Longform

A Secretary's Revenge

Page 5 of 8

The tension was palpable.
Karrie Dozer, the attorney general's press liaison, worked in the same office with Carey and Vasquez.

"She talked about him often, his being a workaholic, and to her that was a horrible thing. ... There was almost a jealous relationship there. She looked at Rob's lifestyle as being very high-profile and very fast-paced. She would talk with disdain about the people he knew, or the places he'd been ..."

Nothing charts the deep chasm between Vasquez and Carey like their differing accounts of a state Supreme Court brief he wrote in the fall of 1994.

Vasquez cites that day as one she will never forget.
"Mr. Carey had been out of town, a ski vacation for a long weekend, and when he came back, he had a brief due in the Supreme Court at noon on 'Bring Your Daughter to Work Day,'" said Vasquez.

"He had a brief due, and he had not prepared for it because he had been on a ski vacation. And so he was in a complete panic trying to get this thing filed. He was working at 11:30 in the morning, and it was due at noon at the Supreme Court. And my daughter was there, and we were trying to work on this brief."

This is a vivid memory for Vasquez, but it is also nonsense.
Carey had not been off skiing. Nor was it Hallmark's "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day," which is in April.

Carey did only one Supreme Court brief when Vasquez worked for him, and it was in September.

This temporal discrepancy is not just a quibble with Vasquez's recollection. It illustrates her tendency to fantasize.

On the date in question, there was no snow on the Colorado mountains. Consequently, Carey could not have even suggested to Vasquez that he'd gone skiing.

No, Carey was in Colorado to take advantage of the isolation at his parents' condominium in the Rockies and to focus upon his work.

Now, for all Vasquez knew, Carey could have spent his time mountain-biking. But he did not.

Vasquez simply projected that if Carey was jetting off to the mountains, he must be skiing. That's what people like Rob Carey did with their weekends. Skiing suited her imagination, and her version of the story, better.

Carey didn't stop thinking about the brief on the flight back from Colorado or on the way into work that morning.

He says it was his first Supreme Court brief, and he wanted to tweak it until the last possible second. He was that possessed.

Of course he was possessed. It was his personality. In high school, wrestlers like Carey are the fanatics who drop and add large numbers of pounds by obsessing every minute of the day, for an entire season, on their diet, their conditioning, their iron pumping. And then, when they "make weight," they go out and fight.

Vasquez and Carey both agree on what happened next.
When the office printer malfunctioned as Vasquez attempted to use it, Carey erupted at the secretary, who was responsible for keeping it serviced.

"Get the goddamned printer fixed, Deborah."
When Carey returned to his office, Vasquez handed the computer disk with Carey's brief on it to her daughter Marisa, with instructions that she locate another printer in a separate government agency that shares the same office building.

You have to walk the labyrinth of the Attorney General's Office, devoid of decoration and uniform in its cost-cutting drabness, seemingly designed to defy one's hope of locating true magnetic north, to understand Carey's pallor when he stepped out of his office at 11:40 a.m. and learned that a teenager was wandering the hallways with his first Supreme Court brief in search of a government printer.

Carey ordered Vasquez to find her daughter. Now.
For Vasquez, the problem was not her judgment, but his.
How could he have displayed his annoyance in front of a child?

When Vasquez filed for unemployment benefits after resigning from the Attorney General's Office, she recalled the Anna Ott episode for the hearing officer. She also brought Marisa, her only witness, to testify about Carey's breach of manners when his Supreme Court brief went missing.

Rob Carey's reaction to Vasquez's handling of the Supreme Court brief and the kidnaping situation was by the book; it also displayed a kind of emotional insensitivity that plagues people whose priority is achieving, not nurturing.

Sometimes, you need to throw the bookout the window, but Carey is comfortable with his agenda and the manner in which he checks off the items on his legal pad.

"I am self-confident, and I'm aggressive," Carey said to describe his office modus operandi. "I see things, black and white. I get it done, one way or the other, bottom line, I get it done."

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey