I just read most of the book and am both horrified and saddened by Jimmy Breslin’s blatant lack of “investigation” into my father, Israel Greenwald’s, real story. You would think if you were writing a “true story” you would at least try and get all the facts straight. Instead he chose to use Kaplan’s testimony alone to tell Israel’s tale. Kaplan-a man who himself admits he never met Israel and could only tell his perspective of what happened and not what really happened on Israel Greenwald’s end. Breslin chose to tell my father’s story in one short paragraph without attempting to find out from Israel’s family, or even from old FBI files, what really went down over two decades before. He showed no sympathy at all and even worst, completely dehumanized my father in this book. Even Guy Lawson, author of “The Brotherhoods” was more accurate. Click to read an excerpt from the “Brotherhoods” book related to Israel Greenwald’s story.
This book is a huge disappointment to me and my family and another slap in the face from a journalist who should know better than to offer a one sided perspective to a very complicated and tragic story. Below is a letter I wrote to Mr. Breslin as a response.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Dear Mr. Breslin,
I have just read your book “The Good Rat” and am all too familiar with many of the events described in your book as my father was murdered by Kaplan and the cops. His name was Israel Greenwald.
I am writing you this letter because I am profoundly saddened, hurt, and angered by the brief passing reference you made in your book concerning my father and the circumstances surrounding his murder. You took an extremely complicated story, one filled with many different characters and layers and basically summarized his story into one short paragraph, which I can summarize in one sentence: “Israel Greenwald – man involved in a bond scheme with Kaplan decides to pocket banker commission and gets himself killed.” Although you may say that as Israel’s daughter I am too emotionally involved to decide which version of events are in fact correct, I am still aware and objective enough to know that the version you wrote is false, damaging and cruel.
It is completely illogical to assume that my father would try to pocket money that was supposed to go elsewhere and then simply return to his regular life. If my father ran away, then perhaps your theory would have merit, but he in fact returned home to his family and business and made no attempt to escape his everyday life. If my father was aware of who was behind all this (Kaplan, Bonda and the Mafia) and what this scheme was all about (stolen bonds), why would he return to his regular routine and try to investigate on his own where the money disappeared to? You do know that my father made a secret tape recording of him asking the Hassidic Jeweler known in court transcripts as “Jeweler number one” where the money went? You do know this – don’t you….? Trust you also are aware that Kaplan himself hired the Mafia cops to kill my father and the order did not come from his Mafia contacts.
Please refer to a theory mentioned in another book, “The Brotherhoods” by Guy Lawson and William Oldham (the detective who investigated the Mafia cops case), where they presume (correctly) that my father likely did not even know that he was involved with and was likely used and lied to by Jeweler number one. The truth is that the real story may never come out, since my father is not alive to tell his side of the story, and the other person who does know (Jeweler number 1) will never talk or admit to any involvement and why should he? He is living his life now scott free.
I write you this letter Mr. Breslin, not necessarily to convince you that my father was ultimately a “good guy” who unwittingly fell into a “bad” situation – but rather to give you my message, which is…… before you destroy a (good) person’s reputation, especially one who cannot defend himself, please do some more research to be certain that every powerful word you transcribe with that sword you call a pen-is based on truth. I ask that if there is ever a reprinting or retelling of the story in your book that you see to it that my fathers memory is given a fair and just representation.
on behalf of Israel Greenwald’s Family