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Lovely WarrenThere are two big issues concerning the mayor’s security detail: Nepotism and excess. (Now there may be a third: abuse of authority. The security detail was stopped by state police going 97 miles an hour on the Thruway.)

No other Rochester mayor has had a security detail. Bill Johnson drove himself around. Bob Duffy and Tom Richards often had the Director of Security drive them places in a city vehicle. (That’s akin to what other Upstate mayors do. They use either security director or police officer for this function during business hours.) County Executive Maggie Brooks has no driver.

The city’s Director of Security remains on the job, but he’s no longer tasked with driving the mayor around. 

Warren created two new positions, Director of Executive Services ($80,000) and Associate Director of Executive Services ($60,000). Her uncle, Reggie Hill, fills the $80,000-a-year job. A former Kodak security man, Caesar Carbonell fills the other job. The positions were not advertised. Warren said they are temporary and she will post the jobs and go through civil service. She said the men will be on call 24-7 and will not earn overtime. They pick her up at home every morning and drop her off at night.

In what’s now become a locally famous quote, Warren said, “We don’t do anything for no reason.”

The mayor said she needs the security because she’s a woman, she has a small child, people are bigoted, people write hateful things about her online and the former police chief said all mayors need security. She said she hired her uncle because she needs someone she can trust and he’s the most qualified person for the job.

Here are the questions that still need to be answered:

1. What do Hill and Caesar Carbonell do all day? Warren likely spends a good chunk of her day at City Hall. Are they standing guard outside her door? If so, what are the regular City Hall security guards doing? Are Hill and Carbonell providing security at her house? Are they doing any personal business for Warren? What are the precise”executive services” are taxpayers providing the mayor?

2. How much security is too much? Just because the former police chief said she needed some protection, did that extend to two armed bodyguards? Could this service have been provided by police officers? Could this service have been provided at a lesser cost? Does the mayor need so much protection she can’t drive herself to and from work? What makes women politicians and black politicians more vulnerable to attack? Violence against local elected officials in the United States is extremely rare.

3. What are the ancillary expenses? Duffy shelved a Tahoe because of controversy over the cost. It appears the vehicle, or one like it has been unearthed. Who is driving what and what is it costing taxpayers? Are these environmentally-friendly vehicles?

4. Why didn’t the mayor go through civil service to hire these men? If Hill and Carbonell are truly the most qualified, let them go through the same process as other citizens trying to get jobs.

5. When will the security detail jobs be advertised?

6. Will Hill get a waiver to collect his pension and work this job? He doesn’t have one right now, meaning he will max out at $30,000 of earnings.

7. Where is the money coming from to pay for this security detail? We are in the middle of a budget year.

8. Are Hill and Carbonell contract employees or on the city payroll? If it’s a contract, City Council has to approve.

9. Are Hill and Carbonell legally allowed to carry their weapons into City Hall and other government buildings where civilians cannot carry weapons?

10. Will the mayor voluntarily bring this matter before the City Ethics Board? The ethics board exists to issue opinions about conflicts of interest, such as hiring relatives. City Council has the authority to ask the ethics board for a decision on the security detail. (City Council will likely do so in the matter of Corporation Counsel T. Andrew Brown wanting to retain a stake in his law firm.)

The hiring of her uncle could fall under Section 4 of the Code of Ethics:

No City officer or employee, acting in the performance of his official duties, shall treat, whether by action or omission to act, any person more favorably than it is the custom and practice to treat the general public.

It’s important to note no one can discipline the mayor, except voters four years from now. But going before the ethics board voluntarily could show good faith. A City Council vote demanding a ruling sends a strong message to the mayor and the public.

These 10 questions should make it clear why this is still a story – and why it’s not going away.

Update: We did not get answers to all of these questions and the mayor’s spokesperson said this blog angered Warren. I was frozen out of her press conference. City Council has now requested an ethics investigation. – RB 1/14/14


Links of the Day:


– Portland and Rochester have similarly educated populations. So why is one city better at the start-up game?

– The mayor of Syracuse is begging the state for money to pay for things like repairing water mains and buying police cars. But it appears the state is more interested in a new sports stadium for Syracuse University.

Scranton ponders bankruptcy.

– In Kansas public buildings, either everyone can have guns or no one can have guns. Guess which is winning?

– Actual headline: “Oklahoma bill would ease school policies on imaginary, toy guns”

– “It’s been my whole life, downtown.” Great profile of 85-year-old Rochester barber.

55 Responses to 10 Questions About the Security Detail

  1. Wasn’t this type of action pretty much expected ? I thought so.

  2. January 13, 2014 at 8:16 am RaChaCha responds:

    Boy, it’s a good thing Warren has old hand Johnson to advise her, so that she doesn’t make any early missteps!

  3. January 13, 2014 at 8:35 am Flow Shirts responds:

    Do the members of the mayor’s security detail receive sick days, personal day and vacation days? If so, who fills in during their absence?
    What criterion is used for their job evaluation?

  4. Just shocking. Tell Tom Richards I appologize! Wait until we see who gets contracts for new charter schools.

    • January 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm Walter Wirlo responds:

      Richards gave away midtown for one dollar to large campaign contributors. The norm for a municipality is to put it up for auction. He also gave away 50 million of the tax payer’s money, not to mention more in tax breaks and grants to Paytec without so much as a commitment from the CEO. As a former attorney, he knows better than giving away millions without the recipient signing a contract. It leaves one to wonder if he intentionally left an exit door for the CEO of Paytec to squirm out of the deal.
      Lovely has only started and compared to the millions in questionable deals Richards gave away, Lovely has cost the taxpayer nothing. How can one judge a person’s performance when they barely started.

  5. This is ridiculous, and should be investigated more thoroughly. At least Republican patronage used existing jobs and didn’t create new ones like the mayor did.

  6. Does anyone who objects to this get branded a bigot?

    Does the fact she feels she needs security show a distrust of whites?

    Since the Director of Security will no longer act as her driver will he take on other duties or receive his same pay for having less responsibilities?

    I think Rachel’s 10 questions are excellent and the mayor should address them.

    I also feel that the State Police erred in letting the car go over 80 (clocked at 97) just to attend a political function. Since the officer stopped them, did they then drive even faster to get there on time?
    As an elected official, if she doesn’t respect the law, why should she expect others to?

  7. Great questions!

  8. January 13, 2014 at 9:42 am Orielly responds:

    “It’s important to note no one can discipline the mayor, except voters four years from now.”

    Besides action on the items you mentioned the City Council could issue a statement or proclamation opposing Warrens conduct as Mayor regarding the hiring of her uncle or her overall mis-use up to this point, of her office.

    They also could road bock any of her agenda items she brings before council.

    That is what could happen if we had a two party system and two party representation in the City. But no, that will never happen and city council members will never be called and questioned by the media to provide that check and balance.

    No the local media is more concerned with the DEM minority in county legislature’s complaints about the REPs not listening to them, to be the key political issue in this town.

  9. January 13, 2014 at 10:10 am Patrick Chefalo responds:

    Why is Portland more progressive? Because it is more progressive. Rochester is dominated by Monrovians, who think they know everything. They don’t even know what they don’t know, and seldom offer any introspection.


  10. January 13, 2014 at 10:16 am Karin Smith responds:

    Well thought-out piece, Rachel. Please keep these kinds of stories coming, the voting public has the right to know when our elected officials are bending the rules. Thanks for a well written, unbiased article.

  11. January 13, 2014 at 10:54 am Sheryl W responds:

    Thank you for this article, Rachel! It’s her uncle. Geez. OH, and a free pass. NO ticket, going 97 mph. I’m already SICK of people saying (on TV and all over Facebook) that this isn’t news; it sure is for we Rochesterians who pay her salary! This isn’t just about the speeding. It’s about that fact that she hired two personnel, one of them her uncle, without consulting anyone. Those two salaries combined will add $140,000 to our city’s financial obligation (in the middle of a budget year, without funding for this factored into it.) AND, she purchased two new vehicles for these guys, and my understanding is that those are SUVs. So, there’s probably another $100,000 grand there.) Then, being let out of a ticket at such a high speed is probably abuse of the power of her position as mayor. So, this IS news, because so far, her only actions as mayor of our city have been illegal (at most) and unethical (at the very least.) She thinks she deserves special treatment, and is already playing the race card. So, I ask you, who’s the bigoted one here? She said that she needs protection because she is a woman and because she is black. YES, she actually said that.

