December 04, 2006

COMMENTARY: A TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT


A year ago before I started this boycott blog, I wrote on my other blog, “Michelle Says So”. I covered true crime and wrote about Natalee and followed every detail meticulously. When I saw Joe Mammana on the news and in the papers with his vigilante attitude, I loved it and wrote a post about how I thought he was the ‘cat’s ass’ and that he turned his life around and was “paying it forward”.


Next thing I know, I get an email from Joe himself asking me to call him. I thought it was a joke, but I called anyway. We had a lengthy conversation about the boycott and I agreed to start a separate boycott blog dedicated to Natalee and boycotting Aruba. He sat there and promised the world to me and many other people.


I believe in second chances. I believe that it is possible for someone to come out of prison and contribute to society and turn a new page. I admired his “story”…the amazing true story of a man who went from prison to a millionaire philanthropist. His favorite “line” was, “It’s not how you start the race, it’s how you finish it.” I believed every word that came out of that man’s mouth. I felt that it was possible to create a huge stir and do something based on principle and outrage. When we talked I had ideas that fired like bullets. He encouraged me, I was psyched and excited, but he did nothing.


When I met him in person last spring for a brainstorming meeting with 3 other people the first thing I noticed was his massive ‘showy’ diamond jewelry; specifically, a huge diamond encrusted watch. All he did was talk about his “bling”, his Lamborghini, his money, who he knows, who he hangs out with, even calling Rita Cosby his ‘best friend’. At that moment in time, I saw nothing but a typical narcissist who enjoys talking about himself. At the meeting he excitedly promised to pay for all the marketing materials and get the project underway.


Although he encouraged me and others to start promoting the boycott, when I talked to him he brushed me off as if he couldn’t be bothered by it. This came from the same man who had me gung-ho for months, while he portrayed himself as this misunderstood ex-felon who is just trying to do the right thing to get into heaven.


Valuable time was being wasted and I still had no direction from Joe. I am an impatient person. I wasn’t going to sit around and wait. So with help from “dkpen” we started the boycott marketing/advertising campaign by ourselves with our bare hands, spending endless hours preparing.


I was excited about all the new members that we got, so I called him a few weeks later to brief him on the good news. Since “dkpen” and I sunk our own money into the project, I asked him if he would donate $500 to help recover our costs. I would estimate that I spent at least $700 or more and “dkpen” the same. He flat out refused giving me some run around about how I wasn’t a non-profit organization and it’s not a tax write off, blah, blah, blah. WTF? I was seeing RED…and I was PISSED. This is the same person who flaunted his wealth and could easily spend $500 at a nice restaurant.


I saw it as a slap in the face towards myself, the family, the other people working their asses off for the cause, and Natalee. He was all talk and no action. After that day I have never spoken to him again.


Now Joe is in jail. I am using this time to announce that I am completely shocked and disappointed in what he has done. He’s not the bad guy turned good. He’s just like Aruba…one big façade and full of lies.



Tax evasion? Money laundering? Lining his pockets? Mail and wire fraud?




The judge even refused his bail saying he is a violent man and a flight risk! This blew my mind. The last 12 months came crashing down. I have never met a habitual lying hypocrite. My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe this so called “reformed” good guy could commit these crimes out of pure greed and the need for power. He is no better than the Enron guys, politicians, or my favorite Aruba thug, Michael Posner.


The thing that really disappoints me is that I stuck up for him constantly. I got a lot of shit and nasty comments on other blogs and forums for wanting to work with this guy. I have absolutely no reason to stick up for this man anymore. I am embarrassed that I was conned by a person who made me think I could make a difference.


I don’t think his reputation will ever recover. He had his “second chance” and he blew it BIG TIME. He is nothing but a big bully who acts like he is the freaking godfather. “I’m Italian…and I’m going to have you whacked…” Whatever, Joe. No one buys the act anymore. You are nothing but a coward and a liar and I am just so disappointed in you and your actions.


“We'll be fighting in the streets
With our children at our feet
And the morals that they worship will be gone
And the men who spurred us on
Sit in judgment of all wrong
They decide and the shotgun sings the song

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again.”

