This page (along with three more) is in English, although most of the blog is in Romanian, because I hope to raise the attention of the English-speaking press somehow, specifically a foreign correspondent based in Bucharest or, at least, another East-European capital. What happened and happens to me comes straight out of Franz Kafka’s „The trial.” It is not necessarily the Romanian version of Kafka, but the universal miscarriage of justice, characteristic to all (formerly and present) corrupt states trying to blame their ills on foreigners and foreign forces.
For those who just stumbled upon this blog and haven’t heard about the so-called „Traian Băsescu, Nicholas Jordan 66 houses” scandal, a cause célèbre in Romania for several years already, this is a good primer, another way of saying is still better than nothing. http://www.antena3.ro/en/romania/basescu-properties-restitutions-performed-one-after-another-66-houses-in-just-one-day-to-a-single-240576.html might give you the Ponta government’s version in bad English, but frankly not a single word there is true.
From the beginning of the scandal, through an act signed by then Bucharest prefect Petre Botezatu Enescu, I was declared „the foreign citizen Nickolas Jordan,” misspelling my name being the least of the offenses, as I am also a Romanian citizen, with all the property rights, including land ownership guaranteed by the Romanian law. This was the first thing I was told immediately back then: as a foreigner, I couldn’t own any piece of land, meaning the dirt lying under the few buildings I received back from my family’s inheritance was suddenly not mine anymore. Maybe this first incident in an unbelievable chain of misidentification and wrong accusations, should have led me on an easier path to catch a simple truth: once the PSD dominated Bucharest administration had declared me without any shred of proof an impostor, they left no room for themselves to take a step back and admit their error. So they kept trying to invent something, anything and apparently they’re still trying up to this day.
For a long time, I kept wondering (and I do still wonder), why all this fuss, lasting over 10 years. I’m a relatively unimportant person. They (the police, the prefect, the prime minister, whoever) should have come to a conclusion, yes or no, long time ago. They did not have, as it seems they’re doing now, to wait for ex-president Băsescu to leave office. Nothing has changed regarding me in all those years, because there’s nothing new to discover, despite all the efforts to come up from somewhere with a belated smoking gun. Allegations, there are plenty, but never anything beyond a piece of paper waved briefly before the cameras, never presented, at least to my lawyers, if not directly to me. The entire process is weird. I have to ask myself, have I stumbled on someone’s very high-placed mole while trying to simply spread my story throughout the Romanian media, so fierce and concentrated are the renewed attacks against me?
The attacks seemed haphazard at first glance, like a million haymakers in succession hoping to find eventually a target in the end. Their continual misdirection though, so senseless, so truly idiotic, led me to try spotting a pattern – I figured there must be a sense somewhere to this entire exercise. I thought, initially, it was only my, justifiable, old man paranoia, because, frankly, the lack the professionalism involved didn’t seem to indicate a true secret service, although, who knows anything anymore in Romania? I’m not, I repeat, a significant person, despite the collateral target status conferred to me by the ex-president’s Băsescu’s name and status right next to mine. See http://www.curentul.info/dezvaluiri/6780-lupta-televiziunilor-de-partid-cu-presedintele-basescu-face-victime-colaterale. You don’t need to speak Romanian to understand this title.
Yet, truly, the unending harassment, not necessarily in the media, but through long-reaching police channels, had started long before the name Băsescu had percolated through the initial din. The attacks had started exactly and only when my name showed amongst those reclaiming their parents’ estates, quite sizable in my case. I tried to explain who I am. No one would listen. There is a literal wall of silence about my views and my answers to the controversy, where, beyond two-three sites, barely red by the general public, I did not manage, even once, to get through into the mainstream media. As an American citizen, I tried to get a reaction from the US Embassy, only to receive their standard boiler plate answer: my problem is a purely Romanian dispute, which, willy-nilly, I did accept at first – what choice did I have?
