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Friday, December 02, 2016

NorCo Council Condemns Possibe Cunningham Conflict on Chinese Board

Don Cunningham
As reported here yesterday, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) CEO Don Cunningham has decided to accept no compensation as a board member at plastic company Fuling Global. "While it’s perfectly legal for me to serve, I have learned that perception often becomes people’s reality, and I don’t want to cause any harm to LVEDC or Fuling."  But that did nothing to dissuade Northampton County Council from adopting a resolution condemning what had happened.

Hayden Phillips, who sponsored the resolution, was aware of Cunningham's decision to accept no compensation. But he went on with it anyway. "The bell's rung, you can't unring a bell," he said. "I think we should still go through with this."

Bob Werner, who has clashed with Cunningham in the past, called Cunningham's letter a "walkback." "It's an 'I'm sorry' after I hit you." Saying he had no problem with LVEDC, Werner added, "I know Don," and questioned whether Cunningham really was waiving the $30,000 salary. "If any one of us up here did anything like this at all, we would be fried to death."

Executive John Brown defended Cunningham, stating it is a "common practice" among economic development professionals in the private sector, and affords a "learning experience." He indicated that Cunningham's willingness to forego a salary on the Fuling Board should cure any misperception. He asked Council to withdraw the resolution.

Glenn Geissinger agreed that sitting on a board was not a problem, but accepting money was. He believes Cunningham corrected that error. "I no longer have a problem with it since he's not being compensated," he said.

"At the very least, we should say what he did was wrong," said Council President John Cusick

Supporting the resolution were Phillips, Werner, Cusick, Peg Ferraro, Mat Benol and Matt Dietz. Voting against it were Geissinger, Ken Kraft and Seth Vaughn.

37 comments:

michael molovinsky said...

Don, I understand that your decision to not take the compensation is well intended, but I believe that you shouldn't serve on their board, period. If you were asked to serve on the board of a local company with local competition, the inappropriateness of such an appointment, as a development official, would be apparent. I realize that the company and product is unique for the area, but hopefully, eventually it will be more common place. It's your job to promote Lehigh Valley as a place of corporate opportunity, with a level playing field.

I had also placed this same comment on Rambling's previous post on this topic

Anonymous said...

Of course Kraft was against it, he is a Cunningham soldier. It us sad to hear some of the corporate/public marriage folks saying this is common. Maybe in the corporate backrooms where everyone washes each others hands and makes sure the money is inbred. It is unacceptable when public money is involved. The idea that some of these people see no conflict of interest or potential issues shows how tone deaf they are to transparent and good government.

Doubt the resolution was really necessary since Cunningham didn't take the money however, county council should look into some language that prevent this from happening in the future when public funds are concerned. Of course then they have to follow through and not vote to break the law like they have done in the past.

Anonymous said...

so he gets paid under the table - this guys integrity never has been that strong

Anonymous said...

so we don't know if there is, or isn't a conflict.
we do know it's now moot.

so let's condemn it anyway.

cause we need to condemn something

Anonymous said...

Don Cunningham is a Democrat. he associates himself with the Chinese Communists.

Why is he associating himself with the Red Chinese?

Why doesn't he associate with an AMERICAN company? Instead of a front for the Red Chinese who are flooding the United States with goods made by slave laborers in their Communist gulags in order to undermine our economy and weaken us economically

Cunningham should be ashamed and discraced for being an Red. But then, he's a Democrat so what you you expect? Real Americans don't associate themselves with Communists.

Anonymous said...

The $30k seems high for a small gig and is almost equivalent to a full time salary. Now lets consider the $5M or 7M handout Indian just gave Carrier for 3 years to save 1000 jobs. Seems like a lot until you realize the CEO was compensated $10.5M in 2015. What does it say when Carrier's BOD values 1 person over 10000. Sure love to know what Carrier BOD makes?

Anonymous said...

