Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Democratic Campaigns Bankrolled With $ Stolen From Bethlehem Township

Two Scranton area men, Robert Kearns and Patrick J "PJ" McLaine, have been charged with fleecing Bethlehem Township for a cool $832,460 back in 2007. The Township had entrusted them with that money to purchase PPL's street lighting system, which in turn would allow the municipality to shop around for cheaper rates. Instead, they took the money and ran, says a Grand Jury. According to the Express Times, the pair surrendered to District Judge Joseph Barner yesterday, and he took their passports.

What happened to all that dough?

According to an excellent account in The Times Tribune by former Morning Call reporter Joe McDonald, District Attorney John Morganelli claims the duo blew it on goofy things like trips to Disney World. Now John may very well have said that, but I never heard it.

What is beyond dispute is that, after depositing Bethlehem Township's money into a corporate bank account, Kearns and McLaine made major withdrawals on October 1, 2007. One check for $366,600 went to Kearns. Another two checks, totaling $608,495, went to McLaine.  

We know that McLaine was giving Lackawanna County Comm'r Robert Cordaro a $10,000 per month bribe to remain in the County's good graces. So that explains where a good chunk of Bethlehem Township's money went.

What about the rest?

A review of both state and federal campaign expense sites reveals that, after making those withdrawals, Kearns and McLaine spent a whopping $75,075 on Democratic campaigns throughout the state, including Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

That's a lot of street lights!

While bankrolling these races, Kearns and McLaine ignored a PPL request for a $22,525 deposit.

Below is a list of the candidates and PACs - all of them Democrats - who received money from Kearns and McLaine after October 1, 2007. Allentown, Bethlehem, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, whose Mayors were beneficiaries, all had street-lighting arrangements with Kearns and McLaine.

I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

State Senator Bob Mellow - $27,225
Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski - $150
Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan - $1,000
Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty - $8,500
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton - $500
State Rep. Ed Staback - $4,000
State Senator John Blake - $1,650
Lackawanna County Democrats - $7,500
Democratic State Senate Campaign Committee - $6,400
Judge Margaret Bisignani-Moyle - $500
Congressman Chris Carney - $4,250
Lackawanna County Comm'r and Congressional Candidate Corey D. O'Brien -$6,300
Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton - $4,600
Presidential candidate Joe Biden - $1,000
Congressman Paul Kanjorski - $500
Congressman Bob Brady - $1,000

Amazingly, some of these campaign contributions were accepted well after this duo had been accused of fraud in court.

For shits and giggles, Bethlehem Township should ask each of these pols and PACs to return what is, after all, stolen money.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Callahan, it figures. This guy is the poster child for sleazy politics in the Lehigh Valley.

FutureDowntownArenaAttendee said...

I can see the new post tomorrow by O'Hare... "Allentown Mayor is a crook, he took $150." O'hare you are a joke. BTW nice black cargo pants with red and white New Balances this past Wednesday... yes I was there. I do think that you presented yourself well. However Molovinsky looked like a tool. His head hunting over property taxes blew up in his face.. the best part of the night. I tried very hard to not laugh out loud... btw you video tapped Molovinsky speaking.. why are you not posting that?

Anonymous said...

Keep posting the truth on what is happening in Allentown, The city without limits on cash contributions to the mayor. looking forward to more on the N.I.Z.

Anonymous said...

Bern, this is a real stretch, trying to implicate some sort of stench on Callahan and Ed P.

Anonymous said...

Bernie
With all the safeguards, how could this happen?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, are any of the crooked politicians on the list Rs?

Anonymous said...

BTW nice black cargo pants with red and white New Balances this past Wednesday... yes I was there"

This kind of talk showcases stupidity and ugliness. Can't think of real issues to challenge Bernie so you attack his clothing? Send a self portrait. Seems fair.

Anonymous said...

Awesome work! This is an interesting story with lots of interesting angles. I knew from the start that the Democratic Party was involved.

Anonymous said...

Mr. O'Hare: Keep up the great work! When people like "FDAA" start up with the vicious personal attacks, you know you've uncovered something worthwhile and relevent.

Anonymous said...

FDAA has no moral compass. How much dirty money does it take to be considered serious, then?

Issac Touro said...

dem pols, mostly just cheap whores. the proof comes in every day. keep at it BO

c said...

Oh that's embarassing.