Still, I could not understand why the US Embassy in Bucharest would absolutely refuse to even lift a finger in my case, that of an US citizen – they could have, at the very least, made a simple inquiry about my status, before showing me the door. In desperation, I got through the former US ambassador’s to Romania, Mark Henry Gitenstein, new place of employment, Mayer Brown, the huge global law firm. Such was my good fortune that I quickly reached Mr. Gitenstein, while he was visiting, of all places, Romania, in the days just before last fall’s presidential elections. His answer was brief, but uplifting. „Nicolae, thanx for forwarding your very disturbing note. I have forwarded it to the new charge at the embassy. I am having dinner w/ him tonite and will discuss. Thanx Markg.”
Needless to say, I never heard again from Mr. Gitenberg, or the new charge at the embassy, or no one else; nothing, except a brief note from the Consular Office of the Embassy, warning me to stop bothering them by asking them for a simple task: „Issue me the same affidavit of identity issued within an hour by the same US Embassy in Bucharest in 2003.” They said it couldn’t be done. It seemed to me that everyone expected the Prime Minister Victor Ponta to win the presidency, and I, as a playmate of his father, could have raised, even inadvertently, the veil of mystery in his family tree, and that wasn’t something desirable at that stage. I just assumed I’ve been thrown under the bus for „the higher national interest and various other strategic reasons.” But Victor Ponta lost the elections and, to my surprise, nothing changed regarding my situation, if anything, it got worse, so my only reaction was digging even more seriously on the internet.
I soon discovered I’ve been fed hogwash. There were other instances when the US Embassy personnel did discuss American citizens having problems with the Romanian police/justice. For example, there is the leaked cable where former Deputy Chief of Mission Mark Taplin signals to those who need to know in Washington that an American citizen embroiled in an energy related scandal has been arrested and has been barred from leaving the country. I checked through a lot of records, I learnt what SBU means, so, luckily for me, I’m sure I haven’t broken any US law in my endeavor. And there are a lot of records floating out there in the cloud.
Some records, as you’ll see, relate directly to my person and what the Romanian police did to investigate me in their decade long quest to declare me an impostor. Some, I’m sorry to say, relate to the „vetting and correlation with ACES database checks for the individuals nominated to attend” at least three separate USG sponsored training sessions at the International Law Enforcement Academy, the ILEA, facility in Roswell, New Mexico. The required, as per embassy rules, „details regarding prior abuses or violations of human rights by these individuals” can and should be found on file, yet this information was somehow kept under wraps.
I will start with just one individual. There are several others involved, but this one takes the cake: Chief Commisioner Călin-Vicențiu Dan, who until 2010, was the Chief of Department, Financial Investigations, Economic-Financial Directorate, Bucharest Police. Since 2010, he retired under a cloud of suspicion, as his name eventually came out during the DNA wiretaps of crooked ex-senator Cătălin Voicu, a stalwart PSD head. I said „eventually,” because the DNA first believed another Dan, Dan Bucur, his overall boss, was the person involved. From here on, everything is well documented by the press. Four high-ranked policemen, singled out by the wiretaps, went simultaneously on „medical leave,” then also simultaneously requested retirement, which was granted (of course, simultaneously).
So great was the pressure for disclosure from these former policemen, even I, a disabled old geezer in North-Central Florida, could learn in seconds a great lot about Mr. Călin Dan. His DOB, POB, Pass number w/expiration (Bah, expired already), his supposed net worth including his loan due by the year 2030, how many pieces of land he owns at Mogoșoaia and other choice areas in North Bucharest. And this is only on the surface. He is reputed to have other (hidden) interests, one happening to involve a a piece of property my family should have received it back from my father’s and grandmother’s inheritance – a large house at Calea Șerban Vodă 76-78. Of course, Mr. Dan has someone to front for him, his protégé, a former low-ranking police officer named Ene Nicolae, who although lacking any visible initial capital, has been able to nominally take control of the entire building, restoring it and letting several businesses operate there, chief among them a so-called caffe-bar Amira’h, a barely disguised brothel (see the pictures), the type which could function in Romania only with strong police protection and, most probably, participation.
