For nearly a year, James Comey has been in the headlines. First, the FBI director upended the presidential election. Now the former director may upend the president.
Before all that, Comey lived inWestport. Residents knew him as a neighbor, and a Greens Farms Academy parent.
One Westporter knew him long before that. Jack Menz thinks very highly of a man who may determine the course of American history. In fact, he already has. He writes:
I met Jim Comey 32 years ago. We were law clerks in the federal courts in New York’s Foley Square. My $26,381 salary was stretched thin because I was supporting my young child.
Money was tight for Jim too, but he convinced his friends to let me be a free rider at a group beach house in Spring Lake, New Jersey on the weekends I wasn’t with my daughter.
We played basketball at area courts on most Saturday and Sunday mornings. Jim could take an elbow or a hard screen without complaint, but later made that opponent pay with a nifty inside move that allowed us to stay on the court for another game in the absolute meritocracy of playground basketball.
Okay, it’s just basketball. But Jim earned another game on the court playing fair and square with skill, tenacity and drive.
Life off the court was no different. Jim flourished in his career – first at the United States Attorney’s Office in New York, then later at the Department of Justice by taking on the toughest cases, working long hours, and, with skillful trial advocacy, gaining the convictions of criminals. Jim didn’t inherit his place in the world – he earned it.
Living in Westport, I’m sure many “06880” readers have experienced the acquaintance who looks over their shoulder during a function or party to see who may be more notable in the room.
Not Jim. He looks you in the eye and speaks to you. You are the most important person in the room.
Many law clerks in the Southern District knew the judges at Foley Square. How many knew the janitors and the elevator operators by name? Jim did. And they all knew him. Maybe that was because he’s 6-8. I think it was because his character was and remains 10 feet tall.
A fair bit has been written about Jim’s time at Bridgewater Associates – the large hedge fund located in Westport. What hasn’t been written is that Jim and his family believe that Jim’s work at Bridgewater was the least impressive thing that was accomplished during their time here.
Jim’s wife Patrice took on the profoundly selfless duty of caring for an infant whose mother, because of drug addiction or other serious problems, was incapable of caring for her newborn.
Patrice couldn’t take on that task alone, because it impacted the whole household. It meant a baby’s cries at any hour, dinners at home, and feedings and lack of sleep at night. All was fine with Jim, Patrice and their wonderful children – because they gave a child in need a chance to thrive.
Jim has spent a good part of his life in the halls of power, but Jim and Patrice have never sought to cater to the rich and powerful. They’ve spent their lives fighting injustice, righting wrongs and making life better for those in need.