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Thursday, March 03, 2016

Feds Expected to Mount Full Court Press in Fed Ed Investigation



WFMZ-TV69 has published its entire interview with noted criminal defense lawyer Jack McMahon. I doubt very many of you have had the time to watch the entire 48-minute conversation with Jacci Farris. But I'm sure one person has. That would be Joe Khan, the Assistant United States Attorney handling the investigation into Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski. Khan had been preoccupied in recent weeks because he was preparing another prosecution. But that matter was recently resolved, so McMahon picked a very poor time to try his case in the press.

From what I've been told, prosecutors had already decided it was time to intensify their investigation, and I expect to see a lot more activity in the coming weeks.

McMahon makes the following arguments:

1) Fed Ed cannot possibly have committed a crime with Northeast Revenue because they've done such a good job. - Last time I checked, it's no defense to claim that the outfit illegally hired has done a good job. And incidentally, various title agents I know have complained about the arrogance, unresponsiveness and general poor quality of the work Northeast Revenue has provided, both in Allentown and Lehigh County.

2) Ramzi Haddad received no benefit for his bribes. "He got nothing," claims McMahon. "Where is the crime?" He goes on to claim the the federal charging document makes no direct link between Fed Ed and Haddad, if you read it carefully. I did. It does.

According to the information, it is Fed Ed himself who promised to lean on a code enforcement officer to go easy on Haddad. It is Fed Ed himself who promised Haddad a favorable ruling in a zoning matter, and actually instructed a city employee to help him. McMahon claims that it is Miked Fleck, and not Fed Ed, who made promises. But the information avers that Fed Ed "directly" told Haddad that "items of value, including food, drinks, and campaign contributions, [were] a necessary condition for receiving certain favorable treatment from the City of Allentown." He was specifically directed by Pawlowski to pick up his tabs during "in-person interactions."

3) Favoritism towards Jack Rosen does not exist because no contract has been awarded. - Once again, there does not have to be a completed deal for pay-to-play to exist.

4) Fleck acted on his own, without Fed Ed's knowledge. - No doubt this is why Fleck was wired. This is why Fleck's business partner, Sam Ruchlewicz, was also wired. No prosecutor would seek an indictment without evidence that directly ties Fed Ed to the criminal scheme.

6) Fed Ed had told Fleck to make a decision between lobbying for businesses and political campaigns. - This claim is directly contradicted by a news account published 1 1/2 years before the federal investigation broke in which both Fed Ed and Fleck insisted they don't mix business and politics. It was also flatly contradicted by entrepreneur Abe Atiyeh, who was unable to do any business in Allentown until he hired Fleck.as a "consultant." After that, Allentown went broke paying more than double what two useless pieces of land were worth. The City paid him $1.4 million for property only valued at $580,000. The City was forced later that year to raise the earned income tax.

7) Burner phones and office sweeps for electronic bugs are no big deal. - "It's a long-standing mayoral tradition," McMahon said with a straight face. As blogger Chris Casey observes, "It is a long-standing mayoral tradition, in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, and New York City. Places where corruption has been known to run rampant." Here, not so much. This is what has hurt Fed Ed more than anything else because it shows criminal intent.

8) Fleck stole $70,000 on the day of the raid. - FEC records do show that Fleck paid himself that sum, and an amended filing claims it was never authorized. There was no report, at the time of the alleged theft, that Fleck took this money without authorization. He obviously had been provided access to the account.

9) City Council has prejudged Pawlowski - He calls their no-confidence vote "reprehensible." But he apparently failed to read the resolution. It specifically notes he is presumed innocent but needs to resign because the climate surrounding this investigation has made it impossible for him (and them) to govern.

10) "I will see Ed Pawlowski to the very end of this case and hopefully his vindication." - Fed Ed has spent $80,000 for his criminal defense, and has $183,000 left. It's likely he'll be able to use all of it to pay for his lawyers. When that money runs out, that will be the "very end" of this case for McMahon.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a top criminal defense attorney making a cogent defense of his client. His defense is great. Was the Mayor set up by a greedy consultant, who tired to shift blame to evade jail? You give credence to the statements of a convicted criminal trying to lighten his load?

