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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, July 03, 2015

Pawlowski - Smoke, But No Fire

For weeks, I've been hearing that both Allentown Mayor Edwin Pawlowski and his political consultant, Michael Fleck, are under scrutiny by federal authorities. Fleck's consulting business was supposedly raided a few weeks ago. I have heard this sort of thing before. Since nobody had any hard facts, I decided against writing about it. That changed with yesterday's disclosure, which first appeared in The Morning Call, that FBI agents were inside City Hall looking at contracts since 2005. That would be the entire time Pawlowski has been Mayor. So there's certainly smoke. But I don't know that there's fire.

An earlier version of the story, which mysteriously disappeared without comment, indicated that Pawlowski and his wife had actually been escorted to the federal courthouse. I have no idea whether that deleted statement is accurate.

Here's what I have heard. The feds have questions about professional services contracts with the city and the connection between them and political contributions made to Pawlowski. The reason his wife would be relevant is because she is his campaign treasurer.

For years, I have raised questions about his finance reports and he has sometimes been fined as a result. For years, I have made pay-to-play connections, which have also been suggested by The Morning Call.

I tried contacting Mike Fleck for his side of the story, but he has not responded. Although I was able to leave a message, others tell me that some of his numbers have been disconnected and that he is moving.

Readers of this blog know I am no fan of Pawlowski, his lack of transparency or his policies of shoving the poor under the rug. But I caution everyone that smoke is not fire. The fact that the feds have questions does not, by itself, suggest that the Mayor has done anything wrong.

Rumors have even made their way to Harrisburg, with reports that the Pawlowski situation is about to "implode." But how much of this is real and how much of it is politics from the Sestak camp? I don't know. If he is prosecuted, I shall shed no tears for Pawlowski. But everyone, including him, is entitled to a presumption of innocence. You're more than welcome to tell us what you know, but I caution readers to take everything with a grain of salt.

Updated 2 pm - Firm Cites Pawlowski Preessure: "We do work for a number of firms that are tightly tied to Pawlowski and the NIZ, such as Boyle, Jaindl, and Northstar. To say we’re getting pressure to contribute to his campaign would be a gross understatement. They are leaning on us like you would not believe, and if you don’t give to one, they want to know the $ amount of what you gave to someone else for Pawlowski’s campaign. It’s pay/play without a doubt, and I’m not sure it’s illegal because there’s no formal track. But the implied threat is we all made $$ on this and now it’s time to repay the favor. We’ll end up holding our noses and making a small contribution so as to not offend the people we work with, but this just sucks and is exactly the way Pawlowski conducts business."

86 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know I laugh every time I see that "portrait" of King Ed.

Bernie O'Hare said...

One of my faves.

Anonymous said...

Complete with shit-eating grin.

Anonymous said...

Presumption of innocence spoken from a true flip flopper / ass kisser when he has to be

Anonymous said...

@12:09 Hey, as pretty as those G-men might be, getting an "escort" to the courthouse is not a good look.

Anonymous said...

This may have nothing to do with Pawlowski... Remember that McCord was indicted....This could be a further investigation of McCord as Treasurer. In the end....none of us know anything about this....it is all speculation. We will know more when the federal grand jury adjourns.

Anonymous said...

http://m.wfmz.com/berks-regional-news/investigation-of-reading-mayor-vaughn-spencers-2011-campaign-finances-ongoing-pennsylvania-attorney-general-kathleen-kanes-office-says/26966628

Anonymous said...

After this scandal the Penguin will be exhiled to the nearest iceberg by the PA. Dem party.

michael molovinsky said...

one mistake or misinterpretation is often repeated by the other media outlets in this town. pawlowski may have gone into the federal courthouse to cooperate with any inquiry by the FBI, because their office happens also to be in that building.

Anonymous said...

"I tried contacting Mike Fleck for his side of the story, but he has not responded."

Mike was retrieving his paper route inserts from a local dumpster in Palmer and will get back to you when he finishes his Ph.D (or G.E.D. or something) from Moravian. Remember when a business man of the same name ran ads in the paper to distance himself from this serial, dumpster-diving liar? Rumor has it that guys named Ed Pawlowski are changing their names in record numbers.

