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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Pa. Making Serious Bid as Most Corrupt State

Late last year, the Center For Public Integrity gave Pennsylvania an "F" in the integrity department, noting a "lack of legislative or executive accountability and the absence of effective ethics entities, as well as weak laws and lackluster oversight of lobbying, political finance, and elections."

Obama and Fattah
I know you can't go lower than an "F", but the first five months of this year show that Pennsylvania is off to a promising start at overdue recognition as the most corrupt state in the Union. Move over, Michigan! Here's what's going on right now.

US Congressman Chaka Fattah - On trial for racketeering. US Senator Bob Casey testifies he was pressured to get ambassadorship for lobbyist who provided cash and gifts to Fattah. This trial should last at least eight weeks, and the Dem Convention in Philly should make for some interesting stories. (Source: Inky)

Attorney General Kathleen Kane. - Trial on obstruction and Pa. Docket Sheets).
Kane has very own mug shot
perjury charges scheduled in Montgomery County on August 8, 2016. She has filed motion to quash based on selective and vindictive prosecution. She will be crashing an burning just as the presidential race heats up.  (Source

Former State Treasurer Rob McCord - After his guilty plea to extortion, Judge John E. Jones III has scheduled a status conference on 10/12/16 in Harrisburg. His taped phone calls will drive the nails into Democratic coffins just in time for the election(Source: PACER)

Former Democratic political consultant Michael Fleck - After a guilty plea to bribery scheme in Reading and Allentown, his sentencing is scheduled for 7/25/16 in Philadelphia before Judge Juan R. Sánchez, 10 AM (Source: PACER)

Former Allentown Controller Mary Ellen Koval - After guilty plea to bribery scheme, sentencing scheduled for 7/26/16 in Philadelphia before Judge Juan R. Sánchez, 10 AM. (Source: PACER)

Fed Ed
Former Allentown Finance Director Garrett Strathearn - After guilty plea to bid rigging, sentencing scheduled for 7/27/16 in Philadelphia before Judge Juan R. Sánchez, 10 AM (Source: PACER)

Former Allentown Assistant Solicitor Dale Wiles - After guilty plea to bid rigging, sentencing scheduled for 9/8/16 in Philadelphia before Judge Juan R. Sánchez, 9 AM. (Source: PACER)

Allentown and reading pay-to-play entrepreneur Ramzi Haddad - Sentencing scheduled for 7/28/16 in Philadelphia before Judge Juan R. Sánchez, 10 AM. (Source: PACER)

Allentown and Reading Pay-to-Play Engineer Matthew McTish - Sentencing scheduled for 8/2/16 in Philadelphia before Judge Juan R. Sánchez, 2 PM. (Source: PACER)

Former Reading City Council President Francis Acosta - Sentenced by Judge Juan R. Sánchez to two years in prison over $1,800 bribe. (Source: Reading Eagle)

Former Mayoral Assistant Eron Lloyd - After guilty plea to bribery, sentencing scheduled for 9/8/16 in Philadelphia before Judge Juan R. Sánchez, 2 PM.(Source: PACER)

Look! A Republcan!
Former Reading Mayor Vaughn Spencer - Unindicted, but featured prominently in federal charging documents as Public Official No. 1 (Source: PACER)

Allentown Mayor Edwin Pawlowski. - Unindicted, but featured prominently in federal charging documents as Public Official No. 3 (Source: PACER)

Nazareth Mayor Carl Strye - Charges with skimming $8,000 from the Vigilance Hose, he is scheduled for arraignment on 6/23/16. (Source: Pa Docket Sheets)

Ex Seven Fields Mayor Edward Bayne- sentenced to seven years in federal prison after child porn conviction (Source: WKBN27)

Former Rendell Chief of Staff John Estey- Pre-sentence conference with Judge John E. Jones III on 8/29/16 in Harrisburg. (Source: PACER)

Darth Voter
State Senator Larry Farnese - Charged with diverting campaign funds, he has an Initial Appearance on 6/10/16 in Philadelphia. (Source: PACER)

Former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed. - Bound over to face 144 charges of political corruption.