  12. If she gets to hire someone to work with that she trusts and feels safe, shouldn’t Police and Fire Depts. get that same right. Instead you have a Civil Service exam(written) that a large amount get 100% on, then (oral) part, and then the 1 in 3 rule. So even if they did put the posting up for hire, these men would probably get hired. She’s actually saving the taxpayers money!

  13. Let’s hope Mayor Warren will recall that Alan Hevesi (former State Controller) stepped down after it was found he had a state employee serve as his wife’s driver, dropping her on shopping trips and going to the dry cleaners.

    I hope these new Security agents aren’t tasked to do any personal errands, even as an uncle, if they are on duty (which I believe is 24 hours a day).

  14. January 13, 2014 at 11:40 am Lester Wilson responds:

    There’s rules for them, and then there’s rules for the rest of us.

    Well done Rochester. You got the government you voted for!

  15. January 13, 2014 at 11:54 am theodore kumlander responds:

    great work Rachel, thanks for asking those 10 questions. it is going to be an interesting 4 years with HHS Lovely Warren. I think she has a big ego and loves seeing her name in the papers and her picture on tv. I am sure she will stay controversial.

  16. January 13, 2014 at 12:23 pm Kevin Yost responds:

    I know that the succession of Buffalo mayors and Erie County executives have had drivers and bodyguards for years.

    • January 13, 2014 at 1:06 pm RaChaCha responds:

      Well, let’s be clear about that. At Buffalo City Hall, there is a desk and a security guard on the second floor outside the Mayor’s suite of offices. That is the only uniformed security presence anywhere in the building. Interestingly, the Buffalo News has an office on the same floor, down the hall from the Mayoral offices. When the Mayor travels to events, he has a non-uniformed driver who then usually stands at the perimeter of the event. Is that person also a “bodyguard”? If so, that role is played subtly.

      As for the Erie County Executive, the previous one, now Congressman Chris Collins, was caught on more than one occasion parking in handicapped parking spots. He had an arrogant sense of entitlement, way out of keeping with most “just folks” in Erie County. So we voted him out. But I don’t recall that he employed a bodyguard, although I believe he usually travelled with one aide or another. I believe he drove himself to events, because on those occasions that he was caught in handicapped spots it was clearly his own vehicle, although he had silly “EC One” plates on it. I also recall that he had some police equipment in his vehicle that he took his time returning after being ousted by voters (it wasn’t returned until it became an issue in the Buffalo News).

      But our current County Executive, Mark Poloncarz? He absolutely drives himself, and his own car. No bodyguards. He also shovels his own driveway. And coaches youth hockey, for chrissake — meaning he’s probably in more danger from disgruntled hockey dads than disgruntled voters.

      BTW, about former Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy: he’s now Lt Effing Governor, but I’ve never seen him with a bodyguard. Whenever he’s in Buffalo, I see him in the company of an aide who is definitely not a bodyguard. I wouldn’t be surprised if they take turns driving. And anyone can ask themselves: Bob is not only Lt Governor, but also a former mayor and police chief — but can you honestly picture him driving 90+, or allowing his aide to drive 90+, on the Thruway & then pulling privilege when pulled over? I didn’t think so.

      What Warren is doing is way out of line in every way. Who could have predicted?! Oh, wait — I did.

      • January 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm Keivn Yost responds:

        I know that Tony Masiello and Joel Giambra had bodyguards and drivers when they were Buffalo mayor and Erie County Executive, respectively and there are security guards at the entrances to the Rochester City Hall and Monroe County Hall, who people coming in must sign in with.

    • The fact is the mayor of Buffalo has a Buffalo police
      Officer sitting outside his house anytime he is home,and yes every night mind you,
      How I know you wonder because my Uncle lives
      Down the street from Mayor Brown
      Wonder the cost of that?

  17. January 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm Christopher Brandt responds:

    Please press these questions! Make this a news story and get it all over the TV and papers.

