A Secretary's Revenge

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Had Carey told her that children would somehow be the focus of her job or his work? Did he discuss children, at all, with Vasquez?

"No, not really," said the secretary.
But even when you are deluding yourself, you can reach a point where you just have to struggle through a change; it's the movement that's important, not the direction.

And Vasquez was a woman used to making an effort. She'd labored all her life to overcome first one obstacle, then another. The victim of a sexual assault in her own home while employed by O'Connor Cavanagh, Vasquez had continued to work in the immediate aftermath of the nightmare. She had responsibilities.

She was a single mother who was devoted to her two children, one of whom had been ill since birth.

Her life hadn't always seemed so difficult.
Working days, she met her husband in night school. After marrying, they had moved to California for a more bucolic life.

"I loved it and I hated it at the same time," said Vasquez. "I loved the weather. We lived on a small farm outside Riverside with a horse, pigs, goats. It was great. I loved that, I loved the greenery, but I didn't like the speed of the lifestyle.

"Too intense, too ritzy, too obsessed with money in Southern California. I wanted my children to be raised with different values."

The father became less and less of a help, financially or emotionally.
"He started getting seriously involved in drugs and quit his job, that sort of thing," said Vasquez. "I finally had to pull my children away from him and say, 'You can either be a responsible dad and be consistent with these children, or get the hell out of their lives.' And so I didn't hear from him again, which was fine."

After the marriage broke up, Vasquez sometimes had her children sleep under her desk at O'Connor Cavanagh so she could earn overtime and still keep a watchful eye on them.

With her background and views, it is a wonder that Vasquez made it through an interview with someone like Rob Carey, let alone went to work for him.

Not only was Vasquez fooling herself on a grand scale about the nature of her new job, but she had also inadvertently hired on with a man whose polished surfaces would grate upon her own raw skin like the coarsest pumice.

If the outskirts of Riverside, California, struck Vasquez as "too ritzy," what would she make of Rob Carey, a young man who had made his own fortune at a tender age, drove a Porsche Cabriolet, dated a television broadcaster, played basketball with power brokers and thought nothing of working all night because he had no children?

Born in Ankara, Turkey, the son of a chief judge advocate in the Air Force, Rob Carey has impressed many as a barely grown-up Richie Rich, a man-child with his life already encased in an expensive humidor.

That was clearly Tom Augherton's first impression.
A seasoned political operative, Augherton had his first experience as a college intern at the White House, where he watched Richard Nixon depart Washington, D.C., in an Air Force helicopter at the conclusion of Watergate. Now, Augherton is quite open in acknowledging that he was hired into the Attorney General's Office by a faction that wanted to rein Carey in.

"He was young, arrogant, impetuous," says Augherton, chief of administration at the Attorney General's Office. "He's elitist, even for a lawyer. The initial impression is that he's fairly unlikable, someone you would not want to associate with."

Today, almost five years later, Augherton is unabashed in his admiration of Rob Carey.

"I've watched guys like Rob Carey come and go over the years. I ought to be saying, 'That little prick had it coming to him.' But it's not true. He put in the ten- and 11-hour days that made Grant Woods possible.

"If you're going to be the first assistant AG that protects the boss, you need to be an SOB. You make the hard decisions, and you keep a leash on the political dogs that would tear the place apart."

The perception of Rob Carey as a spoiled scion of riches is, simply, wrong. Wherever Rob Carey went, he got there on his own. Although there is an impression that his folks handed him life on a platter, Carey grew up very middle-class. He worked two and three paper routes as a kid.

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey