Two days later, George Schoeneman stood at the door of the Morrow home. He had been clued in by McGrath of what was going on. Michael Morrow had come into evidence of serious frauds and tax evasions perpetrated by French Industries and its owner, Toffer. For George, that warranted a visit.
Sure, it could all be faked. But he doubted that. Michael Morrow was never apt to break the law. Not even to get ahead in business. If he had the goods, that meant Toffer had lost a valued employee. One that did his books.
For Toffer to lose control meant that change had finally come to Des Moines. But what was so big that it would cause Toffer to lose so much control? Was it a money thing? Or was it that Toffer’s inability to abide by the law had finally bit him in the ass?
He knocked on the door. He hoped Michael was home. He turned and looked toward the street. Odd how things seemed so normal. So quiet.
When he heard the nob turn, he turned back toward the door. Before him stood the most beautiful woman he’s encountered. “Uh–yes. I-is Michael Morrow home?”
“Yes,” came the sweetest reply. She held her hand out. “I am Valeria, Michael’s wife. And you are–?”
He cleared his throat. “Oh. Uh, I am George Shoeneman, head of the IRS. Can I come in?” he smiled at her apprehension. “Oh. Sorry. I was told that your husband had some ledgers of interest for me.”
Michael appeared behind Valeria. “Ah. George. Come in. Follow me.” He ushered George into the den where Frank and Allan sat
Frank rose. “Good to see you again, George. Been a while.”
George smiled. “What’re you doing here?”
Frank smiled. “I quit working for Toffer. This time it’s for good. I should’ve taken you up on your offer.”
The Fed looked at Frank. “Where’s John?”
Frank chuckled. “Toffer has lost all of his top management. John and the rest helped us piece together what we have. Including the ledgers.”
George nodded. “I see. What spurred on the sudden rush to abandon Toffer?”
Frank looked away. “The reasons are as varied as the people, George. Mine was the fact that he wanted me to dig dirt on Mike. Allan left with me. John and the others have reasons as well, but not like ours. Most were because of their kids. Others, probably because they knew the ship was about to sink.
“Most who worked for Toffer were honest and hard working. We did things his way because we felt we had no choice. But while we did, we also kept records. impeccable records of every little thing. Every law he broke. Every short cut. Every shady deal.”
George smiled. “And your government thanks you.” He turned his attention to the matter he had come to see about. “Where’s these ledgers?”
Michael lifted a box. “Here is just the first box. There are ten or twenty more like this.”
Frank cleared his throat. “Once French Industries is closed down, I can get my hands on at least forty years’ worth of records. Maybe more. I am the only one who knows where the vault is in the factory that stores the corporate records.”
George nodded. “We can make that happen if you lead us to the vault.”
Frank nodded. “I will.”
George smiled. “Then it is done. I will call and order the subpena to cease all business and to bar Toffer from the factory while we remove all evidence. Hell. I might even be able to talk J. Edgar into some of his top men to help enforce it.”
Toffer sat stewing in his den. Even the politicians he had helped put into office seemed to be abandoning his cause. He could no longer call on them to do his bidding. Even now, as his enemies gathered, he had no allies.
The mayor had ceased to take his calls. The Governor, too. Hell. The all the state and local officials had turned their backs.
He no longer held power over them. Why, he had no idea. Whatever the reason, it was enough to anger him. He didn’t like not having power and dominion. It meant that he was vulnerable.
Marissa knew that Toffer would never hear her leave. Not through the walls of the den. Not while he was in the mood he was in. When he got that way, he could hear nothing. Nothing else existed.
If she left now, she could turn state’s evidence. But she would have to come back here to this hell to live. She had no other choice. If she wanted to keep him from suspecting her, she had to remain in his presence. But how would she slip away without Toby seeing?
She feared Toby. Her son literally scared her. He was more evil than his father. She recalled Poe’s Fall Of The House Of Usher.
If ever there had been such a place, and such a family, this was both. The French family was horrid. Utterly despicable. The simple thought of them made shivers go down her spine.
She steeled her resolve. Getting up from her chair, she grabbed her purse. She started for the door but stopped. Toby had entered the room.
He glared at her. “Where ya goin’ Ma?”
She swallowed hard. “Out.”
He didn’t move. “Really.” It had been more of a statement. Was he going to try and stop her? Or was he baiting her?
She nodded. “Yes, and there is nothing you can do about it.”
He glared at her. “Really.”
She nodded. “Yes.”
He turned away and shrugged. “OK.”
She watched him warily as he turned away from her and walked toward the stairs leading to his room. She waited until he had gone up the stairs and into his room, the door shutting, before she left. As she headed for the police station, she hoped that there was still hope for salvation. She hoped that she could find forgiveness for what she’d allowed to be.