Ira Gollobin's Insurance Fraud
There was a seminal event early in Ira Gollobin's adult life that speaks to his capacity to twist reality and responsibility to whatever purpose he deemed right. It speaks volumes about who Ira Gollobin was.
_________________________________________________First, The Suicide
Let me start by sharing with you a virtually unknown fact - one that Ira Gollobin worked to cover up for more than 70 years.
In April 1935, Ira Gollobin's father committed suicide. Apparently, he lost a considerable amount of money by his continued speculation in the stock market well into the Depression - including significant amounts borrowed from relatives. It was clearly a traumatic event for Ira to find his father dead.
Dealing with trauma is always difficult. But what one does when faced with a traumatic situation tells much about a person.
In Ira's case, he chose to hide the fact that his father committed suicide - not just at the time but all through his life. He never mentioned it to his children (or to anyone else as best I can determine). And when it finally came out in the last few years of his life, it wasn't Ira who surfaced it.
Maybe more important, there is no evidence that Ira ever sought out any professional help to deal with this emotional trauma. Sadly, the primary outcome appears to be Ira Gollobin's deep-seated hatred for all things capitalistic as if it was capitalism that caused his father's suicide rather than his father's bad investment decisions and his father's choice to kill himself.
Next, The Fraud
Based on solid information from those who were there, Ira Gollobin (by that time already a lawyer) covered up evidence of his father's suicide. He put his father's body on a bed and generally worked to make things look as if his father had died from natural causes. Then - a fraudulent life insurance claim was filed.
I have been told that his father's life insurance policy was for $100,000 - a very considerable sum back in 1935, equivalent to over $1,000,000 in today's dollars. The insurance company paid the claim - and apparently, relatives were repaid with these fraudulently-acquired funds.
Finally, The Cover-up
Having defrauded an insurance company, Ira Gollobin then covered up his involvement by creating a self-serving myth to hide his direct involvement in the fraud.
Ira Gollobin's myth is one that he and others have repeated and embellished for decades. Even in his 90s, Ira Gollobin again told it in great detail - this time to two Lawyers' Guild members, Susan Douglas Taylor and Amy Ruth Tobol, who then wrote the myth into Ira Gollobin's biography and distributed it to attendees of the 2005 National Lawyers' Guild dinner. Ira's daughter, Ruth, to whom he left his estate, actively peddles Ira's myth to this day.
Ira's myth is that at the time of his father's death he was far away - traveling across the country, Liam O'Flaherty-style, riding the rails, eating from farmers' fields, getting to know the American people, being an enlightened observer of humanity. All this of course carefully contrived to put Ira "somewhere else" at the very time he was with his father's body, covering up a suicide, and defrauding an insurance company.
Ira Gollobin's evolving myth even included the touching "fact" that his mother (supposedly accepting the higher philosophical purpose of Ira's travels) didn't tell him about his father's "natural" death for another 9 months so as to not interrupt Ira's great "voyage of discovery."
Ira's coverup is pure (or maybe I should say impure) rubbish. I know of no one who has any recollection, any letter, any photo, any telegram, anything that corroborates Ira's self-serving story about riding the rails. I think the truth is rather more simple - Ira created one very big self-serving lie to cover one very big fraud.
This whole sordid tale raises lots of questions about Ira's whereabouts, motivations, and honesty. When someone lies about one thing (especially something as consequential as a suicide and and major insurance fraud), it makes me question whether any of what they say is true.
Maybe Ira did "ride the rails" like he said. If so, it was after he covered up his father's suicide and defrauded an insurance company - and then it wasn't to get to "know America." More likely, it was to get away, have no known address, and have no way to be reached or found until the dust settled and the life insurance company had moved on.
Then again, maybe he only "rode the rails" for a few days - not a year - and holed up somewhere until he was told it was safe to come back and resume his life as a lawyer.
Or maybe, he didn't ride the rails at all.
For me, Ira's suicide cover-up, insurance fraud, and "traveling across America" hoax suggests that, starting early in his life, when Ira Gollobin was faced faced a difficult situation, he decided it was OK to lie and cheat rather than deal honestly with reality. And his continuing need to repeat his fake "Journey of Discovery" (which he told friends, family, and even allowed the Lawyers' Guild to publish almost 70 years later) says something very significant - and very ugly - about him.
After all, having committed fraud is bad enough. And to do so as a lawyer is worse. But to have the arrogance and emotional need to look everyone in the eye for the next 70 years and repeat this self-serving and self-agrandizing fabrication speaks directly to Ira's growing narcissistic bent - and to his ability (and need) to appear credible even when he was lying.
Had Ira Gollobin's cover-up surfaced, there is no question that he would have been disbarred - and probably in jail. He might actually have learned from that, might have thought himself less of a god, and might even have found some humanity and humility along the way. But that didn't happen.
Instead, Ira's illegal coverup of his father's death and insurance fraud became a dark harbinger of how he dealt with (and justified) any reality or responsibility he didn't like.
And I further believe that tIra Gollobin used this same ability to twist and rewrite reality to justify his wicked, arrogant, and self-rightous abuse of one of his two daughters and his only biological grandchild.