Monday, November 14, 2011

Longenbach In the Garden of Beasts



In Northampton County, the County Solicitor serves at the pleasure of the County Executive. Attorney Karl Longenbach was named by Executive John Stoffa as the County's lawyer six years ago, and has been at Stoffa's side ever since.

When Karl decided to run for Judge and was crushed in the Primary, Stoffa still kept him at his side. When Karl supported Scott Parsons for County Council, Stoffa said nothing, even though he had publicly endorsed Angle. After all, Parsons and Longenbach have been friends and golfing buddies for many years. That probably trumps politics. Stoffa even remained silent when Parsons lobbed a few broadsides his way.

But it's hard to ignore Longenbach's decision to attend a Scott Parsons' Election Night victory party. Part of that celebration was video-taped by the Wicked Witch of West Easton, presumably to show everyone a landmark victory. What I saw instead is a return to Reibman-era politics, the very thing that Stoffa has stood against.

On Election Day, Pennsylvania law requires that a County Solicitor be in the elections office between 7 AM and 10 PM, to handle the thorny legal issues that might arise during the day. Northampton County's regularly assigned lawyer was ill that day, so the duty fell on his boss, Karl, who claims he was "thrown in the breach."

My first problem is to wonder how a lawyer who is supposed to be in the elections office until 10 PM, can make it to Detzi's Tavern, a good 45-minutes away from the courthouse. But that's really minor compared to the others revealed in that video.

Celebrants at that party include people like Jack D'Allesandro, Mary Ann Schmoyer, John Mammana and Mario Martinez, who have at times called for Stoffa's recall as County Executive. Every one of them brought a surcharge action against Stoffa, attempting to wax him personally for funds the County spent on the law firm handling Gracedale's sale. A petition for attorney fees is still pending in Commonwealth Court.

Another party animal is none other than the Otter himself, who represents the people seeking surcharges and attorney fees. This cousin of the weasel, festooned in a "Gracedale Goon" pin, has vowed to go after Stoffa again, as soon as the County's 2011 budget has been audited. He has publicly suggested that Stoffa belongs in jail. He could be seen whispering sweet nothings to Assistant Solicitor Jill Mancini.

Mancini, an enthusiastic Parsons' supporter, was so delighted she was giving high fives to Justus James. He just happens to be the AFSCME business agent for a Gracedale bargaining unit, as well as other AFSCME units with County contracts. Mancini is apparently on one of the union negotiation teams.

No conflict of interest there.

In addition to James, Gracedale's AFSCME union prez, Ellen Weiss, was in the house. So was the tattooed dude who serves as a union officer.

Enjoying every moment, clapping his hands in approval, was none other than County Solicitor Karl Longenbach.  Not only was he delighted to see a Stoffa critic elected, but was sharing the moment with a group that has both sued Stoffa and threatened his recall, along with their lawyer. He was also whooping it up with very union that funded the Gracedale referendum campaign.

The one that Karl supposedly opposed in Court.

A County Executive should be able to trust his own lawyer, but how can he when Karl and one of his assistants are yukking it up with the very people who are out to destroy Stoffa?

My concern is that this group, emboldened by this victory, will now become even more arrogant.

History provides an example. When Ambassador Dodd was sent to Germany in the early '30s, he saw the country transform into a Garden of Beasts, especially after a successful referendum on Germany's decision to leave the then League of Nations. There were certainly legitimate problems with Germany's reparations agreement, which was starving the country. But Hitler disingenuously asked Germans to "Vote Yes for Peace." They bought it. Sounded simple. What followed instead were beatings, Himmler, Gestapo, Stormtroopers, Goring, Goebbels, WWII, and the senseless massacre of millions of Jews.

I have no intention or desire to compare the horrors of Nazi Germany with what is slowly happening here, on a local level. But there are some chilling similarities. People of good will can have differing views about Gracedale. But telling people to vote Yes to "Save Gracedale" is just as disingenuous as Hitler's "Vote Yes for Peace."  Just as a group of thugs took over in Nazi Germany, a small group that claims to be "We, the People" has an increasingly long enemies' list. John Stoffa, Barb Thierry, Mike Dowd, Ross Marcus, The Express Times, Wind Gap debate sponsors, Sarah Cassi, Bill White and Bruce Gilbert are all on it, to name a a few.