-The Who, “We Won’t Get Fooled Again”


I’ve learned a lot about people over the last year. I realize I was somewhat naïve and too trusting. I’ve learned the hard way several times that not everyone is a good person. It’s disheartening because it has shattered every idealistic thought I had about people. Now I have a very hard time trusting anyone. Both on the internet and in real life.


I suppose there is only one good thing about this whole debacle. Every time there is an article about Joe, Natalee is mentioned. It’s keeping Natalee’s name out there. Like they say in Hollywood, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”, but in Joe’s case this is impossible. He has lost all his credibility and respect from many people. Your 15 minutes are up, Joe.


All I see is this: blinking lights with the phrase, “Game over…insert 25 cents to play again.”


This time there are no second chances.


Fool me once, shame on you…fool me twice, shame on me. No one is going to fool me ever again.




17 comments:

Deb357 said...

Michelle wrote: "I am embarrassed that I was conned by a person who made me think I could make a difference."


Michelle hun,

You have made a big difference just by being here and helping Natalee and keeping the word out here for the public to view.
You have made a big difference in seeing to it that the word got out about Natalee's story and promoting the Boycott Beth, Dave and Gov. of Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia has called for and backed up.
Your love and caring ways has shown through your many post on how you feel so strongely for getting the information out about how corrupt Aruba is. No one can say what you've done by making sure the Boycott continues on and pushing for others to join in in the name of Natalee is wrong. It is a thankless job and one from your heart.
I personally thank you for all that you have done and keep doing.

Thank you Michelle, thank you! (((hugs)))

grass said...

Very well said Michelle! Once a crook always a crook.

Anonymous said...

The thin lady is winning, not a total disappointment at all. The Aruban Boycott is alive and well. Many and many people are not buying the Dutch and Aruban products for this Christmas gift stuffing. People are not smoking the Dutch Chocolate cigars, instead they prefer the Cuba Havana best. People just trash the Aruba 99 USD vacation deal on Cable, they think the China Grand Olympic deal is honest and fair and reasonable. Aruba Boycott is a filtering process, it takes the money away from Aruba and brings its death. It takes out the bad apples and gives the justice to Natalee in time. The support for Aruban Boycott is strong because it is the right thing to do. All the Holland and Aruba judges are corrupt to the bones. They will release the J2K form the suspect muderers list this week. The American people will react.

Meri said...

I too met Joe Mammana and although I was not fooled by the "bling" and the "big talk"...I had hope that Joe was a good guy, a diamond in the rough. He was amusing and seemed to be generous to a fault. He treated us with respect at our meeting and promised us that he would keep his word regarding his support of the boycott and all it entailed.

Sadly, like a lot of people in this world, he talked the talk but didn't walk the walk. I spent hours putting together paperwork and documents for Joe to present at that meeting and I left it feeling that we were going to accomplish great things on behalf of Natalee and her family (especially Beth, who Joe seemed to be very compassionate about).

Joe not only called Rita from our meeting but he also called Beth and we got to speak to her. This was the first time that I had heard her voice outside of her television appearances and it was very moving. Hearing her and speaking to Joe renewed my personal commitment to seeking justice for Natalee and her family.

Joe turned out to be a huge disappointment but so did several other people who I had the greatest admiration and respect for. It has been one big disappointment for me and I was forced to step away and back off of the entire matter. I could no longer take the deception and the games that some people played.

It's not that everyone I've ever met has kept their word, or that people who were BS artists before because I have, it was just that this involved a grieving family and a missing girl and to know that there are people who would take advantage of that fact was enough for me to quit.

Joe will pay the price for his deception but many other's will not and that saddens me beyond belief. I know that Michelle has put a huge amount of effort into this and spent a lot of money. I know that I too have put a lot of myself, my money and my time into finding the truth regarding Natalee and even though I won't do it anymore, I will still hope for a miracle and that someday Natalee will get the justice that she deserves despite the people who have done everything in their power to prevent this from happening.

Justice is not easy to come by but that old expression still holds true in my mind, "What goes around, comes around". No one really gets away with anything and eventually there is a price to pay.

I can't hate Joe...I just feel sorry for him. What a waste.

