dared sport a digital billboard that featured an ad from Lou Hershman. Then Pawlowski came out with his own digital billboards. He sicced these goons on a 75 year-old woman who conducted occasional yard sales for pin money. He also used code to help pals, including a hedge funds manager who needed the city's blessing for some in ground pool he wanted at his mansion. Managing Director Francis Dougherty fired off an email to one of his underlings, demanding quick action. "This is a favor for tim holt. Our action on tim's behalf means money from air products later." And when he himself wanted to build a mancave, he did so without bothering to get a permit until his transgression was pointed out by a bottom-feeding blogger. Fed Ed is currently teaching government classes to fellow inmates, but Allentown's code officers are as arbitrary as ever. Ask Kim Oliver.
Oliver made the mistake of complaining about a next door neighbor whose leaking chimney was causing problems for her. After doing so, she herself was cited over a supposedly defective porch. She called blogger Michael Molovinsky, who soon learned that she reported the wrong homeowner. You see, this homeowner, who also has some kind of business across the street, is pals with a code supervisor. The two sit there on lawn chairs when the weather is nice, watching the cars go by.
Molovinsky visited code officers, and after doing so, they came back and photographed Oliver's porch. They did so from inside the home of the supervisor's pal.
At a hearing on this supposed violation, Magisterial District Judge Michael D'Amore had no problem finding Oliver guilty. In fact, he allowed code to argue a violation for which she had never been cited, claiming she never had obtained a permit. The City had no records.
Guess what? She did. While D'Amore railed at Molovinsky for daring to speak up for Oliver, Oliver looked through her records and found the permit the City claimed she never had.
D'Amore was forced to reverse himself and find Oliver not guilty.
But now that she's on code's naughty list, they'll be back.
I believe it is entirely improper for city officials to interfere with code. But I have heard numerous horror stories throughout the Lehigh Valley. In one city, a code officer was dinging a property owner at one visit, and then asked her to sell him the property. It turns out that he has quite the portfolio.
My question is what recommendations would you make in holding code officers accountable?