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Yesterday Richmond bookstore owner Nick Cooke called the police after a woman called Steve Bannon “a vile piece of trash,” and later told reporters:

We are a bookshop. Bookshops are all about ideas and tolerating different opinions and not about verbally assaulting somebody, which is what was happening.

Cough. So today people did some digging and found this tidbit from 1995:

Ellen Cooke left no doubt that she came from a monied family – a background befitting the chief financial officer for the Episcopal Church’s national headquarters in Manhattan.

Friends had heard her “Gone With the Wind” accounts of relatives hiding their jewelry in the draperies during the Civil War. Colleagues knew about her chauffeur, her antiques, her weekend flights to Virginia to her farm with the tennis court and deep-water dock. Churchgoers knew that when the New Jersey church her husband pastored lacked a coat rack or a new altar, the Cookes’ largess could cover it.

So last month, people who thought they knew her were stunned to learn that the money Cooke had spent so freely was neither hers nor her family’s. The hard-working woman whom colleagues thought of as “Mrs. Episcopal Church” had embezzled $2.2 million over five years while serving as the church’s treasurer, at the same time she helped to sack nearly 100 staffers because of apparent “budget shortfalls.” Prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in Newark are investigating, the Internal Revenue Service is on the case, and criminal charges are likely.

The scandal has also wrecked the career of Cooke’s husband, until last month the pastor of St. John’s Episcopal Church, a prominent McLean parish. The bishop of Virginia announced yesterday that Nicholas Cooke III has resigned from the priesthood.

Yep. The same Nick Cooke who ejected the woman yesterday. Are you surprised?


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