Bolaris: Fox29 ‘whacked’ me, not the Russian mob

john bolaris
Metro columnist John Bolaris

For me, personally and professionally, it has been a wild ride.

I returned to the city of Philadelphia around Christmas 2007 to finish my career as chief meteorologist on Fox29 News and live for the rest of my life in the city that I fell in love with back in the early ’90s.

This city was so much freakin’ fun! I’m not going to list everything about it. And for those of you that feel NYC has something over Philly: no way. I was born and raised in New York, and Philly has a unique coziness about it — an all-in-it-together kind of thing. It’s tough at times, but so is life.

But an unfortunate set of circumstances has changed my professional and personal life forever. I was fired from Fox around Christmas 2011 for talking to the press about being a victim of a crime. A Russian crime ring operating in Miami drugged me and stole over $43,000 from my credit card. There were 88 other victims. I was embarrassed, humiliated, angry and scared, and I used everything in my personal arsenal to fight back, and yes, that included the press.

Well, today I feel vindicated. I testified in front of a Grand Jury and also in a federal courtroom, with the three mob leaders staring me down and four members of their defense team trying to rattle me, discredit me, cross me up and leaking lies to the press. I persevered, because the truth was my story.

In the past week, ALL were sentenced to serve between 6.5 and 12 years in prison. I know I’m sounding far from humble as I write this, but it has been a long, painful three years. I lost my job, sold my house and shortly, I’ll be leaving the town I love. This was not the way I wanted my career to end in Philadelphia.

I’ve worked very hard for more than 25 years doing what I was born to do: forecast the weather. I’ve tried to stay here in Philly, but couldn’t even get a job as a fill-in. This to me was just as humiliating, frustrating and as embarrassing as the crime committed against me.

To put it simply, I was punished (fired from job) for being a victim of a crime and talking about it.

In summary, the Russian mob couldn’t whack me, but Fox29 did. This is no reflection of Fox29 itself, as I respect all the people who work there, and the Fox company treated me fairly.

It’s not the present management team; it was the prior team, specifically the general manager, who is no longer the GM at Fox29. He was unethical, verbally abusive and crossed moral boundaries.

They escorted me out of the building on Dec. 23, 2011, like I was some kind of common criminal. After 25 years in this industry, that day will haunt me for the rest of my life. And the kicker, as they say in the news biz, was that they would not even let me retrieve my daughters’ photos on the way out the door.

Sorry, had to get that off my chest.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Nearly 300 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

Almost 300 people were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years.

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Local

BSL, El to run all night on summer…

Officials announced this week that it would institute a pilot program this summer that would keep the El operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning starting in…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 15: 'New Girl,'…

'New Girl' Nick and Jess are hiding their breakup from the other loft residents. And Winston passes the police academy exam! That guy needed some…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.