Mr. Ene Nicolae is known to be splitting the profits from his lucrative enterprise with a silent partner, and the rumor among those living for a long time in the vicinity named this partner as a Mr. Vincențiu. For a long time, I never made the connection. I do have more than enough copies of police orders signed Dan Călin, (never Călin Dan, never Călin-Vicențiu Dan), orders regarding me and my family and which could be provided on demand. One day, by pure chance, I stumbled upon Wiki Leaks and then I knew. Ok, the picture you see here is not from Wiki Leaks yet, although it sure looks like it. One of my family’s most treasured houses, expected to be returned to my sister. A former policeman strong-armed his way in taking over the entire building. Now look what this Ene Nicolae and his higher up guardian angels from the police force did over there? Do you think their joint could last for more than an hour without police protection? They’re thriving though. There’s versions of the caffe bar blog even in Japanese, Arabic and English.
I had known for a long time a high-ranking police officer kept signing order after order, tasking the investigation in my case to continue beyond any logical limit. It was a man who, I repeat, was signing only as Dan Călin, so everyone, even when the name was published eventually in the newspapers, especially throughout the Cătălin Voicu scandal and the „Dan” wiretaps, everyone thought Dan was a first name, like Dan Bucur’s, the man he was mistaken for in those wiretaps.
Dan Călin’s rank and his rubber stamp inked on my papers announced him as the Chief of Department, Financial Investigations, Economic-Financial Directorate, Bucharest Police. Only later did I learn that his real name is Călin-Vicențiu DAN and so I started to figure who the mysterious Mr. Vincențiu/Vicențiu, a name heard only in whispers before, might be. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I’d find some sort of use from wiki leaks, but I did. Every time a complaint against me as a potential impostor would originate from Șerban Voda 76-78 and this former policeman Ene Nicolae, then Mr. Dan Călin would quickly countersign the papers and transform them into yet another investigation order.
I have copies of those decisions, some announcing the investigation is over, in fact the whole thing was fruitless, but, each time, Chief Commisioner Dan Călin made sure it would start all over again, as if the papers were caught in a carousel.
From one point on, after Dan Călin’s „medical retirement”, five years ago, the focal point of attack was changed from Șerban Voda 76-78 to Șerban Voda 124. The new complaints started to cascade, identical in content with the previous ones, but, this time, under the harsh glare of the TV cameras. The reason was clear to even a simpleton: to snag into a political scandal the ex-president Băsescu. In this battle, engineered rather clumsily by Mr. Băsescu’s bitter rivals, Victor Ponta and Dan Voiculescu (the latter maintains even now a blog from jail, mentioning me by name and forgetting that we actually met in 1990), I became a aomewhat tarnished bomus, but a bonus nevertheless. This time though, in 2015, Mr. Ponta’s team is better prepared and ready to do something drastic about me, especially as I finally broke through the wall of silence and made a TV appearance trying to tell my side of the story.
It wasn’t a TV appearance I will remember with great pride. It was a pro-Ponta TV station, and I got clobbered, to say the least. I knew it couldn’t be avoided, and, at least, I demolished one of their most cherished myths, that I’m African-American. Otherwise though, put in front of five accusers, I offered a pitiful spectacle, worthy of a typical Stalin-era inquisition. Minor mistakes in my ID papers (some I wasn’t even aware of myself) had become all my grievous fault somehow, not that of the clerks who had issued them all those years ago. Why didn’t anyone from the investigating team go to the source of the documents, the place where the documents had been issued and find one way or another the truth? That was never discussed. A huge blow-up of my California driving license was held up to prove my imposture: how I claimed to have blue eyes, although it could be clearly seen on the screen as they were talking that „brn,” my eye color, does not mean „blue” in any sort of English, even if it was spoken in California. Childhood friends called to announce they know me from back then, yet not a single call passed through the switchboard.
So, now I know the regime has decided to declare me, by any means available, an impostor. Another wrinkle concerns a property originally deeded by my grandfather to the Bucharest Chamber of Commerce – another puzzler to discuss since the donation, a bilateral act, was simply never consummated due to the communist nationalization. Besides, the state had sold already the sister building from the same BCC donation to a well-connected individual, so how can there be something wrong in my case and, at the same time, right in the adjacent building? On top of everything, once president Băsescu was out of office, a whole mediatic circus has started about me, with nightly highlights on TV and newspapers.
After secret proceedings of which my lawyers have not seen any of the charges against me, several newspapers have announced that all the certificates awarding my inheritance back to me had been voided. All I know is that at the April 20th hearing, the judge made a brief appearance postponing the procedure for May 5th. On the same evening though, several TV stations trumpeted throughout the night the verdict was reached against me, although it was not read, and it represents a major defeat for ex-president Băsescu, the first step on the road to finally indict him for good.