  18. My thoughts……it is always best to try and keep an open mind in regards to anything new and different. This includes the new mayor of Rochester. One would hope that sooner or later a person would be elected who has integrity and the best interests of the people for whom they serve. Actions and results ALWAYS speak louder than words. So let us now begin to judge based on actions and results. It is early, but so far these actions do NOT indicate integrity nor do they serve the best interests of the City of Rochester, it’s citizens, nor the surrounding County of Monroe. Creating two new posts at substantial salary, purchasing two new vehicles, and going 97 miles per hour on the thruway is just plain wrong. I do not live in the city anymore. I did growing up and my parents still do. I still think of the city as home. Unfortunately, it is what it is. Lovely Warren is a puppet of David Gantt. As such, she only knows what she has been taught. I suspect more is going on that we don’t hear about. Let’s hope the media ( D&C ) will be responsible journalists and report all that they hear….good and bad. I fear this is just the beginning.

  19. Great job Rachel and thanks for your hard and trusting work. This debacle is just a shameful blow to what credibility she hasn’t established ,as Mayor yet! I wonder how much the water park will cost

  20. January 13, 2014 at 1:27 pm Jon Jay responds:

    Im thinking the ticket is still at the discretion of the State Police Officer himself only. I think as a public servant, the mayor should offer to still pay the fine for the offense and take the blame. Late for a speech is no excuse. It is a public safety law that was probably violated, that is no small matter. I hope for the best in the city. I was born and raised here and hope Lovely can make a difference. It would be difficult for anyone. Some oversight into the security and vehicles needs addressing but its probably just a minor issue that should be worked out. 13 days in and you think she knows everything? Lets allow for some learning curve here.

  21. January 13, 2014 at 1:37 pm curiousjoe responds:

    I hope they didn’t say “Do you know who I am?”

  22. January 13, 2014 at 3:47 pm john hirschle responds:

    Not even in office 2 weeks and already we have problems. Its going to be a long 4 years, its this kind of thing that makes me think about leaving the city.

  23. She campaigned and won our votes because she promised change from business as usual. So far, she has only shown that she’s a younger, tanner version of Maggie Brooks (or is Brooks the older, paler version?). Don’t act surprised, when the woman who built herself as a girl from the neighborhood acts the exact same way as the politicos she spent the whole campaign hating.

  24. January 13, 2014 at 7:44 pm Animule responds:

    The judgment exercised in barreling down the New York State Thruway at nearly triple digit speed like it’s a qualifying run for the Daytona 500 is so stupefyingly bad that you really have to question how mature Lovely Warren really is. You’d expect this stuff out of an 18 year old taking dad’s car out for a spin, not a driver that is retirement age or a mayor of a city. With each passing day, it becomes more and more clear what a poor choice has been made for mayor. She is in so far over her head, it is not even funny.

    The way she has chosen to deal with the media is classic Gantt, it’s just that she doesn’t have the political “gravitas” that are actually earned over time to pull it off. But she did do the community an important favor to show how politicians attempt to control the press, by intimidation and closing off access. She just didn’t have the class, judgment or intelligence to do this when the cameras and microphones were turned off. This whole incident has also reflected very poorly on the Democrat & Chronicle as it has become obvious that the paper is nothing more than the public relations arm of the Lovely Warren administration. If it was a Republican trying to pull this nonsense, James Lawrence would be climbing on is electronic soapbox so frequently that he would have altitude sickness. The editorial page has been completely SILENT on this farce of a mayor.

    If she wants to salvage her administration, step number one is firing the security detail first thing tomorrow morning. The DWI guy needs to be the next to go. Imagine the headlines that could have been written if that train wreck of bad judgment had plowed into a minivan full of kids on the Thruway? This would have generated the mother of all lawsuits.

  25. I did not vote for her… Knew it would be more of the same. My how power goes to the heads of those who are elected. They “forget” their promises and start working for their own agenda. When asked why she wanted to me mayor and the response was “I don’t know” should have been a clear sign of what was to come. Way to go all you Lovely supporters…

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  27. Rumormill is they were stopped TWICE for speeding…92 and 97, respectively. know anything about this?

  28. January 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm Douglas Morgan responds:

    Why can’t other reporters in Rochester come up with the courage to ask honest questions? Way to go Rachel! I won’t bother watching the other news stations.

  29. January 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm Dennison W. Wright responds:

    Thank you for not being scared. Thank you for letting people know the truth. You cannot fold to her or her people.

