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Friday, July 28, 2017

LV Municipalities Should Sever Ties With Allinson Law Firm

Scott Allinson
Norris McLaughlin and Marcus has stood by Allentown Attorney Scott Allinson. It's been widely known for some time that this self-described "economic development lawyer" has been a target of a federal investigation aimed at Allentown Mayor Edwin "Fed Ed" Pawlowski's pay-to-play politics. He's largely been MIA while lawyers in that firm have picked up the slack. Not only is he still employed there,but some sources tell me the form has also been paying for his criminal defense. Allinson has expressed his appreciation by throwing the firm under the bus.

Scott Allinson - Pay-to-Play is the "way this shit works."  - According to the federal indictment filed earlier this week, Allinson himself has said that his firm receives its legal work, not because the partners are especially gifted, but because they engage in pay-to-play. He is quoted as saying it “isn’t like we are being hired because we are good guys. It’s not the way this shit works.” 

He also reportedly throws one helluva' party. Ask the people at Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp.
He's an "economic development lawyer" who managed to get himself installed as the solicitor to numerous public entities that dole out public money.

He was appointed as solicitor to the Northampton County Industrial Development Authority soon after John Brown was elected County Executive, replacing Ed Andres. This decision was prompted by consultant Matt Deibert and others at Integrity Personnel, two of whom are identified in the email that Allinson sent out last week, warning his "old friends" that he was about to be indicted.

Brown also awarded a no-bid $24,000 contract to Integrity for a "strategic assessment" of the County's workforce.

Members of the Industrial Development Authority who opposed Allinson's appointment were given the bum's rush and replaced.

Allinson also represents NorCo's Gaming Board, NorCo General Purpose Authority, NorCo Higher Education Authority, Lehigh’s Economic Advancement Project, NorCo New Jobs Corporation, Bethlehem Economic Development Corporation, Lehigh Valley Regional Loan Pool, Lehigh County Industrial Development Authority, Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation and NorCo Industrial Development Authority.

Matt Sorrentino
Managing partner Matt Sorrentno is Lehigh County's Solicitor. He also represents Lehigh Valley Health Network. I have high regard for him and his legal acumen,  but standing by a lawyer in his firm who essentially accuses him of being a crook is foolish.

Richard Somach
Richard Somach represents Pawlowski contributor Rob Bennett and Bennett Auto Dealerships. Bennett built a new dealership at the former Exide Battery Plant on Lehigh Street, thanks in large part to $4.5 million in federal brownfield remediation grants.. Though the original construction was done by J. G. Petrucci, the last several additions to the site were done by North Star (J.B. Reilly) and Jim Gentile. Bennett sold their East Allentown - West Bethlehem location to the Banko family. Banko never used it, instead moving to a facility in South Whitehall. Somach is an Assistant County Solicitor, Lehigh County Assessment Board Solicitor and is a collections attorney for Nat Penn Bank, among others.

Somehow,he represents banks foreclosing on properties while simultaneously representing the County at Sheriff Sales.

Fed Ed and his family are rumored to have used Rich Somach's Florida Keys second home for vacations, although I doubt he'll be making that trip this year. .

Ollie Foucek
I'd be remiss if I neglected to mention Oldrich "Ollie" Foucek III, City Planning Commission member and chair, ANIZDA Board member, LV Chamber of Commerce Solicitor and major Fed Ed contributor. He was among those to approve plans for a wholesaler along the Allentown NIZ waterfront despite the fact that there were no ... plans. He is a walking, talking conflict of interest. Being on the Planning Commission and NIZ Board is bad enough, but to be part of a firm that is financially benefiting from both is obscene.

Given Allinson's remarks and his law firm's decision to stand behind him, it is irresponsible for any public entity to continue association with that law firm.

Updated 2 pm: In his email to his "old friends," Allinson claimed that "the firm is standing by me and is fully supportive. I expect to work here after charges are filed." Calls from the firm to clients and attorneys on the day before the indictment lead me to believe him. But I have just verified that Allinson's bio and listing have been removed from the NorrisMcLaughlin webpage. After his remarks about his own firm, as quoted in the indictment, I think the lawyers there had little choice. This action would answer my concern about this firm's ties to public entities.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great reporting Bernie. I wouldn't go near this law firm with a 10' pole. Of course they wouldn't need my business, they're too busy playing with the big wigs and exercising conflicts of interest to their lucrative benefit.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, this entire thing seems so convoluted. It would appear it may be easier to figure out who is not part of the inner circles than those who are in. This is just amazing.

