About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Fed Ed: It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like RICO

Earlier this month, I told you that former Allentown Finance Director Gary Strathearn, known to the feds as Public Official No. 4, would be the next head to roll in the pay-to-play investigation that is clearly targeting Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski. Yesterday, that's exactly what happened. So far, three of Fed Ed's myrmidons have been toppled as prosecutors methodically build a RICO (racketeering) case against him. For his part, Pawlowski is still in denial, trying to pretend nothing is wrong.

The federal information filed against Strathearn (you can read it here) is similar to the one filed against former Assistant Solicitor Dale Wiles. At the direction of Fed Ed, both participated in a bid-rigging scheme to ensure that an unnecessary revenue collection contract would go to Northeast Revenue.

This work was being done by Portnoff, but Pawlowski was apparently unhappy that contributions had dropped off. Northeast Revenue, in contrast, has kicked in $15,000

Lehigh County, incidentally, as a similar deal with Northeast.

What no one has answered is why.

If a person fails to pay his municipal, county or school tax bill for two years, his property is going to be sold. So there really is no need for privatized tax farmers. The only thing these firms manage to do is penalize homeowners are already down on their luck after losing a job or incurring major medical expenses. They file liens and tack on extortionate attorney fees. if the liens are unpaid, they sell the property and will include attorney fees and other costs that are sometimes as much as ten times greater than the unpaid taxes.

If there were no tax farmers, a homeowner could set up a payment plan with the County to get caught up on his taxes. Even if he fails to make good, the County can eventually sell the property without imposing onerous charges.

The only reason for tax farmers, which first started in several school districts is pure greed. Short-sighted school districts failed to realize they have an obligation to be fair to the taxpayer.

Cities have jumped on this bandwagon, too. Bethlehem and Easton both use tax farmers.

Fairness to taxpayers is obviously rather low on Fed Ed's list of priorities. We now know that, despite his private protests to the contrary, he knew that the feds were looking at him for at least a year before the investigation became public knowledge. Both Wiles and Strathearn gave materially false statements to FBI agents investigating the bid-rigging scheme in May 2014. That explains why, as explained in the Ramzi Haddad information, Fed Ed started using burner phones and sweeping his office for electronic bugs.

The Moody Bible Institute grad had a guilty conscience, something that even his prayer meetings failed to prevent.

Like Lady MacBeth, he washes his hands to remove the stain of guilt, but it's still there. "Out, damn'd spot! out, I say!"

Federal investigators still have plenty of work ahead of them. There's the purchase of land the City did not need, using money it could ill afford to spend, to purchase two tracts of land from Abe Atiyeh at an inflated price. There's the nonexistent Ruckus Brewery at the old Neuweiler Building. There's the City water lease.There's the removal of Allentown Brew Works from the golf course. There's the trash-to-energy plant and the strange switched vote by Cynthia Mota. And of course, the NIZ.

Feds are setting Pawlowski up for a major RICO indictment, and that's going to take time.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

All speculation on your part. This is based on your irrational hatred of Mayor Pawlowski. You of all people should not be explaining the work of federal prosecutors, you blew that ability some time ago.

Let us wait for the real evidence and the real story. In the meantime report more about your mancruses and lady friend in Bethlehem.

Anonymous said...

At some point you need to dig up council president Ray Oconnels quote whn this all broke. Another example of total buffoonery.

Anonymous said...

One by one federal prosecutors are going after Pawlowski's associates to put pressure on Pawlowski to spill the goods on perhaps even higher prey. Who among Pawlowski's associates will be next to fall before Pawlowski takes the fall himself. There is no doubt that Pawlowski still has his defenders but his critics are out there too. Politically people are already lining up to become Mayor when and if the indictment comes. But in any case, Pawlowski at the maximum has two years left in his compromised administration before it ends if he does not resign earlier.

Anonymous said...

Cutting the head off the snake in Allentown doesn't really change anything.

Allentown is a one-party town. Replace Ed and another Democratic snake will pop up to replace him. The city is full of the dependent class that lives of government checks. Ed made sure to grease the palms of his supporters so they'd repay him with their votes. The Feds cause him to resign and they'll elect another Ed.

And life goes on with little change.

Anonymous said...

6:54,

sameo/sameo in bedlum

Tired of the same. Ready for radical change said...

Definitely the city is filled with the dependent lazy class. The Dems have figured out that the taxpayer mooches keep them in power. Look at every major city in America welfare = Dems = higher crime the l8st goes on.America needs to have a major sweeper team to clear out all the corruption and the corrupt. Major political change and major welfare reform.

Anonymous said...

No doubt a very broad investigation is going on. As it does, new paths appear. Since the beginning, most everyone believed this examination would not include the NIZ. But, how could it not?

