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Friday, October 10, 2014

The Fall of Karen Dolan

DA John Morganelli announcing report
Updated 2:31 pm:Karen Dolan, an elected member of Bethlehem City Council, violated the public trust. She placedthe interests of her nonprofit, the Illick's Mill, over and above the interests of the people she was elected to represent. She ignored a $128,000 debt she ran up with the City. She intimidated everyone who stood in her way. She would do whatever it took, including explosive rants, to advance the cause of a nonprofit in which she herself was financially interested. She is not fit to serve in public office. Moreover, she engaged in repeated violations of the state Ethics Act.

These are the conclusions of the Northampton County Investigating Grand Jury, which yesterday released a blistering, 62-page report. It is the product of 20 witnesses, including former Mayor John Callahan and an accountant who was never informed that her nonprofit was in debt. It is the product of 49 exhibits, in which Dolan herself threatens to do "everything I can" to prevent the City from forcing her nonprofit to pay for utilities,

It is a tale of arrogance.

The Grand Jury has recommended that she resign from office within the next 14 days. It has referred prima facie violations of the Ethics Act to the Ethics Commission for a determination whether criminal sanctions should be imposed, which include third degree felonies. It has recommended that Bethlehem adopt internal policies to prevent anyone in City government from engaging in conflicts of interest. It wants the Illick's Mill to pay what it owes. And it wants non-profits that deal with the City to provide periodic proof that they still are nonprofits, and that they are paying their bills.

So ends a tale in which Dolan provided multiple explanations to multiple people about her ethical misconduct, including accusations of politics and the use of social media to vilify those who exposed her. In the end, when she had an opportunity to speak to the Grand Jury, she clammed up and took the Fifth.

The $127,959 Debt

Karen Dolan
Morganelli's interest in this matter, like the Industrial Steel Museum,is the result of several news accounts, as well as complaints from citizens like Steve Antalics, who had publicly called for a Grand Jury to investigate the $127,959 debt that was mysteriously written off by the City. As the layers of the onion peeled away, they exposed a woman who misused grant money that was supposed to pay for money advanced by the City for improvements at the mill. At one time, it was just $30,000, and Dolan promised to pay the money once other grants came in.

That never happened, and the debt snowballed. The City attempted to collect the debt, even threatening to suspend services. Finally, a Morning Call news account quoted Mark Sivak, a business manager, as stating that the Illicks Mill owed the City $127,000.

Dolan left a lengthy voice mail for Sivik, stating, "How dare you put the Illick's Mill out there, that they owe the money!" He was blasted with "who does he think he is!" and the City should be paying her for all the work she's done.

Though Mayor John Callahan stated the City was in financial trouble, he decided to write the debt off. "I didn't have much choice," he shrugged. He denied that Dolan made any attempt to persuade him to write it off, but the Grand Jury did not find Callahan's testimony credible because other witnesses testified to receiving intimidating phone calls and emails from Dolan.  

Business Administrator Dennis Reichard stated that though the debt was written off, but the debt was not excused and the City never wrote to Illick's Mill, telling the non-profit that he debt was forgiven.

The NonProfit Tax Returns

When Dolan's nonprofit lost its tax exempt status for failure to file tax returns for three years in a row, she blamed her accountant. But he testified he never could prepare these returns because Dolan failed to provide him with the necessary information. He added that Dolan never disclosed her debt to the City, which should have been included in these tax returns. The returns as filed presented an inaccurate picture to the public and potential donors. His testimony was corroborated by an employee in his office, who stated Dolan failed to supply the necessary information.

Alcohol Use at Mill

Although a City Ordinance bans the use of alcohol beyond a 7% limit at the Mill, Dolan misled a wedding event planner into believing that the Mill was exempt. Dolan also conducted a few weddings herself, and collected miney for that above and beyonf her salary as Executive Director.

