Her announcement comes at a time when attempts to negotiate a lease, and one that requires some kind of rental payment, have faltered. In an April text to Mayor Donchez, she promised, "I will do everything I can to prevent this lease from going to Council." On the eve of her news conference, she recommended on the Facebook Mill site that supporters contact the Mayor, write letters to the editor and even speak out at City Council meetings. She also lashed out, "I hope ruining my life's work was enough evil for the Gang of Jerks."
Dolan and her nonprofit are currently under investigation by a Grand Jury convened by DA John Morganelli. Witnesses have included former Mayor John Callahan, Mill Chairman Andrew Bollinger, Parks and Public Works Director Ralph Carp. Dolan has yet to be seen before the grand jury.
Dolan told WFMZ-TV69 that she doesn't know why she's being investigated.
While Executive Director, she failed to file nonprofit tax returns for three years in a row. As a result, her nonprofit status was revoked for at least a year. During that time, she continued raising money. Her vote on last year's budget, which provided for heating oil at the Mill, is an apparent violation of the Ethics Act prohibition on voting on matters in which she has a direct financial interest. Dolan was a paid Executive Director. As Chair of City Council's Parks' Committee, she advocated relaxing restrictions on alcohol in the park, where the Mill hosts wedding receptions. Her threat concerning the lease to Mayor Donchez may be yet another violation of the Ethics Act.
In addition to paying no rent, the Mill has also stopped paying utilities, and Bethlehem taxpayers have footed the bill. In the meantime, there are nine room air conditioners at the site. Over $128,000 owed to the City for work at the Mill has been written off as noncollectable.
Before the news conference began, this reporter was asked to confirm with Dolan's husband that he was there for The Bethlehem Press. Dolan supporter Gloria McVeigh taunted, "Look who's here, gloating over the corpse."
But when she made her announcement, Dolan professed she was interested in accentuating the positive.
"A teacher, that would be me," claimed Dolan, "imagined all things are possible when the people are behind her." She later added, "I was the teacher in this story," to accentuate her role as an educator.
She called Bill Burkhardt, a former Liberty principal, to discuss the value of experiential learning. He was followed by former Liberty High School participant Erin Matyus and Lafayette College intern Rebecca Murray. Tom Kerr, a former board member, echoed Burkhardt.
When the speakers finished, Dolan indicated she would entertain questions, but not about the "dark clouds" surrounding her nonprofit.
But before long, she began blaming the City for the Center's difficulties.She said she had a letter from Solicitor Bill Leeson claiming that the center was a liability, not an asset, and then she made a reference to politics playing a part.
Dolan was then reminded about her claim that she would refrain from discussing the "dark clouds" over the Mill, and that many political and other questions could be asked. At that point, her husband leapt to her defense and Mill supporters shouted down the reporter.
When Dolan continued, she stated she would not be accepting any more questions. But she later told WFMZ-69 that there "was no wrongdoing."