John Stoffa, a man of integrity, is now regularly called a liar and corrupt. Ron Angle has been literally called Satan. Several times. I have been vilified with some horrible and baseless accusations I decline to repeat here because I'll be dealing with them in another forum. Anybody who even partially agrees with any one of us is immediately castigated.

I am astonished and saddened that Karl Longenbach, one of the finest people I know, would embrace these seriously misguided people and abandon the County Executive. And I am fearful that Northampton County Government is slowly devolving into a Garden of Beasts.

Updated 12:16 PM: I agree that the analogy to The Garden of Beasts is a bit over the top, but am nevertheless deeply disappointed by Karl's behavior. He chose to remain in the company of people who have (1) actively called for Stoffa's ouster; (2) have repeatedly called him a liar and corrupt; and (3) commenced a surcharge action against Stoffa in his personal capacity. In attendance was a lawyer who has publicly stated that Stoffa belongs in jail. Longenbach's assistant was also actively cavorting with the union rep negotiating several county contracts.

While Longenbach may exercise his rights to do what he wants, he knows better than must that actions have consequences. He serves at the pleasure of the Executive, who can exercise his rights, too.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

Remember it was you who went to the "Nazi" game. How sad.

You are indeed a 'Drama Queen'.

People are celebrating a victory over what they saw as a terribly flawed elected official Ron Angle.

As to spending the "peoples" money, the money you and Angle used to fight the voters was money paid by the County Executive to a private law firm paid with county taxpayer dollars.

You claim Mr. Stoffa is a man of integrity. Many people are learning that is not true.

We are coming to the point many thought would happen. The fraud and phony front of "John Stoffa, Ron Angle", men of the people has eroded over the years and the true story is emerging.

Stoffa, handpicked by Angle has been nothing but a puppet. He has lied to the COAF on many occasions and continues to deceive people about Gracedale and the west Eaton prison as he did about the Bethlehem Twp. Facility.

Of course you also want to continually bring up the spectre of "Reibman" politics. Well even that old nugget has worn out its usefulness.

You and your other two conspirators have been and are rejected. In your world that means all these people are Nazis in a Beer cellar, but in reality they are ordinary citizens who are exercising their God given right to throw Ron Angle out of office. The right to question how you as an unelected private citizen have the right to use taxpayer resources to sue private citizens and how Mr. Stoffa can beleive he is above the people who are really in control of the government.

The three stooges days are coming to an end and they are not happy.

Karl Longenbach still has more ethics and morality in his little finger than you, Angle or Stoffa have in your entire bodies.

God Bless you Karl from a client.

Anonymous said...

Our moms taught us to be careful about whom we associate, lest we be considered one of them. Longenbach is officially a scumbag. He's likely been one all along, but your judgment just sucked. This was the case with John Edwards, for example.

Anonymous said...

"I have no intention or desire to compare the horrors of Nazi Germany with what is slowly happening here, on a local level."


Dude....dude.


Take a break. a one or two week hiatus from blogging. find peace, get perspective, come back.

but not this.

Zorn said...

stoffa should fire kl at once. he has never been anything but a low rent street lawyer with questionable connections and low
morals. he has now shown his true colors.

but the real issue here,and your hidden agenda is that your man crushes got their asses kicked.

in your previous posts you have come up with every fairy tail you could to deny the fact that the people have spoken. you just don't like what they said period. the incumbents and their self assured organizations were eclipsed by the challenger's organization, tactics and energy.

time to throw away the crying towel and stand up to reallity - your horses lost.

to play the nazi card shows your lack of integrity and proves that you have less morals than those you complain about

Carol said...

Bernie, I think you and I agreed to disagree many moons ago, I just finished reading Garden of the Beasts, what a terrible comparison, I am the first to agree Mr. Angle has a photographic memory and a complex business savy, but there is an alter ego there. I served under Karl, he is a scholar and a gentleman. I live in the Slate Belt! Carol

Anonymous said...

Stoffa golfs?

Anonymous said...

Yo Bernie, da girl wants nothin to do wich you man!!!

Face it brotha, she dumped yo ASS!

Anonymous said...

He (KL) had an opportunity to display greatness of character, and he let it slip away.