Anonymous said...

12:18

"Nothing to do with Pawlowski" or "a further investigation of McCord"?

Why would the FBI spend a day in Allentown City Hall investigating McCord?

That would seem odd.

Bill said...

I have found this administration unresponsive to "average" citizens, so I am also not a fan of the Mayor at this point. I do agree with your sense of presumptive innocence and believe more will be revealed (one way or another). Despite my negative view on how the Administration has failed to represent non wealthy citizens of which we have many, I hope that there is no fire to follow your analogy. Ultimately, if there has been wrong doing, it will do harm to our city and we could do without another dark mark on our reputation.

Bill said...

I have found this administration unresponsive to "average" citizens, so I am also not a fan of the Mayor at this point. I do agree with your sense of presumptive innocence and believe more will be revealed (one way or another). Despite my negative view on how the Administration has failed to represent non wealthy citizens of which we have many, I hope that there is no fire to follow your analogy. Ultimately, if there has been wrong doing, it will do harm to our city and we could do without another dark mark on our reputation.

Anonymous said...

I am sure The City Spokesman will explain it today.If not there is fire

Anonymous said...

WFMZ reports they searched his house as well. His frog walk will be video gold.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping he would share a cell with Jim Gregory but looks like Ed is going the federal penitentiary route.
Careful Ed, story goes once you go black you never go back...Bend over rover, johnny long dong is coming in.

Anonymous said...

Fleck will defend the family Pawlowski in all legal proceedings. He obtained a JD from Lincoln Tech or something, despite never passing any bar without stopping in.

Anonymous said...

That sinister flavor-saver mustache indicates a possible Megan's Law violation.

Anonymous said...

Bernie
Did you see yesterday's blog as almost 140 readers. That's gota be some kind of record.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, anyone could probably come up with three or four things that it could be with Pawlowski.

The fact that it got to this point, after 10 YEARS, without any scrutiny by the local newspaper is the other half of this story.

Anonymous said...

The fact that it got to this point, after 10 YEARS, without any scrutiny by the local newspaper is the other half of this story.

10:11 AM


Amen

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when the press conference is scheduled?

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

Tut, tut!!! Knock me down with a feather!

Anonymous said...

Allentown mayor and U.S. Senate candidate Ed Pawlowski is expected to release a statement before noon Friday, she said; he has not responded to requests for comment

Well it's 11:57.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago Pawlowski was able to get the puppets on City Council to rubber stamp a new law increasing the threshold amount for City contracts to go out to bid. I always felt this created an opportunity for corrupt public officials to steer the bulk of City contracts. There just seemed to be very little rationale to do this and of course Allentown residents can't count on City Council to be independent and scrutinize this kind of law. It was passed easily with little objections or concerns for possible impropriety in City Hall.

Monkey momma said...

Bernie, I admire your restraint. It's past noon...and the silence from Pawlowski is deafening.

Anonymous said...

The wording of the official statement from the Potemkin "City Without Ethics" indicates they're scared shitless and diving under desks. Wonder if Easton and Panto are next? Gonna need more handcuffs.

Monkey momma said...

Oh I see the statement now. Nothing like waiting til the last minute.

Anonymous said...

Mike Fleck needs his swim trunks back from the dumpster. Because he is in the deep end!
http://blog.pennlive.com/lvbreakingnews/fleck.jpg

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am outraged that Pawlowski is using his publicly paid spokesman to deny wrongdoing. That is not city business, and Moorejust provedv again tht he is a whore wirth no integrity. You do NOT use city employees to cover your ass, King Edwin.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Did you see yesterday's blog as almost 140 readers. That's gota be some kind of record."

Since about 100 of them come from one person, it does not count.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The fact that it got to this point, after 10 YEARS, without any scrutiny by the local newspaper is the other half of this story."

