Traffic Court assistant: Pol sought favorable treatment for ticket holders

Posted: June 04, 2014

A WARD LEADER was among those who requested favorable treatment for someone else on a traffic ticket, a former assistant for an ex-judge in Philadelphia Traffic Court testified yesterday.

Gloria McNasby, who was the "personal" for then-Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew from 2008 to 2011, told a federal jury that ward leader William Dolbow had gone to see Mulgrew "several times" in the judge's chambers.

"At one point, Mr. Dolbow did give me a name . . . on a piece of paper," she said. "I put it in my pocket." She said she then showed Mulgrew the name of the ticket holder on the paper.

This process, of showing Mulgrew names of ticket holders, was the way McNasby said she let Mulgrew know which ticket holders were to receive "consideration" on their traffic tickets.

Dolbow, a ward leader in Northeast Philadelphia, who works in Philly for the state Department of the Auditor General, did not return calls for comment from the Daily News yesterday.

Much of McNasby's testimony centered on consideration requests she received from other assistants on behalf of their judges or from other staffers.

Prosecutors in the conspiracy-and-fraud trial of six ex-Traffic Court judges, including Mulgrew, and a Chinatown businessman have accused them of fixing tickets - that is, conspiring to give favorable treatment on traffic tickets to people who were socially or politically connected to the judges or to people the judges knew.

Traffic Court staffers didn't call it ticket-fixing, but used the word "consideration," the feds have said. The feds' case centers on about 50 tickets allegedly fixed between 2008 and 2011.

Attorney Louis Busico, who represents ex-Judge Thomasine Tynes, another defendant, contended yesterday during the testimony of court crier Maryann Trombetta that "consideration" existed for years, before the judges who are now defendants began working in Traffic Court.

He asked Trombetta if the system of writing people's names down for consideration was in effect back in 2004, when she first became a court officer.

"I imagine that it was in effect," she said. "Yes, it was a culture."

"These people over here in 2008 didn't huddle up in a back robing room and say, 'This is what we're going to start today.' They never did that, right?" Busico asked, referring to the defendants in the courtroom.

"Not to my knowledge," Trombetta replied.

Busico asked if "consideration" was in part just a way to help out a ticket holder.

"In part, yes," Trombetta said.

McNasby testified that she learned about the process of consideration from former Judge Michael J. Sullivan's "personal," or assistant.

Besides receiving consideration requests from Sullivan's personal assistant, McNasby said she got requests from the assistants for then-judges Willie Singletary, Michael Lowry, Bernice DeAngelis and Tynes. And she said she received requests from Billy Hird, the court administrator, and Bernard Lindline, the courtroom operations manager.

"They would give me 3-by-5 cards with the person's [ticket holder's] name on it," McNasby said. "I would put them in my pocket until the judge [Mulgrew] came into chambers. . . . I would go in and show him these names." She would then put the cards back in her pocket, she said.

McNasby said she was "sure" Mulgrew gave consideration on these cases. Afterward, McNasby said she "shredded" the cards.

Angie Halim, Mulgrew's attorney, asked McNasby if it was correct that Mulgrew often gave ticket holders a break.

McNasby agreed that he did.

McNasby and Trombetta were testifying under immunity granted by U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel, following requests by prosecutors, who had subpoenaed them to testify.

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