Conflicts of Interest

The Grand Jury lists specific instances in which Dolan engaged in conduct for the pecuniary benefit of Illick's Mill that conflicted with her duties as a member of Council:
  • Instead of paying down the debt owed to the City, Dolan used grant money for other Mill expenses, contrary to assurances that she made in 2008.
  • When she received a bill for the $127,959 debt to the City in 2010, she called the City's Public Parks Director and told him she was unwilling and unable to pay the money. 
  • In 2010, she badgered a City employee who had publicly revealed the debt owed by the Mill to the City.
  • Dolan misrepresented that funds were unavailable to the City while simultaneously demanding a salary at The Mill based on increased revenue projections. 
  • Dolan improperly influenced a financially distressed City to waive this debt.
  • Dolan regularly participated in City business that impacted on the Mill. She ignored requests for a new lease from 2010-2013. She influenced City Administrators to assume responsibility for utilities. She voted for two City budgets that included line items for heating oil at the Mill. She represented the Mill at meetings with City officials. As Chair of the parks Committee, she attempted to ease restrictions on alcohol in City parks, which would favorably impact the Mill. She threatened to close the Mill if alcohol rules were not eased. She threatened to close the mill again over a lease proposed by Mayor Bob Donchez.
She put the interests of the Illicks Mill ahead of the interests of the people of Bethlehem. For at least the past four years, she intimidated and harassed City officials to effectuate public policy that would benefit the Mill and herself.

I sent an email to Dolan, requesting a response, but have none and expect none.

The Morning Call is reporting that Dolan intends to resign. She reportedly has no comment on the Grand Jury report.

In April, she was a lot more cocky, denying she had done anything wrong:

Although the recent false accusations, innuendo, and attacks against our non-profit have been outrageously untrue, we know that no one can protect themselves against unethical bloggers and those who act on the principle of repeating lies so that eventually they become “the truth.” In today’s 24-hour news cycle and atmosphere of vicious and unsubstantiated on-line accusations, we understand what Warwick meant in Henry VI: “What fates impose, that men must needs abide; It boots not to resist both wind and tide.” (Loose translation: Don’t fight what you can’t change.)

In July, she stated, "I hope ruining my life's work was enough evil for the Gang of Jerks."

But she declined to speak to the Grand Jury, and her husband is talking for her now.

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same woman that brutally interrogated applicants for a vacant city council position?

Anonymous said...

Great job Bernie.
By the way, what is happening re. the Museum of Industrial History and the Attorney General investigation?

Anonymous said...

no one believes she did this by herself. the grand jury found jc's testimony not creditable

Anonymous said...

Gosh, will she do time in jail?

Anonymous said...

Bernie O'Hare vindicated.

Pipeline Guy said...

Yes, she is the same one who interrogated applicants in that manner, which was a pathetic display of her typical arrogance in my mind.

I'm eagerly awaiting her smug response to this latest news, but I doubt there will be one.

I think she is going to have to be forcefully removed from council, she isn't going to do it on her own, too full of herself. I don't think she deserves jail, but get her the heck out of city government.

Anonymous said...

What?

Callahan's testimony not credible???

Shocking.

I hate it when circling wagons does not work out.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The way she interrogated people who applied t a Council vacancy is why I decided to look at her more closely. Those were ALL good people, ever one of whom is more qualified than she. Yet she treated them like garbage. It was embarrassing.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Gosh, will she do time in jail?"

I doubt very much that would happen. But engaging in a conflict is a third degree felony. People in government need to take notice.

I know several local government where similar type of activity has occurred, minus the arrogance displayed by Dolan.

Nazareth Borough Council has a serious conflict of interest with Nazareth Ambulance, which I will explain again next week.

Anonymous said...

She will be looking up at those she looked down on.
Pride cometh before the fall.

Anonymous said...

Wonderr if she will lose her teacher's pension? Karma is a bitch named Karen!

Anonymous said...

No indictment. Nothing to see here. Move along.

steve melnick said...