There was lots of scrutiny of his pay to play practices on this blog, and by Jarrett Renshaw when he worked for the MC. But most of the time, the MC and now ET have been nothing but cheerleaders.

Anonymous said...

No restraint, O'Hare is loving this. There is nothing here yet. This has been a witch hunt for years. Like other people, the Mayor is a victim of O'Hare rage. People are asking what contacts did O'Hare contact to get the FBI involved. In Northampton Co., he is tearing his victims up.

We all know where the real investigations should be done.

Anonymous said...

Where di the quote come from?

Anonymous said...

His spokeman's real name is Michael Korp. He takes communion at St. Jane's Church in Palmer Township while lying for the disgraceful mayor. He uses his old radio name to avoid detection. He's rather slimey.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever looked into the relationship between Boyle construction and the city of Bethlehem? It seems like they do every construction project over there.

Anonymous said...

Did Fleck rollover on Ed and will Ed rollover on a bigger fish?

Anonymous said...

As a life long Allentown resident I'm hoping this is only smoke. The alternative would do serious harm to not just Pawlowski but the city and the vibrant growth taking place. As a region we have worked hard to recover from years of economic decline to have that progress viewed through the the fog of corruption is very disappointing. Many people contributed to were we are beyond the usual suspects. Go Allentown Go Lehigh Valley!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Go JB Reilly!! Get more millionaire welfare the Allentown way!

Anonymous said...

4:52

That attitude is what breeds corruption, and has gone on for far too long.

Anything that's so fragile that it can't withstand honest scrutiny isn't real.

Allentown isn't surviving BECAUSE of Ed Pawlowski, it's surviving IN SPITE of him. He's made the city the state's largest recipient of municipal welfare, and has somehow fooled people into thinking that's an accomplishment. In a sane world, voters would have run him out of town years ago.

Time to wake up!

DreamingOfJustice said...

Even if there is no "fire", there have been sparks spitting out for years. I've never seen a city run the way this one is, and that is because this city is run like a fiefdom for the millionaire boy's club.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Has anyone ever looked into the relationship between Boyle construction and the city of Bethlehem? It seems like they do every construction project over there.

4:35 PM

You're right to a point. Never thought about it.

Anonymous said...

Bernie broke the story a few years back when King Edwin's wife, Lisa posted pictures of her newly finished basement done by Cityline. How many contracts with the city did Cityline get?

Bernie O'Hare said...

One of the rumors is tgat Pawlowski was never billed by Cityline for the work done on his man cave. Another is how it is that Pawlowski always manages to vacation at the homes of his wealthy friends.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Bobby Gunther Walsh can inform the mayor on what it's like to get arrested, booked and have a cavity search.

Anonymous said...

It is rare that an FBI search leads to a "dead end". In order to get multiple search warrants, city hall and hizzhoners home, the grand jury has enough evidence.

Who will be the big fish?

King Ed, JB, the Senator, Ms. Hailstone, the Fleckster, stay tuned.

Expect more suits to visit other sites.

Anonymous said...

Ono not team hound from hell and and there underhanded substandirt subcontractors obtained through legal collusionary good old boys network public and private sector but not limited too¿

By the way there is no mention of the Brown incident, not a hide nor hair¿ The Democratic process taking place against the Republicans Chickogo style¿

redd
patent pending

Anonymous said...

Fast Eddie is as corrupt as they get. He is using the Chicago pay to play book. Where is the MC on this? What ever happened to real investigative journalism at the local level? MC staff spent hundreds of hours and several issues on why Asians from NYC flock to Bethlehem Sands. They should put half that effort investigating corruption in the Pawlowski administration.

Anonymous said...

I love the internet... no one has any facts but only speculation... but commentators(not Bernie) have made them selves the judge, jury, and executioners. All of you are idiots because you showing your true colors.

Bill said...

I totally agree with this anonymous post:

"Several years ago Pawlowski was able to get the puppets on City Council to rubber stamp a new law increasing the threshold amount for City contracts to go out to bid. I always felt this created an opportunity for corrupt public officials to steer the bulk of City contracts. There just seemed to be very little rationale to do this and of course Allentown residents can't count on City Council to be independent and scrutinize this kind of law. It was passed easily with little objections or concerns for possible impropriety in City Hall."

