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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Favoritism in Allentown Golf Course Restaurant Deal Continues

The Fegley family, which owns Allentown Brew Works (ABW), received somewhere around $3.4 million in federal loans when they purchased their popular restaurant from the Allentown Redevelopment Authority for $1.00. Another $500,000 came in the form of an outright grant from Rendell. Located in a KOZ, they are exempt from what would otherwise be an $82 thousand annual real estate tax. They are also exempt from sales tax and pay no state income tax. Allentown kicked in even more money, perhaps $90,000, for facade improvements. According to the Tony Phillips campaign, the Fegley's ABW has received more than $7 million dollars of taxpayer money.

The Fegleys are major Pawlowski supporters, having contributed $750 to his campaign in 2006 & 2007. Last year, Pawlowski gave Mike Fegley, a Democratic state committee member, $100 to help pay for transportation to the Democratic convention. He has also paid Fegley's wife $2,730 for campaign work. Another $1,150 went directly into ABW coffers.

I think I can safely call Fegley a Pawlowski crony.

Late last year, Allentown replaced the Sand Trap Grille with Allentown Brew Works (ABW) at its muni golf course. Both had submitted identical bids, and Sand Trap owner Robert Stanley was actually told he had won the bid. In a riveting statement to Allentown city council (captured on video by Queen City Daily), Stanley explains that when he went to city hall to sign his new contract, he discovered they had something else in mind. "Well, here they're giving me an interview, asking me questions. Greg Wetzell is the only guy that asked me any questions and one other person asked a question. Everybody else just sat there, didn't say a word, I answered my questions and off I went."

Two days before Christmas, Stanley was told he had lost the bid and had three weeks to get his equipment out. "I lost approximately - I'm not even sure - $20,000 in the sales of equipment because I had to get that stuff out of there."

"This was all said and done a long time ago. I was told ... as a matter of fact I was told four years ago that Mayor Pawlowski, when he was with Mayor Afflerbach, wanted me out of that place. He wanted to make something flamboyant there. Well, this is what he got. Everybody knows that him and Mr. Fegley - they're buddy, buddy."

According to one anonymous commenter, the Director of Golf "contacted both PPL and Lehigh Valley Propane in an effort to get the Sand Traps expenses for the year. Obviously, [this was] an attempt to answer questions from the ABW that might affect their bid. These facts are eminently verifiable."

According to its contract with the city, the ABW was supposed to be in business at the golf course by March 1. Instead, there's just "a Coca Cola trailer that looks like it should be at a knee high soccer tournament. Prices? $4.00 for a rubber hamburger, add $1.00 for cheese. Beautiful. Apparently they can do as they please, for example, opening their concession stand when they feel like it. (roughly 10AM to 3PM)."

At last night's council meeting, Jeanette Eichenwald and Tony Phillips wanted to know what the hell is going on. A irritated city administrator, Greg Wentzell, answered them in as few words as possible, like he was guarding some top secret.

Phillips: "Is the restaurant up and running."

Wentzell: "No. It will open May 1."

Phillips: "Are they paying rent yet?"

Wentzell: "No."

Phillips: "Is a fine being levied for every day the restaurant is not open?"

Wentzell: "No fines are being assessed."

Phillips: "Who's selling hot dogs."

Wentzell: "That's a good question."

Phillips: "Who operates the coke trailer? Is it the city or ABW?"

Wentzell: "The Brew Works."

Phillips: "Then they're in business."

At this point, the Solicitor was asked to look into whether the ABW should be paying rent or assessed fines. Donovan, via speakerphone from Chicago, talked about the great progress ABW has made with the kitchen.

Something stinks, and it's not the hot dogs.


LVCI said...

In light of all this... maybe something fishy should be on the menu too?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'll tell you, something is really wrong here. I was really put off by the way Wentzell (sp?) answered council.

The bottom line is that the restaurant that was supposed to be in operastion on 3/1 is not open. The rental payments, so far as i know, have not been paid. Although the contracts calls for a $500 fine for every day the restaurtant is not open, no fine has been assessed.

This whole situation cries out for a VERY PUBLIC explanation.

Anonymous said...

If you check out the ABW website, there is a article and picture of the brew works working out of a coke stand. So, if they claim they are not selling hot dogs, they are not telling the truth. I belive they should be held accountable for the contact they were awarded and fined for the days they were not in operation.

Brought Golf Clubs To A Gunfight said...

I'm just glad that Allentown has apparently resolved its many other pressing issues and has time to be in the golf business.

If they continue to ignore Allentown's real problems, I wonder how long it will be before we see bodies and familiar Allentown chalk outlines on the golf course?

Maybe that will refocus attention on what city government is supposed to be doing while they play around with the golf business and let the city continue to sink into lawlessness.

Just saying.

Make mine Talapia said...

LVCI... lol

notice who is the one doing the questioning AGAIN?? shocking how few people are willing to recognize this besides you Bernie.. thanks for being impartial.

But really.... does anything really shock you from this administration anymore??? Faulty Math, Chicago backgrounds, Meetings in Secrecy, Pimpin out our city to buddies for no taxes in return?? how much u wanna bet its police Dept staff that gets cut from the budget when its the one thing we really need??

Bernie O'Hare said...

Talapia Burger,

Actually, Molovinsky was the first person to write about this issue. Jarrett Renshaw has posted a few blogs, too.

But it is very clear to me that the admin wants to reveal as little as it has to about what is going on. I may be mistaken, but was really turnmed off by the way Wentzell acted when he was being questioned.

LVCI said...

Brew Works is serving food and beverages at the Golf Course

LVCI said...

Brew Works Menu @ Golf Course

Cheap @ 1/2 the price?

LVCI said...

BTW: All prices are subject to 6% State Tax and 20% Service Charge

LVCI said...

Sorry Bernie.. no hamburgers unless you to buy the Hot Buffet package ($20.10).

Settle for 2 hot dogs and a soda for $5.04?

Ken Matthews said...

Open Honest Accessible City Government.

It will be here before you know it.

Vote November 3rd 2009

Tell your friends to vote for councilman Tony Phillips


Anonymous said...

Ken Matthews, hey you, love that Lyle Waggoner thing you have goin' on ...


I have not been to Allentown Brew Works in some time.

But I can testify seeing Donovan there plenty of times over the summer.

Donovan knows what I say is fact.

So would lots of people who were there last summer.

Anonymous said...

Damn demon alcohol. What other legal products are officials accused of using? Let's launch an investigation.

Donovan will be sober in the morning. Ironpigpen will still be a busybody.

Anonymous said...

I did not realize $750 constituted a "major" contribution.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, Mr. Schlossberg had a big time event at the ABW for his campaign. If you want the big out of town Chicago style govt. just add him to Mann's minnion.

Sadly, I think he is a shoe-in. He has tons of support and financials. This is the problem when the "in crowd" controls government. Still think it is inappropriate for a Chamber employee to be planted in local government.
Another win for Pawlowski.

michael molovinsky said...

villa's, as the great artists, musicians, educators and political activists you repeatedly claim to be, one would think you two wouldn't want to spend your entire day insulting myself and others all over the internet. i wonder if your hostile behavior must give pawlowski and marin pause, as you disrupt the local blogosphere on a daily basis and insult a growing list of people.

I Got Wheels said...


If it's written, it's libel. If it's spoken, it's slander. If it's the Villas, it's obsessive, ghoulish idiocy.


Anonymous said...


This is a perfect example of government working very well for some people but not for the greater good.

Scott Armstrong

Four Putt said...

Bernie, all of your facts are correct, except that he was only given 8 days to vacate,including 12/24, 12/25,12/31,and 1/1. Pretty nice treatment for a guy who was there for 11 years.
Witzel is nothing more than a drone
for Pawlowski, He's afraid of his own shadow.
Let's see if they pay either the rent or the fine. This will require followup by Council. That
farce that they call a temporary restaurant didn't open until March 20th, so even if that counts, they still owe 20 days @$500 per.

Check your Calendar said...

Let me see if I have this right. ABW took over on January 3, and were supposed to be open on March 1Today is April 2, and Donovan says that they are making progress on the kitchen. I haven't seen the kitchen but the actual restaurant is still an empty shell with a concrete floor.(as of Sunday)
By the way, even the hot dog stand wasn't open this past Sunday. Where is our Director of Golf who supposedly is in charge of everything? There were plenty of golfers there but no ABW.

I know that the other guy was open every time there was a golfer on the course. Why? Because he said that he would be open every day and he actually kept his word. He was not a FOP (friend of Pawlowski) As EVERYONE knows, that goes a long way in Allentown.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Donovan will be sober in the morning. Ironpigpen will still be a busybody."

I did not for a moment think that Ironpigpen was suggesting that Donovan drinks too much. I think he was suggesting that Donovan might be a little too cozy with the Fegleys. He may also just like the atmosphere at ABW. Lots of people like it there.

Anonymous said...

DLB, thanks for the clarification, but that post wasn't me. It was our good friends the Villas, being clever again.

The Banker

Bernie O'Hare said...


My apologies to MM, Ken Matthews and The Banker. I was away from the 'net for a few hours and a number of anonymous personal attacks and Banker impersonations took place. I've deleted them.

Tom Morris said...

The saddest part is that the old hamburgers were the best in the area, and I weep to see them go

Anonymous said...