Off Topic, from today's Philly Inquirer:

Donald, r u there?
Speaking of social-media oddities, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli has been exhibiting some - how can we put it - unusual behavior on Twitter.
Morganelli, who ran unsuccessfully in this year's Democratic primary for state attorney general, has been sending late-night tweets to @realDonaldTrump, apparently angling for a job in the administration.
"Pa. most senior prosecutor against illegal immigration waiting to hear from transition. Hope to serve. Met Pres at Bedminste[r]," Morganelli tweeted Trump at 11:49 p.m. on Nov. 20.
Ten minutes later, Morganelli was back, tweeting: "Played M/G at Trump Nat. Met Pres with QB Mark Sanchez. I am Pa. most senior prosecutor waiting to hear from transition."
Two minutes later, just after midnight, Morganelli tweeted Trump again: "Pres-elect sent personal note to my son. I worked with [U.S. Rep. Lou] Barletta and [Kansas Secretary of State Kris] Kobach against illegal immigration. Pa. most senior DA."
There are more.
Maybe Morganelli thought the tweets weren't going through? Maybe he's really a first-generation Westworld sleeper host who's on the fritz? Who can say for sure?
Clout reached out to Morganelli for comment, but he didn't respond.

Anonymous said...

What is missing from County council or LVEDC is any commitment to prevent this from happening again. You almost have to catch LVEDC in the act - again.

If I'm a rival plastic dinnerware company there is no way I obtain a loan or grant through LVEDC. No way. Why? They have all of my financial statements, know my business and Fuling - my competitor - has a board member with direct access to it.

Once the dust has settled and LVEDC really hopes it does quickly, how do you know Cunningham isn't going to direct the LVEDC staff to work on Fuling's behalf?

That's the thing, you don't. Nothing stops him from doing it.

Anonymous said...

Cunningham reaches out to the Chinese and does nothing for the Slate Belt.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,
Cunniligwist seaketh with forked tongue, there is some sort of underhanded backroom deal that has been made to divert the criminal Acts that have been committed and ommitted by this organization and itZ reciepiants thereof that take us right up to but not limited too the collective colluded dillusionalistZ and there grantors and grantees?
REpublican redd
humanist by design and not a party favor in any way

Bernie O'Hare said...

"so we don't know if there is, or isn't a conflict.
we do know it's now moot."


I know. As a matter of law, there is no conflict.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Cunningham reaches out to the Chinese and does nothing for the Slate Belt."

Completely untrue.

https://lehighvalleyramblings.blogspot.com/2016/05/cunningham-manufacturing-alive-and-well.html

Anonymous said...

Agree with 4:42, hopefully the county council crafts some sort of written legislation to deal with this in the future. of course then they have to enforce it.

Anonymous said...

Cunningham can wait until he "retires", then he cashes in BIG!

Anonymous said...

Don Cunningham has behaved in the most arrogant manner. Greed is disgusting.
He should immediately be forced to resign. LVEDC has lost all respect by business people.

Anonymous said...

Apparently Mr. Cunningham's wife is on Facebook condemning bloggers and newspapers and Northampton County for going after the Don. It just isn't fair. The insiders love the limelight of fame but some light makes them a bit nervous and irritable.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your statement is inaccurate. I guess a person who does not ID himself has no problem in misrepresenting what she said. She attacked no blogger. She attacked The Morning Call and NorCo Council. She is Don's wife. Do you expect her to say she is happy?. I posted a comment there but deleted it.

My take is that Don acted unethically when he agreed to a paid position on the Chinese board. It is 100% legal. A so-called expert who told The Morning Call that this is a murky area is 100% full of shit. But it should be illegal and certainly is morally wrong. The Morning Call, which initially reported this, was doing its job in holding power accountable. The financial incentive presents the possibility that he will use his corp. to find gov't grants or other opportunities. To his credit, Don agreed to take no pay. That removes the appearance of impropriety.

It bothers me that there are some, like Sal Panto, who defend the unethical behavior. But he defends Fed Ed and creates false identities.

NorCo Council condemned an appearance of impropriety that no longer exists. The matter is moot. But I do not fault Hayden Phillips or Matt Dietz, who earlier that evening voted to reject a Director of Administration out of ethical concerns. They believe LVEDC should establish a policy, and it should.

Their action was not political. Exec Brown defended Cunningham for surrendering the salary, as did Geissinger and Vaughn.

Democrat Bob Werner voted for it, and his comments betray a personal animus at Cunningham, not political. Some time ago, when Werner tried to attack Don, Cunningham handed him his head. Werner took it personal, twisted Don's letter and hinted that Cunningham lacks personal integrity. Had Don been there, this resolution would have been pulled.

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing. Every time from this week forward Cunningham's smiling face is posted in local media, one will wonder. Is he smiling because of the event or
because once again he got one over on us. Never again will he be trusted.

Anonymous said...

Trust and transparency are the issues. If he's no longer a politician, why does he maintain an active PAC?

