neal Cassady. I contributed to dozens of scholarly journals that focused on Kerouac and the Beats--including such landmark publications as the unspeakable visions of the individual and the Kerouac issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction. I helped edit the memoirs of Kerouac's first two wives (Edie Parker and Joan Haverty), as well as getting these two women public attention; and I was also instrumental in editing and arranging for the publication of Jan Kerouac's first novel, Baby Driver. In 1982, still before the publication of my biography, my work was well enough known that Allen Ginsberg personally invited me to lecture on 2 different panels at the 25th anniversary of On the Road celebration and tribute at the Naropa Institute in Boulder (in July, 1982). I took part in major Kerouac conferences in Plymouth, England (June, 1987), Quebec City (September, 1987), and Lowell, Massachusetts (June, 1988). During the 1980's I also lectured about Kerouac at numerous colleges, including the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, Columbia College in Chicago, the New College of California, Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington, the University of Exeter (England), and Polytechnic University of Wales.
Of my performance at the Plymouth Arts Centre, Kerouac scholar Rod Anstee wrote: "Nicosia was the big hit with an hour long brilliant talk, sans notes."
Eric Waddell, the organizer of the Rencontre Internationale Jack Kerouac in Quebec City, wrote me: "I would like to take this opportunity of saying how much your writing has inspired us in our own initiatives with respect to Jack, the decision to organise a gathering and the general thrust we are concerned to give it."
The 1990's have seen a proliferation of Kerouac/Beat conferences both across the United States and internationally. By contrast, I have been asked to take part in none of them, except the NYU 1994 Beat Generation conference, and that invitation came only after pressure from Allen Ginsberg.
Has respect for my work on Kerouac diminished? Apparently not. The Washington Post Book World declared in August of last year: "Gerald Nicosia's Memory Babe is the best of them [the Kerouac biographies]." (Bruce Cook, "King of the Road," Aug. 31, 1997)
The New York Times Book Review declared in December of last year: "A major critic of that [Beat] period [is] Gerald Nicosia." (Robert Stone, American Dreamers: Melville and Kerouac, Dec. 7, 1997)
What has changed in the 1990's? Stella Sampas Kerouac died on February 10, 1990. A year later, John Sampas was installed by her family as literary executor for her estate, which in essence comprised the entire literary estate of Jack Kerouac.
Some have raised as a defense of Mr. Sampas's actions the fact that I continue to support Jan Kerouac's lawsuit against him and his family. As this history shows, Mr. Sampas's interference with my literary career predates Jan Kerouac's lawsuit.
Furthermore, my support of Jan Kerouac's lawsuit had from the beginning two primary motivations. I believe it is both wrong and harmful for Mr. Sampas to sell off pieces of Jack Kerouac's archive to collectors and dealers, when Kerouac himself stated his desire to have his archive available for study in a library. I believe the dispersal of Kerouac's archive will prove extremely detrimental to Kerouac scholarship as the years go by. It is not enough that Mr. Sampas gives controlled access to one or two or three individuals, hand picked by him. There is no guarantee that these one or two or three individuals are the best people to interpret Kerouac's work. The complete Kerouac archive should be open without restriction to all serious scholars, writers, and historians.
My second reason for continuing to support Jan's lawsuit--a reason that was very much in Jan's mind as well--is the neediness of Jack Kerouac's nephew, Paul Blake, Jr. Fifty years old, Paul is now homeless, sick, and could easily die from lack of proper medical care. Jack Kerouac accurately referred to Paul as "the last remaining drop of my direct blood line, which is, my sister Carolyn." I believe Paul should share in the windfall profits which have showered upon Jack Kerouac's estate in the past few years. Kerouac in fact wrote to Paul the day before he died, promising Paul a major share of his estate.
If John Sampas wishes to assert his right to sell off the Jack Kerouac archive piecemeal, and to deny Paul Blake, Jr., any share in his uncle's estate, it is his right to do so, provided the authenticity of Gabrielle Kerouac's will is upheld. If Mr. Sampas wishes to establish beyond a doubt that Gabrielle Kerouac's will is authentic, he should allow Jan Kerouac's case to go to trial in St. Petersburg, rather than continuing to try to get the case dismissed before trial.
In any case, there is no justification, based on my support for preservation of the Jack Kerouac archive and my plea for financial help to Paul Blake, Jr., to harass, interfere with, and sabotage my literary career, and to belittle the contributions to Jack Kerouac scholarship I have made. Moreover, there is no justification for continuing to blacklist me and to keep me from taking part in Kerouac and Beat gatherings and conferences.
I call upon all of you in the literary and scholarly community to raise your voice now against the continuation of the sort of actions detailed in this letter. Your support can be given in the form of letters to schools and publishers involved with Beat scholarship, in a letter to John Sampas or in a direct letter of support to me.
It is important to stop this campaign before it reaches another level, before someone like Mr. Maher is given impetus to take action on the threat of making me or one of my children "next in line with the teacher in the Arkansas schoolhouse."
This whole thing has gone way, way too far already, and I am calling upon all the decent people I know to say so.
Thanks for listening. Thanks for your help.
Gerald Nicosia ##
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