But if his reaction to Vasquez's overstepping was harsh, it was harshest at first blush. He was not totally unmindful that Vasquez's actions during the Ott kidnaping were the result of a heart that beat too strong.
After Vasquez ran from the office following his criticism, Carey approached one of his division chiefs, Sydney Davis, and asked if Vasquez could be transferred into her office to take consumer-fraud calls. Carey hoped that position might satisfy her urge to help people.
Davis agreed to accept Vasquez.
Vasquez acknowledges the offer of a transfer, but says Carey would have made her life miserable no matter where she went in the Attorney General's Office.
Carey's thoughtful gesture was not a quirk.
John MacDonald, director of intergovernmental affairs at the Attorney General's Office, is disgusted by the hard image of Carey that has emerged in the media, and exasperated that the man refuses to defend himself. He tells a story that he wants to take back as soon as the words leave his lips.
"We have a young secretary at the Attorney General's [Office] who is terminally ill. The state allows you to donate your own leave time to someone in this situation. The average donation is four to six hours. Ten is atypical.
"Carey, who has never even met this woman, donated 150 hours of his time. When you leave state service, you take that accumulated leave with you. All that money is like a savings account, which is how everyone treats it. And because Rob makes a very good salary, that was a lot of money. Later, he donated another 50 hours."
No sooner had MacDonald finished than he said abruptly, "You can't print that. No one knows about it. Rob would be furious ifthat appeared in a newspaper. He's veryquiet about that sort of thing. I only know about it from trying to sort through and make sense of Deborah's files after sheleft. That's where I found the paperwork on the leave time."
It would take a full week before MacDonald relented and allowed the information to be published.
And Carey's acts of kindness are not always directed to faceless strangers who, after all, could not vex him. He has also gone to bat for Vasquez.
According to several supervisors who worked under Carey, and all of the othersecretaries who labored alongside Vasquez, she would have been fired long before she left, except for her boss's tolerance.
"Her work product, her attitude, in late, out early ... Deborah Vasquez would have been fired six to eight months earlier if Carey had listened to me," says MacDonald. "I told him he had to let her go, that he couldn't afford to keep someone around who spent all her time badmouthing him.
"His response was, 'I can't do it. She's got a sick kid.'
"He personally saved her job."
MacDonald was not the only person who complained to Carey about Vasquez.
Carey's girlfriend could not understand the treatment she received at the hands of Vasquez.
Wendy Sanchez, a broadcaster at Channel 3, met Carey at a charity fund raiser. They went out on their first date just two months after Vasquez went to work at the Attorney General's Office.
"She was so rude to me. She didn't like it when I called," says Sanchez of Carey's secretary. "It got so bad that I hated to call there. I told Rob, 'You call me. I'm not calling there.'"
Sanchez was mystified later, after all the hell broke loose around Carey and she saw Vasquez's interview with another newscaster at Channel 3, Bennett Cunningham.
The secretary acted as if her problem with Carey revolved around the prosecutor's treatment of Sanchez.
Cunningham had done a lengthy interview with Vasquez about her charges of corruption at the Attorney General's Office. Though he chose not to air Vasquez's more personal allegations, he did save the tape to show to Sanchez.
"I couldn't believe it. She just went on about how Rob was unfaithful to me, how he would call up these other women and see them when I was out of town. It was incredible," says Sanchez. "She was saying this stuff to go on the air, as if she were my friend. It was outrageous."
Sanchez, who wanted to brain Cunningham for swallowing such malarkey and feeling that Sanchez needed to know about her randy boyfriend, was flabbergasted by the tape.
"To begin with, I haven't been out of town," says Sanchez. "And besides that, I know Rob Carey. He's not out dating other women. We've been together constantly since our first date. We got very serious, very fast. Rob isn't promiscuous."