Meri
too met Joe Mammana and although I was not fooled by the "bling" and the "big talk"...I had hope that Joe was a good guy, a diamond in the rough. He was amusing and seemed to be generous to a fault. He treated us with respect at our meeting and promised us that he would keep his word regarding his support of the boycott and all it entailed.

Sadly, like a lot of people in this world, he talked the talk but didn't walk the walk. I spent hours putting together paperwork and documents for Joe to present at that meeting and I left it feeling that we were going to accomplish great things on behalf of Natalee and her family (especially Beth, who Joe seemed to be very compassionate about).

Joe not only called Rita from our meeting but he also called Beth and we got to speak to her. This was the first time that I had heard her voice outside of her television appearances and it was very moving. Hearing her and speaking to Joe renewed my personal commitment to seeking justice for Natalee and her family.

Joe turned out to be a huge disappointment but so did several other people who I had the greatest admiration and respect for. It has been one big disappointment for me and I was forced to step away and back off of the entire matter. I could no longer take the deception and the games that some people played.

It's not that everyone I've ever met has kept their word, not that I have never met people who were BS artists before because I have, it was just that this involved a grieving family and a missing girl and to know that there are people who would take advantage of that fact was enough for me to quit.

Joe will pay the price for his deception but many other's will not and that saddens me beyond belief. I know that Michelle has put a huge amount of effort into this and spent a lot of money. I know that I too have put a lot of myself, my money and my time into finding the truth regarding Natalee and even though I won't do it anymore, I will still hope for a miracle and that someday Natalee will get the justice that she deserves despite the people who have done everything in their power to prevent this from happening.

Justice is not easy to come by but that old expression still holds true in my mind, "What goes around, comes around". No one really gets away with anything and eventually there is a price to pay.

I can't hate Joe...I just feel sorry for him. What a waste.

Meri
too met Joe Mammana and although I was not fooled by the "bling" and the "big talk"...I had hope that Joe was a good guy, a diamond in the rough. He was amusing and seemed to be generous to a fault. He treated us with respect at our meeting and promised us that he would keep his word regarding his support of the boycott and all it entailed.

Sadly, like a lot of people in this world, he talked the talk but didn't walk the walk. I spent hours putting together paperwork and documents for Joe to present at that meeting and I left it feeling that we were going to accomplish great things on behalf of Natalee and her family (especially Beth, who Joe seemed to be very compassionate about).

Joe not only called Rita from our meeting but he also called Beth and we got to speak to her. This was the first time that I had heard her voice outside of her television appearances and it was very moving. Hearing her and speaking to Joe renewed my personal commitment to seeking justice for Natalee and her family.

Joe turned out to be a huge disappointment but so did several other people who I had the greatest admiration and respect for. It has been one big disappointment for me and I was forced to step away and back off of the entire matter. I could no longer take the deception and the games that some people played.

It's not that everyone I've ever met has kept their word, it's not that I have never met people who were BS artists before because I have, it was just that this involved a grieving family and a missing girl and to know that there are people who would take advantage of that fact was enough for me to quit.

Joe will pay the price for his deception but many others will not and that saddens me beyond belief.

I know that Michelle has put a huge amount of effort into this and spent a lot of money. I know that I too have put a lot of myself, my money and my time into finding the truth regarding Natalee and even though I won't do it anymore, I will still hope for a miracle and that someday Natalee will get the justice that she deserves despite the people who have done everything in their power to prevent this from happening.

Justice is not easy to come by but that old expression still holds true in my mind, "What goes around, comes around". No one really gets away with anything and eventually there is a price to pay.

I can't hate Joe...I just feel sorry for him. What a waste.

Meri

Anonymous said...

Michelle,
Your blog was excellent today and you have nothing to be ashamed of. You have made a difference. Not everyone can say they have. Your motives have always been clear and if someone exploited your kind heart.. that's on them.. not you. Life is about learning and we all learn every day. I believe you have been a pioneer in this case and for future cases. We all have learned so much about what it takes to get to the bottom of this corruption...keep fighting the good fight and know Im thinking of you..

Cheri said...

Here is the transcript from FOX news...apparently Beth Twitty did not share your concerns about Joe's "bling" and crude ways
she still supports him
that is sad, cause she has raked in so much money, she really should have helped you with your supplies, she has taken in a lot of money

what a disappointment indeed...hang in there, glad you did not get get more involved with this Joe creep

Kim:

Joe Mamanna is in jail tonight ... federal prosecutors have said he's pocketed over 3 million dollars without paying income taxes.

Back to Beth who's here to discuss this with me.

You've had personal experience with Joe, you've seen a very different man than has been described the last few days

Beth

Absolutely, Joe has been terrific with us, it's unfortunate this has come to pass, he's helped us and done tremendous things for others.

As far as we've experienced, he's just absolutely great.

Kim

How much money did he offer in your case?

Beth

He started with $50,000 then upped it to $250,000

Kim

He was a great friend to you then?

Beth

Joe always answered my calls, he was always calling me..Joe wouldn't hear of me giving up, I hate this has happened to him, it's just a tragedy, my heart goes out to his family. I support him , it's very sad and unfortunate.

Lise:

The crime is felon in possession. He's got a felony conviction, he shouldn't have had a gun. He could argue it wasn't his, he didn't possess it, but it's in his home in his nightstand. This is going to be a plea or a guilty conviction b/c you've got a gun, you're a convicted felon, there's not much argumennt

Brian:

I think once again, assuming that the search warrant is valid, the defendant is in big trouble, it's a mandatory 5 year term. No plea possible.

Auntiem said...

Well, now I am finally, after many months of taking his side on different blog sites, convinced that Mammana is not the Robin Hood, Knight in Shining Armor, Champion of the underdog, that he has portrayed himself. No need for you to feel embarassed for trusting him Michelle, you're in good company, many did. Beth, too, believed him, and unfortunately perhaps she still does. After all he hasn't done things so overtly to her, as he has to you, so she may not have any reason to doubt him. Or, maybe she does have her doubts, but Beth is one class act, a true lady....what should she do now? Turn on someone who publically has been so supportive and sypathetic to her? The reward money is still there, maybe only in theory, but as far as anyone knows, it's there, for information about her daughter!!! Her precious child, viciously snatched from her, her life ended before it had really begun. So, those out there who want to fault Beth, put yourself in her shoes. Would you turn on a friend when that friend was in trouble? That's just what it would look like if Beth turned on Joe now! Leave her alone! She's had so much to grieve and suffer...she does not need to justify her kind words toward someone we may feel is not deserving. Let her continue to be the strong and wise lady we have all come to admire and love!

mayan_moons said...

Michelle you took a stand for Natalee & you have made a difference, believe that!
You restored some faith in the human race. In one of my first posts here i said "i've been fooled a time or two but Not very often" I'm disappointed in Joe too but for you i have the utmost respect. I know you don't know me from Adam hon but i really mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Anonymous said...

Michelle, your doing a great job! Don't be embarrassed- once a thug always a thug. Joe was wrong and you had no part in that. Hold your head high girl!

You're doing an excellent job! Keep up the good work. I appreciate you and we know Beth appreciates you.

~~Have a Merry Christmas~~

Boycott Aruba

Faith

dennisintn said...

does anyone have an idea about what politician put the bug in the i.r.s.' ear to audit mammana? isn't there a senator or congressman in philadelphia who's been outspoken on behalf of aruba? has property on the island or something like that? sure would be interesting to know the answers to that little question.

dennisintn

Michelle said...

The politician that you are talking about is Frank Rizzo...and yes, he does own property in Aruba and does business and is associated with them in some capacity, but I don't know what it is. I do know, however, that Joe and him HATE each other.

Google That!

Michelle said...

Hey check it out...


Next, Rita hosted two City Councilmen from Philadelphia:

Juan Ramos and Frank Rizzo, Jr. Juan Ramos supported the boycott, because they felt sympathy with the family who has lost a daughter. Ramos went over similar losses of daughters around Philadelphia.

