Yesterday, I told you about the latest abuse of Northampton County Council's so-called contingency fund, which over the years has morphed from a fund for real emergencies into a slush fund in which Council members take care of their pals and the politically connected. Bruce Gilbert, the most promising Council member I've ever seen, is just the latest of many to raid that fund for a friend or someone with political connections. He still thinks he's doing a great thing.
Northampton County Bulldog Ron Angle called a news conference yesterday afternoon to discuss the real Anne Houston, the supposed Founder of the Butterfly House, a transitional home for recently released female inmates on Easton's South Side.
She could probably move in there herself right now. After five months as an unwanted house guest in Forks Township, the owner got wise and changed the locks last Tuesday, especially after being stiffed with $500 in unpaid cell phone bills for Houston's kiddies.
But Houston would still have a problem. You see, she has no lease for the property. Despite her claims of being connected to the UAM Episcopal Church in Easton, the church confirmed with me yesterday that there's no lease and no connection.
She's got another problem, too. She misled Council on Thursday night, claiming to have a certificate of occupancy, but failing to mention that there's no zoning approval for transitional housing. She claimed she could accommodate up to 12 people, but Easton zoning says only six. She told the Prison Advisory Board that she'd be providing job counseling, addiction recovery and budget training. But she told zoning that all that will be done somewhere else.
Houston could use some budget training herself. She has $100,000 in unpaid judgments and no lease or connection with the UAM. She has no non-profit status yet, and no board of directors.
But she is politically connected. In addition to her friendship with the Gilbert family, she likes to remind everyone that she is Charlie Spaziani's daughter. And she learned about Angle's news conference yesterday almost as soon as he called it. In fact, she called a friend of mine to complain before I knew about it myself.
So yesterday, when Angle strolled into the County star chamber to deliver his homily, there was a young man sitting among the reporters. Angle asked him who he was, and he claimed to be with the Asbury Park Press, which is about a zillion miles from here.
He bolted the second Angle got nosy. Was he a Houston plant? D'ya think?
What all this reveals is that it is time for Council to abolish its slush fund, as Angle says above.