Abraham Atiyeh, referred to by Bill White as Allentown's Rajah of Rezoning, is one busy dude. Aside from his gig at Brookside Construction and Easton Ventures, he's worked hard on nursing homes, developments, Easton's Cinema Paradiso and a failed scheme to redevelop Nazareth's racetrack. He even persuaded Bethlehem planners to let him subdivide a cemetery for yet another assisted living facility! Residents there can select a burial plot from their window.
But there's a soft and tender side to Abe. For one thing, he just loves politicians, especially incumbents. I think he even keeps a few of them as pets.
Amount of money that developer Abe Atiyeh has given to candidates seeking state office since 2000: $260,000.
Amount of money to federal candidates, according to FEC records: $20,000.
Amount of money for local candidates: God only knows. Those records are unavailable online.
His nice list: Lisa Boscola ($8,250), Jenn Mann ($7,200) and Doug Reichley ($6,500).
His very nice list: John Morganelli, recipient of a whopping $51,000. Morganelli protege, Paula Roscioli, received another $16,300.
The other day, he dropped $5,000 on a homeless shelter, making a big production out of it. With big cardboard checks and wearing a wooden hat, too! To put things in perspective, Abe's 5 large is like a nickel from me. It's breadcrumbs to him.
Both The Morning Call and Express Times were all over his philanthropy like ham on rye. According to what he must have told The Express Times, he had no development projects pending in Bethlehem Township.
That must been have been one of those little white lies. According to today's Express Times, Honest Abe is preparing sketch plans for a 300 inmate prison rehab in Bethlehem Township along Fritch Drive. He loves the idea of treating nonviolent offenders instead of punishing them. And he'll really love those monthly checks from the county.
Am I attacking Atiyeh for giving money to the homeless? That's right bippy. He could easily afford to foot Bethlehem Township's entire bill. Then he'd be setting an example to other developers. This was just a PR stunt by a developer who thinks nothing of trying to litter MLK Boulevard with billboards, right next to a creek and parkway. Do you honestly think he really gives a damn about nonviolent offenders?
No, what he's doing is making Bethlehem Township supervisors feel guilty about their own refusal to fund the homeless so that he can get what he wants.