Former Philly Traffic Court Judge Michael J Sullivan. - Gets ten months for tax fraud. (Source: Inky)

Philadelphia State Rep.Vanessa Brown - Though she admitted her guilt to political corruption in Grand Jury Testimony concerning an undercover sting of State Reps in Philly, she is now claiming charges racially motivated and entrapment. (Source: Inky) Five other elected officials, including State Representatives and a traffic court judge, pleaded guilty or "no contest" last year.Brown's trial is currentyl scheduled for 7/18/16. (Source: Pa Docket Sheets)

Former Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Joseph O'Neill - pleads guilty to lying to FBI about case-fixing for Democratic fundraiser. (Source: Intelligencer)

Berks County Magisterial District Judge Timothy Dougherty. - Charged with stealing $113,000 from court, fire department. (Source: Intelligencer) The Court of Judicial Discipline has entered an interim suspension in the only action that has been filed against a judge this year. ... So far.

Former Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin fined $50,000 by Court of Judicial Discipline despite resignation over lewd emails. (Source: Morning Call)

State Rep. Michael "Darth Voter" Schlossberg admits ghost voting in critical budget vote. (Source: NBC10).

Allentown School Director Ce-Ce Gerlach accepts scholarship funded in part by NIZ developer City Center, then votes in a closed session against pursuing an appeal on the the tax exempt status of the NIZ arena, thus accomplishing a violation of both the Sunshine Act and Ethics Act simultaneously. (Source: Gerlach's Facebook Page, Morning Call)


Anonymous said...

Is that a cape on Msr. Strye? lol

Anonymous said...

Enough Bernie what can the average citizen do about it?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Plenty. I'm one of those average citizens doing something about it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Is that a cape on Msr. Strye? lol"

I believe he can fly.

Luiz Garcia said...

The average citizen can vote for a candidate who is not connected to any of these folks. Our power especially in local municipalities comes from having the ability to choose. What we need especially in Allentown is someone who is not connected to any of these entities. I hope and pray the citizen show their strength when voting for the next mayor. Send a message to the establishment! Thank you for the breakdown Bernie--LDG

Luiz Garcia said...


Anonymous said...

I love it when my Democratic Party friends in Northampton County tell me why I should still believe in the party as the best hope for working people.

Anonymous said...

It only seems like we are over run by corruption but it is truly human nature exerting it's influence in political affairs. Greed and ego issues are common place across the spectrum of the entire world. These people are just the local faces of the problem. They all need to be rooted out but who will do the job? It was and remains the free press' job if they choose to do so but even they are subject to the same forces of nature and they choose otherwise and forget their core responsibilities under our dear Constitution. Education is crucial and that parental responsibility as to our young people. Plenty of work for all of us to do on this one.

Anonymous said...

This is like remodeling a kitchen that no longer works for you. It doesn't serve your needs, it wastes energy, and costs you money.

TEAR IT ALL OUT AND START OVER! We don't have time to wait for this situation to fix itself, the rot remains and it's spreading. WE need to do something, not discuss it for another generation.

It is imperative for voters to remove as many incumbents as they can. Just imagine the message citizens will send if 75-85% of all people now in office are replaced with other people starting off new. No one currently in office is irreplaceable.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

Almost all ... Democrat after Democrat after Democrat ....... The party of the working man ain't working, man.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If ypu look at this over time, it is more evenly spread out between both parties. But right now, the Dems look terrible. This is all going to reach a crescendo in October, which is why Pa. Dems are in big trouble this election cycle. The AG's seat is lost, especially with a pay-to-play candidate who got sting money from Estey. Toomey willwin bc the party opted to go establishment instead of Sestak. I think that even someone like DePasquale is in big trouble.

Anonymous said...

What separates Pennsylvania from Illinois is Chicago. The corruption in Philadelphia normally remains in Philadelphia, although slimeballs such as Rendell occasionally get to Harrisburg.

But mostly, Illinois corruption is Chicago-based, not Springfield-based. However, a spate of recent Governor there have had issues.

Remember where Ed Pawlowski comes from. He fits right in and is spawning his own family in Allentown, well, he was before the FBI moved in.

Anonymous said...

If you have ever seen Waters World on FOX you see what is coming out of college. They know nothing of world events, history or the major they received in college. The listen to social media and are swayed to the left by their teachers. How can they make critical decisions regarding politics when they don't know anything about this country.