Also Bernie, you see the Wicked Witch has loyalties to no one...she outed everyone on her new team too!

Anonymous said...

Seriously Bernie,

Carl is a friend of Parsons so he went to the party. Is it his fault that all of Angle's detractors were there too? What a surprise this is...

Anonymous said...

Sounds like angle/bo team is a sinking ship, and trying to take down as many hands as possible.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Take a break. a one or two week hiatus from blogging. find peace, get perspective, come back"

Heh, heh. I probably should not have made the analogy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Carol,

I'll agree the analogy is a bit over the top. Karl's decision to party it up with the very people who are actively calling for Stoffa's ouster is something that cannot be ignored. For Christ's sake, the lawyer who represents those people was there. How the hell can Stoffa trust this guy?

Look, I know Karl even better than you. He s a scholar and a gentleman, as you say, but this is too much, and I am deeply disappointed in him.

Anonymous said...

bernie, you and ron angle are the biggest bullies un the county along with a few others. you have the freedom to do and say what you want but go on a tyrant when others coose to do so. karl would not do anything illegal or jeopardize his position. you need to stop the bashing and always looking to discredit people without talking to those involved. let them all alone. i guess it was okay you spent our tax dollars for your frivilous, stupid lawsuits.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Stoffa golfs?"

No, it is Karl and parsons.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Is it his fault that all of Angle's detractors were there too?

It is not the Angle detractors that bother me, but the Stoffa detractors. The room was packed with people who have sued him and called him corrupt, as well as a lawyer who has said Stoffa belongs in jail. As if that were not bad enough, the union with whom the county is involved in contract negotiations was there, giving high fives to Jill Mancini.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" you need to stop the bashing and always looking to discredit people without talking to those involved."

The camera does not lie. Having seen eople like you in the room, Longenbach had one and only one option - leave. Not doing so was incredibly disloyal go John Stoffa, who can no longer trust him.

Anonymous said...

Karl has displayed very poor judgement. He should resign. If not, John should fire him.

Anonymous said...

Bernie.

This is a sincere request. I wouldn't be surprised that you are not upset about Karl being there in the same room with Otter, but actually Tricia was there in the same room with Otter.

Deep breath, pause, exhale. Hoping you feel better. Take a break, stop your smear attempts and seek help. Talk to a caring friend. Sorry you were upset by the party, but you need to learn to live and let live.

You can be a better person, we've been praying for you.

c said...

I don't really know Karl all that well, so I have no reason to be anything less than objective. For what it is worth from my observation, Karl pretty much kept to himself at the party. He was a consummate professional.

Anonymous said...

"My concern is that this group, emboldened by this victory, will now become even more arrogant."

You are correct sir.
BTW you cast the first stone.
While residing in a glass house.

Anonymous said...

Karl being a disappointment to you and Stoffa is like George Washington being a disappointment to King George and his court.

Who are you to preach ethics and values. You are a disbarred attorney for Christ's sake. We won't even go into Angle's past.

As to Stoffa, what, now people can't be upset with their King. You and the Press have propped up this "Holy Man" image for John Stoffa, not many people who have worked with and for him have ever believed that nonsense. Go to Lehigh county and talk to some of the people in Human Services that were their when he ran it. It will be illuminating. Don't bother in Northampton County they fear losing their jobs.

Stoffa is known as a mean old man who hides his venom and sarcasm with a smile. There is also some interesting issues regarding him and some staff from the past.

Point is, this was a celebration party and people have a right to celebrate, if Stoffa wants to fire Karl for that so be it. He won't though, what he will do is leave Karl in his position and freeze him out by just letting him sit. It is one of Stoffa's vindictive passive aggressive ways.

You, Stoffa and Angle have been running roughshod over people who disagree with you three for some time now. People are sick of it. Even if your teabagger pals conveniently forget the constitution when it suits their purposes, it still exists.

You want to put fear into people, who might feel as these people do, to fear being seen with them. You do realize that makes you three scumbags.

I have not been seen with these folks since I don't agree on Gracedale but now I will make an effort to be seen with them and will encourage others to be seen with them.

I will also sign any petition to recall Stoffa. This is crazy stuff for a county government. You guys need to be medicated.

John Stoffa owes these people and the rest of us who pay his salary and numerous public pensions an apology for himself and the actions of you and Ron Angle on his behalf.

