It's no secret he's being pressured to run to succeed Rich Grucela in the state house. Some say he'd be unhappy as a very small fish in a very big pond. But others are convinced the Bulldog's grenade-style approach to government might be just what is needed in the land of midnight payraises. He'd likely win.
So Ron's enemies are doing what they always do - playing dirty. This past week, the attacks against Angle have come with an intensity I haven't seen since he was last re-elected. He's been accused of everything from shoplifting cigars to forging his father's will. In fact, the Northampton County Solicitor's office appears to be doing its best to bury Ron.
Let me fill you in.
On Monday, Angle was accused (anonymously) of shoplifting three cigars during a publicly televised news conference announcing the grand opening of Cigar International's Call Center. That goofy charge was laughed off by store managers, who noted that every cigar on display was there for public consumption.
At the very time these cigar allegations were going up in smoke, new and much more serious charges were being made. This time, instead of being called a mere cigar thief, Ron had forged his father's Will. This blast comes in an anonymous comment posted here, and by someone who obviously has a legal background. The same anonymous claim also appears on Villa's hate blog.
Ron's father, Fred, was an interesting man. A minor league ball player, railroad man, stock enthusiast and atheist, he was an iconoclast who liked to do things himself. Ron loved his dad, visited him every day and would tease him nonstop about his attraction to "nightcrawlers." When Fred died in May, I came up for the viewing, and Ron proudly showed me all the pictures of his dad in different cars and baseball uniforms.
After the funeral, Ron offered a Will, dated May 15th, for probate. Ron is sole heir.
This is when Joanie Place enters the picture. She's Ron's sister-in-law and Fred's daughter-in-law, having been married to Ron's now deceased brother. Joanie never got along with Fred or Ron. She refused to let Fred attend her wedding to his son and even barred him from attending his own son's funeral.
She drove up from Florida and offered another will for probate. This one was executed on May 7th, prior to the one submitted by Ron. In this Will, 1/4th of Fred's estate goes to Ron, and the remaining 3/4 is divided among his grandsons. One of these grandsons, Frederick, just happens to be her son. This disposition, incidentally, makes no sense. Fred had already set up trusts for his two grandsons through Ron.
Joanie Place was nowhere to be found when Fred died. She skipped the funeral, too. But she was quite the busy beaver earlier that month. When word trickled out that Fred was sick, she drove up from Florida, and carted Fred and one of his "nightcrawlers" to her lawyer in Stroudsburg, Daniel M Corveleyn. Two days later, when the Will was ready, she shipped him up there again. This time, Fred wouldn't even get out of the car, so Att'y Corveleyn came outside and leaned into the car through a window to get the necessary signature. He refused to give Fred the original, and incorrectly told him he had to see him if he needed to revoke it.
The very next day, during Fred's 89th birthday party at Ron Angle's home, Fred quietly approached Ron's wife, Sharon, and told her he had "messed up." He explained what had just happened, and wanted to redo the Will so that everything just went to Ron.
Fred was something of a scrivener. I'm not sure whether he distrusted lawyers or was simply too cheap, but he was used to preparing all the wills for the Angle family. Of the numerous wills he had drawn himself, one was for Amanda (Mandy) Angle. Fred asked Sharon to get "Mandy's will" and type it up for him, and he'd sign it.
About a week later, Sharon took this will to Fred and he signed it. Sharon saw him sign it. So did her son, Ron, Jr. I find that interesting, because Ron, Jr. knows that the other Will gives him 25% of Fred's estate while this later Will gives him nothing.
Northampton County Register of Wills Dorothy Cole had to decide between two wills. What's a Register of Wills to do? Hold hearings, of course. Joanie Place went through four lawyers until she finally found one willing to accept her case, and he was from far away Honesdale. Naturally, they were asking for continuances all the time, and hearings did not conclude until December. Sitting in on all these hearings was Northampton County Assistant Solicitor Chris Spadoni, who would advise the Register.
While Joanie Place was going through lawyer after lawyer, Fred's funeral bill has gone unpaid. That really disturbs Sharon Angle, who feels some provision should have been made for payment by now.
When I visited the Register of Wills on Wednesday to obtain copies of these competing Wills, I was denied access. Register Dorothy Cole told me that, although she had decided which Will to probate, her decision would not be released to the public until some time next week. What she did not realize was that everything but her decision was already on the computer, and I had already gone through the file.
Later that day, I got a call from Angle. Against all odds, Cole had decided to allow the Will offered by Joanie Place. The decision had gone out to Angle's lawyer and the Honesdale attorney, but it was still considered a private matter. It had been prepared by Ass't County Solicitor Chris Spadoni.
Thursday night, while this decision was still supposedly private, it was anonymously plastered onto Villa's hate blog.
Now who could have done that? Angle's lawyer would have no reason to post it. The same goes for Joanie Place's Honesdale lawyer, who could hardly be expected to know a thing about the local blogosphere. That leaves the Northampton County Solicitor's Office. They obviously leaked it, and in an effort to damage Angle's state house bid. In fact, the decision itself, which will be quickly reversed, makes no sense. It basically accepts the word of a gold digger who couldn't be bothered to attend Fred's funeral, over the word of his own family.
This morning, I visited the Register to tell her I had seen this supposedly private decision on another blog. While I was there, a Morning Call reporter was already printing out documents, having been tipped off as well. This supposedly private decision was also leaked to WFMZ-TV69.
Are you beginning to get the idea someone is trying to burn Angle?
Sharon Angle told me she was having lunch with a girlfriend who his represented by Chris Spadoni. When he found out that she is close to Sharon Angle, Chris asked, "Why do want to hang with those people?" In addition to this personal animosity, Spadoni is a partisan Democrat.
It is clear to me that Angle is being set up as a Will forger, another John Karoly, solely to discourage him from running for the state house. This will hurt him, at least temporarily, until he gets the decision reversed in a de novo hearing before a judge. A decision that should still be private has been leaked to the press and the blogosphere. It's very obvious that the anonymous commenter who started this is a lawyer. He refers to the "Commonwealth" of Pennsylvania instead of the "state" and writes things like "notarized by a Notary authorized to witness signatures in the Commonwealth of Pa."
I thought the Northampton County Solicitor's office exists to give legal advice to the County, not the local Democratic party. Not only is the decision itself a trainwreck that should be obvious to everyone, but the manner in which it has been leaked reflects very badly on the County's supposed legal advisors.
This leak should be investigated.