Friday, November 01, 2013

Bethlehem Township or Atiyehtown?

Paul Weiss with Peg Ferraro
Earlier this week, The Morning Call reported on colorful developer Abe Atiyeh's attempt to expand his empire into the billboard biz. In an Easton zoning dispute, he produced an agreement of sale for a nearby Palmer Township property to give him standing to challenge a billboard proposed by a competitor. The seller of this property is none other than Marty Zawarski, who just happens to be a Bethlehem Township Commissioner. Atiyeh clearly intends to take over in Bethlehem Township, and Zawarski is one of his puppets.

Bethlehem Township has a five-person Board of Commissioners. In the last municipal race, Atiyeh ran three candidates - his wife, Zawarski and Phil Bernard. His wife failed and Bernard has proved to be more independent than Atiyeh had hoped. But Zawarski is a solid Atiyeh vote.

Let me explain why. Not all that long ago, a developer was pitching a project to township officials.. Zawarski approached the developer and asked if he might be interested in some property his brother was selling in Forks Township. This was totally inappropriate, and certainly created the implication that Zawarski's vote was for sale.

Zawarski, along with other Commissioners, raised concerns over sketch plans submitted by this developer, who decided to pull the project. Atiyeh rewarded Zawarski, a realtor, by giving him several properties to sell for him. never mind that Atiyeh is suing Bethlehem Township, and no Commissioner should have any contact with him.

In this election cycle, Atiyeh is attempting to pack the Board with two more Commissioners. One of them is Attorney Mickey Thompson, who lives in an apartment building owned by Atiyeh and is employed as his COO. Thompson is running against long-time incumbent Michael Hudak, who appears to be safe.

But another incumbent Commissioner, Paul Weiss, has already been rejected by both Democratic and Republican parties. Atiyeh ran and financed two candidates in the primary to take Weiss out, and they succeeded. Weiss, who in my opinion is Bethlehem Township's finest public servant, is reduced to waging a write-in campaign. He's not doing this for himself, but to keep Bethlehem Township from becoming Atiyehtown.

In the meantime, Zawarki is busily grooming himself to be the next President of the Board.

You can see and download his election day handout here.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

No wonder their Manager has left. Sheesh. Feeling sorry for the remaining employees in that township.

Ovem Lupo Commitere said...

I am sure no lines crossed... yet, but some had better be careful. Perhaps Mr. Zawarski should ask Mr. Timko what happens when Twp government is used in a way that friends make a few bucks. Perhaps Mr. Barnard should ask Mr. Gencarelli how the courts don't always look the other way when Commissioners still "should have" known what is going on. Mr. Russin, I think had genuine concerns about development, but my perception is that he has been a "useful idiot" for a "friend." Throw in a few political whores, and who needs Netflix' "House of Cards"??

Anonymous said...

Mickey T does not live in a property owned by Abe, hasn't for quite some time. Check your facts Bo

Anonymous said...

I have made myself available to assist Mr Weiss on election day, what can I do and where should I be?

Lighthouse said...

Ovem 6:26

"on lines crossed...yet"

I certainly hope, and pray, no lines have been crossed, but your points are well taken. Slopes can become awfully slippery. Sad if our Township starts getting this reputation again.

zoid said...

6:57
check on one of the attached mail cards I thought I saw an email address contact on one of them.

Anonymous said...

I'll be voting for Weiss as a write-in.

But your article is misleading. We Democrats did not have the opportunity to vote for Weiss in the primary. (I understand I could have written him in but at that point, his Republican nomination was not in doubt.)

Anonymous said...

I blame the republicans for this. They were the low information voter in the primary that fell for the slick car salesman who does not really live in the township. They need to redeem themselves and save the township by writing in Paul Weiss.

Anonymous said...

How can ZAWARSKI get away with this type of behavior?

Anonymous said...

6:41,
The address listed by Mickey T (1908 13th Street)is owned by his employer. If he has changed his address since filing his election forms, he needs to inform those affected.

Anonymous said...

After reading this, I can't blame our Manager for leaving. Weiss, it will be, for me. Once the development across from Farmersville started, I told my husband that "they" are pushing us out of the Township. A township that was once a privilege to live in.

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem Township deserves what it gets.

You want to vote in Marty Zawarski, you reap those consequences. It's not like Marty was a wolf in sheep's clothing. It is and always has been Marty Zawarski, developer.

Weiss was too complacent/unmotivated to actually campaign and that had serious consequences.