I want to know what role city council is supposed to play in oversight I see little evidence of independence.

Anonymous said...

Bernie
Happy 4th of July!

Why don't you create a blog just for today that folks can say why they are proud to be an American?

Anonymous said...

Boy if this doesn't sound like the Mrs.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I love the internet... no one has any facts but only speculation... but commentators(not Bernie) have made them selves the judge, jury, and executioners. All of you are idiots because you showing your true colors.

2:21 AM

Anonymous said...

As Democrats are fond of reminding, the appearance of impropriety is sufficient to warrant resignations. It's time for Pawlowski to resign.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the Fleckster was singing like a bird......

Anonymous said...

I've read these posts and I have to admit I'm dying to find out whatwent do wn. A couple of my observations: The fact that the Mayor is doing business with Cityline is pretty condemning. I also like how the affected employees went home for the day when the feds left after lunch. I hope the public servents that went home for the day are using comp time, vacation or personal time. I do recall all the articles on this blog over the years and to the poster at 6:57 above; I love the internet too, where amatuer bloggers can do the work of the professional press. I recall only reading here about how the mayor was dipping into campaign funds for babysitting expenses and how he was comping free meals at that defunct restaurant at 9th & Hamilton. Those indiscretions must pale in comparison to the perks he gets from the chosen NIZ insiders.

Anonymous said...

Go online to McCall.com, where the "professional press" is running the headline that the "FBI is targeting Allentown's contracting process", which is naturally the propaganda coming from City Hall.

Now one would think that the "professional press" would ask basic questions like "Since when does the FBI care about a municipality's contracting process", or "Why was the FBI waiting outside the Mayor's home", or "why were the Mayor and his wife personally delivering boxes of files to the federal courthouse".

But not the "professional press" in this town, which would have to travel all of a quarter of a mile to City Hall to ask those questions. I can only imagine that instead of digging for the truth, they are busy working on a story to cover it up.

Anonymous said...

The Buck stops at the Mayor... It is a stretch to say that the mayor knew nothing about the pilicy of distributing work. He will be fully responsible for all this when it finally is fully reported.

Anonymous said...

10:54

Good Points. It's not by accident the Call used the word: target. A person at which an attack is aimed.

So readers are told it's not his fault. They are targeting him. poor guy.
Start examining how the Call prepares most of its stories. Attend a government meeting and then read the Call's coverage.

Anonymous said...

If I wanted a contract with The City of Allentown would I have to be asked to donate to The Mayor's various P.A.C.s ect or would I donate w/o being asked ? Is that illegal?

Rich Fegley said...

Agreed. There are other contracts made without Council's approval. We are always told the Mayor can do that. Billboards.

Rich Fegley said...

Agreed. No independence with Council and the Mayor in Allentown.

Rich Fegley said...

Waiting for new news on this topic is like waiting for the next episode of House of Cards.

Anonymous said...

Billboards.

Rich,
Would you ever consider an online petition to remove some of these digital billboards? The one in front of the Mack Fire Station is horribly distracting and the one on the side of the 15th Street Bridge is equally distracting.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the Federal Government visiting city hall on the week we as Americans celebrate our Liberty may transform Allentonians into insisting on taking back some of their recently lost liberties too like insisting city hall repair at all costs the Cedar Beach Pool now, this summer, so all the city's children will have a safe place to swim and repairing the stone wall in the largest city park so residents of all ages can once again safely stroll along its bridle paths.

Michael Donovan said...

I was one of the "puppets" who voted to update the purchasing rules and even crafted part of the ordinance specifically to offset risk. The rules at the time were archaic and open to manipulation. We were careful to craft language that we felt would hinder any corruption. We were very specific about rules, and as always rules can be circumvented.

I don't consider myself a puppet.

Anonymous said...

http://articles.mcall.com/2008-11-02/opinion/4232961_1_home-rule-charter-quotations-purchase-advertising

DreamingOfJustice said...