Meanwhile, my lawyers made several complaints to the president of the tribunal, complaints registered, but never answered, insisting that they still haven’t seen any file, although one of them has been to the court every day and, of course, will do so tomorrow. The result is always the same: „the files are not in the repository downstairs, but they’re locked in the judge’s desk, and she took an unexpected leave of absence until May 4. This whole process is unprecedented. It has to be driven by the highest political forces, going all the way to the heads of the PSD party, grouped around Premier Victor Ponta.
So, here I stand right now. I face a rigged court and not much can be done. The rest of my blog – obviously, in Romanian – gives the details. My lawyer, (there are two more for the whole estate), is Mrs Minerva Chiriac. She did ask me to provide them to the TV stations and whomever else would ask: email: email@example.com; tel: +40744218263. She should be able to give you all the information needed about the pending case. I’d wish, of course, that the Embassy would get involved somehow, but I try to be fair and see their difficult position faced with a seemingly unending conflict in their host country.
I could always say, hey, an US trained goon trampled on my rights for years; or, hey, the complaints against Ene Nicolae and his erstwhile superior had been filled with the Romanian police by several of their ex-associates, and these complaints started from, at least, the year 2003. Hey, a Romania TV moderator, Victor Ciutacu, complained to the prime minister („He is a negro, Nicholas Jordan, Mr Ponta”), a statement appearing on gov.ro, the official site of the Romanian government. The conversation actually follows like this: „Host: A judge drew an Afroamerican or whatever they call it now, politically correct, I do not know.” „Victor Ponta: African-American.” „Host: An African-American, as Iordache Minciulescu’s grandson! Forgive me, if Iordache is a liar, that he was a Negro, then maybe his nephew might be.” Hey… But, surely, no amount of „heys” will help me in the least now. Even my NAACP membership, quite recent, it’s true, won’t help. I joined because I truly learned, quite late I should say, how it feels to be discriminated, looked upon with fake condescending smiles and being told that, at my age, I basically amount to nothing (a Gogu, I was called).
Who’s going to listen to me eventually? I know there is no chance anyone in Bucharest would even listen. I look in wonder at the US Embassy information kit, displayed right here, in front of my eyes on the screen, and read the lines again: „… our Political section [will] review the case and forward it to the Government of Romania, with a cover letter expressing that the case has been pending and asking for a resolution on the case.” With so much corruption in Romania and with so many arrests happening everyday, maybe the US embassy has already put my case under the label, „where there is smoke, there is fire.” In their mind, I must have done something wrong, otherwise the Romanian government attacks wouldn’t be so brazen.
Yet I wasn’t even in Romania, but in Hawaii, during most of the timeline offered. I am who I say I am, secure in the knowledge that beside all the ID’s published on-line already, my fingerprints are on file for the last 35 years as a legally admitted US immigrant – I remember that even my green card had my fingerprint on. Here in America, we have Project Innocence for those on death row, unjustly convicted. There’s no such special project for me to appeal to. I was practically ordered to fly to Romania, first by a Romanian police commissar, then even by Romania TV, although I talked without a hitch with both through what they called reverently „Skype Technology”. „The law requires that you come,” the commissar said to me, forgetting to mention to me that a Rogatory Commission is actually the better way to take a deposition from someone located so far away as I am.
This time though, finally, I’m really at peace. I may have made too many hot-headed, but fruitless appeals to the US Embassy in Bucharest or to Marie Blanchard, Romania Desk Officer at the State Department in Washington DC. This message though, today, should be crystal clear to anyone. I did my part. I did all I could. I had a full life and I was happy here in America, until the day in the year 2000, when I was announced by phone in Hawaii that one of my father’s properties had been returned to me. In retrospect, it was the beginning of a nightmare. Once the expected verdict on May 5 2015 will come, not only my inheritance, but my identity and my name will be lost. And not only mine, but also my children’s, who, fortunately or unfortunately for them, have kept the last name Minciulescu.
I’ve got nothing more to lose. I’m 69 years old. I reached anyway the end of the cycle.