The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large

On CIA matters, The Solomon Scandals is fiction—not about what happened, but what could have happened. To this day we still don’t know the full story of why a U.S. senator held a secret stake in a CIA-occupied building in Arlington, VA, that the agency leased by way of the scandal-ridden General Services Administration. What has been established over the years is […]

Tax dollars at work, GSA style Angry taxpayers are buzzing over the organizational “culture” at the General Services Administration, the federal procurement agency. I don’t mean Chaucer, Mozart or Van Gogh. Enjoy this spoof video for a GSA conference—rudely picked up by ABC News and others. Hey, you helped pay for it. GSA was supposed […]

”Among the other expenses were $3,200 for a mind reader, $6,300 on a commemorative coin set displayed in velvet boxes and $75,000 on a training exercise to build a bicycle.” – Washington Post report on $823K splurged on a 300-employee federal conference in Las Vegas. Ouch. The gems in the sentence above don’t even include […]

The Solomon Scandals is a novel, but two actual events helped inspire it and are the topics of online gossip today—several decades later: —The deadly Skyline Towers building collapse in Northern Virginia, where 14 workers died and dozens were injured. —The late Sen. Abraham Ribicoff’s secret and illegal investment in a CIA-occuped building in Arlington. […]

Much of The Solomon Scandals is about conflicts between friendship and duty. A rickety high-rise may tumble as a result, with hundreds of IRS and CIA workers inside. Washington has a culture of traded favors, one reason why Congress and the Interior Department unwittingly let the oil spill happen in the Gulf. And how about […]

A sad and bizarre update: Here. Margo Danialson, Oberlin B.A., is reporter Jon Stone’s partner in crime or anti-crime in The Solomon Scandals. She’s a 20-something real estate specialist at the government’s business agency, for which Seymour Solomon, a well-connected federal landlord, has built a rickety high-rise on the banks of the Potomac River. Now […]

You regulars already know my complaint. For whatever the reason, Washington philanthropist Robert H. Smith enjoyed a free ride from the Post’s usually stellar obituary desk as well as from the editorial page. His family’s paid obit at Legacy.com was rather redundant. Ahead I’ll compare the Smith encomia with a more balanced write-up of Indianapolis […]

How to bribe a corrupt bureaucrat? No need for cash in brown bags. In The Solomon Scandals I tell of a lower-mid-level ‘crat whom Sy Solomon flies to New York and treats to a $110 lunch. Sy is the biggest of the real estate tycoons renting office space to the feds, and not just by […]

Tip: You can add us to your RSS feeds and receive free updates like this one. Dan Brown’s new bestseller, The Lost Symbol, is a conspiracy novel set in Washington, D.C., just like The Solomon Scandals. Brown even includes a power figure with the last name of Solomon. If you want to read about a […]

In my little overview of D.C. fiction, I quoted Jeffrey Charis-Carlson, a specialist in this area: "It takes a great novel to make bureaucracy interesting." But how about writing about individual bureaucrats? That’s what I did with the love interest of Jonathan Stone, my reporter protagonist in The Solomon Scandals. Margo Danielson is a young […]

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A variant of a Shakespearian quote shows up on the base of a statue outside the National Archives, once within the domain of the General Services Administration: “What is past is prologue.” Why have so many scandals broken out at the government’s business agency over the years? And will we see more of them in […]