Thursday, March 17, 2005
Ambassador to Italy negotiates purchase of $113M building in Rome & has it dedicated to himself while suing a detractor to reclaim his penis pump
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Wesley Fager at ed@theStraights.com
Last week US Ambassador to Italy Melvin Sembler was all over the news when he met with Italian President Silvio Berlusconi to explain why American soldiers had wounded Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, wounded two of her bodyguards and killed a third. The story caught the attention of another Italian journalist Alessandro Ursic of Peace Reporter, a Milan-based newspaper on human rights, who wondered who is this Mel Sembler that no one ever hears about, and so he started looking around the Internet. What he found is that Ambassador Sembler, former finance chair for the national GOP, and his wife Betty Sembler, ran a $100 million destructive, juvenile drug rehab chain (called Straight, Inc.) that used destructive brainwashing techniques, including restraining kids in their own urine, feces and vomit, on 50,000 American teenagers. Over 40 former clients have committed suicide.
Next Ursic found that only the week before Al Kamen in The Washington Post had run a story about Mel Sembler and Congressman Bill Young, chairman of the House's Appropriation Committee, where Sembler had negotiated the purchase of and Young got the funds approved for a mansion in Rome for $83 million--and have it dedicated to themselves! It is the first time in US History that a sitting ambassador has had a building named for him on foreign soil! Both men are from Pinellas County, Florida. For three years Sembler had been George senior's ambassador to Australia; for the last three years he has been junior's ambassador to Italy, and yet nobody ever heard of him until the Sgrena incident. Had Mr. Ursic dug deeper he would have found that another $30 million has been set aside to refurbish the mansion for a total cost to taxpayers of $113 million. Young appropriated $50 million to repair the causeway out to the exclusive ocean front community of Treasure Island where Sembler lives and another $34 million to repair the causeway out to neighboring Bellaire Beach. Other appropriations include $3 million to build a research center for Betty Sembler's (Mel's wife and Governor of Florida Jeb Bush's former campaign finance cochair) latest drug rehab craze. That building has been named after Young and his wife. Young also appropriated another $10 million for some crazy Italian Aids vaccine research project that Sembler had looked into.
Last year Washington Post writer Richard Leiby reported on a strange civil suit where Ambassador Sembler is suing a former Straight client turned employee for the return of his "penis pump." That story made Wonkette and everybody else on the international web scene.
In 1988 Sembler Company purchased for $ 1 million some swampland in Pinellas County using insider information from a Clearwater city official and almost sold it overnight to Clearwater for $2.65 million. In the end Sembler's company only made $1 million on the deal. This past January The Montel Williams Show did a simply devastating segment on Straight, Inc. Within hours Ambassador Sembler announced he was coming home as soon as the President finds a replacement. But coming home to what? Craig Sher, CEO of Sembler Company, is chairman of the St. Pete Chamber of Commerce in Pinellas County. Fourteen years ago that very same Chamber of Commerce tried to erect a monument to then sitting Ambassador to Australia Mel Sembler even though The St. Petersburg Times, his hometown newspaper, had given him a Sour Orange Award for not only buying his Ambassadorship to Australia, but also because of all the tomfoolery that went along with it. Al Kamen in the Post just gave Sembler the "In the Loop Narcissism Run Amok Award for 2005." Now everybody is wondering how many St. Petersburg teachers and firemen will be laid-off to pay for a monument to Sembler's greatness in his hometown.
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Peace Reporter (Italian) on Sembler and child abuse: http://www.peacereporter.net/dettaglio_articolo.php?idc=0&idart=1755
Washington Post on the $83 million Sembler/Young Shrine:
Tampa Indy Media's full story on Sembler/Young's $113 million Shrine and other Pinellas County pork:
Sembler's Republican contributions:
Video trailer of Straight on Montel Williams Show:
Washington Post on Ambassador Sembler's penis pump
A survey of sites that cover PumpGate
Sembler's tomfoolery when he bought his first ambassadorship
Tampa Indy Media on The Great Cooper's Point Land Scam
For further information on Mel and Betty Sembler and their Straight program: