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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, February 15, 2008

Is There a DeNaples-Corbett Connection?


Is there some sort of connection between casino/landfill/banker/auto parts/body parts/convicted felon "businessman" Louis A. DeNaples and Attorney General Tom Corbett?

Here are the facts:

1. Our Pennsylvania Gaming Law specifically provides that the Attorney General (AG) is the dude with PRIMARY responsibility for investigating and instituting criminal proceedings. It even goes so far as to authorize creation of a separate gaming unit under the AG. Although county DAs clearly have authority to look at what goes on under their noses, the legislature obviously wants its varsity squad to have first crack on these matters.

2. Attorney General Tom Corbett is nevertheless letting the second string handle the prosecution of Poconos casino owner Louis A. DeNaples. You see, some people think that the mafia has ties to the gambling industry. I'd never have guessed that. Screwy Louey - who's also in solid waste management just like the Sopranos - is charged with lying about his ties to Scranton crime bosses Russel Buffalino, Christopher Moltisanti and Corrado "Junior" Soprano. I guess the grand jury never believed that nun, Sister Mary Petunia, who claimed Louey has "great respect for the elderly and the poor."

If Louey can fool a nun, he's good.

3. So now we've got Dauphin County JVs doing the heavy lifting in a major prosecution. When the second team's authority was questioned before the state supremes, guess who rushed to their defense? That's right. AG Corbett actually filed a brief that amazingly supports Dauphin DA Marsico. The court relied heavily on the AG's abdication of his own authority.

4. Apparently, the state police brought the case to the DA instead of the AG. Why did the staties go to Dauphin County instead of directly to the AG? Why was the AG in such a hurry to dump this case?

5. That's elementary, my dear bippy. The answer is money, lots and lots. The garbage business is very profitable. Ask Tony Soprano. According to Dave Ralis, De Naples has contributed a whopping $1 million to prosecutors, judges and political parties. All perfectly legit, too. Legal bribery. Ralis claims at least $35 thousand of that sugar went to AG Corbett. According to the Inky, it's actually $55,000. Oh yeah, Ed Rendell picked up a cool $140 grand from Louey, too, and calls him "salt of the earth" right before he kisses his ring.

6. As you can see for yourself on Ralis' Daily Rant, Corbett was taking DeNaples' money just 2 months before the slots law was passed. Once DeNaples applied for a casino license, DeNaples was barred by law from making campaign contributions.

7. State police were reluctant to share information with the AG and instead went to a local prosecutor.

Here are some questions:

1. Why did Corbett take a pass on DeNaples? Money? Friendship? Some other reason?

2. If DeNaples is really connected to the mob, as one grand jury seems to think, then what the hell was Corbett thinking when he took $55,000 from him? For that matter, what the hell was Rendell thinking? Corbett should return this money now that DeNaples has been indicted for a gaming law- related crime, one that Corbett should have been prosecuting in the first place.

3. State police went to the JVs instead of the AG, even though he has the muscle for this kind of an investigation. We have AGs for precisely this reason - the prosecution of major organized crime. Why did staties go local? Were they following the money, too?

I smell a new HBO series.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll bet Wm. Penn would be thrilled to know that PA's government is firmly entrenched in the gambling business. I'm not anti-gambling. I'm anti-letting-politicians-anywhere-near-gambling.

Anonymous said...

Corbett is in for a tough reelection. This will be a campaign mailer for certain.

I hope other mailers also point out the lack of support coming from the AG for communities struggling with crime. Crime isn't just a problem in Allentown, Easton and Philly. It has become a statewide problem in many communities where DA's can't be effective as crime jumps county lines. Where is Corbett?

Anonymous said...

and where is Corbett on the very simple case of Severson and the incident at the church. That was two months ago now and all he had to do was review the case and file the charges. The PenArgyl police had done all of the interviews of a gillizzion witnesses to the fact... shamefull. Maybe Severson has some dirt on a bunch of the Harrisburg pol's!

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Are you on Severson's payroll now? Posting information like this is just helping him engage in sleazeball politics on behalf of Morganelli.

I guess the enemy of your enemy is your friend, even if he was enemy

Bernie O'Hare said...

