Sunday, July 19, 2009

Is Ayres San Mateo's Vinnie Gigante?

Remember Mafia guy Vincent Gigante, who came to court in New York City in his bathrobe and slippers? Well, we think San Mateo's got its own Vinnie Gigante in the corpulent form of William Ayres.
We've heard from others that Ayres has been known to lack decorum and be inappropriate with his peers in social settings. But you'd think that when his future was on the line he'd attempt to rein himself in the courthouse. But no.
His behavior in the courtroom halls and outside the courthouse make us think he's really gone loopy. Many times during the trial, Ayres simply could not control himself. He had no respect for anyone's boundaries.
Some examples:
Yesterday the juror who was dismissed was sitting outside the courthouse with a group of people that included the mother of victim Greg H and Victoria Balfour when Ayres passed by with his walker ( the one he didn't need when he walked up the aisles at the opera house in San Francisco a few weeks ago. )All of a sudden Ayres started waving madly and goofily at the dismissed juror, Greg H's mom and Balfour. When no one responded, he just stood there gripping his walker, and staring and smiling at the group in a demonic way.
Then there's his wife Solveig, who also waves and smiles and says hello to mothers of in-statute victims.
Solveig actually walked up to a Bay Area news reporter and told her to find out how much the County was spending on the trial. The reporter said she would find out if Solveig would tell her how much Ayres was spending on the trial. Solveig just slunk off.
We also think it's worth repeating here that Ayres walked up to a mother of a victim in the hall and said, "Isn't it a lovely day?" When she said, "Not after what you did to my son," Ayres countered with"Oh, it isn't a lovely day?"
There was that incident when Ayres walked by child psychiatrist and supporter of the victims Dr. David Schwartz in the hall and said to him,"Are you a Scientologist?" with that crazy smirk on his face.
-Then there was that time when victim Eric B was to testify. Ayres actually walked up to Eric and coyly asked him if he was a basketball player. It sounded like a come on line to us, and also an intimidation tactic. It also is evidence that Ayres has not lost his taste for dangerous situations in his old age.
They may be an educated couple who sit in the courtroom and read the New York Times and the New Yorker - but when they're around victims and their families and their supporters, Solveig and Ayres have behaved like wilful children. Their juvenile and out of control behavior is so at odds with the setting and their age and their backgrounds, we can only think that they must be unraveling.
We often wondered whether any of their friends advised them about their inappropriate behavior and their lack of respect for boundaries. Or are their pals doormats who would never speak up ? Did Weinberg at any time caution his client to behave and control himself? Perhaps he did try and Ayres - the consummate control freak- would just not listen.
A medical colleague of Ayres desribed him as going mad - like King Lear. Perhaps, but we think much of it is just an act. And a supremely selfish one.


  1. I am a local citizen, I attended the trial one day. Solveig came up and waved at me. I thought she was waving at someone else, so I turned around but no one was there.

    She had this animated smirk on her face and I was sitting on the prosecutions side (of course).

    I was mortified at her behavior. I think she has absolutely lost her mind.

    I find it to be the most bizarre behavior and the reason behind it I have no idea.

  2. Wow...excellent commentary! I so agree, too.

    I don't, however, think it's an "act," nor do I think he's "unraveling." I think that both he and Solveig have always been socially inept, peculiar people. Had he not had the intellect & opportunities that he had, he could have ended up on the fringes of society -- if not incarcerated or institutionalized.

    There is -- and always has been -- something very, very wrong with him. Imagine what he was like as a child, with his peers...and there you've got it. This is not a person whom others are drawn to, not by any stretch of the imagination.

    "Creepy" may be a non-clinical, vernacular term, but it describes him perfectly. I am sure even Weinberg would not argue with that.

  3. Interesting commentary. Ayres has never been socially appropriate which is the basis of his psychopathology. Sorry, but I had to laugh at the "hiding behind New York Times and the New Yorker" reference. As one that was part of inner circle of Hillsborough elites, this is usual and customary behavior.

    These people aren't losing their minds but instead presenting a well-rehearsed facade; core to their personality, which is lacking in a true moral compass. I'd find it humorous if we were dealing with a traffic violation and subsequent hearing but that is NOT the case.

    This is a serious matter and while I'm not ready to throw the prosecutors under the bus, I'm also less than pleased with their case in chief.

    That said, I wish all Ayres victims the very best and hope that in some small way, this trial is an edifying and renewal moment for them.

  4. Well almost anybody can vouch for the "GIGANTE" thing.

    Bathrobe and slippers, more like buck naked with a towel!

    The thing is anyone can outrun Ayres, but that Solveig can jump out of her seat and be waving her hand in your face in a snap.

    I bet she has been in a few good bar room brawls, but then again she is bad sober let alone obnoxious drunk.

    She is very uncouth!

  5. When their supporters showed up in the courtroom, Solveig was acting as if they'd showed up to attend one of her kids' weddings. Lots of squeals of laughter and back slapping going on.

    There's a recording of a speech Ayres did in the 1990s about the Diagnostic Interview for a group of adolescent shrinks. Not only does he not ever recommend to his colleagues that they give a physical to the kids - but what struck
    me was his tone of depression throughout the speech. There's a huge angry melancholy, and a deflated spirit going on there.

    The only time he didn't sound depressed on the taped speech was when the burst into maniacal burst of laughter when talking about how boys lied about how often they masturbated.

    From what I've observed in the courtroom, there appears to be an emptiness to Solveig that I think she's been trying to keep at bay for years.

  6. Well-said, trapellar.
    However, whatever emptiness she (and he) may experience, I have a very hard time feeling sympathy for either of them. As my poppa used to say, "she made her bed, now she has to lie in it."

    They had remarkable opportunities to make a positive contribution to society. Instead they hurt people, consciously and intentionally. She knew what he was...she knew goddamned well, and she chose to ignore it.

    Additionally, as a former teacher, my feeling about working with children is that there is no greater privilege in the world...and those who abuse that privilege are the lowest of the low.