U.S. Attorney Jim Letten: "I think Bob probably wanted to avoid a very emotional exchange."


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It's indicative of how closely Bob Cerasoli held his cards that one of his closest working associates, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, had no advance knowledge of Cerasoli's resignation.

"Holy God," Letten said this morning. "I have to confess that when I picked up the paper this morning, it was the first I'd heard of Bob's resigning. It came as a complete surprise, and certainly a personal disappointment. I think so well of Bob on a personal, professional level, and I think Bob probably wanted to avoid a very emotional exchange."

Letten says that the last time he saw the inspector general was at Cerasoli's office last week for a meeting. It was Inauguration Day, and the two men and their staffs took a break to watch the swearing-in of President Barack Obama.

"Even at that time, Bob was sharing with us his concerns about his health, and clearly we could see he his fatigue," says Letten. "But I didn’t see that he’d reached critical mass at all."

Letten spoke this morning to Leonard Odom, who was named by the city's Ethics Review Board as Cerasoli's interim replacement. "Ss soon as he gets resettled in his new role, we're probably going to be meeting next week," he said. "Thanks to his expertise and commitment, I’m looking foward to a seamless transition. Len has Bob’s full faith and trust, and if Bob Cerasoli says to me that this person, in his estimation, is a good person -- that’s a virtual background investigation to me."

In his 17-month tenure, Cerasoli was only able to issue a single interim report, but Letten says there is more to come, and soon: "In a short time, he has done more than you can see on the surface. He has a lot in the pipeline."


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