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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, July 27, 2015

Fed Ed's Norris, McLaughlin Connection

Matt Sorrentino
The Norris, McLauglin law firm has a starring role in the summer drama that increasingly appears to be a federal investigation into pay-to-play. Not only are partners identified on the FBI subpoena list, but they have been involved in the Pawlowski story for the past several years.This firm was once known as Tallman, Hudders and Sorrentino, a prominent local firm. The firm recently re-located from South Whitehall to take advantage of the low rents made possible at the disingenuously named Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ).

Managing partner Matt Sorrentno is Lehigh County's Solicitor. He also represents Lehigh Valley Health Network, which just happens to be renting space inside the NIZ and even had two security kiosks installed for the short walk from a parking lot to their fitness center. And for good reason! Patrons might run into Rich Fegeley!

Richard Somach
Richard Somach represents Pawlowski contributor Rob Bennett and Bennett Auto Dealerships. Bennett built a new dealership at the former Exide Battery Plant on Lehigh Street, thanks in large part to $4.5 million in federal brownfield remediation grants.. Though the original construction was done by J. G. Petrucci, the last several additions to the site were done by North Star (J.B. Reilly) and Jim Gentile. Bennett sold their East Allentown - West Bethlehem location to the Banko family. Banko never used it, instead moving to a facility in South Whitehall. Somach is anAssistant County Solicitor, Lehigh County Assessment Board Solicitor and is a collections attorney for Nat Penn Bank, among others,

Fed Ed and his family are rumored to use Rich Somach's Florida Keys second home for vacations.

Scott Allinson
In addition to all of the reported connections of Scott Allinson to Mike Fleck, Allinson also represented Ruckus Brewing in their Neuweiler deal. That was a lot of smoke and mirrors, and may involve Rosen money as speculated by Michael Molovinsky. Contractor Sean Boyle has supposedly been hired by Ruckus to be their Construction Manager. Allinson is a Fleck lawyer, Ruckus lawyer, Reilly friend and lawyer, Fainor friend and lawyer, Lehigh County IDA lawyer and NorCo Gaming Authority Solicitor. A self-proclaimed rainmaker, his profile claims that he helps businesses "achieve their day-to-day, as well as long-term, business objectives."

He calls himself an economic development lawyer.

Ollie Foucek
I'd be remiss if I neglected to mention Oldrich "Ollie" Foucek III, City Planning Commission member and chair, ANIZDA Board member, LV Chamber of Commerce Solicitor and major Fed Ed contributor. He recently was among those to approve plans for a wholesaler along the Allentown NIZ waterfront despite the fact that there were no ... plans. Obviously, this guy is a walking, talking conflict of interest. Being on the Planning Commission and NIZ Board is bad enough, but to be part of a firm that is financially benefiting from both is obscene.

Foucek would likely say Fouck you a year ago. Don't think he'll be saying that now.

Of lesser note are John Lushis, who is involved in the IDA at both Lehigh and Northampton County; and Ted Zeller, who I'll bet has done all the PLCB work for City Center, Arena and NIZ restaurants.


Bill said...

And then there is this: http://triblive.com/opinion/bradbumsted/8794588-74/mccord-fleck-allentown#axzz3gyUqfv3B

Anonymous said...

Follow the money, there's even more to the Foucek connection.
You are on the scent now, BOH. Well done.
In "the fullness of time" much more will be revealed.

Anonymous said...

Where can I hire an "economic development lawyer"?
I could sure use one.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the Hamilton Crossings fiasco.

Matt Sorrentino= Lehigh County Solicitor

John Lushis= Lehigh County IDA Solicitor

Rich Somach= Lower Macungie Township Solicitor

The best part is that anybody who suggested that one firm representing all sides could be a conflict of interest was laughed out of the room by the dupes who actually thought they were getting impartial advice.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bill, I have a story linking to that column.

Anonymous said...

Good work, Bernie. At a glance, I thought I had tripped into the Lehigh Valley Nobody's wax rogue's gallery. On second inspection, I found a lot of content. Corruption sucks, but it is all around us.

Anonymous said...

Your reporting is nothing short of extraordinary
Mr. O'Hare.
The entire region owes you a debt of gratitude.
Thank you, sir.

Anonymous said...

Let me come right out and ask: isn't Sean Boyle the boyfriend of Community and Economic Development Director and ANIZ Chair Sarah Hailston?

Bernie O'Hare said...


Anonymous said...

These incestuous relationships are a Lehigh Valley wide problem. Allentown just happens to be spectacularly imploding now. It's not necessarily an "urban" growth regime. It's a growth regime.

Same issues are common in many places. Rapidly developing townships like Lower Macungie and Bethlehem Township need to find solicitors from outside the area or local ones with no local developer ties.

Throw engineers in that mix as well. Think BT's engineer is Pidcock right? They have definitely have their hands in everything.

Who is BT's solicitor? Quick look at BT's website and it's not easy to find who the solicitor is. Probably shouldn't be so hard to find for residents. Is he/she embedded with developers? LM's is for sure...

Anonymous said...

Yes, 2:45. All the real money to be made is in "bending the rules" through government spending. To politicians, government money is just like Monopoly money. It's just not like real money. Not to mention we have come to a point in America where half the citizens don't really care.

The weeds are taking over our lawn.

Anonymous said...

Have to ask anon 2:55 who are the weeds?

Anonymous said...

We've always found them in places like Harrisburg and Washington, D.C. Now, this unwanted plant species is taking over all our homes.

Anonymous said...

If in fact Sara Hailstone is the romantic interest of Sean Boyle how could Her and Her cohorts on The Parking Authority Board approve a no-bid contract to build the new Parking Authority deck to Mr Boyle ?

Anonymous said...

It's about time Scott Fainor and National Penn Bank started to surface in this twisted tail of the NIZ. Remember Scott and Nat Penn provided the financing for many of the NIZ developments including the PPL Center and their new offices at 7th and Hamilton. Developer JP Reilly made out on this one and Scott and Nat Penn are benefactors of the taxpayer subsidized loans. JP Reilly, Tallman Hudders, Alan Jennings and others are all in the Fainor circle of friends. Keep digging Bernie, it shouldn't be too hard to connect the dots.

Anonymous said...

The suburban elected officials who wanted no part of having their tax revenue pay for downtown Allentown's redevelopment are now looking like prophets. Remember Palowski's attempt to buy peace by offering them a cut of the profits? If anyone had taken that, they could be getting visits from the FBI about now. I recall the justification for suburbs helping downtown was that "a rising tide lifts all boats." What does an ebbing tide do?

Anonymous said...

I didn't see this mentioned anywhere. But Mr. Somach is the solicitor for the Lehigh County Sheriff's Office as well. It's my understanding that he's had conversations with both sheriffs candidates about having lunch to discuss real estate sales. I found this out through a friend. We were discussing the Fed. Investigation and this came up. If I was betting man I'd say there probably won't be any lunch at least with one of the candidates.

Bernie O'Hare said...