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:32, Let's see. When people complained that this presented an appearance of impropriety, Cunningham waived the salary. Yes, he made a mistake when he first did this, but quickly made things right. The way he handled this caused my respect for him to go up, not down. My guess is that you did not trust him before this.

8:43, He had a campaign PAC when he was a pol, and those things do not go away overnight. I am uncertain that he still has one.I have not been to LC to check but there is no statewide pac. Also, I do not trust anonymous assertions. They are often wrong.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is Bernie was "gotten" to by one of the Don's men, Mr. Hickey to cool it. Apparently Bernie is now in full defense mode. The problem is the Don has been around a long time and should know how this kind of thing can play out. The money is always what gets you ion the end. He did it anyway. It is not like his household is lacking in income. Given the public nature of the LVEDC this was a big no-no. So I guess if you are caught with your hand in the cookie jar it is OK if you put the cookie back. That should be a new legal defense.
Don't hold your breath on the checking of the PAC. Order shave been given and received.

Bernie O'Hare said...

A comment starting with "word on the street" is pure and utter bullshit. Anyone who knows me knows I react very poorly when someone tries to play me, just as you are attempting to steer public conversation with falsehoods. I have maintained all along that Cunningham's participation in the Chinese board is completely legal. I have also maintained that his acceptance of a $30k salary makes it completely unethical. To his credit, Din has cured the appearance of impropriety by turning down the money. I consider that quite classy on his part and very much like the Cunningham I know.

I do not fault Council for its resolution bc Hayden Phillips has high standards and wNted to send a message. I believe it should have been withdrawn, but understand the view that council needs to make its position clear.. I also do not fault Lynn for standing up for her husband, who is nothing like some of the others we've been reading about. But I have no problem with The Morning Call story. It's job is to speak truth to power, and Tom did.

Readers should be aware that there are people out there who hate Cunningham. In some cases, it's bc he is a Democrat. In others, it is jealousy. In still others, it's because Cunningham failed to follow their orders. Some of these people are quite ugly and have been sued for defamation. So they don't sign their names.

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is you're getting carried away with your "defamation" shout outs.lol

Anonymous said...

Don is not turning it down. He is creating a personal slush fund with which to donate to charities who will owe him. Think of legistator saying no to a pay raise while "donating" to charity. Bottom line he is accepting monies--beyond his heavily taxpayer funded salary- from his customers. No one else has done this in the lehigh vally eco devo community.

Bernie O'Hare said...

7:49, Here is the operative sentence from Cunningham's email:

" I’ve asked Fuling to not compensate me and to consider donating my compensation to a worthy cause or causes in the Lehigh Valley. The company has agreed."

When I look at what he wrote, and how you have twisted it, only two conclusions are possible. One, you are incredibly stupid and have no reading comprehension skills. or Two. You are incredibly dishonest and have misrepresented what Don wrote, hoping to fool others.

What we know is that Fuling has agreed to Don's request that he not be compensated. We know that Fuling, and not Don, has agreed to "consider" donating what they would have paid him to charity. Fuling could decide instead to add it to their profit margin. That is now their decision.

Anonymous said...

Do we r3eally know that or is that what you have now been told is what we know? Anon 7:49 makes a fair point. If he is just funneling the money that would be BS. Yet if the company is making its own decision that is different. The Donald's correspondence is from a slick operator so, who knows.
One thing is for sure, you have sure become defensive about all of this. I guess the H-man really got to you.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I think you have answered my question about you. You are dishonest.

Anonymous said...

Slick politicians never lose the money. Somehow they make it work out.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You've been established as an anonymous liar.

Anonymous said...

Sahl public relations is putting the best spin on your boy Bernie. I guess Kim is OK, if its for the Don. Always about the insiders and the money. It never fails. The system is inbred.

Bernie O'Hare said...

She can do whatever she wants. She is always looking for work, and this is one way to get it. But not from Cunningham. He himself is a former reporter, is a fairly good judge of talent, and Sahl is a terrible fit for a government or an agency like LVEDC.

Anonymous said...

"there is no statewide pac"

Didn't he have one to run for governor?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, and that was a. long time ago.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernie O'Hare said...

You are still braying away, five days after this story published. At this point you have to ID YOURSELF.

Anonymous said...

Donny your new man crush? or just re lighted the flame

Bernie O'Hare said...

Still rolling around on the floor, foaming at the mouth, one week later. You hate hard.