Vera: I can’t believe that Stan has been arrested. I know that he wasn’t always on the up-and-up, but he’s being accused of influence peddling and taking bribes.
Keigo: Stan has been getting kickbacks for years. Everybody knew that if you wanted to get what you wanted from this department, you had to grease Stan’s palms. There isn’t a more corrupt official than Stan.
Vera: But he was always so nice to me.
Keigo: that was part of the problem. He was always good to his friends and family. That’s why he’s also known for his nepotism and cronyism. He gave friends and family plum jobs with big salaries. He had an entire good old boy network.
Vera: do you really think he’ll go to jail?
Keigo: I’m sure of it. On second thought, if he can find a judge who’s on the take and is as corrupt as he is, he has a fighting chance.
Vera begins by saying” I can’t believe that Stan has been arrested.” To be “arrested” means that the police take you from your home or your work or wherever you are and bring you to a police station, usually because you have done something wrong, if you break a law, if you do something illegal, you can be arrested or taken by the police. Vera says” I know that he wasn’t always on the up-and-up, but he’s being accused of influence peddling and taking bribes.” “on the up-and-up” is a expression meaning to be completely honest, not to be hiding anything, not to be lying or stealing, to be on the up-and-up, you are being honest, you are being sincere. Vera says” Stan wasn’t always on the up-and-up” meaning he wasn’t always honest. “but he’s being accused of influence peddling and taking bribes.” to be accused of something is for other people to say that you have done something wrong, the police say that you broke the law or your sister-in-law says that you didn’t wash the dishes as you had promised. You are being accused of something. Someone else is saying that you did something wrong. Vera’s friend I guess Stan is being accused of influence peddling. “influence peddling” is using your personal or professional connections with government officials, usually government officials, it could be other officials, in order to get them to make decisions that favor you. So let’s say you own a large construction company, you build building, you build brides and roads and you have a friend who works for the government. Well, you take this friend to dinner, you maybe send him and his family on a vacation, you give him a new car, you try to use your connection with that person to influence his decision. because he is going to decide who gets the new government work, government contract to work on say building a new road. he gives you the contract because you have been using your influence, you have been influence peddling, “influence peddling” doesn’t mean in all case you are giving the person money however, if you give someone money, that is called a “bribe” which might be part of your influence peddling I was supposed. A bribe is money given to someone illegally to do something or unethically to do something. I should mention that the word “peddling” is from the verb “to peddle” which in this case means “to sell”, so we talk about someone is peddling something, we mean they are out selling it often on the street to people who are walking by. “influence peddling” is a way selling your influence or using your influence to have a decision made in a certain way.
Keigo says" Stan has been getting kickbacks for years.” “Kickbacks” is money that you secretly pay someone in return for the help you got to sell something or to get a contract or to get an opportunity. Typically a kickback is when for example I work for a bank and I agree to give you a loan, I agree to give you money to help with your business. But I say to you” well, if I give you this loan you have to give me 5000 dollars, just me, not the bank.” In another word you are doing something that the bank isn’t giving your permission to do. That’s a kickback when you ask for something back usually in a business transaction in the case of buying or selling something. Keigo says” Everybody knew that if you wanted to get what you wanted from this department, you had to grease Stan’s palms.” “to grease someone’s palms” means to give them a bribe, this is a expression meaning to give money to someone illegally in order to get something done. So if you give a government official money in order to get a contract or permission to do something, that would be greasing that person’s palm whoever you gave money to. Keigo says” There isn’t a more corrupt official than Stan.” “corrupt” is dishonest, someone who for example takes money, takes bribes in exchange for certain favors, certain influence. That would be a corrupt official, a corrupt leader.
Vera says” But he was always so nice to me.” Keigo says” that was part of the problem. He was always good to his friends and family. That’s why he’s also known for his nepotism and cronyism.” “nepotism” means giving jobs to your family members especially government jobs. Nepotism is illegal in most places, you can’t just give your brother a job if you work in the government because he is your brother, if he is the most qualified or best person, then that might be ok. Nepotism however is giving your close family members, your brother-in-law, your sister-in-law, your cousin a job in typically the government although it might be in other organization. “Cronyism” means doing the same thing but for your friends. That’s giving job to your friends or other people because they are your friends not because they are good at what they do. So nepotism is what we would call favoritism for your relatives. Cronyism is favoritism for your friends. Favoritism means giving favors or doing something good for that person just because they are at that certain connection. Keigo says” He gave friends and family plum jobs with big salaries.” A “plum job” is a very desirable job, a well-paid job, a good job, one of the best jobs in your organization. Plum is a fruit that you eat from the tree, but the expression “plum job” means a very good job. Keigo says” He had an entire good old boy network.” The expression “good old boy” is one that refers to a group of typically men who have very strong personal and professional relationships and usually when there is something to be done, they give that work to people in their own group. the word ”network” just means a group of people. Usually when we say a group of good old boy network, we mean a group of white men who are not allowing women or those who are minorities to be part of their circle and to get the same kind of treatment as those in their own good old boy network.
Vera says” do you really think he’ll go to jail?” she is talking about Stan here, “jail” is the same as prison. Keigo says” I’m sure of it. On second thought, if he can find a judge who’s on the take and is as corrupt as he is, he has a fighting chance.” “on second thought” is a phrase we use when we want to change our opinion, change something about what we just said. So Keigo start by saying he is sure that Stan will go to jail, then he changes his opinion, he says” On second thought, if he can find a judge who’s on the take and is as corrupt as he is, he has a fighting chance.” To be “on the take” means that you are receiving bribes, that people are paying you money illegally to do things. To “have a fighting chance” means that there is a possibility of your winning, it’s going to be difficult but it is possible. What Keigo is saying here is that if Stan can find another government official of judge who will accept bribes, he might be able to avoid going to jail.