@ Michael Donovan: It's easy for anonymous persons to toss names around and label people. Unless your critics were at the meetings, they don't really know what went on. And that's part of the problem. There are many people who base their opinions on the condition of the city's resources such as the parks, the pool, the schools, the streets, the economy..these are end results of the mystery of the equation that is the working of Allentown government. It is tough to assuage the anger of citizens when they are confronted with failure -big, visual failure of the city to deliver services, safely educate children, maintain parks and pools at every turn all day long. I would have moved into center city and rehabbed a house-maybe even bought three or four row homes, I had the money for it- but I did the diligence and just could not justify it. It's all connected: corruption is the common denominator + a population (all demographics) which does not turn out to vote or that votes for status quo.

monkey momma said...

I really cannot believe that we haven't heard one word from Pawlowski on this matter. NOT ONE WORD. Even if all he said was, "I cannot comment on the ongoing investigation," it would be better than this stonewalling. It's incredible that nobody except the solicitor and the spokesman has made any kind of statement. Where is City Council???? Where is the mayor???? This is not leadership - not at all. Very disappointed in every single elected official in Allentown and around it.

Anonymous said...

These are not anonymous people and who tossed names around! These are Allentown residents eye witnesses to what each writes about and many have attended endless meetings only to be shut down.

re:
@ Michael Donovan: It's easy for anonymous persons to toss names around and label people. Unless your critics were at the meetings, they don't really know what went on.

Anonymous said...

People have got a right to know whether or not their Mayor is a crook.

Anonymous said...

Well, Pawlowski is not a crook. He's earned everything he's got.

DreamingOfJustice said...

@ 6:41 PM, Did you read the entire comment posted? Because the criticism is directed at you and others who call people names- "puppets" etc, yet refuse to sign your own name. That's an observation, not an opinion, and yes, many who are here complaining are part of the problem. Entrenched voting patterns, unopposed candidates..all of it contributes to corruption.

Anonymous said...

Monkey momma, you are right. I think the silence represents a secret code among the elected. Take the pa legislature and senate, despite the fact that countless members have gone to jail, not one statement of condemnation from any elected rep in the valley.



Anonymous said...

And use their aircraft

Anonymous said...

Pawlowski is not a crook?

Anonymous said...

It's absolutely amazing that no one has any information about this other than there is some sort of investigation by the Federal government. No one has a clue on what is happening including myself, however everyone is now witch hunting. I wonder how many people will retract their judge, jury, and executioner statements if it is found that nothing illegal occurred?

Michael Donovan said...

Yes, I wrote that as part of doing my job. And there were countless discussions among several of us about ensuring controls. The charter's language was weak. Indeed, it is weak on a number items that could provide better control on the executive. This is one reason I ran for mayor - better openness and coordination among residents, council, and the school board. There are only a few council votes I regret. But I do so because my expectations were not met. I had a sense that good urban policy would be carried out. Instead, I trusted too much.

We will know eventually what is happening. Til then we must wait and see without assuming guilt in anyone. I am as curious, too, but also patient.

Bernie O'Hare said...

We may need to wait, but those who suggest that the feds are involved in a witch hunt are dead wrong. There are plenty of reasons to investigate Pawlowski, as you well know.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

I am not suggesting that the feds are witch hunting, they will do their due diligence. I am referring to the general public who is responsible for witch hunting... People with zero information are coming to conclusions to fit their ideology and hate for a publicly elected official. It is disgusting. Who the hell knows, this maybe part of a larger investigation of someone who is not part of the city's government, or maybe not... It is all speculation.

Anonymous said...

Mike Fleck is corrupt to the core. And the wierd thing is, he gets alot of work for failure. I never saw a consultant lose so many races and still get hired.
Scott Parsons used Fleck for senate race. Spent tons of money on Fleck and mailers. Per vote cost was more than the other 2 candidates combined.
Parsons came in second and he is still paying off the debt.

Monkey Momma said...

