It was nothing to see all out bigotry exhibited by otherwise nice people. Valeria and her family had seen that first hand. Greg had seen it in ways that Valeria could only imagine, since he had chosen to marry ‘a woman of color’. As a Russian Jew, he’d had it bad since all from Russia were continually eyed as communists. But when he’d married his wife, he was seen as a traitor to the Caucasian ‘race’, not that it made him so.
The Venechek family had always been about changing views as much as changing hearts. The Morrow family had always been light years ahead of everyone else. Together, the two families became a lightning rod for those who wanted to find anyone who did not conform to the social norms of the age. The refusal to conform made others suspicious of the Morrows. Made them think that the family was anti-American.
Michael’s marriage to Valeria had confirmed that misguided idea for many, but he didn’t care. To marry for anything but love was unnatural. He had married for love. That love had paid dividends. He wouldn’t trade his wife for anything. Not even an end to the suspicions of those around him.
Let them suspect. In doing so, they became worse than what they perceived him as being. Hunt a monster, you became a monster. That was the reason he had quit going to church. They had been hunting monsters there. Monsters in American society. Monsters in Europe. Monsters where Russia and China were concerned.
He did not feel their zeal. He didn’t feel their fervor. Hell. He didn’t even feel that they were focused on the right things.
He felt that they had drifted further from Christ than Christianity had originally drifted before the schism that divided the Christian religion in the first place. War had never been Christ’s intent, from what Michael had learned. Neither had oppression or hate. But you couldn’t tell that to those who hated ‘in the name of Christ’. But, then, you couldn’t tell anyone anything they didn’t want to learn.
It was sad, really. Many of those who went to church on Sunday were just like Toffer French on Monday. They fell for nearly every lie they were told by their representatives. They thought the poor were eating up all the taxes they were sending in. They thought that Cuba and Russia were poised to blow the country off the map with nuclear bombs.
Hell. They believed the nonsense about communists infiltrating the government and their neighborhoods. And they suspected any neighbor who did not believe as they did politically or religiously. They believed that the homosexuals were communist plants in the communities, even though he had yet to meet a single homosexual.
Between Senator McCarthy with his list, McCarran with his suspicions about Truman’s cabinet, and J. Edgar Hoover’s paranoia about the average American being communists, Americans were being driven into a frenzy of hunting down the communists. The three, A witch hunt had been started. It was a nightmare. No one was safe.
Luckily, the Morrows had been able to deflect most of the suspicions aimed toward themselves and the Venecheks. It had not been easy, but most of the suspicion had been eased with the sudden revelation that the French family had been running a criminal empire right beneath the noses of those who’d shown those suspicions.
George Gill had finally hit pay dirt. For him and his fellow commissioners, they finally had the beginnings of a case against Toffer French and French Industries. He had to give the accountant credit. Whoever he was, he’d kept consistent books on both the true accounts and the falsified accounts.
But according to the IRS, the accountant had asked for immunity. Or had been given it in order to secure these books. Whichever the case, he couldn’t be touched by the state for his part in the crime. Yet, they could call upon him as a witness.
But the accountant was not the main culprit. Nor was he the object of this investigation. Toffer French and his company were. The accountant didn’t matter as much of anything but being a witness. So, George and the commission would leave him alone. They would build a case against Toffer.
He looked up. “I found the basis for our case against French Industries.”
Warren looked up. “Is it the beginning of the discrepancy?”
George nodded. “It is where the figures start to deviate from the actual account.”
Frank smiled. “How far back?”
George leaned back. “Ten years ago, Toffer’s father was head of French Industries. Then Toffer was mysteriously installed and his father vanished from the ledger. At the point where his father disappears, the figures stop being rational. Profit, in the ledger, goes up to 110% what it had been the month before.”
Frank leaned back, a quizzical look on his face. “What’s the clincher?”
George smiled. “There wasn’t an increase in costs or wages. Just an unexplained increase in profit.”
Warren looked over at him. “What costs are you referring to? Materials? Overhead? What?”
George chuckled. “Raw materials. There is no increase in raw materials or recorded sales and output. Just a rise in profits.”
The three men looked at each other. They had found the point at which the fraud had begun. They could start building their case.
Frank rose. “I will notify the Assembly that we have a case and will be submitting a formal finding soon.”
Warren nodded. “Good idea.”
George smiled. “But first, let’s try to put a small summary together about what we have found.” He looked at Warren. “I wonder if the federal boys found the same thing we did?”
Warren leaned back in his chair. “More’n likely. Probably found it a lot quicker than we did, too.”
Frank looked back at his fellow commissioners from the door. “No doubt.”
Warren and George watched their colleague disappear through the door of the conference room. The Assembly would be pleased. Perhaps by this time next year, they would have everything in order for a Senate hearing to begin. Or maybe a court proceeding.