Original Gangster

Jim Brown's comical new line of thug products has N.Y.C. in an uproar.

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Jim Brown's new line of gangster products is bound to be huge with 14-year-olds from Brunswick.
Jim Brown's new line of gangster products is bound to be huge with 14-year-olds from Brunswick.

Browns icon and serial wife-beater Jim Brown has launched a new company, OG Nation, to market energy drinks, malt beverages, and snacks. The corporation claims the noble pursuit of creating "opportunities in the business arena for the disenfranchised." But since it will be selling stuff like Party Dogg Malt Liquor, it appears Brown's greater intent is to tap the vast market of People Willing to Buy Things With Really Stupid Names.

No one's saying what "OG" stands for, but the ad copy for King Pin Premium Lager may provide a clue: "Lagers have been around for 2,000 years, dating back to the days of the original gangster Egyptians."

No, we're not making this up.

The drinks have yet to hit Cleveland shelves, but New York City lawmakers are already on Sphincter Alert. They say OG's labels — like Thug Snack potato chips and the Vendetta line of premium liquors — are meant to profit from gang culture. "They are marketing death to our kids, pure and simple," one city councilman told the New York Post.

OG spokesman Giovanni Luciano didn't return Punch's calls, but he appears to own a rather impressive thesaurus. The company responded to the Post story with a statement calling it "perfidious" and "disingenuous," and cautioned city officials to "check themselves."

Merry Christmas from Swensons
It was 11 p.m., and 20-year-old waiter Jeff Bolf was rolling in the cash. He didn't mind the cold wind biting his face as he ran from car to car at the Swensons drive-in in Cuyahoga Falls. The place was packed, and he'd be taking home enough money that night to cover Mom's Christmas present and half the month's rent. It was so busy, the head server didn't even have time to collect the other waiters' purses and drop them in the safe.

That's when a man sneaked up behind Bolf and told him to "gimme the money." Bolf turned to find a pistol jammed in his stomach. He handed over his purse with around $350. "I wasn't really sure how much it was," he says. "I was so busy that night, I didn't have enough time to even drop it in the safe."

The cops were called. Though understandably freaked out, Bolf shook off the encounter and finished out his shift.

When he showed up for work a week later, his manager greeted him with a small payout for his misfortune. Then she fired him.

"She said that I put everyone at risk because I had so much money on me," Bolf says. "I was real irritated about it, because, I mean, I'd been there for so long and they're going to get rid of me after I had a gun pointed at me? The worst part is they fired me right around Christmas time. No one is hiring right now. Nice Christmas, right?"

Swensons did not return Punch's calls.

Frank Stirs, Steve Shouts
For as long as anyone can remember, police union chief Steve Loomis has been screaming at Frank Jackson that Cleveland's streets are underpoliced. The mayor, never one for complicated solutions, has responded by trying to replace 45 city cops at the airport with private security guards.

It's been six years since 9/11, according to his logic. Surely terrorists have forgotten that airports are a really good place to blow stuff up.

But to Loomis, the very phrase "private security" connotes "a 22-year-old who patrolled one summer at Put-in-Bay" — not exactly the guy you bet on against the next Zacarias Moussaoui. So he's filed suit to stop the move.

Loomis warns that at least 10 airport cops, quite content with the Cinnabon beat, have pledged to retire rather than return to the streets. "Not every 50-year-old cop is still willing to go out on the corner and up against 18-year-old dope boys," he says. (Which may also explain why there's only a 50-50 chance anyone will respond to your 911 call.)

But in a confidential report submitted to the city, FBI counterterrorism Agent Art Krinsky testified that Hopkins would be the first airport of its size to dump real cops, making it a "soft target" for jihadists.

Loomis insists he has a plan to re-man the streets that doesn't drain cops from elsewhere. But he can't get a sit-down with The Invisible Mayor.

"I don't want to fight with Jackson all the damn time," he says. "I've tried six times to meet with him about it. I want to rap with the mayor."

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