Well, after I left my comment, I see Pawlowski was seen out and about last night. So that's good. I was worried he fled to Mexico or something. I guess we'll just wait and see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Over the past few days I have recounted the rise of Mayor Ed Pawlowski. To start think back to the early 2000's. Former Mayor Heydt left office with the rise of crime, the mass exodus of businesses, an empty former department store, and our city falling into hell. Then Mayor Afflerbach was elected and took our city to another deeper level of hell. During that time a young redevelopment director left the city to remove himself from the Afflerbach administration.

This man was Edwin Pawlowski and everyone had the notion he was going to run for mayor. Come the 2006 Election Mayor Pawlowski squared off against former Mayor Heydt in a battle of the future verse the past. Pawlowski won and was suppose to be our figurative White Knight.

During that election you saw the increase of multiple well off families or organizations donate money to his campaign. At the time I would truly believe these persons thought that he was the right man for the job.

As the years went on and the city went stagnant with crime numbers slow increasing but not as bad as prior administrations, property values falling because of the economy and blight, and less hope in everyone's eyes about a rebirth of Allentown. He still received good campaign donations from two construction firms (One with a big giant "B" for a logo and one with a big giant Star). Oddly enough one is clearly stated on the City website for being a city contractor and the other is clearly know for there government work.

They we hit the early part of the new decade and a seemly nice increase in donations from local unions. Then for what ever reason a good portion of legislation got past in city council that required more restrictions on commercial, institutional, and industrial construction that benefited these donors.

Finally in our current era shows the rise of the NIZ and the rise of the NIZ developers. It is more the J.B. Reilly, Joseph Topper, Lee, Greg, and Erik Butz. It is new names and companies like Boyle Construction (Who is building a new parking deck behind the 500 block of Hamilton), Mark and Zak Jaindl (Jaindl Properties the first half of the Waterfront Development), their partners Ryan Dunn and Andrew Twigger (Dunn & Twigger the second half of the Waterfront Development), Bruce Loch (The proposed Allentown Tower of Babel) and if you really look hard enough you will see the increase in donations from other people benefitting from the NIZ like Jim Harbaugh a City Center Employee, Brian Regan the accountant for City Center and Butz, Sy Traub the leader of the ANIZDA Board, Art Swallow the surveying crew for Loch and the 33 story tower.

So what does all this mean? The first question is, Do you believe Ed Pawlowski is great mayor and that is why he is getting all these increased funds? If your answer is yes you are extremely naive. If your answer is no the the second and ultimate question is, How do we make these people play by the rules and not the rule of one man?

To Verify

https://www.campaignfinanceonline.state.pa.us/pages/CFReportSearch.aspx

http://www.allentownpa.gov/Contracts

Anonymous said...

a young redevelopment director left the city to remove himself from the Afflerbach administration...

Actually, did this young man leave to return to Chicago where he enrolled in Bible College/

monkey momma said...

I have to say, it really irritates me when Pawlowski supporters use the Bible College reference to "prove" the mayor's ethics. It's almost like the argument is: Pawlowski can't possibly be rotten, because he went to Bible College.

Well guess what. Some of the most corrupt and morally bankrupt people in history have claimed that God is on their side.

Almost everyone who applies to Moody gets accepted. I'm not saying it's a bad place, but it's hardly elite. 3/4 or more of all applicants are accepted. (One source pegs the number close to 90% acceptance.) So please, Pawlowski supporters, please stop using his attendance at Moody's as some kind of selling point. It's not.

When the FBI raids the office of an elected official, it is only natural that citizens will be concerned. It is not a case of presuming guilt to wonder why the FBI focused on the executive suite - it is common sense questioning.

Anonymous said...

I am quite sure the FBI is not in the business of wasting its own time "just" looking around. Folks, this is serious stuff. The Federal government ordered the vacation of a local government office and searched it. They were positioned at the Mayor's home. While we need to wait and see what happens and reserve judgement on the City and its Mayor... I would suspect this investigation will be leading to something big on the horizon.

Matt M. said...

So is this now known as NIZgate? I think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg on this one... and it knows no party lines.