Anonymous said...

Crooks!

Anonymous said...

So Sorrentino was hired by Cunningham as Lehigh County solicitor, then as head of LVEDC, Cunningham hires Allison? Perrucci , you mentioned hired Callahan and we have Gentile who got a major contract from John Stoffa.
Are you going to even bother doing anything on Hiclkey? Your favorite people seem to be enmeshed in this web of insider stuff.
How can you write this story and censor the connections that are there? As much as you want to see Pawlowski drown, you have shown the big picture whether you like it or not.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You drift off topic because of your irrational hatred for John Stoffa (and me) and many of your assertions have nothing to do with anything. That's why I delete you.

Anonymous said...

I have no sympathy for lawyers who take part in felony criminal activity. They're the worst of the bunch because the know the law.

Anonymous said...

I am still just stunned at the level and depth of the criminal activity. That was the part of this ..... that was just totally unexpected. One felony is bad enough but fucking 53 of them ?

Anonymous said...

Honest working people trying to put food on the table and keep their jobs bid on public contracts thinking they have fair opportunity. It is totally unjust that these RFPs do not specify who to contribute to or who to wine and dine so the playing field is level (sarcasm].

Anonymous said...

The intersecting lines between all these players is just astonishing. Just how many insiders are their in the valley? They all seem to work with one another.

Anonymous said...

I assume the same would apply to T&M and McTish?

Anonymous said...

Are you sure about the name of the law firm? It sounds to me like they're from Dewey, Cheatem & Howe.��

Anonymous said...

The former Bennett dealership land is an empty lot. A symbol of what Dennis Person calls, "the forgotten Allentown."

Anonymous said...

Somach (I believe) is also solicitor to Lower Macungie Township.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time it was rumored that the City of Allentown would purchase and use the old Bennet property. This fell through around the time of the FBI raid.

Anonymous said...

You were expecting proper ethics from lawyers? How quaint.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

Taxpayers do not realize the significance of these above mentioned lawyers who sit on endless boards agreeing among themselves.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
The intersecting lines between all these players is just astonishing. Just how many insiders are their in the valley? They all seem to work with one another."

July 28, 2017 at 4:29 AM

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Often the same attorney from a single practice will be hired by numerous small boroughs and township as their legal counsel. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

The new Lehigh Street Bennett land is easily worth millions on the open market as it has a magnificent clear sky view.

Anonymous said...

Quote the RAVEN, " Favoritism"?

Love the way you have a holy war in one article and a Holy war in the other, federal case law numbers 666?

Anonymous said...

Of course the firm is sticking by Allinson. Can you imagine what he'd be sayin if they didn't? You wouldn't be writing about one lawyer going to jail and losing his license, you'd be writing about many.

I think you make a great case as to why local public entities should dump the law firm. It's incestuous. But what can Valley residents do to help make that happen?

It would be helpful to know who the person at each public entity is who has the authority to fire the firm.

Anonymous said...

The reason a single legal firm or a single engineering firm hired by many of the same local government entities to enforce regulations is that it creates an unfair playing field, eliminating opportunities for others.

Anonymous said...


"I think you make a great case as to why local public entities should dump the law firm. It's incestuous. But what can Valley residents do to help make that happen?"

Attend local council, workshop, planning and zoning meetings. Community volunteers take turns. One may only need to attend a meeting every three months. Post meeting results, who said what, on a local blog. Probably Bernie can tell readers how many times he has been the only person in an audience and that's because he's a reporter covering the meeting.

Anonymous said...

Great job Bernie! This is a poster for the Good Old Boys Club that has entrenched themselves into every board, municipal and private, and actually run things in the Lehigh Valley. These back channel controlling thieves suck the living life out of every taxpayer and enjoy the wealthy life created by their conspiring actions.

Anonymous said...

The rot goes deep, deep,deep.
Throw the book at the entire dirty criminal gang.
All of them.
Every single one.
JAIL!!!

Anonymous said...

Great Job Bernie!

The dismantling of the "good ol' boys network" is long overdue. These people only serve themselves and in doing so they damage the potential of the region and it's residents.
VERY SHAMEFUL!

Keep up the good work... let's flush out the bad NOW!

Bernie O'Hare said...

6:35, that's a goood thing. These attorneys are essentially specialists.

Anonymous said...

Allinson and Pawlowski are stone cold public liars.
Both Pawlowski's.
I feel sorry for their children.
I feel sorry for our town.

Anonymous said...

I am fascinated watching hardcore liars in shameless.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if his sentence will be in the 775 year range as is FedEd's?

Anonymous said...

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers".

Charlie Sch said...

I believe you are being unfair to many great attorneys. If there is a bad apple in a law firm, you should not automatically tarnish every attorney in the firm with a broad brush.

Also, I do not believe J. B. Reilly owns North Star. CitiCenter is one of North Star's clients.

Charlie Sch said...

The Shakespeare quote "First thing we do is let's kill all of the lawyers" is totally taken out of context. The line is said by a scheming conspirator who is trying to grab power. He wants to kill off of of the lawyers because they understand the rule of law and would be able to obstruct his conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

Bernie,

You've nailed this issue squarely. Solid reporting, and there is much more to expose on the conflict of interest front if you care to keep digging.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Charle, I have read Shakespeare and am well aware the quote in question is taken out of context. But you have taken my post out of context.

Scott Allinson has trashed the very firm standing behind him as being engaged in pay to play. They very clearly are. He goes one step further and assails their professional competence. At least right now, that firm has chosen to stand by a partner who has implied that they are all crooks. If they refuse to dump him, they in essence admit he's right.

Under these circumstances, it would be completely irresponsible for any municipal entity to continue doing business with that firm.

It is precisely why that Shakespearean quote is so often used.

Anonymous said...

When is the article on James Hickey coming? That would be an interesting read.

Jeffrey Anthony said...

Another good catch, Bernie.

I say this not to flatter you, but I honestly believe the nefarious activities of the Chicago Eddy gang may not have come to the attention of the public -- and, in turn, the authorities -- without your efforts as a citizen-journalist.

Anonymous said...

The Norris Firm removed Scott Allinson's bio from the Firm Website. Wonder if they are still supporting him?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks for pointing this out. By continuing to employ him, the firm was in effect ratifying his implication that they are all corrupt. This decision answers my concern about the firm. Otherwise, I think most municipalities would be forced to terminate their contracts with these lawyers. I take no pleasure in seeing Allinson forced out, but he has to learn that words have consequences.

Charlie Sch said...

It is also possible that the law firm;s partners did not know the extent of the charges and evidence against Allinson until they read the indictment on Wed.

Anonymous said...

Great journalism. Better than Mcall could ever write.
Do you think the same thing (FBI, etc) is about to come down on Northampton Co?
It seems like there are a lot of apples falling around that tree!

Bernie O'Hare said...

No.

Anonymous said...

With all the clients brand names being sited on this blog, just how convuluted does the evil onez penned power pointialismz working out for all?

JoshLCowen said...

What is amazing to me is how little these otherwise accomplished people pay out for those city contracts. A couple of thousand dollars (just a few billable hours for most law firms) will only buy Pawlowski a couple of commercials on a Philly or Pittsburgh tv station during a statewide campaign.

Anonymous said...

all the players are some of the top politicians. Read the MC today and the reconnections to Cunningham were amazing. So many others as well. Love how Fleck got Muller elected and Muller immediately threw him under the bus, just like his endorsement of Pawlowski.

Anonymous said...

May they rot in Hell.

Anonymous said...

Ties to John Brown too? He and His cronies should be the next to go!!!!!?!

Anonymous said...

As 8:30am suggested, the attorneys mentioned in this post always struck me as being part of the "new old guard" that has their hands in everything and are the ones that really run things around here behind the scenes. Sort of like the old Bethlehem Steel execs of the 1980s and 1990s that have since died off or moved south, or the LV Partnership types.

Anonymous said...

The LV Partnership was a fucking joke.

Anonymous said...

The rot runs deep deep deep.

Anonymous said...

"Lock him up."

Anonymous said...

All o fths4e economic agencies are jokes. Just job creators for the people working there. They all take credit for the same things. Now that a joke.

Anonymous said...

FedEd also used Chamber guy Tony's Florida home for vacations.