Proudly, Lester Kern!

Bernie O'Hare said...

No matter what you may think of me, or think of Stoffa, the reality here is that Karl Longenbach exercised uncharacteristically poor judgement. Stoffa is entitled to have a lawyer he can trust, and this episode reveals he has betrayed that trust.

Anonymous said...

BERNIE, you are just jealous you weren't invited to the VICTORY party!! and it was a Victory!!! sorry your ass wasn't wanted there! nanana nanana hey hey good bye! and i think you owe everyone an apology for calling us low class individuals. some of us are even educated. We too are tax payers and voters, so look out in the 2012 election!!!

Anonymous said...

Stoffa will be forced to resign within six months because of public outrage. And you know what I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

"A registered Democrat, Longenbach will cross-file seeking ..."

www.lehighvalleylive.com
"Attorney Karl F. Longenbach Announces Bid For Northampton County Judge"
3/9/2009

-----------------

Here is where you went wrong, O'Hare.

If Longenbach were a Republican or Conservative ... it would be completely acceptable, if not absolutely desirable, to make the connection to the infamous National Socialist German Workers' Party!

Anonymous said...

Each member of the cabinet serves at the pleasure of the County Executive. Taking a public political position in a race for County Council is not acceptable. It is even less acceptable if it is a position that is contrary to that of the Executive for whom he works. He has publicly demonstrated a disregard for the person who hired him. He should resign or be fired.

Anonymous said...

i rarely if ever agree with you bernie ...but i do agree with you on this one ...unprofessional on kl's part and jill mancini ...is it a conflict of interest on her part being invovled in union contracts ?

Anonymous said...

The only real"Garden of Beasts", is when Ron Angle, John Stoffa, Bernie O'Hare and their teabagger pals go to the Tic toc.
That is a true "Garden of Beast". Also when Angle is standing with his cows in manure pretending to be a farmer.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"nanana nanana hey hey good bye! and i think you owe everyone an apology for calling us low class individuals. some of us are even educated. "

Apparently, you are not one of them.

Anonymous said...

The tattooed dude?, what are you from Bill and Ted's excellent adventure?

Anonymous said...

That was funny Bernie.
I read that and thought the same thing
I can appreciate your humor, however, I often disagree with you.

Anonymous said...

They call the tattoo guy Popeye
They all have code names
And secret locations to meet and exchange information
I know this as a fact
I am pretty sure I know Schmoyers code name I'll post it as soon as I make it 100%

Anonymous said...

Check out the vile threats by the "We the People" cult on their "Saving Private Gracedale" blog. Some of them may be educated, but they have no class. And many were at the Parsons beerfest along with two county solicitors one of whom owes his job to John Stoffa. Norco is becoming "bizarro world" where up is down, wrong is right, and loyalty is betrayel.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, both of them owe their jobs to Stoffa.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"The tattooed dude?, what are you from Bill and Ted's excellent adventure?"

Actually, I might get him in trouble by saying something nice about this guy, but he strikes me as a fairly decent guy. He does not join in with the nonsense, and I have no problem with unions per se.

Anonymous said...

You have no problems with Unions?Really?!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Read what I wrote. I have no problem with unions per se. I especially have no problem with private sector unions, which are often needed. I do have problems with some public sector unions. I also don't care for unions engaging in violent or thuggish tactics like breaking somebody's car windows. I'm funny that way.

Anonymous said...

Bernie was Stoffa at any of the other Democrat canidates victory
party's ? Does he not owe it to his party members ?
I attended a Democrat picnic this fall and he didn't show up there either. I hear he ran as a Dem. but work's as a republican.
I feel that Karl can do as pleases in his private life and still be faithfull to Stoffa and the county.
Bernie get a life.

Anonymous said...

You have no proof about your window.
So don't blame it on the union.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Karl can certainly do as he pleases, and so can Stoffa. Karl serves at the pleasure of the County Exec. Karl's poor judgment in remaining at a party in that Garden of Beasts, with the very people seeking Stoffa's destruction, casts doubt on whether Karl can be trusted to carry out Stoffa's will.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You have no proof about your window. So don't blame it on the union."

I know for a fact that it was intentional vandalism, and at a time when Gracedale was a very hot issue. I can't prove it. If I could, somebody would be charged by now. But you and I both know what happened.