Ray Nemeth Sr said...

Corruption is widespread across the country, we are probably only seeing the tip of the iceberg, they know, that as long as the people aren't watching and acting to change things, they can get away with most of this. No one attends meetings, and people in government accept that this is how things are done. Of course there are still good people in government, but until the citizens demand better, it will not change. Government has made it more difficult, through regulation and taxes, to succeed honestly and easier to succeed if you have access to the money controlled by government.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have not seen Waters World and do not watch TV. But I daresay that, when i graduated from college and even law school, I thought i knew everything, too. Education is a life long process. Maybe one day I'll learn.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to add in the NorCo Republican committee currently under investigation for what is rumored to be financial issues.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I would add it if I knew anything. No one seems to know about it, other than the raid itself.

Anonymous said...

It's Eron Lloyd.

Not Floyd

Anonymous said...

These facts add up to bad situation, but it is not only in government. We see despicable corruption right where we live, every day, enabled by the state legislature, to be sure, but enacted by ordinary, unelected people who take control and exercise their innate arrogance and ignorance in complete defiance of the law, which cannot really be enforced. I am referring to condominium housing, which at its best, is a corruption of Anglo-American law regarding property ownership. It is based on Napoleonic law, comes out of southern Europe, through Spain, via the Caribbean, and when enabling legislation was brought to the U.S., Pennsylvania' legislature rubber-stamped it without adding and sort of oversight or control to protect individuals. Good for FIRE (Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate) not so good for the citizen. Anyway, let us remember there are excellent people in Harrisburg among all the trash...Steve Samuelson is one, he is running unopposed. Bob Freeman is another. They do work for the people, and deserve our gratitude and support.

Bernie O'Hare said...

10:47, thanks and will correct.

Anonymous said...

Chaka Fattah - D
Kathleen Kane - D
Rob McCord - D
Michael Fleck - D
Mary Ellen Koval - D
Garrett Strathearn - D
Dale Wiles - D
Ramzi Haddad - Unknown
Matthew McTish - Unknown
Francis Acosta - D
Eron Lloyd - D
Vaughn Spencer - D
Edwin Pawlowski - D
Carl Strye - D

... and so on

What seems to be the common denominator for all these people ?

Bernie O'Hare said...

McTish, Haddad, Strye are all Rs. But yes, most involved this time are Ds, and it will hurt.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget bonus gate, email gate, and orie gate.

Anonymous said...

The Democrat Party is horrible. It is one crooked operation. Who in their right mind votes for a Democrat? The only sane vote is Republican. If you own property, have job and don't want crazy taxes you must vote Republicans.

The Democrat Party is for crooks and freeloaders. Prove me wrong! You can't!

Anonymous said...

Oh Please... no party has exclusivity on corruption.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court yanked the law license of Brian Preski, former chief of staff to ex-state House Speaker John Perzel.

The high court ruling disbarring the Philadelphia attorney comes four years after Preski and Perzel pleaded guilty and were sentenced to prison terms in the so-called Computergate scandal. That scandal involved a plot by House Republican leaders to divert millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to develop a computer network that would aid GOP election campaigns...

Anonymous said...

8:13: read the comment below yours..."Oh please...no party has exclusivity on corruption."

lest we forget this whopper...

The "kids for cash" scandal unfolded in 2008 over judicial kickbacks at the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Two judges, President Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior Judge Michael Conahan, were convicted of accepting money from Robert Mericle, builder of two private, for-profit youth centers for the detention of juveniles, in return for contracting with the facilities and imposing harsh adjudications on juveniles brought before their courts to increase the number of residents in the centers.

For example, Ciavarella adjudicated children to extended stays in youth centers for offenses as minimal as mocking a principal on Myspace, trespassing in a vacant building, or shoplifting DVDs from Wal-mart.

And remember, the republican rednecks in Alamaba, I mean Luzerne County were applauding these assholes, I mean judges, for being "tough on crime".

Bernie O'Hare said...

Overall, it's about even. But lately, there are gfar more Dems, and it is going to hurt big time this election ccyle. i have warned about this for months. You have pay-to-platy Shapiro running for G, a party boss who is even bigger at advancing his personal interests with political contributions and loads of des on their way to jail.

