Mickey Thompson, a lawyer and Atiyeh's COO, had called the Mayoral exemption a "get out of jail free" card for special developers who are on Fed Ed's good side. Speaking of the blindfold on Lady Justice, Thompson added, "That blindfold's been ripped off and the City is picking winners and losers." I guess now that Atiyeh has been selected as one of the winners, the blindfold can stay off. Abe Atiyeh has suddenly transformed from being one of Fed Ed's harshest critics - one who actually sued over the
Real Estate Deals Approved By Council
On Friday, I told you about the real estate deals (Union and Basin, Martin Luther King Highway) in which Honest Abe's capital gain was at least $999,000. At the time, I was unable to determine whether this was actually approved by Council. But thanks to Richard Fegley, who was there, I know the spending plan was approved at Council's April 16, 2014 meeting, although there was no indication at that time of what exactly was being purchased. Jeanette Eichenwald cast the sole No vote. The money did come from the City's lease of its water and sewer funds.
This matter had been discussed in more detail the previous week, at a meeting of the Council as a Committee-of-the-whole. At that time, as noted by Randy Kraft in an exhaustive report for WFMZ-TV69, the proposal was opposed by residents Bonnie Bosco and Fegley.
Managing Director Francis Dougherty stated that a nearly nine vacant tract at the southwest corner of Union and Basin Streets, complete with a pre-existing billboard, was being purchased as an area where several trails can eventually connect.
Abe spent $350,000 to buy this property in December 2012. In June 2014, he sold this vacant tract, encumbered by a billboard easement in his favor, to the City for $950,000. How the hell does that happen?
The other property, nearly seven acres along Martin Luther King Highway, is the old Lebanon Fertilizer Company. Atiyeh walked away with $399,000 after unloading that property
There is no indication that any appraisals were provided to City Council so they could determine whether the City was being paid a fair price.
Suffice it to say that with $999,000 in hand, Honest Abe was clearly in a position to purchase the assets of Clinton Street Allentown Media LLC, the company that did have contracts with the City for billboards at 13 different locations.
Why Was Fed Ed So Afraid To Testify?
Why was Fed Ed so willing to give Honest Abe such a sweetheart deal? I doubt seriously that he was concerned very much about the legality of a new zoning ordinance that gave him incredible powers. But for some reason, he did not want to testify. He postponed his first appearance, and then the matter was just postponed generally.
Fed Ed may have been leery to discuss how he chose to deal with Clinton Street Allentown Media. I've been informed that Fed Ed's campaign manager, Miked Fleck, was working as a "consultant" for that company.
Fleck later would become Atiyeh's business consultant.
Clinton Street, a very successful cell tower company, was made up of Attorney Nicholas Pullen and Engineer Larry Romanowski. Pullen needed no consultant. He was an early Pawlowski campaign contributor and also was appointed by former Governor Ed Rendell as his Chief Counsel to the Pa. Comm'n on Crime and Delinquency. He managed Jim Eisenhower's bid to be Attorney General. He's currently a principal at Edgewater Partners, which describes itself as "[n]avigating the confluence of business and politics." Pullen already appears to be a first class crony capitalist with no need for someone like Fleck. But he used him.