Fumo will be confined to mansion, not halfway house

STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Former state Sen. Vince Fumo was released from prison yesterday. He checked in at the Hunting Park halfway house he was assigned to, but was spotted leaving shortly after for his Fairmount mansion. Related Signe cartoon, Page 17.
STEVEN M. FALK / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Former state Sen. Vince Fumo was released from prison yesterday. He checked in at the Hunting Park halfway house he was assigned to, but was spotted leaving shortly after for his Fairmount mansion. Related Signe cartoon, Page 17.
Posted: August 08, 2013

UPDATE: Former Sen. Vince Fumo will not have to report to the Hunting Park halfway house after all. He was enrolled in a "home-confinement program," according to the federal Bureau of Prisons. 

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IT'S A LONG way, in distance and aesthetics, from former state Sen. Vince Fumo's Green Street mansion in Fairmount, a gorgeous tree-lined neighborhood with beautiful architecture.

But Fumo's would-be neighborhood around the halfway house where he was assigned to stay in Hunting Park has its own qualities.

The Kintock Group halfway house, on Erie Avenue near Whitaker, is kitty-corner from St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. Further down Erie, the area is industrial, with wide streets, lots of heavy trucks, auto-repair and construction companies, and an electrical power substation.

The Coca-Cola Bottling Co. is on Erie Avenue near G Street, and the Pennsylvania SPCA is on Erie near D. In addition, there are factories and warehouses, some with "For Sale" signs.

Fumo, 70, arrived at the 400-bed halfway house yesterday after his release from federal prison in Kentucky, where he served four years after his 2009 conviction on fraud and other charges, including stealing $4.2 million from the state, a museum and a neighborhood-improvement organization.

He was spotted leaving soon after, though, and he arrived at his Green Street home shortly after 9 p.m. It wasn't clear if he was expected to return to the halfway.

But just for good measure, the Daily News checked out his would-be temporary neighborhood in Hunting Park and found a number of folks with neighborly suggestions for Fumo.

"It's a good neighborhood," said Michael Daher, who manages Fox Furniture Store, not far away on G Street near Luzerne. "I've been living here for 13 years."

Daher said he sees people from the halfway house, because some are looking for work: "There's been no trouble."

Fumo is to work in an office job filing papers, his lawyer, Dennis Cogan, told the Daily News.

Tung Hoang owns Sunrise Complete Auto Service, up the street from the halfway house and the headquarters of the 24th and 25th Police Districts.

"He can go shopping at the Aldi grocery store," Hoang said. "But he should stay away from the electrical power plants [on G Street].

"But there's a baseball field on Front Street," he said.

Hoang has a "Help Wanted" sign at his auto shop. What if Fumo got tired of filing?

"Honestly, I don't think I could hire him," he said. "To work here, you have to be qualified."

On the south side of Erie, Nicolas Morales opened 4 Seasons Grill in June on B Street near Tioga. If Fumo wants to enjoy an evening out, Morales said the restaurant is having a "Bachata," or traditional Mexican dance with music and food, on Friday, starting at 4 p.m.

"He is welcome," Morales said.

Still, Fumo's troubles aren't over. Even if he doesn't have to go back to Hunting Park after last night's stopover on Green Street, he'll have to serve out his sentence until February under house arrest.

Authorities also want Fumo to pay an additional $800,000 in restitution, above the $3.5 million he's already paid. And he has to tangle with the IRS, which says he owes about $3 million in taxes, interest and penalties.


On Twitter: @ValerieRussDN

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