The Emperor is Dismissed

Masonic Medical Research Laboratory, Utica, NY
Charles Antzelevitch
Photo Credit: Utica Observer-Dispatch

Life isn’t usually so sweet. God, I know it isn’t. I just read that Charles Antzelevitch, Director at the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory in Utica, NY was removed from his position. Oh, God. The euphoria coursing through my veins is shameful, probably illegal. But ha. Oh, fucking karma, or whatever. This is a nasty guy. He won’t suffer enough, but he’ll probably leave town, and that’s alright with me.

I was hired by the Masonic Lab in 2001, for $35,000 per year plus benefits. That was fantastic by me – I didn’t have a college degree. Of course, I was expected to run a 35+ node computer network, administer 3 web sites and provide 24/7 IT support for Antzelevitch, which extended to his home network. I spent many weekends eradicating viruses and malware from lab computers. It was a great experience, because I got to work with scientists from all over the world; I learned how to troubleshoot Windows and Mac computers in many different languages. (I was the only IT/AV staff.)

Antzelevitch was a slippery guy. Several of the researchers at the Lab referred to him as the Venus Flytrap, because any papers they published had to have his name on them. You see, research scientists need to bring in their own funding. With Antzelevitch’s name on their papers, the Lab’s scientists were much less likely to be hired elsewhere, because they didn’t have solo credits. And here’s the thing – he didn’t do much more than rubber stamp their papers. Unless…

Once, a scientist complained to me that he’d identified some contrary results on a drug test, which had been sponsored by a major pharmaceutical. Antzelevitch nixed the negative findings, because they’d happened outside of the study’s requested parameters. Yeah, it was more important to make the pharmaceutical happy than it was to report bad news. That’s how world-famous researchers roll.

In July 2002, I led a charity team in the Utica Boilermaker 15K, to raise money for the lab. During the previous month, I’d worked overtime to set up 8 new computers for Ramon Brugada, a superstar researcher the Lab had hired away from Baylor College, TX. I was summoned into Antzelevitch’s office, and he said:

“I think we both know this isn’t working out.”


“Jeremy [your predecessor] wants to come back. This job will be great for him because he wants to get a Master’s degree. You’ll find something else.”

That’s exactly when I stopped sleeping at night. July, 2002. It’s been 13 years.

I also read in the newspaper the Lab’s administrative team is on leave. Good. Great, even. Not a single one of them ever did anything that wasn’t approved by “Charlie.” Not a single one protested my dismissal, nor did they speak to me after.

I expect to sleep well tonight.