This year, I lost a good friend. It was not a friendship that came easy, just like acquiring a taste for Scotch Whiskey. But once acquired, always desired
Allow me to share with you one of my favorite Frank-isms: “You can pick your friends, but you cannot pick your relatives.” Bernard Katz would not have picked Frank Morelli for his Son-In-Law. After all, he sent his daughter to the University of Miami to get an education, and find a nice Jewish doctor to marry.
She had all the ammunition necessary to land a doctor. Instead, she comes home with an Italian from the Bronx. No, he would not have picked me. After being a father, I totally understand our rough beginning.
Over the years, we had our good times. Over the years, we had our not so good times. For 10 years, we were in business together. For 5 years, we did not talk to each other. But over the years, we learned a lot about each other. We gained a mutual respect. We were very much opposite; we were very much similar. I envied his devotion to business. I think he appreciated my ability to balance family with business.
Bernard was a successful Real Estate Developer since 1951. If Richard Melman is the King of the Restaurant Business, then Bernard Katz was the King of the Real Estate Business. There are bigger players. But not better players. He leaves behind a long list of happy investors. Bernard valued his investors above all else. Their well being guided him in all of his dealings, many times adversely affecting his profit. Family came first – most times – but investors were a solid second.
When I first came into the family, Bernard was a Democrat. He was 40-years old. He was just beginning to hit his stride in the business world. Social issues were his passion. His friends were active in State Politics. I remember how actively he campaigned for his friend, Robert Marks, in his successful bid for the State Senate.
Fast forward almost 50-years, and Bernard would not talk politics. He only watched Fox News. I wanted to talk to him about what happened, but this topic was off limits. I accepted his move to The Right because he was one of the 5% money guys who are legitimate Republicans.
The rest of you are just tools for the money guys, sorry.
I learned a lot about our health care system these last 2 years, accompanying Bernard to Mayo Clinic to receive cancer treatments. Our health care system is the best in the world if you have a pocket full of cash, and a Lear Jet.
To be Brutal, to be Frank, today, in this moment, when the repeal of the death tax by Dubya benefits my family, I looooove Republicans. I understand Bernard’s shift to The Right. But this moment will pass. The truth is, my family would be happy to pay taxes and have health care for all. The truth, is the truth, is the truth.
Back to you, Greg.