Are you on Severson's payroll now? Posting information like this is just helping him engage in sleazeball politics on behalf of Morganelli.

I don't think there's a soul on earth who hasn't been harsher on Scissorhands Severson than me. And while we're on that subject, Anon 8:58 makes an excellent point. Severson was accused of outlandish behavior during a funeral mass. The incident was witnessed by several people, and all the findings were forwarded to the AG for his review. What the hell is so complicated about that? It's either criminal or it's not. He either files charges or does not. That is totally unrelated to complaints concerning Severson's campaign practices. By now, there shoud have been a decision, one way or the other.

If he can't make up his mind about a routine matter that a county DA would decide in three seconds, is it any wonder that the cities are increasingly dangerous?

As far as DeNaples is concerned, these are serious allegations about organized crime and its connection to gambling. The legislature specifically provided for a special unit in the AG office for precisely this type of case. I am stunned that an AG would actually support the determination to pass this hot potato off to a local DA. It's nothing less than a pure abdication of his responsibilities.

And there is a connection. According to Ralis, it's a $35k connection. According to the Inky, it's a $55k connection. Are they part of a sleaze campaign, too?

The staties were apparently concerned enough that they went to a local DA instead of Corbett. Are they part of the sleaze campaign, too?

The AG is the state's chief law enforcement officer. He has the resources that local DAs lack. Yet Corbett amazingly stays away from this. He actually goes so far as to file a brief telling the supremes that it's OK with him that a local DA should handle this.

Corbett and Rendell should both return the money they got from this guy to remove all appearances of impropriety.

Anon 7:57 is right, too, crime has become statewide. The gangs and drugs have made sure of that. If Corbett can't decide a simple matter like a threat during a funeral mass, passes off a major mob investigation, then what the hell is it that he does do?

If Corbett is conflicted, he could ask for a special prosecutor. He should not let a DA with scant resources go against a major mob investigation tha will likely go nowhere as a result.

Anonymous said...

Let's set the record straight:

1. Under the original gaming law, the AG's has no power to initiate investigations on their own. The gaming board has to initiate.

2. The gaming board is NOT a law enforcement agency, so other agencies cannot share information.

3. This means the state police cannot legally give info to the gaming board. They could share with the DA (a law enforcement agency) of the county in which the crime took place.

Bernie, I wouldn't expect you to be a Corbett fan, but given the amount of info out there on the gaming law, state police/gaming board struggles, and denaples case, this article is just downright sloppy and/or lazy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

1. Under the original gaming law, the AG's has no power to initiate investigations on their own. The gaming board has to initiate.

Pennsylvania law at 4 Pa.CSA 1517 (c.1) provides that the Office of Attorney General has the PRIMARY authority to investigate and institute criminal proceedings under the gaming law. In fact, the legislature specifically authorized the creation of a gaming unit in OAG. Although the law recognizes that each individual District Attorney ALSO has powers to investigate and institute criminal proceedings ( 4 Pa.CSA 1517(d)(1) ), the law SPECIFICALLY grants the authority to the AG and creates the "gaming unit" in OAG. See also 4 Pa.CSA 1517 (d)(2).

2. The gaming board is NOT a law enforcement agency, so other agencies cannot share information.

Under the Pennsylvania law, they cannot share criminal history info with a NON law enforcement agency -THE GAMING COMMISSION. But the AG IS a law enforcement agency - in fact the CHIEF law enforcement officer of the state.

3. This means the state police cannot legally give info to the gaming board. They could share with the DA (a law enforcement agency) of the county in which the crime took place.

See #2. The first place to go is to the AG.

Whatever information you're using, it's not the law. And that's my concern. Gambling is something new in PA. The mob has historically been associated with gambling. A major case like this should have been considered by the AG.

Mrs. Dottie said...

How appropriate that you post about the mob today BernO as I am slicing garlic and cooking up a big pot of homemade Sicilian sauce and meat a balls. Actually in my family we call it "gravy." I grew up in northeastern NJ where the real Sopranos are from. Fuh getta bout it! I agree with you on Corbett.

Dave Ralis said...