Anonymous said...

I though Stoffa was a Demo? I though Angle was a Republican?

I'm confused. Why punish Karl for supporting a Demo against a Republican?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Stoffa is not the NorCo Dem Chair. he is the County Exec. He represents everyone, Republicans and Democrats. He is entitled to have a reasonable expectation that his own Solicitor will not fraternize with the very people intent on destroying him, regardless of their political affiliation.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Karl really knows how vindictive the "We the People" crowd are? How can he respect a group that threaten public officials with recalls simply because they disagree with them? Isn't that to be reserved for gross misconduct or conviction of a crime? These people are no better than a lynch mob.

Anonymous said...

Defintiely gestapo tactics. And the divine Rev is in the center of it. A man of peace. Give me a break!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bingo.

Anonymous said...

How long are campaign signs allowed to remain up on public land? And is there a fine for allowing them to liter the roadways?

Anonymous said...

Please define "gross misconduct"
Yours' might be different than theirs.

Anonymous said...

And what are you worrying about, they'll never get the signatures they need.
OOPS.

Anonymous said...

litter

Bernie O'Hare said...

11:16, It is too early to campaign about campaign signs. The laws differ from municipality to municipality. On top of that, the First Amendment comes into play with what is, after all, core political speech.

Anonymous said...

My question about signs littering the highway was in response to an event I witnessed today. I was getting on 22 East at Schoenersville Rd. The was a semi and a car in front of me . Somehow one of Barrons signs became airborne and got wedged on the drivers side windshield of the car, causing the driver to serve and come to an abrupt stop, infront of me. I narrowly missed rear ending him. I think the truck draft caused the sign to float. I just asked because after they weather outside for a few weeks they fall apart. Then you get this sort of thing, plus the litter.

Anonymous said...

I think Barron should forfeit his win for almost causing me to be responsible for rear ending that guy.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Actually, those signs should not be on the highways. PennDot rips them down for precisely what you experienced. I am sorry.

Anonymous said...

It would take a monster truck to create enough of a draft for Barron to float.

Anonymous said...

We can thank the demo party and the Otter for extended sign littering. They sued every town with a campaign sign ordinance. They wanted carpetbagger Driscoll to beat boywonder Dent.

Anonymous said...

Jill Mancini, can we ask the question about her and her level of competence? Can we ask the question about her "relationship" with Spadoni?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Her competence is fair game. Her personal life is not.

Anonymous said...

So there is no conflict of interest? Isn't he still a solicitor for Northampton County and the City of Bethlehem and doesn't he have her sit in his place in Bethlehem when he can't appear? He certainly has in the past.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have not seen it. I would ask whether this occurred before or after she became a county employee. Her full-time position with the County should preclude legal work elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

You are blaming someone that was fighting for Gracedale for breaking your window. Are you kidding, take a look at your blog and what you write, you slander everyone! How can you even begin to narrow it down to even a group of people. I am sure you have pissed off a ton of people in the WHOLE LEHIGH VALLEY!

Bernie O'Hare said...

The correct word is libel. Slander is spoken. Get it right.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the witch is linking a less than flattering expose' on you on her site.

Bernie O'Hare said...

She can do as she wishes. I stand by every word I've written. I researched everything and did make an effort to get her side of the story. She, on the other hand, maliciously told some pretty outrageous lies, and I caught her.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you a bit hyper technical on slander? The word is appropriate in common usage for oral or written statements injurious to reputation . Or was that more humor?

Bernie O'Hare said...

That was humor, but libel is the appropriate word for written defamation.

Anonymous said...

Bernie... Tricia is now camming at meetings such as you taught her.You have mentored some one in your image . I still think she loves you. She told somone that she still dreams about you.True love in the end shall prevail...just a matter f time.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you guys will video each othe at the meeting. How funny would that be.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks a lot.

Anonymous said...

Mutual admiration society extraordinaire. ' ANYTHING YOU CAN CAM I CAN CAM BETTER ,,,,,,,,,,,,,"

Bernie O'Hare said...

When I use a flipcam, most of the time it is to record accurately what was said, not to film myself making a speech.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like now you will have a flipcam shoved in your face while you are flipcaming someone else. Far out!!!