The editorial was published on Wednesday April 24, 1963. The next day, Mr. Laurence, as chairman of the fair’s scientific committee, appeared before the city’s valuation council to promote the project. The Times reported on Friday that he had testified on behalf of the Queens Plan and that after a two-hour debate, the board of directors voted unanimously to approve the $ 3.5 million credit.
The episode was a serious violation that The Times began to regret, according to Dr Kiernan, who learned of the reaction from archival documents from John B. Oakes, the editorial page’s editor at the time. He was not in town when the editorial was published “and when he returned there was hell to pay,” said Dr Kiernan.
Mr. Laurence was ordered to stop receiving payments for his work on the World’s Fair project and to no longer write editorials about the costly effort. Dr Kiernan added that the journalistic fallout appears to have contributed to Mr Laurence’s retirement the following year, on New Years Day 1964. At age 75, he went to work full time for Mr Moses.
“There is no evidence that Laurence understood the ethical issue,” said Dr Kiernan. It was, ‘Hey, I did it at my own pace. “”
At retirement, Mr. Laurence’s star faded. The pages of the company no longer paid attention to him and his wife. They moved to Mallorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean. Dr Kiernan stated that Mr Laurence was in correspondence with Mr Moses. The two men shared not only a year of birth, 1888, but also, he said, “a feeling of affection.”
Money was still a problem.
In 1967, Mr. Laurence wrote to The Times to say that he had wronged him during his time with the Manhattan Project and owed him $ 2,125 in salary arrears, now over $ 30,000. The newspaper, he said, “should in all fairness repay me with the appropriate amount of statutory interest.” He hesitated.