You may have forgotten you are an alcoholic disbarred no more attorney. The Mayor's attorney is real and very good. I am sure he is trembling after reading your stellar legal opinion.
HAH!

The Mayor has not been charged or convicted of anything. When he is never convicted, I am sure you will be the first to apologize to him.

Anonymous said...

The mayor was doing this well before Fleck arrived, but on a different level. Fleck just ramped it up a bit. I'm sure bernie could name a dozen other entities that were - wink wink - coerced.

Anonymous said...

No proof, just accusations. The Mayor is innocent until charged and proven guilty!

Anonymous said...

Can Fed Ed use that money for appeals too once he is convicted or will it get taken by the Feds? LOL

Anonymous said...

And there's the company that was awarded the police camera contract. They too had to make a down payment in the form of a contribution to secure their generous deal. It all stinks. Innocent until proven guilty alright. Next it will be innocent until the appeal is ruled upon. Then it will be some other smoke screen.

Anonymous said...

I again point out, a high profile defender like McMahon has MANY clients. Pawlowski is not likely the biggest member of McMahon's, mostly Philadelphia, herd. That region's ties to all the new spending here in Allentown are many.

It's entirely possible Pawlowski is seen as a "weak link" that can bring down the entire chain. This investigation might be ramping into new territory.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

Investigate the billboard and swamp land deals.

Anonymous said...

Ed loves Jesus and the little people, and don't you forget it.

Anonymous said...

Just Who got the police camera deal ??????????????????????????????

Anonymous said...

Like most religious people, Pawlowski is a hypocrite. I guess this is what they teach in evangelist schools like Moody Bible Institute.

Robert Trotner said...

Great blog.
Is it true that, in the absence of a plea,deal, the Feds must wait for the grand jury to hand down Fed Ed's indictment before they can arrest hum?

Monkey Momma said...

Excellent analysis, Bernie.

Your early morning admirer's comment that the mayor was "set up" by Fleck is amusing. Really....very amusing. When the only defense left is to throw everyone else under the bus, it smacks of desperation and a totally lost cause.

Pawlowski's defenders (what's left of them) need to remember...four people have pled GUILTY. And every single guilty plea included a clear statement of Pawlowski being the leader of these illegal shenanigans. If Fleck was the mastermind, why haven't ANY of them pointed their guilty fingers at Fleck? It literally makes no sense. I could see if we had only one or even two guilty pleas here, but there are (so far) FOUR.

Anyone assessing this situation logically would have to admit that Pawlowski is in serious trouble here. Pawlowski & other city officials met with clients of Fleck, whom Pawlowski knew paid money for that privilege. (The mayor is on record stating that this was a conflict of interest!!) In and of itself, that is pay to play. The end.

Anonymous said...

Didn't see the video, but does it start "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury?"

Anonymous said...

If the lawyers were paid 7 figures, said more nice things, he, Pawlowski will still be going . Our boy is tired of being a " punching bag" that's a bitch.

Anonymous said...

The end game is nigh.

Anonymous said...

In this country, people are considered innocent until proven guilty. Except on O'Hare's blog, where the disbarred attorney has already tried, convicted and sentenced Pawlowski to over a year of slander.

Chilio Pepper said...

Sociopathic defense arguments are all sociopaths have to offer.

Mc Mahon is simply a very very well paid legal mouthpiece aping for another gullible member of the media, the SAME media that blithely supported this monkey business for years. The irony.

Anonymous said...

Keep digging that hole, Ed.

Chris Casey said...

If the goal was to piss off the Feds and make them more determined, I bet they succeeded! There will be no mercy for Ed Pawlowski, but there will be reality. Maybe he can join Acosta up there in Northwest PA and they can start a prison band. Acosta got two years for ONE BRIBE arranged by Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer. What do you think the judge will give Ed for several years worth of extortion? Calling Bribes campaign Contributions does not make them legal. I'm betting Ed gets a minimum of ten years.

Anonymous said...

Who is Ed "Powalski"?

Anonymous said...

Suggestion: Side Bar Poll on number of years Fed Ed eventually gets. I think Chris's 10 is a fair over-under.

Anonymous said...

Will Fed Ed announce run for re-election next year? He was both parties' nominee in '13. He enjoyed bipartisan support from assholes of every stripe. I'm betting he will.

Anonymous said...

You know it's a tough day in the Mayor's office...

...when your own attorney consistently mispronounces your name.
...when your attorney glances around furtively and won't look the Morning Call reporter in the eye.
...when said attorney's interviews with the media depleted your campaign/defense fund by several thousand dollars, and made you look even more guilty.



Anonymous said...

Pawlowski HAS to announce for re-election, because if he doesn't, he can't fundraise to replenish his defense fund. Fundraising will be difficult; nonetheless there will surely be some who are clueless and/or feel obligated to give.

Anonymous said...

1:01 - good point. He has to run to stay out of prison. It's similar to one of his donors, Hillary Clinton.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Can Fed Ed use that money for appeals too once he is convicted or will it get taken by the Feds? LOL"

Should the feds just file charges, they can freeze Fed Ed's funds. That will really test Mcahon's commitment to his client. In the Graf case, McMahon was too cheap to spend the money for a "guilty but mentally ill" defense. He had the guy evaluated but claimed the shrink told him his client is normal. Anyone who kills his step daughter and has sex with her dead body and even video tapes it is not normal. Why didn't McMahon have Graf tested again? Why did he file no motions? I think he even waived the preliminary, although I am no longer sure about that. That is the only defense that could have worked. He took the guy's money and I don't believe he's with him any longer. I am pretty sure he wiped Graf out financially.

He and the DC lawyers have taken $80k thus far, and that money is not going to last long, especially when they know there is $183k more. My guess is that they will try to haveas much of that as possible deposited ith them to make it more difficult for the feds to access. But once that happens, Fed Ed will never see a dime.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Like most religious people, Pawlowski is a hypocrite. I guess this is what they teach in evangelist schools like Moody Bible Institute."

Like you, I am very leery of people who wear their religion on their sleeve. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Pawlowski HAS to announce for re-election, because if he doesn't, he can't fundraise to replenish his defense fund. Fundraising will be difficult; nonetheless there will surely be some who are clueless and/or feel obligated to give."

He can try, but i doubt very many will give to him at this juncture.

Anonymous said...

If Mr Pawlowski is convicted of a crime while serving as a public official, will he be able to collect his pension?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Probably. I would have to research that question.

Anonymous said...

Bernie what about the security contract with Rosen? Rosen gave Pawlowski 30k right around that time. Why didn't McMahon address that? That shows a contract for contributions...

Anonymous said...

You think Ed still can't hurt people?

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:18, You are correct. His argument is nonsense.

2:20, Yes, Fed Ed can still hurt people, but everyone is watching him now.

Anonymous said...

Bernie what about the 2 Atiyeh tracts? Isn't that criminal?paying almost 1 million over the appraisal, when the city is struggling. How can he justify it?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I agree and mentioned that in my post. Fed Ed clearly deprived the public of its right to honest services.

Anonymous said...

BO in the past you mentioned that the Feds were ready to prosecute an Engineer. What happened with that?

Anonymous said...

Bernie, are you actually Bernie Sanders? I've never seen the two of you together and am suspicious. Anything to confess?

Bernie O'Hare said...

2:35, I believe that still is the case. They are proceeding on their timeline, not mine or yours.

Anonymous said...

Not long now until the PPPW: Pawlowski Penguin Perp Walk!

Anonymous said...

BO do you think Rosen is a target?

Anonymous said...

I believe he will forfeit his pension http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/US/PDF/1978/0/0140..PDF

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'm sure the Feds are very interested in what Fed Ed can tell them about Rosen. It's premature to call him a target.

Bernie O'Hare said...

3:09, My uncertainty about this is whether this applies to a City Mayor. After reading the Act, I think it does, but i am not certain.

Anonymous said...

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redd for Republican
patent pending