I considered my candidacy for Bethlehem City Council to be a great, positive and rewarding experience. Unfortunately I did not feel that way after being grilled by Ms. Dolan when a vacant seat on said council was being filled. Her arrogant, nasty and vituperative questioning was totally unprofessional and did little to improve the perception of our city council. As they say “what goes around, comes around”.

Anonymous said...

Will a Democrat prosecute a Democrat here? Not likely. She'll fight it and has probably already threatened a thorough airing of party laundry. I'm not sure if this is still within Morganelli's purvue, but I doubt he'll pursue this and Kathy Kane is even less likely to do so. Party loyalists would love for this to just go away. They're going to get their wish. She'll resign and the story will end and Bernie will wholeheartedly support this resolution. That's life in a one party town with press and bloggers of the same party, who want their calls and emails to continue to be answered. As correctly posted earlier, there really is nothing to see here.

Anonymous said...

She didn't get to her position by herself. Check BASD and its former leaders(sic) along with the people mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Two young women's lives are destroyed by this blog. One is on medication and fears for her life and now another is devastated said to be moving from the area. Bernie O'Hare is a destroyer of young women.

Yet Jim Gregory sits in jail. Justice?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You betcha'.

Anonymous said...

My gosh Bernie.....U got Gregory, You got messykappa, you got "Cupcake" Trachta, and you got "heavey handed Dolan.
Now go get the idiot we elected County Executive. Ethics is not his greatest asset, nor is intelligence or brains.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Gregory, no follow up story Bern?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have nothing to report concerning Gregory, and don't know exactly when he is beig releasesd. I thought his minimum was up.

Anonymous said...

Jim is enjoying his afternoon bendovers and chocolate lovers facial creams.

Anonymous said...

Is it relaxing for you to senslessly beat the piss out of women with no end in sight?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You forgot to state they are "poor young women."

The reality is that I have done nothing to any of these people, both male and female. They defeated themselves. But because their nature is that they are unwilling to accept personal responsibility, they lash out at others. Like you're doing now.

Anonymous said...

She's going to take down a whole lotta people.....��

Bernie O'Hare said...

So far as I can see, it is just her.

Anonymous said...

"Is it relaxing for you to senslessly beat the piss out of women with no end in sight?"

Revealing behavior and deeds that concern the public and constituents is not "beating" anyone.

If the truth hurts, don't blame the messenger. It must hurt to have such a tiny brain that rattles around in the cranium.

Anonymous said...

@5:41

She has already taken down some pants and could identify each one by size and office held...

Anonymous said...

Once Jim Gregory is free he will take to the air and defend those women. Like himself they are the victims of a relentless attack on character. These young women are the typical O'Hare prey. he hates women, especially those with brains and power.

Mr. Gregory knows the score and is not afraid to publically tell it like it is regardless of O'Hare's terror.

Anonymous said...

Any idea what Dolan salary as exec of Illick's Mill?

Anonymous said...

The whole deal seems fishy to me. Too much insider stuff (does downtown Allentown come to mind?).
However, it seems Dolan is not quite as evil as the proverbial 'ham sandwich' that media types always say gand juries seem eager to indict. Where do these pompus asses get off telling an elected offical to resign in 2 weeks? Is that really their role?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes. Itvis in the Grand Jury's report. I believe it was $3,000 per month, but she was only getting $2000 per month, plus a commission as a back up on the weddings.

Bernie O'Hare said...

She does not have to resign. And I'm sure the Ethics Comm'n will take her decision into account in deciding how to sanction her numerous conflicts of interest. Brilliant advice you're giving here.

Anonymous said...

"Once Jim Gregory is free he will take to the air and defend those women. Like himself they are the victims of a relentless attack on character. These young women are the typical O'Hare prey. he hates women, especially those with brains and power.

Mr. Gregory knows the score and is not afraid to publically tell it like it is regardless of O'Hare's terror."