Anonymous said...

Re: 11:08 AM comment, things are intertwined where corruption exists...cronyism...the legislature passes laws to enable Wall Street and Real Estate and disenfranchise regular unsuspecting people, many of them elderly, who then have only two options, hire a lawyer they cannot afford, or make a complaint to the consumer protection agency inside the state Attorney General's office, which is in disarray, headed by ...one of the "problem" officials. The course is downhill all the way for the people of the state. It is good that Bernie and other bloggers are on the ball.

Anonymous said...

Why we are were we are at today.
1 result (0.21 seconds)
Search Results
College students were asked simple questions about politics and ...
From: Salon.com: News -- This video is the most terrifying thing you will see today..

Anonymous said...

Vote Trump now!

Anonymous said...

Gary W. Gorman wonders:

Why is BOH picking on AG Kathleen Kane? She's done nothing wrong. She is simply trying to take on the 'ol boys network and showcase all the smut that has been circulated among corrupt politicians, judges and other government workers. Oh wait...did I just write that press release or did Chuck Ardo write it. Perhaps, she can hire me at 10,000/month and get rid of Bruce Castor, as apparently their wires (Kane and Castors') are already on the fritz.

Kathleen Kane: I voted for you, but please, after your short prison sentence (probably on house arrest), go back to being a stay-at-home, no-nothing mom and continue pointing your fingers at everyone else but yourself.

Anonymous said...

Corruption and self-serving is rampant across America....although raised to a whole larger art in DC.
"We the people" have bought into...and tolerated.... a perverted political expansion and rationalization of doing things "in the public interest." Providing water and sewer systems fits that definition....financing Billion dollar sports stadiums and ice hockey rinks does not. Regardless of the "spin" that politicians use to say they create jobs. And....developers of every stripe and level have learned that they won't do anything with out subsidies and incentives of public money to reduce their risk and inflate their profits. And worse....public bodies ratchet up those subsidies in competition with each other.
It's not obvious to me how these dynamics get turned around. But personally....I'd prefer a president who's able to issue and executive order that such subsidies are forbidden....instead of focusing on what bath room people use.

Anonymous said...

Gary W. Gorman comments further...

Look mom...no mugshot!

Barbara Diamond said...

Thank you Bernie for bringing attention to the sorry state of political corruption in PA. The report by the Center for Public Integrity should be a wake up call to our politicians to improve the ethical climate at the state level, but as an attorney in the State Ethics Commission remarked to me, "PA has a weak ethics statute and the politicians like it that way."

I agree that the problem seems insurmountable, i.e. what can one person do about it? You are certainly shining a light on lots of questionable & outright corrupt behavior at the local level. Here is what I think should happen and can happen if citizens will demand it. We need to create at the local level a robust ethics program in our municipalities. What we have now in Bethlehem is simply a code of ethics passed as a resolution in the early 90s that is merely aspirational.

The essence of an ethics program would address conflicts of interest by providing education and guidance to elected officials and employees about conflicts, mandates procedures to report potential & existing conflicts and penalties for failing to do so. This is best handled by an independent ethics board with a budget for investigations and legal counsel. Easton has this, though not completely independent since their board in appointed by the mayor.

A strong ethics program is essential at the local level because this is where elected officials often learn bad habits that they take with them to higher offices. I don't believe that people go into public service with the intent of becoming corrupt, but it sure does happen often enough. Maybe with a strong ethics program at the local level and a public that holds politicians to high standards we can improve the climate of corruption in PA. There is something individuals can do - they can write their politicians and the newspapers & demand a strong ethical program for our communities.

Anonymous said...

What qualifies Juan R Sanchez to sit in judgement of other judges? Check how he's ruled favorably for his friends and supporters including Big Bill Lamb Esq. of Chester County and Kline and Specter of the law firm by that name, who got daddy dear Arlen, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to secure a place for Juan's bottom exactly where Shanin Specter practices law! Well golly, how'd that happen Your Most Honorable Juan Baby? If anyone would like to be shocked, stunned, overwhelmed at corruption among the Big Boys, examine Sanchez' career and rulings.