  30. Did you people really expect anything less? She has become rich with city taxpayers money, I bet if the money was coming out of her own account she would be using city police for “bodyguards”. But the worst part is that the majority of people who voted for her DONT HAVE JOBS, so it’s not their taxpayers money. And to get on television and LIE about not knowing UNCLE REGGIE was speeding is one of MANY LIES TO COME. LOVELY WARREN IS GOING TO BANKRUPT THE CITY OF ROCHESTER………….

  31. January 14, 2014 at 7:22 pm dew4794 responds:

    I’m waiting for a responder to remark: “Well, at least she doesn’t smoke crack.”

  32. January 14, 2014 at 7:26 pm John Jeffries responds:

    The purpose of the press is to act as a watchdog and keep an eye on our government. Far too many members of the local ” media ” forget this. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking the tough questions of our elected officials. If elected officials can’t handle the questions, they have no business occupying the office. Keep up the great work Rachel. You and a few others are holding the politicians accountable for their actions and that’s something that we desperately need. Far too many people seem to forget that these elected officials are regular citizens who simply serve other citizens: they are not, and never will be, above the law.

  33. January 14, 2014 at 7:44 pm sealion responds:

    “I see bad things arising”
    If anybody even hints at a negative action of the new mayor…..you are a bigot. A racist. Anti black and eligible for the rath of Uncle Reggie and his “Security Staff”
    There will be knocks at doors in the dead of night.

  34. While this has been a welcome distraction to the run of the mill GOP corruption machine, it’s time to turn our focus back to the right side of the aisle. Rachel, could you please look into the recent musical chairs the GOP has played, moving Larry Staub from Parks to County Lej and also the obvious patronage appt of Kirk Morris to lead Greece DPW? Morris has almost zero relevant experience, not an engineer or operations person, replaces real engineer Cindy Ziarko. Don’t let this slip through the cracks; Reilich needs to be held accountable too.

  35. January 14, 2014 at 9:49 pm westsider responds:

    I appreciate the reporter instinct, however I do bristle at the implication that because she is black and a woman she shouldn’t require more security in your second point. Why shouldn’t she? First, the former mayors were all men, and were not the parents of young children. You mention Maggie Brooks, however again, not the parent of a young child and Maggie is white. Yes, there is risk involved in being an elected official, however the comments on message boards in Rochester and social media bear out a potential threat to Warren. They are ugly, I have seen them. Have you? She is within her right to protect herself and her family. I would hate to start questioning the right of public officials to protect themselves in this day and age of increased hostility and violence (Gabby Giffords comes to mind) with the potential of a fatal result. It’s your right as a reporter to raise these questions, but I would request that you consider the human element and potential ramifications as well.

    • January 17, 2014 at 11:50 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      But what should taxpayers be responsible for? A lot of citizens feel unsafe and live in unsafe neighborhoods. A lot of people get attacked on social media, both public and private people. What’s professional protection and what’s personal protection? I’m thinking out loud here and don’t have an answer.

  36. I once lived in Rochester. I now live in a small town in Louisiana. We just recalled our mayor for such behaviors; creating a position for her brother-in-law, had the city pay for her trip to the inauguration (no official business was conducted), shut out the Chief Financial Officer from any dealings with the city’s monies….. the list goes on. She took office in January.

    She tried to make this about race and gender as well. However, the previous mayor is black and the current temporary mayor, a woman, was mayor before. So, both were non-cards. She now is out of job and we are readying for another election.

    I hope Rochester can work through this. Good job Rachel. Never lose your tenacity. You are doing the job that journalism is suppose to do. You are our watchdogs.

  37. working downtown, associates that are black woman laugh at her arrogance. only the politically motivated (like gloria) play the race card to move forward their agenda.

  38. January 15, 2014 at 10:10 am Ben Campanelli responds:

    Warren SUV mat have been stopped twice – once at 92 mph, once at 97. News at 11.

  39. January 15, 2014 at 7:13 pm Charlie responds:

    Great questions Rachel, and many of the comments echo my thoughts.

    If this is what Rochester has to look forward to during the new mayor’s administration then may God help us all!

