Gotham Cable News

July 10, 2008

Gotham Girl Guides Implicated in Mob Money Scheme

Every year, Gotham Girl Guides come to our doors.

Cute as a button, they convince many of us to break our diets and pay out for peanut butter cookies, vanilla wafers, and other goodies.

But according to the GPD, those cookies you bought to help out charity could make you part of a massive criminal conspiracy.

The Gotham Girl Guides are under investigation by the Major Crimes Unit for involvement in a money-laundering scheme.

Non-profit organizations have long been used to funnel money into and out of illegal operations. But few would have ever thought that the much-loved Gotham Girl Guides would ever be implicated in such a plot.

And if the Gotham Girl Guides are unmasked as an arm of the mob, GPD can thank Vanessa DeFoliano. Vanessa's story of selling over $200,000 of GGG cookies made all the papers. But it also sparked suspicion among MCU officers.

"How could one girl sell so many cookies?" said one MCU officer. "We started to think, and then opened an investigation."

GGG rejects the charges.

"These rumors are absurd," Gotham Girl Guide group leader Sarah Alexis Schwimmer told GCN. "The Gotham Girl Guides is in no way connected to the Gotham mob or to the criminal enterprise of money laundering of any kind."

Sources told the GCN that Major Crimes suspects that high-ranking Gotham Girl Guide officials were approached by mob figures that paid them to launder money through the annual cookie sale.

"It would be easy to do this. They sell so many boxes of cookies a year that no one would notice radically increased sales if they didn't report it publically and besides, who would ever suspect them," the source told GCN.

Former Gotham Girl Guide member and one-time group leader Francis Alexander-Higgs agreed to sit down with GCN to discuss the current state of the organization.

"These girls are under tremendous pressure to perform, especially come cookie sale time," Alexander-Higgs said. "I wouldn't be surprised if an unscrupulous parent pushed a child to inflate cookie numbers if he or she was offered some kind of kickback by the mob to launder money through their child's efforts."

The future of the Guides may hinge on this investigation.

Should the group be found guilty of money laundering, they could be stripped of their non-profit status and forced to close down operations, which would end a decades-long Gotham tradition.

But Schwimmer said GGG will be proven innocent. "Scandal and closure is not going to happen under my watch," said Schwimmer. "I cannot stress this enough — that will not be the way the cookie crumbles."

GPD Mourns Loss of Officer Glenn Barhyte

Gotham Police Department officer Glenn Barhyte died early this morning at Gotham General Hospital, a GPD spokesman announced. Barhyte was wounded by three gunshots at an abandoned parking structure near the Docks late last night. "Glenn Barhyte was an exemplary officer that I began to rely on as soon as he transferred to Major Crimes," said MCU chief Jim Gordon. "We will all miss his warmth, his integrity, and his love of police work." It is unclear what Officer Barhyte was doing at the scene. Several sources told GCN that Barhyte had been leading an investigation into the drug trade which pinpointed a drug deal to have taken place at the scene last night. However, the investigation had been put on hold due to budget cuts. Some speculated that Barhyte may have been acting on his own to try to gain evidence for the stalled investigation. "Sometimes cops fall in love with cases, and they can't stop themselves," said one.

Others say that it is too soon to say why Officer Barhyte was there. Inside sources at GPDMCU told GCN that Barhyte may have been kidnapped and killed by the targets of his investigation after infiltrating GPD. "It's no secret that there are some mob plants and associates throughout GPD," said one high official in the Internal Affairs Department. "It's not impossible that the probe had been compromised and Barhyte killed to make a very public point."

Friends at GPD Major Crimes Unit, where Barhyte had transferred after years at Internal Affairs, were still in grief this morning. Brian Douglass, a file clerk at GPD, teared up as he recounted his feelings regarding Barhyte's death. "Glenn was like a brother to me. I can't help but feel that I could have stopped his death, somehow. I just — I just don't know how this could have happened," Douglass said.

Officer Kevin Slatteronsky, a colleague of Barhyte's at GPD Internal Affairs Department, told GCN that Barhyte told him he was trying to "stop a tragedy", not start one. "If you ever were in a firefight, you'd want Glenn next to you. He was loyal to a fault. Maybe this time, his loyalty won out over his own safety."

Barhyte leaves a wife, Cecilia, 33, who is expecting their first child.