Atiyeh is successful because he will outwork your complacency. The average voter doesn't care enough. His entire strategy is based on the bet the average Township voter is lazy, uninterested and not paying attention. He's counting on you not to be vigilant.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Mickey T does not live in a property owned by Abe, hasn't for quite some time. Check your facts Bo"

Let's assume you're right. i know he certainly did at first. I believe he still does, and there is no dispute that he works for Abe as his COO. I have the highest regard for Mickey, but don't like his boss's attempt to control BT.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I have made myself available to assist Mr Weiss on election day, what can I do and where should I be?"

Contact me at bohare5948@aol.com, and i will transmit your contact info to him. I don't want to post it here without his permission.

Bernie O'Hare said...

A comment from mezzacappa has been deleted. She is poison and no campaign wants anything to do with her.

Anonymous said...

Bernie and all:

I still live in the same house (not apartment) in the Township that I have lived since moving to the Township. I understand that some people are trying to use this non-existent issue to influence the election. They've also used the custody issue (I have 50/50 custody of my children) as well. It's juvenile, but so be it.

I love my home and the community I live in. I've met wonderful people through my interactions with the Township and the Athletic Association that one of my sons participate in. I've had the chance to talk to many people who are disappointed and shocked the direction the Township is going in. And all I want to do is help. I've helped people in differing ways my whole life, and running for office is just one more way to positively impact the lives of my neighbors and community.

-Mickey Thompson

Anonymous said...

Funny, as of one hour ago Micky Thompsons rental on 13th street in bethlehem township was still officially owned by Valley venture capital llc, Abe Atiyeh's company. If Thompson is telling you different, he lying.
I'm sure working for Abe thats a job requirement. You are right Bernie, Abe still owns it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mickey, you certainly aren't helping the people you claim you want to serve by not disclosing who has funded your campaign. You know the law, but you thumbed your nose at it, not filing your report until the weekend before the election. You'd rather pay the $100 fine than disclose to the people that Abe Atiyeh is funding your entire campaign.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Unfortunately for Mickey, I was at the elections office when his paralegal tried to file it late Friday. I will do a separate post. This is the kind of thing that disgusts me

Anonymous said...

Bethlehem Township has been a circus for years. They completely fucked the place up. The government there's been for sale for sometime. It's just a new yard sale. Pay your money and take your choice.

Peter J.Cochran said...

I corrected signs that got "blown over " while on my way to my parents house. But I will say somebody is afraid! Why were" Mr Write In's" signs for the most part. Some one IS beating up his signs.I will fix his signs as a gesture to all of you voting in the right person here.He is NOT FOR SALE! I agree with you Bernie on this man's integrity.

Peter J.Cochran said...

See ,if it was not for this blog , who would know Mickey is 'affiliated'? I will bet that Abe'y baby will meet his match in Easton, Pa.on his sign deal. The 'NEW BOYS' are smart and don't bend over! I'll bet he is in for a bruiser.

Ovem Lupo Commitere said...

I make no accusation that anything illegal or corrupt has thus far happened. However, when a developer has been so blatantly trying to take over the governing body the past two election cycles, and if your report is true that a Commissioner/developer reached out to a developer before the Township-- that he would potentially be voting on later-- to suggest land his family members own, it does resurrect ghosts of the past. A refresher on that past would explain why some of us in the public are concerned that a developer quoted in the M. Call 10-28-13 as saying “you are being blackmailed into doing a deal. I do it all the time” is trying get his people elected. Again, I make no explicit accusation, but they are running for public office, and have to understand why there is a perception/fear of deja vu.

M. Call, 3-13-88, on that earlier era: “...Officials in the state Attorney General's office noted the pervasiveness of Bethlehem Township's corruption.

In one instance, according to testimony, township officials sat in the Fifth Street Municipal Building and talked about "putting the squeeze" on developers, ...

--- was the man who fostered the corruption, they said, using his power and influence to sanction bribes and to create an atmosphere where taking care of friends and family was an accepted practice ...

Prosecutors maintain that the township's unanticipated prosperity fostered complacency among residents, at the precise time that a questioning citizenry was most needed. The one check-and-balance that might have squelched corruption was happily inattentive, they claim. ...”

Anonymous said...

Heard from an inside source in the Township that two more employees resigned today.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Do you think someone from the State Attorney General's office will investigate these claims? How can the township commissioners sit back and ignore what is being said about one of their own?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Nothing illegal has occurred, at least to my knowledge. But one man rule leads to that.

Anonymous said...

Just in.. the Township Fire Marshal and the Emergency Management Coordinator resigned today. Unreal what's going on over there!