Frank Rizzo, Jr., criticized the boycott, because he was familiar with the effort in Aruba. He claimed that the Arubans have gone way beyond their requirement to support the family and this investigation. Interestingly, Rita tried to discredit Frank Rizzo's statement by alleging that he has a vested interest in Aruba. Rizzo had trained some of the Aruban law enforcement officers a few years ago. Also, Rizzo has concern for his constituents, many of whom work for an airline that brings Philadelphia's to Aruba. Rita attempted to enlist Ramos' assistance in her discreditation, but Ramos refused to get involved. Ramos respected his colleague's opinion.

http://www.hyscience.com/archives/2005/11/harrytho_aruban_2.php

Andie said...

Michelle, I respect you for telling your truth. I also respect Beth for telling hers.

I have always told "my own truth, according to my direct contact with the source." This is all any of us can do.

It seems that your direct contact with Joe has been different from Beth's. This is the way it is many times, but if we do not stand up for our own personal truth...we have nothing, as how many people in this world can one truly truly trust? My list is fewer and fewer, but that list is determined by my own personal interactions with that person, and not what someone else has told me.

This is the way I view the situation. But I always respect those, who speak out about "their own personal truth."

Respectfully,
Andie (BFN)

Anonymous said...

Michelle I'm sorry you got burned by Joe. I dont agree with your boycott, and I always suspected Joe was conning you and others,but obviously you had your own thoughts and nothing myself or others would say, would sway you at the time.
I find it that one of the most deceptive people on this blog, Meri, has the balls to call anyone out for being deceptive. Her true colors have been aired by many who have figured her out and I hope you don't also get duped by her. I know that sounds harsh, but I like you Michelle and I feel badly that you have put in so much effort and money, to have Joe be such an ass to you, I hope Meri doesn't hurt you as well.
And Meri you know what I'm talking about. You are not a lawyer, you are not a doctor, and you have no background in psychological profiling. This is just the start of your deception.
Good luck Michelle. I may not support your cause, but I do support your right to do what you believe is right, and I support your right to do so without being scammed and conned. I believe you to be a good person, and I hope your efforts to bring an end to this Natalee nightmare don't go un-noticed by the people who count, mainly her family and friends.

God bless you.

Michelle said...

Thank you for writing and believing that I am a good person even though I deeply believe in this boycott. However, please don't think Meri is a bad person because she isn't. She is a wonderful person, even if she writes things people don't want to hear. She is like a 2nd mother to me and would never scam or con me. She has nothing to gain by being my friend. She is my mentor and I will always care about her. No matter what her opinions are. That's what friends are for. You care about them no matter what their opinions or thoughts are. You are just their friend. It's like the way you love or care about someone in your family...no matter what, you love them unconditionally.

Joe, on the other hand is completely different and cannot be compared to Meri. It's like comparing apples to oranges. Can't be done.

Anyway, thanks for writing even though you don't agree with my beliefs.

Auntiem said...

It never ceases to amaze me, that the more vitriolic and personal posts are, you can be sure they are sheilded under the cloak of anonymity!!!! Why?? Because these are the cowards and liars of the blogs!!!!! The more incensed and angered I become over an issue ( as in this instance) the MORE I want readers to know from whom the angered post is coming. Whoever, at this point, wishes to bash truly good, honest and dedicated bloggers, who's ONLY agenda in the last year and a half has been an unselfish desire to give comfort, help, and solutions to the family of Natalee, are wasting their unwanted words and useless time. The case will soon be solved, thanks to the dedication of people like Meri, Deetch, Michelle, and many other leaders of "unnamed" sites and their devoted and relentless researchers, who have given so tirelessly and selflessly, in order to find the Truth for Natalee. These good people have Fought the Fight for Justice!!!! And Justice is coming. Thanks to ALL of them, Peter deVreis finally heard their voices, went to Aruba, Jossy has been doing his job for Natalee, Bless him too!!! So bash away cowards.... the time is coming.... Justice is Coming!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Michelle,

Whatever happens, don't get down. I know we ussually don't see eye to eye on a lot of things, and I have been warning people from the beginning for this Joe M. guy, but that doesn't take away that whatever you say, it comes straight from YOUR HEART. And NOBODY can take that away from you. Anybody who has stood up for something in theit lives, has been burned. But what you have to do now is just go on.

John C.