Thursday, November 9, 2017

Ralph Cipriano: Requiem For An Old-School Pol, South Philly's Jimmy Tayoun

Veteran journalist Ralph Cipriano offers a piece at on the late South Philly politician, former federal prisoner and newspaper publisher James “Jimmy” Tayoun.

He was, at various stages of his long life, a Daily News sports writer, a restauranteur, a state representative, a City Councilman, a felon, a newspaper editor, a raconteur, always a true character, and above all else, an old-school politician.

Jimmy Tayoun died yesterday at 87, after collapsing in front of his home, apparently after suffering a heart attack.

As a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, I visited Tayoun back in 1993, when he was a guest at the Federal Correctional Institute, Schuylkill, in Minersville, PA. It's a sleepy minimum security prison located on a foggy mountaintop where the deer run free, about a 2 1/2 hour drive northwest of the city. At the time, Tayoun was doing 40 months after he got nailed by the feds for paying and taking bribes.

There was a basic honesty about Tayoun that shown through his prison whites, and his circumstances.

"OK, I'm not going to say I'm innocent," he told me. "I'm obviously guilty. I pleaded guilty and I'm here." Tayoun told me how the prosecutors got him to plead guilty. They did it by showing him the indictment they planned to file against his wife.

Tayoun demonstrated how he stuck out his two arms, as if voluntarily agreeing to be handcuffed. "You got me," is what he told the feds.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Note: I ran into Jimmy Tayoun many times over the years while covering South Philly in my column for the South Philadelphia American and earlier while freelancing for the South Philadelphia Review. I agree with Ralph Cipriano’s view of the late politician. He was a character.

You can read my Crime Beat column on crooked Philly politicians via the below link:

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