Thanks for the link, Bernie. I'd go with my figures rather than the Inquirer's because I know I've proven mine. The more than $1 million estimate of DeNaples' total contributions came from a Times-Tribune story which is no longer online. My own research puts the figure at $679,375. However, that number is only as good as the information input into the state database. A $10,000 donation D&L Realty gave to Friends of Tom Corbett on Jan. 27, 2004 does not appear in the contribution database, but shows up in that campaign committee's finance report with no mention in subsequent reports of the money being returned.

maverick said...

Bernie,

Now you really fired me up! I've been saying for 20 years that "We the People," need to start a revolution! Harrisburg & Washington are broken! This gambling fiasco is just another example of "when you act in haste- you repent at leisure..." This Bill was bad from the start- and made worse with the awarding of the licenses- everyone knew the DeNaples "connection." Instead of promoting true economic development, states have taken the easy way out to generate revenue. Has New Jersey homeowners seen a reduction in their taxes from gaming revenues? If you walk one block off the boardwalk in Atlantic City- your're risking your life!
As far as education- Gov. Rendell touts how he increased state spending- yet the Pa. Higher Education Assistance Authority board members gave itself $7.5 million in bonuses- and i thought the Wallstreet brokerage houses were pigs...
All of these issues are connected and run by politicians- MOST of whom, are self-serving. Even though I'm critical of Ed Rendell, there are things about him that I like- but when i see "The Gov" doing the Comcast Eagles post game show on Sunday afternoons- i'm embarrassed- i feel that he sullies the office. It only fortifies one of my criticisms- he pays too much attention to Philly and the rest of us foot the bill. Maybe Carville is right- Pa. is Philly & Pittsburgh with Alabama in between....

maverick said...

Bernie,
sorry for the rambling in my previous post- my style is usually succint in nature. I just heard about the county wanting to buyback the Gov. Wolf Building- I'll save the rest of my ranting for that issue.....

Chris said...

It was just yesterday that we had all those folks telling us how happy we were going to be when gaming came to the Commonwealth and that it was going to be a cure all for our revenue and taxing problems. Corbett is a real disappointment but some of us have been pointing out since day one that Fast Fat Eddie Rendell is nothing but a sleaze with mob connections. Don't even try to tell me this is a clean guy. His connection to DeNaples will hopefully be appearing on the front page of the papers in the immediate future

Anonymous said...

bernie, how could you delete personal attacks? if this is the case your posting about DeNaples should be scrapped ( body parts comment). It is funny how people from all over the state of PA are able to make comments about a man they dont even know!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 11:15,

The allegation is that DeNaples is tied to the mob. So calling him a "body parts" businessan with all his other accomplishments is in my view, intended as humor. It's not really a personal attack. I actually did think about precisely what you are saying before I let it fly. You'll also note the reference to Juni Soprano.

Perhaps you're right. Remember, I have no editor and have to decide for myself if what I write is going too far. I thought this was OK.

I do sometimes delete attacks, especially when they are directed at other blogggers or commenters or people in private life. I used to let it all in, and i still pretty much let it all in as a general rule. You have to go pretty far.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Dave Ralis,

I'm honored by your presence here. As you know, I consider you one of the top bloggers and investigative journalists in the state. Much of this information would not ne known at all if it were not for your work.

Last night, I kept inserting the DeNaples name on the state site from the year 2000, and it kept coming back as $0 in contributions. I'm going to check that out again a few times, but that is quite suspicious.

I tried is by putting in DeNaples as contributor and Corbett as recipient.

And the D&L contributions are very odd and very big. I tried checking them out at the DOS site, and will continue to do so.

Dave, don't thank me. it is we who must thank you for all of your outstanding work.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Maverick, I detected no rambling, dude. We are governed by "pay to play" pols.

maverick said...

Bernie,
I agree with you concerning Dave Ralis's blog- his work covering the 2nd highest paid legislators in the country is outstanding! Something is certainly rotten in the state of Pa.

Bill Villa said...

Great work on this, Bernie. It's amazing what can be seen when one has the audacity to look behind the curtain ...

Dave Ralis said...

Bernie,

They may have been updating the database when you tried to access it. DeNaples name turns up 56 direct contributions from Louis and his brother, Dominick, since Jan. 1, 2000. You should also check D&L Realty and RAM Consultants, two of the many businesses DeNaples owns.