Anonymous said...

i think the palace of sport will blow up in fdaa's face

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let me post an email from a friend in resonse to Future Dowtown Arena Attendee, who likely was at Allentown City Council on th payroll of Vaughn or Pugliese:

I read the "I see you, you don't see me" posting, from Future Downtown Arena Attendee, on Lehigh Valley Ramblings this morning. It was "creepy." Next thing you know you are going to be getting notes delivered to your apartment in randomly clipped and random sized words and letters taken from multiple sources and pasted to pieces of paper. Let's hope FDAA doesn't start sending you photos of places you visit with family and friends. Can you get some type of PFA for a blog site? She sounds as unstable as [redacted] or worse, the [redacted].

Anonymous said...

Wow, BOH managed to write another piece that tangentially implicates the mayors of our two cities in crimes.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bern, this is a real stretch, trying to implicate some sort of stench on Callahan and Ed P."

I'm not trying to stretch anything. I am reporting, factually, that after withdrawing money paid by BT for street lights, over $70,000 in campaign contributions went to Democrats and Democrat PACs. These include both Callahan and Pawlowski. I mention them bc this is a LV blog. I also mention the exact amounts paid In Pawlowski's case, it is relatively minor. In Callahan's case, it is relatively large.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie, are any of the crooked politicians on the list Rs?"

Not a single R. Very strange.

Anonymous said...

I doubt the politicians that received the money knew it was stolen at the time. They're idiots, but they're not stupid.

Now that they do know, the honorable thing would be to return the funds to Bethlehem Township.

But are they allowed to? Even though it's pretty clear the funds were stolen, it's not proven and I have no idea what campaign laws are regarding returning money to someone other than the contributor.

The Banker

Bernie O'Hare said...

Banker, I agree that it's highly unlikely that any of these candidates or PACs knowingly received stolen money. But it is stolen money and, to the extent it has not been spent, should be returned to BT. I also am amazed that all this money went exclusively to Ds, most notably to Ds in cities that had contracts with MEM.

Anonymous said...

"I agree that it's highly unlikely that any of these candidates or PACs knowingly received stolen money"

then you should have said that at the outset, rather than trying to implicate them by association.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I reported what happened. After withdrawing huge sums of money from an account containing over $800k from BT, this duo contributed heavily to Democrats and their PACs. Notably, they include contributions to Democrats who had contracts with MEM. I at no time stated or even implied that anyone knowingly received stolen money. But they clearly did receive stolen money, and it is just as relevant to point that out as it is to say that they used the money to go to Disney World.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely NO WAY the Democrats would be involved with any kind of Corruption or Pay To Play, what have you.

State Rep BILL DEWEESE

Anonymous said...

"But they clearly did receive stolen money..."

That's the accusation. Is there a verdict on the case?

Innocent until proven guilty appears to be dead in Northampton County.

Once convicted, each of the candidates would be wise and fair to cut a check to Bethlehem Township directly. If that is forbidden (who knows, it might be illegal for PAC's to send money to local governments), then it should be sent to a charity that serves Bethlehem Township.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I repeat, they clearly did receive stolen money. There is no dispute that over $800,000 was stolen from BT. There is no question that some of this stolen money found its way into the hands of Democrat candidates and PACs. The only question remaining is whether this pair is criminally culpable.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, are any of the crooked politicians on the list Rs?

Of course not, this blog is an appendage of the Republican party.

Anonymous said...

Democrat politicians never break the law and would, therefore, never knowingly accept dirty campaign money.

None of those campaign contributions were kickbacks, either, so please move along.

There is nothing to see here.

State Rep BILL DEWEESE

Bernie O'Hare said...

Really? On Monday, I published a blog taking two Republican state reps. (Justin Simmons, Joe Emrick) to task for identical news releases in which they purport to offer their individual sentiments about the NIZ. I am an equal opportunity offender. I have been highly critical of LC GOP party boss Wayne Woodman, as well as LC Comm'r Scott Ott. I just broke the story about a Republican state senator who authored the NIZ legislation and whose wife is lobbying for the same outfit that represents NIZ beneficiaries. If I am an appendage of the R party, I probably should be amputated.

Having said that, I am even more critical of Ds. But that is a simple function of math. There are more of them.

And had one Republican been on the list of recipients of this BT stolen money, I would have listed it. But there's not a single one.

You mat not like it, and that's too bad. But it is what it is.

Nilz Barris said...

Does anybody take this FutureDowntownArenaAttendee seriously? this person sounds like a mouthpiece for powlawski the Ayatollah of Allentown.He/she is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Were there any GOP contributions?

