The many sides of Thomas L. Bromwell Sr.

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April 08, 2007|By LAURA VOZZELLA

We all know Tommy Bromwell, the Democratic ex-state senator, wheeler-dealer, RICO indictee. Now, thanks to Big Brother, meet the other Tommy Bromwells, who emerge over a Ruth's Chris dinner with two guys - business associate Paul Matthews and an undercover FBI agent using the name Joseph Carson - wearing wires for the feds.

Lover of Jesus and fine food

Bromwell (describing the highlight of a visit to Israel): I mean, you know, I'm sitting there with my hand on a - on a cold slab where Jesus Christ was laid to rest.

Carson: Isn't - isn't that impressive?

Bromwell: Damn, goddamn. ...

Matthews: When you're in the presence of where Jesus was -

Carson: It's not going to be one of these things where everybody's doing rah, rah.

Matthews: No, no, no, no. It's got to be a silent, personal moment that will never go away.

Bromwell: It's just unbelievable. It's just unbelievable.

Waiter: Did you enjoy your appetizers?

Carson: Oh, didn't like it at all. It went quick.

Bromwell: So - I forgot where I was going.

Carson: Well, you were - you were saying you'd been to Israel six times and it was a very emotional, moving thing.

Bromwell: Yeah. Well I was trying to prove a point and I don't know what it was I was trying to prove.

Chaste husband amid tempations

Bromwell: Something else that you gotta know about me, since I met this woman that I married - prior to that I was a no good son of a bitch. ... I had more notches in my goddamn [unintelligible]. Since I met this woman that I married, I haven't been with anybody.

Carson: Good for you.

Bromwell: Just her and I.

Carson: Good for you. Nothing wrong with that.

Bromwell: But I want to tell you something, when I'm over there [in Russia, where he was working a deal to build a hospital] and my Irish friends and my Scotch friends bring this, they brought this broad up to me, she looked like Marilyn Monroe, she was about 6-foot-3.

Carson: No.

Bromwell: Joe, she was [BLEEPing] gorgeous.

Carson: [Unintelligible] Oh, that - that's a weakness. Now, that's a bad one -

Bromwell: Gorgeous. It's 4:00 in the morning and they said, Tommy boy, this is for you as our present. I said, Isn't this wild? I got to leave at 5:00 and you're giving me her at 4:00. I said, Let me ask you something, darlin'. I looked at her, I said, let me ask you something, darlin', do you speak English. I said, Could me and my two friends take you back to my room ... ?

Humanitarian employer

Bromwell (describing how, under the hospital deal, he tried to pay Russian laborers $10 an hour): I don't want to sound like a liberal Democrat, but I want to tell you something. This would have saved a lot of [BLEEPing] lives, this would have made the quality of life better, this would have made these few people, it would have made them better people. It would have made their families better people.

Carson: I think it's great.

Bromwell: So you know what happens, the goddamn mob gets involved, through the KGB, and you know what happens, they pay them a dollar an hour and the boss is taking the nine dollars an hour and then we got -

Carson: That's capitalism, you understand?

Bromwell: Oh, yeah.

Matthews: Right back to the heart of communism.

Bromwell: It's Chicago - law and no order. I'm telling you. ... Chicago in the '30s.

Post-9/11 patriot, Bo Derek admirer

Bromwell (two months after the Sept. 11 attacks, saying he won't let the terrorists win): I will not be afraid. I will not be afraid to walk in the dark. I'm not going to stop flying. I'm not going to do anything -

Matthews: That's like Bo Derek, did you see Bo Derek on TV last night? She was on Hannity and Colmes.

Bromwell: How'd she look?

Matthews: I don't know, for 60 years old. [For the record, she's 50.]

Bromwell: How'd she look? ...

Matthews: Really good. And she was talking about [how] we're not going to lose because of what they did -

Bromwell: You know what - hey, you know what -

Matthews: - we're going to lose financially.

Bromwell: You know what really pisses me off? Bo Derek ... is now 60 years old.

Oral historian.

In a separate conversation recorded by the FBI in June 2001, Bromwell recalls a meeting with two former governors, who reminisced about one of their now-dead predecessors. No names here, since I can't call the dead guy for comment. If you really want to know, look it up in the public court file.

Bromwell: Well, [Gov. No. 1] ... you know he's a little old gray haired man from ah, [BLEEP], right? ... [H]e was a super [BLEEPin' BLEEP] hound.

Unknown male: Is that right?

Bromwell: He said and one night they had a party for him. [Gov. No. 2's] crew got together. They got him two broads. Sent `em over to the Maryland Inn. And he's [BLEEPin'] two broads at one time and his wife's callin' for him because she's got a surprise party for sixty-five people in the mansion. He's across the street [BLEEPin'] two broads and there's sixty-five people waiting' for him in the mansion."

Unknown male: [Unintelligible]

Bromwell: Great story. Great story.

Keen judge of character

Bromwell (impressed with the FBI agent's tales of Mardi Gras Krewe fun): Goddamn. Joe, so you are a good old southern boy. Goddamn.

Carson: Yes, I am.

Bromwell. I love that style. I love that stuff man.

Carson: (Laughing)

Bromwell: I've been waiting - I've been waiting to meet you all my life man.

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