  40. January 15, 2014 at 9:02 pm Orielly responds:

    Thats right MAT.. the New Mayor, calls a state Trooper a liar, and never discloses that she was part of TWO traffic stops for speeding on the same trip. Responding about the first stop she said that they were only going 78mph or so and had she had known about her (uncle) speeding she would have told him to slow down. (Guess she missed it TWICE).. and all you can say –“it’s time to turn our focus back to the right side of the aisle?” and see what we can dig up on REPs?? Come again?

    Lack of integrity and ethics from the second highest locally governing elected person in this area, regarding lying, hiring her uncle. a DUI staff hire she didn’t know about… and there is more…thats ALL OK ..you want Ms Barnhart to focus and see what she can find out in GREECE? … simply amazing.
    Its no wonder some people, who are inexperienced and unqualified, get elected.

  41. Just wait until it is time for the Civil Service tests. The rules say the “conditional appointee” has to place in the top 3 to automatically retain their position. But based on my experience, games are abundant. I have taken 3 tests for 7 different positions, finishing in the top 3 each time, and on one occasion, the “incumbent” (who finished 10th) was summarily given the job and on another occasion, the boss of the 6th-place-finishing incumbent strong-armed all the top finishers to relinquish their positions so that the incumbent would move up the list into the top 3. Civil Service tests are a joke and results are easily circumvented by hiring managers. So keep an eye on THOSE results.

  42. Do police keep records of tickets that were not issued? Cops go back to the office with written documentation showing which law was broken and why they didn’t do their job? This reeks of hatchet job. You people need to get a life (except Rachel, she has one).

    • I believe that when a policeman stops a vehicle he radios it in as well as the plate number, make and model of car to see if there is any information (if it is stolen; any outstanding warrants; etc) to prepare the officer for what he may encounter. He would likely run the plate through a computer database to determine if it is properly registered, insured, etc.
      All of these steps leave an electronic trail which can be followed.
      I’m sure that officers are able to exercise some professional judgement and let people off with warnings when appropriate.
      So to answer the question, I don’t believe the cops go back with the documentation you refer to. However, I do feel that with the knowledge of evidence existing that shows an initial warning wasn’t heeded and a second stop occurred, and the fact that there may be an inquiry about it, the driver confessed.
      It appears that the confession only came out when it looked like the evidence would contradict the driver and the mayor’s initial response.
      It looks like the fear of more embarrassment was really what caused pangs of guilt and the confession that came out days after first being questioned.

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  44. January 17, 2014 at 1:58 pm Andrew Zibuck responds:

    Is anyone investigating the threats made against the mayor, like the FBI? City or state police even? Nepotism is one thing, but I think creating the position for the nepotism is worse.

  45. The majority of the previous comments are little more than “Dog Whistle Politics.”

    “Mayor Richards gave away midtown to large campaign contributors for a DOLLAR at great cost to the city.” Where was all the deep investigative journalism on that matter?

    Yet the first female mayor who also happens to be black, seeks security, which she has every right to, especially after some of the vile and offensive language and threats made against her, and it’s framed as the crime of the century. GET OVER IT!!!

    • I believe Mayor Richards followed protocol and the Midtown sale was reviewed and approved by City Council.

      Mayor Warren does have the right to security, however, there were people in place to provide that. City Hall has security to serve her when she is in the building; the Director of Security is available to drive her as he did previous mayors and if she is at a public event there could be the reassignment of police officers for that time.
      She did not need to unilaterally decide to use nearly two hundred thousand dollars of taxpayers funds for positions that were already in place.

    • January 17, 2014 at 5:53 pm Andrew Zibuck responds:

      Maybe you can hear this dog whistle — there was this guy, Bill Johnson, he happened to be black, and he was mayor. If the threats are credible, there should be an investigation, not a $200,000 expenditure. But yeah, where was the investigation of Johnson over the Paetec Park/Sahlen’s stadium profiteering? The D&C loved Johnson despite the yearly debacle-decisions, and they’ll fawn over Warren too as soon as this blows over. And it will blow over. People don’t have the attention span for investigative journalism any more.

  46. Forget all the hoopla. The woman faced the camera and simply lied. It’s so simple….she lied. If she lied on this matter….what else is she lying about?
    In the future? no way she is simply a lier.

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