You come on here all the time referring to old women as "poor young women." Firstly, they are not smart and have no brains. One never learned how to use apostrophes, and blathers on about Mensa. She certainly is not a candidate. If these women were smart, they would not have broken the law and committed ethics violations and gotten themselves into trouble. Secondly, they got themselves into trouble, not Bernie O'Hare. He is a reporter, and a darned good one. You on other hand are a horse's ass.

Gregory is just another criminal, just like the old bags you are claiming are being targeted. Who cares about him of what he has to say except you? Nobody. Hope you are waiting outside state prison to give him a ride when he is released.

Anonymous said...

I know Karen from her days as a reporter at The Globe Times. She is not a bad person. One must ask where the Board was during this period ? She is not totally to blame.

Bernie O'Hare said...

She is not a bad person. But she is not the same person you knew. The board was continually losing members, mostly bc she lied to them.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:10, you little sticker goons are really up O'Hare's butt. You are a bunch of losers. These young women are just more of O'Hare's victims. Why he does this is his personal demons.

Anonymous said...

All this effort by one person to try and turn readers against the person who gave this discovery the legs it needed to be investigated.
Citizens, like Steve Antalics, initially questioned the debt and Dolan's involvement. He was ignored by the "legitimate" media in the local area.
O'Hare investigated the allegations and found it legitimate. He got the ball rolling on something that should have been investigated years ago.
If the local media actually did any type of investigative journalism Dolan would have been the subject of a Grand Jury investigation long before now.
We all know where the feeble attempts to discredit O'Hare come from; People like Mezzacappa and her gun toting, tea bagger, wanna-be elected to anything nut jobs.
Bernie, you did a great job on this one. Too bad ET and MC didn't give you the credit you deserve.

Anonymous said...

@7:05 agreed. Mezzacappa and small entourage of criminals just want to be elected, in order to do what who the hell knows. Thanks to Bernie's reporting on that, and Mezzacappa's insane behavior that followed in which she made her own name mud by going from witch to bitch, citizens can sleep well knowing that is unlikely to ever happen. It's pathetic that she casts herself as a victim of others - she victimized herself. Dolan did the same thing. There is a saying about being your own worst enemy.

Bernie was out in front on this Dolan story from the get-go, as he has been on others, and deserves much credit for that.

Anonymous said...

"These young women are just more of O'Hare's victims."

Please don't say anything if you have nothing intelligent to say. Dolan is a victim of unethical behavior, which was reported by O'Hare.

If you can't explain how exposing malfeasance of public officials is making them a "victim", please keep your nonsense comments to yourself. The rest of us have brains, and like to use them.

Celtic warrior said...

Dolan and Mezz are forming an alliance to combat the rogue bloggers smear campaign, something like a female hannity and combs for our area

Bernie O'Hare said...

To those saying the Grand Jury found Mayor Callahan not credible, let me explain that the Grand Jury just could not believe that Dolan hounded so many other people while leaving him alone. The Grand Jury had no criticism of anything else Callahan said. So basically, the Grand Jury just could not accept one aspect of his testimony. It does not mean they think he is hiding anything or that they think he did anything wrong, because they don't.

Bernie O'Hare said...

The ET just handed out its turkeys of the week, and made no mention of Dolan while taking on another nonprofit. It should have listed her and pointed out that nonprofit abuse is an increasing and alarming tendency.

Ordinarily, it would have. But Dolan gets a pass.

I believe Dolan gets special treatment from the ET bc she is a former reporter and has some kind of relationship with Olanoff. Not only has this reporter refused to look into Dolan, despite having it fairly easy among ET reporters, but she apparently bought a Dolan song that I was being pipeline information from a city official nd even filed a RTK to find out my source. I have no respect left for Olanoff as a result.

Chris Casey said...

I just finished reading through all 60 pages of the Grand Jury report.
It doesn't matter what political party you are, if you abuse your authority, you have to answer for it. Ms Dolan did that, and now she has to suffer the consequences. As for Olanoff, she has done a disservice to journalism by obviously playing favorites. Hell she is no better than us bloggers, right?! Oalnoff can't hold any journalistic high ground when she buries her head in the sand.
Lets hope this saga comes to a quick conclusion and goes far away.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The "evil gang of Jerks" construct of Dolan's is eerily similar to Mezzacappa's favorite "poison posse" invocation.

If all you have as a defense is to blame the messenger, you have no defense. Thankfully in the Lehigh Valley we have an excellent investigative reporter like Bernie to expose the really evil people.

Anonymous said...

"excellent investigative reporter like Bernie to expose the really evil people"

Thank you trevey, now bend over some more.

Anonymous said...

"We find Mr. Callahan to be less than credible..."

No surprise. She didn't make all of this happen without her"friends". Why do you think Spirk got a new job ad council solicitor. Kelly with Boscolla. The leader of the gang Callahan, was the slickest of them all.

The entire crew ran around for years doing whatever the hell they wanted. This was one little rock turned over. She will resign and that will be that, Believe me if this was a jail time type offends she would be singing like a bird and some other birds would be falling.

Concerned18042 said...

Bernie is a sadistic disbarred title gopher who takes much glee in the failure of our beloved Fox environmental center, his shenanigans in the courthouse would make Larry Flint blush and it's time people stood up to his revolting escapades.

When Gregory is released there will be a counter blog to this vortex of misinformation and character assassination for sport.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Concened 18042 is Tricia Mezzacappa, against whom I have a defamation judgment. A complaint was filled last week against Timmer, who allowed Mezzacappa and Gregory to defame several people, including me, on the air. I expect to see Mezzacappa and Gregory joined as additional defendants.

Anonymous said...

Jim Gregory has been told of your claims and has laughed at your foolishness. When released he will undoubtedly spill the beans on those responsible for his imprisonment. Not the young lady used as a pawn. He will also be a balance to the nonsense you and your new little minions are spreading. His days of political harassment will soon be over.

Anonymous said...

Radio, a blog, and perhaps television? Where will Jimlicious find the time between running for office and running a scam PAC?
Will these beans he spills be the same ones he never spilled on his short-lived radio show that he spent the last of his money on and landed him in jail, when he violated the PFA against him?
And what "young lady" do you refer? There isn't one in this story.
If Gregorious is stupid enough to open that pie hole he calls a roaring mouth, he's stupid enough to say something that will land him back in the slammer.

Bernie O'Hare said...

In 28 minutes, you got word to Jimbo! Good for you. Has it dawned on you yet, Mezzacappa, that everyone is wise to your constant lies? Is it true Gregory asked for a few more months in the can cuz' he's scared to death of you? Does he know he's your boyfriend, as you stated under oath in court? Do you ever stop lying?

Anonymous said...

Breaking News: the little StickerGoons have tagged Mezzacappa panties. These 4XL sized granny drawers can be seen hanging from her washline with the word "I Support O'Hare" painted on them. These little Bastards need to be stopped. Wait, they need to...... Ahhh who cares, this blog post has nothing to do with the StickerGang, none of them want or like your old dirty @$$ so leave them alone. After all, you've yet to prove they stickered anything but your heart.

Bernie O'Hare said...

She has described you as "nubile". Uh oh. Shit, maybe you should ask Trachta to arrest you after all!

Anonymous said...

He knows how to get a hold of me. You can't miss the cupcake while driving through Trachta time.

Anonymous said...

"When released he will undoubtedly spill the beans on those responsible for his imprisonment."

That statement right there tells the public 1) according to Mezz's assessment, Gregory has learned nothing after 14 months in the can 2) She enables both sociopathic and grandious behavior.

Bernie O'Hare said...

... And us doing so for Dolan.

Anonymous said...

"When released he will undoubtedly spill the beans on those responsible for his imprisonment."

It has gotten so old, the fact that you continue to blame the wrong people for your problems. Just look in the mirror. Jim Gregory is in pounding in the ass jail due to his own misdeeds. Karen Dolan is quitting council in embarrassment because of her own misdeeds. You created your problems with your keyboard and your mouth.

Meanwhile, those of us who haven't lost a grip on reality just laugh and laugh at you.

Anonymous said...

Why has she STILL not done the right thing and resigned from city council???
Oh...letmeguess...she still thinks she's right and innocent...what an ego!

Bernie O'Hare said...

My guess is she wants the medical benefits.

Anonymous said...

Its a real shame to see what this blog has become. No matter the topic , the comments section reels off course to Mezzacappa every day. You say that you are not obsessed with this woman, yet she rents 100% of the space in your head.

Its really no wonder she fears for her life

Bernie O'Hare said...

We all know who has the obsession. Mezzacappa injected herself into this discussion, and drew attention to herself and Gregory. She is concerned18042. Shw frequently comments here anonymously as well.

Pipeline Guy said...

Am I the only one who thinks it's absolutely ridiculous that city council members are given health insurance as a benefit? Especially with how broke the city is, and the fact that this is 2014, not 1954. Don't most of those folks (other than Dolan) have health insurance as a benefit through their jobs anyway? Do we know who takes it and who doesn't?

Look at it another way. Council positions are essentially part time jobs. What part time job these days provides health insurance?

Get rid of it. It's already nuts that they are paid for this public service that plenty of competent folks would be willing to do for free.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are not the only guy nor are you being ridiculous. Dolan is among those who fought the elimination of these benefits. I believe Mayor Donchez is going to propose their elimination now.

Anonymous said...

"No matter the topic , the comments section reels off course to Mezzacappa every day."

First off, why does it matter? The real asset to the community is Bernie's investigative and community reporting, and the comments that are on-topic.

To your point, it is because Mezzacappa comes here and hijacks threads. She does the same thing on LVL, where she libels Bernie and Kelly Gross and all of her victims every chance she gets. She has a child's mind in a 50-year-old body. Nobody reads her bog, so she has to try to get her twisted bile out some how. Poor old hag has nothing better to do. She's trashed her own reputation, by libeling and harassing others. And she hasn't learned a lesson. Let her carry on, and more people take her to court. She's a menace to herself and others.

Anonymous said...

@10:09 This is the beauty of government, voting itself benefits. You are precisely correct - health care is totally ridiculous for council members and should be eliminated.

Anonymous said...

How much space does Mezzacappa rent in your head?

Anonymous said...

OH! OH! I Know!
Over $69,000 worth and the rent is going up every day.

Anonymous said...

"The real asset to the community is Bernie's investigative and community reporting"

O'Hare's little protégé's are doing their job. How sweet. So another young woman is attacked and humiliated by this blog. This is the lesson you are learning. Attack women who have made more of themselves then you have? Destroy them if possible?

Sad little boys you are.

Anonymous said...

"...another young woman..."

You obviously have no grasp on reality.

Anonymous said...

"another young woman is attacked and humiliated by this blog"

If the truth about the women in question (one of them is a wrinkled bitter hag - no longer young - that ship sailed a few decades ago) is "humiliating," so be it. These women brought disgrace upon themselves through their unethical and illegal activities.

You are blaming the messenger, the reporter. That makes you either an idiot, a moron, or just in denial. Whichever, have a great night drowning your sorrows searching the 1 minute tape loop for the sound bite of your choice to play over and over and over again. "Stoffa, Angle, poison posse, disbarred, young woman," repeat Here in O'Hare's blog, we look forward to real news, not same old same old boring noise from you.

Anonymous said...

and to think this woman wanted to be the director of a non profit group looking to take over the Housenick Park in Bethlehem Township. Thank God three of the commissioners were not fooled. Nolan of course was completley sucked in by her and her BFF Victory Bastidas. I think maybe someone should be looking into her "non-profit" status and ethics as well. Bernie, think your up to it ?