This news broke this week. How was this public knowledge before hand when some accepted contributions?

Generally speaking, I am not sure $150 is considered significant.

I wish more people would be concerned about Super PAC contributions where you cannot track the money but I suspect the benefactors know who is contributing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Just read your respons at 1007.

Bernie O'Hare said...

For the third or fourth time, there were NO GOP contributions. I agree $150 is not a large amount of money. But over $70,000 is a large amount of money, and it is stolen tax dollars. It should all be returned, including the $150 donated to Pawlowski.

Anonymous said...

"Generally speaking, I am not sure $150 is considered significant."

Pawlowski can keep telling himself that, but added to all the other dirty tricks he's played, it's not a good narrative on the man.

Bernie O'Hare said...

What kills me is that's the same justification used for stealing EIT. It's not that much.

Anonymous said...

It's never that much.

ACCOUNTANT,
CHINESE DEBT SHIPPING & RECEIVING

c said...

Any dollar amount is significant in this case as a matter of principle. In my eyes anyone straightforeward enough to return the money in some capacity comes out a winner.

Anonymous said...

FDAA made an ass of him/herself with his stupid persoanl snark attack. That bing said you snatched defeat from the jaws of victory once again Bernbie.

By reprinting an email from a "friend" you go off on the crtazy scale by taking a snarky comment aobut your clothes to "someone" stalking your family and PFA's.

You see Bernie this is the bizzare behavior that takes your blog from being informative to one of those tin foil hat wearing birther type blogs.

You really need to tone down the narsisism. As to someone "seeing" you, with your puss plastered all over this blog and everywhere you can get it, of course people are going to recognize you.

Try and control the paranoia and you will be taken more seriously.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You really need to learn how to spell, and perhaps one day you'll be taken seriously, too.

Anonymous said...

By the way I agree that John Callahan comes off as one of the most sleazy politicans around. People use to say that about Cunningham but Callahan puts him to shame on the sleeze meter. I hope to God this guy is not the next county executive.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody take this FutureDowntownArenaAttendee seriously? this person sounds like a mouthpiece for powlawski the Ayatollah of Allentown.He/she is a joke.

Of course he is. Don't you know? Anyone who posts an opposing viewpoint on the blog either gets deleted or labeled a political operative for whoever BOH is attacking.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Opposing viewpoints are welcome here. It is only the anonymous personal attacks from sleazeballs like you that are regularly deleted. As for FDAA, it is a she, not a he. Learn to pay attention to what other people write.

Anonymous said...

I have a job and make 100 dollars cash each day. I throw it into a jar or my bank account. I also am a kleptomaniac and steal money from tip, jars and charity jars as well as anything else I feel I can get away with.
I like to donate money to the GOP so I write a check from my bank account and or send cash from the jar I keep my money in. Did I send stolen money or money I earned at my job?

c said...

Excuse the word forward spelled wrong above.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If your bank account is filled largely with money from your tip jar, you are sending stolen money. And that is what happened here. Look, nobody is saying these candidates knowingly received stolen money. But it was stolen money, and should be returned. After all, BT can't count on Allentown for that EIT.

Anonymous said...

Bernie has also run quite a bit of interference for Democrat loaded weapon Joe Brennan - even running a puff piece in a rehabilitative effort designed to make us forget Brennan is still gainfully employed on the taxpayers dime and free to maim our children on his next driving binge.

Be fair to Bernie.

michael molovinsky said...

futuredowntowner stated that my questioning whether the arena authority could tap property taxes appeared foolish to her. although i was glad to get peter schweyer's reply into the record, what options the city has remain to be seen. just as it was unclear to the townships that EIT of their residents would be harvested, it's unclear what happens if those taxes and the sales tax fail to meet the debt service. with that debt being no less than $156million for the arena, and another $80million for the chosen few developers, the default plan remains unclear. her failure to introduce herself typifies the modus operandi of this whole sorry chapter in allentown's history.

Anonymous said...

What about the illegal scheme to funnel $10,000 a month to a Republican to help keep a contract?

A total of $360,000 between 2005 and 2008.

Thats makes $150 and $1500 look like chimp change.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That point was made in my blog.

Anonymous said...

I just caught the post and comments now....don't make fun, I know it's been up for a while.

Great reporting and tying things together, bernie.

Anonymous said...

great chance of Bethlehem Towship getting their money back.

zoid said...

Bernie, keep up the good work posting the facts!!