Bernie, First and foremost the problem is not with the Fegley's it is with the city. The bathrooms and locker rooms are being renovated as well. The Fegley's were concerned that the city would not be complete in time for them to open, they even offered to to include this in their renovations so as to make sure they could open on time. They were told not to worry and that everything would be fine. As is usual it is not fine and the project is way behind schedule. The Fegley's can not open until this construction is complete as the water is shut off. I really do not think they should be penalized because the city can't get it's act together. By the way don't you think this is why Wetzel was giving one word answers? He does not want to point out that he screwed up big time here.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Obviously, they can't operate a restaurant w/o running water. What you tell me does explain the one word answers. Clearly, Wentzell wanted to say no more than necessay. If this is true, then ABW can't be assessed. I will probably be visiting there this weekend and will see if anyone is willing to talk to me.

Anonymous said...

Schlossberg (n) - American 2009 - One who has difficulty pronouncing ones own name. Subject to fits of delusions of maturity.

Noted to have rich recluse relatives who indulge their favored son with large anonymous donations to his political cronies.

Can be seen glad handing at all political events. Assigned a volunteer to monitor his consumtion of cake at the refreshment table.

Also affectionately known as Pennywise to those who are close to him.

If elected listen for the profound flush that will be heard throughout The Valley on the night of November 4, 2009. (Allentown going down the toilet.)

Source: Tongue and Cheek definitions.

Ask the Golfers said...

Bernie, I hope you do go out to the course this weekend, preferably Sunday as there will be
better weather. See if the "Director of Golf" can doubletalk his way around invading the previous owners privacy by claiming to be the "owner" of the course and restaurant when getting the information needed from Lehigh Valley Propane. See what he says about trying the same tactic with PPL, who knew the law and didn't release the info to him.
See if he will admit to telling Mr.
Stanley on December 4 that the contract was awarded to the Samd Trap Grille. All the regular golfers knew about his pronouncement and were very happy to hear the news. Ask them.

As to the running water problem,
the renovations to the bathrooms and locker rooms, which are far removed from the restaurant, does this justify not doing anything for three months? The renovations began about March 10th. There was water up until that point, and I'll bet there could be running water to the restaurant during the renovations if it wasn't a convenient excuse for not fining

On Sunday, a large group of golfers
who comprise a lot of the supposed 50,000 rounds played last year will be playing beginning around 0900 and will be sitting on the porch after their rounds at about 1300 or so. I'll bet they will talk to you about the MUNICIPAL course.

Anonymous said...

How is it that I can get a drink of water from the water fountain right outside the restaurant entrance? There is a top of the line portable bathroom right beside the bottom of the line snack trailer. No excuse for not opening a restaurant!
Try again.

Anonymous said...

The Fegley family are good people and good corporate citizens of the Lehigh Valley. They employ dozens and dozens of people, and they pay a great deal in taxes. To paint Mr. Fegley in a false light for making a paltry $750 contribution is defamation. He should sue you. But, you don't have any money. So, he should sue eblogger, Google and any media outlets that link to this website.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I guess $750 is paltry to someone who can have the city give him outright grants that are much much larger. And i was wondering when the weekly libel threat would come.

You may not like my opinions, but I try to get it right for every fact I report. If I get something wrong, I admit it immediatley.

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

The real problem here is NOT so much the character of the Fegley family.

The problem is, this city, this mayor, has thrown "millions and millions" at a project that employs "dozens and dozens."

Anonymous said...

Annon 7:24, now that is funny. Sad but funny.

The City is being slowly co-opted by the Pawlowski and Business class for their benefit.

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of sick stuff that really burns me up. The Fegley family is Allentown to make money, but they are trying to make Allentown a better and more attractive place to live and work. And because of your sick obession with Paylowski you are defaming good business people.

Bernie O'Hare said...

What have I written about the Fegleys that is untrue? Before accusing me of defamation, you might answer that question.

Funny thing. I was at the Allentown golf course at 2 PM. You claim the Fegleys are tryying to make A-town better. So I would imagine they would be operating that coke trailer on a weekend afternoon while the restaurant is being remodeled. But the coke trailer was closed. I'm not so sure that is either good business or a service to Allentown.

I have no obsession w/ pawlowski. I do have an obsession wiuth secret government, cronyism and P2P. Right now, there are many more questions than answers.

Monkey MOmma said...

I agree w/ Bernie on this one. Something is definitely crooked here.

The Fegleys are a nice family. They're also hardcore Democrats. They are majorly involved in local politics. And, they're reaping some major rewards for that affiliation via the Pawlowski team. I'd say it's favoritism and cronyism, esp. when I consider how this treatment compares to the city's treatment of other succesful business owners.

Anonymous said...

I don't know the Fegleys either, but I am sure they know they didn't win the bid fair and square, so by that alone, I have no respect in their business ethics. If you are happy stealing a bid, you have no respect for yourself or can you be trusted in my book. Sorry all you ABW and Fegley's fans, they made the decision and now they must reap the heat that will be on them. Pay your fines and move on.