The same group of money-changers, some pleading guilty, others indicted, were so close to the NIZ 'playground,' I find it difficult to believe there would have been no crossover of influence and favors in return. Far more money in motion out on the sidewalks.

I've been a critic of the NIZ, seeing it as a misuse of state tax dollars, but also because of the extremely high construction prices paid to a small group of favorite firms. I seem to recall, even Jennings said there is no real accountability. He later walked away, as did others.

IF some of the NIZ operatives get snagged in all of this FBI research, that's a bonus. Either way, it's beginning to look like the NIZ is collapsing under its own weight.

2016 will be a big year for news.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

These Good Fellas need a 7 Point Defense plan.

Anonymous said...

3:21AM Sounds like Mezzacrapped-her-pants, ran out of Quaalude, yummy vegan cocoa and vodka, and failed to fall into her usual stupor by 3AM.

You sound a bit jealous that Bernie is doing excellent reporting, while you sit in your hovel that mommy owns, dreaming about a car you once owned, and wondering how you will pay your bills.

This is "all speculation" like you never committed a crime.

Anonymous said...

Players in the NIZ may well get tied up in this, but near as I can tell the NIZ itself is here to stay. It is horrifically bad legislation but I don't believe it's illegal.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

How can PA in good conscience increase sales and cig taxes and not ensure any new taxes collected are excluded from the NIZ take. It does not change the NIZ commitments, however it doeseems protect new taxes. Consider a shale tax passes. Would Reilly move a gas company into the NiZ? It certainly is in the realms of possibility.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"At some point you need to dig up council president Ray Oconnels quote whn this all broke. Another example of total buffoonery."

I saw Ray during the A-town Throwdown and blasted him. Instead of getting pissy, he took it and told me he would try harder. I can't say he's been one to call the Mayor out, but I think he means well. It's just not in his nature to be a hard ass.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"All speculation on your part. This is based on your irrational hatred of Mayor Pawlowski. You of all people should not be explaining the work of federal prosecutors, you blew that ability some time ago.

Let us wait for the real evidence and the real story. In the meantime report more about your mancruses and lady friend in Bethlehem."


First, I hate nobody. Second, I do hate political corruption, and Fed Ed is corrupt. Third, I was at one time an Ass't US Attorney and know a little about how they operate. Fourth, the real evidence and real story is coming out. Haddad had admitted to the bribery and use of urner phnes and seeps. Wiles has admitted to bid-rigging at the behest of Fed Ed. Strathearn will be corroborating him. Independently, we know of the land deal and the obvious deprivation of the public's right to honest services.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Strathern's best friend was Mike Fleck. They were corrupt when Mike was first on Easton City Council. Mike would brag how Gary would take him to things like the Final Four tournament, etc. And oh, BTW, Mike didn't even have a job.

Anonymous said...

when you say tax farmers, do you mean a company like Keystone Collections Group?

Glenn Hunsicker said...

I think the general intent of the NIZ was good but it's players became corrupt along with the Pawaloski Adminstration all for Political gain

Bernie O'Hare said...

"when you say tax farmers, do you mean a company like Keystone Collections Group?"

Absolutely.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, when you say the land deal do you mean the Atiyeh sale? If so, so you think Abe will get in trouble or is his part in that no crime?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am referring to the Styeh land sale and he is in hot water.

Anonymous said...

I can somehow picture Abe Atiyeh in a hot tub with an apple in his mouth squealing like a pig...

Anonymous said...

Jennings is a pioneer and a saint.
Mota represents the future of Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Most people on welfare are poor white southerners in rural area's. Go back to teabagger schoo9l and fix you books.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering my question about Atiyeh. I always thought he was too smart to do something illegal. I wonder when charges will be coming.........and who else will be charged.

Also, what happens if they prove the land was illegally sold at an inflated price? Would the sale be reversed?

What a mess Pawlowski has made.

Anonymous said...

The city managing director is talking to the Feds in Philly.
Look out!

Anonymous said...

"Also, what happens if they prove the land was illegally sold at an inflated price? Would the sale be reversed?"

Funny suggestion. How would you force the seller to buy it back?

Anonymous said...

"teabagger schoo9l", 4:17 PM?

Really???

Vote for Hillary and be happy.

Anonymous said...

and over in bedlam they are sweating bullets and forming more committees

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Tea Bagger school.
Really.

Anonymous said...

How would you force the seller to buy it back?

Could they be forced to return the money from the sale? I seriously don't know, which is why I am asking BOH. It just seems to me if something was done illegally, then the city (meaning the residents), should be made whole again.

Anonymous said...

I will never understand why the Mayor re-hired Mr.Francis Dougherty after being fired from The Philadelphia School District for exposing bogus contracts.Why would the Mayor get this Guy involved with the City's bogus bid procedure

Anonymous said...

