Seven people have pleaded guilty to political corruption in a federal investigation swirling around Public Official No. 3, who can only be Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski. They include his former campaign manager (right arm), Managing Director (left arm), Finance Director (right leg), City Controller (left leg), an Assistant City Solicitor (tongue) and two campaign contributors. Sentencing is supposed to take place, starting today, and continue next month.
I learned today that federal prosecutors are seeking yet another delay, perhaps until September. This means that they do intend to prosecute Fed Ed, and are counting on the seven people who've already entered pleas to continue their cooperation. But this is really starting to get unfair.
From what I'm told, the FBI has wrapped up its investigation, and is waiting on the US Attorney to move.
Though the US Attorney only has to worry about a five year statute of limitations (which can be increased if racketeering charge are brought), these constant delays are very unfair to the seven people who have already pleaded guilty and presumably would like to get on with their lives. It is unfair to Allentown City employees, whose morale is in the tank. It is unfair to Allentown firefighters, who are dealing daily with vehicle breakdowns. It is unfair to Fed Ed, the target of this investigation, to walk around with the sword of Damocles constantly over his head. Most of all, it is unfair to the businesses of Allentown, whose growth has been stunted by the smoke of political corruption.
Judge Juan R. Sánchez, sitting in Philadelphia, probably has no idea how this has impacted Allentown. Don't expect federal prosecutors to tell him. Defense counsel, whose clients have already pleaded guilty, have no bargaining power. The public has no standing. .