@7:46PM
1) Fran runs the entire operational side of the house, like Fleck ran the political side.
2) Fran ran the solicitors and had great Phillytown Union contacts.
3) Fran was more than happy to bully and get the thugs mobilized.
4) Fran is smart, tough, and thoroughly without scruples.
5) Fran knows where the bodies are buried.

Anonymous said...

So why would You trust the Man ?

Anonymous said...

Ed depends on the queen. There's not a lot of competent players on the scene.
He's willing to push people around and he could lie with a straight face.'
Bennington was a light weight.
For a Nancy, Francis is tough and a dependable thug. He's got Philadelphia connections. You're a fool if you underestimate the criminal.

Anonymous said...

love how this walking criminal continues to show up at ribbon cutting ceremonies and even better, he showed up at an elementary school with the chief of police to hand out citizenship awards to the kids.

that is down right disgusting. shame on the school board , shame on city council, shame on the police chief for appearing with the criminal and shame of the district/ school for bringing in the criminal, but then again the school board, the district, the council are all bought and paid for by the same criminal.

STOP SHOWING UP AT PUBLIC EVENTS. THE NEXT PUBLIC EVENT YOU WILL BE SHOWING UP AT SHOULD BE YOUR BAIL HEARING WHILE YOU ARE PERP WALKED OUT OF YOUR HOUSE OR CITY HALL.

Let the dominos continue to fall. keep turning over the stones and might see this lead to big dogs like Lehigh gas/topper , senator pat and wife ,as well as the law firms and developers.

We can't forget one of the biggest players in these scam...the UNIONS. they will be exposed big time and they all know that...don't they/you ? and you know who I am talking about bc I know he/they read this blog.

the clock is ticking and the democrat/union machine is coming to a big time halt bc of greed for cash and greed for power and control. nice job democrats. you and only you own this mess. I would love to blame the corruption on the gop but you guys own the city, the state and the fed govt.

and the media wonders why people in both parties have no faith in the govt and the politicians and unelected bureaucrats who own and operate that corrupt govt.

it is time to reward these politicians / officials with big jail time and if possible take away any and all tax payer funded pensions and healthcare/benefits . maybe they would think twice about committing crimes against the tax payers if they knew their family would loose the pension and their loved ones would be in jail for 10-20 years with no chance of getting out early.

when you violate the trust of the people/tax payers and you are proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty, you should fry.

Anonymous said...

but hey we got the phantoms and a nice arena.who freaking cares

plus we have restaurants like Shulas who for some reason , the same ownership group , refused to pay their rent, for a very long time at the promenade and now they get rewarded with another 10 years of paying little to no taxes.

Kostas Kalogeropoulos paid out 1.7 million because he refused to pay rent and this is how another criminal gets rewarded.

wonder if niz money was used to settle this mess back in the day.

http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-shulas-lawsuit-folo-20150205-story.html

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/index.ssf/2015/02/shulas_steakhouse_promenade_sh.html

Anonymous said...

I've always wondered how Lehigh County got away with using private debt collectors! Does Northampton County do this? It seems the court should have all the tools it would need to collect debts.

Bernie O'Hare said...

NorCo does not use privatized tax farmers. They are completely unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

It seems clear the big NIZ $$$ is going to a rather small group of REPUBLICANS.
A pox on both their houses.

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course everything is the Republicans' fault.

Especially in a one-party town run by Demcorats.

Vote for Hillary and be happy.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
What would be the charge for said no3 for forcing his underlings boys in blue as well as AFD for covering up a murder as well as some sort of housing flipp flopp for only a $500.oo campaign donation as well as mancave remodel¿!($ This is not to even mention about two million in misappropreated grant funds for said upgrades for the unclean unwashed innocent indigent children that are pert of the cancerous clause decreed by the pompuss overinflated ego of king adolesent obeCity well into adulthood posterboy pinup parisinor of LCCC's subsect Church on the Run that infects the nation in its consortium consultant subsect firm¿!($
redd
patent pending

Anonymous said...

From this readers vantage point there is plenty of blame to go around.

Anonymous said...

For the record the Mayor's/APD gave awards to students going to Allen H.S. , Trexler M.S, Central Elementary School and Harrison-Morton M.S. ---- Students in specialized city districts. Students in schools on the south side and east side and outside the special district seemed to be excluded unless no advertisement of awards in those schools were made. Some in City Hall are amazed how the mayor during this period is still smiling and getting along ... Actually , the job of the Managing Director is to do the day to day things in City allowing the Mayor to do the things he promotes in his Facebook page.

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:46, you can be sure he was not spending his own money.

Anonymous said...

Fran has been talking to the Feds back home in Philadelphia.
You heard it here first.