Prosecutors argue for Fumo travel check-in

Vincent J. Fumo, former state senator.
Vincent J. Fumo, former state senator.
Posted: July 04, 2014

Federal prosecutors objected Wednesday to a request by former Pennsylvania State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo to travel without advance approval.

"There is no reason that defendant Fumo should be treated differently than any other defendant, simply because he owns or controls more homes than the average convicted defendant," Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Zauzmer wrote in a court filing.

Zauzmer, a key member of the team that brought the case leading to Fumo's conviction on corruption charges, urged U.S. District Court Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter to reject Fumo's request to travel long distances without getting permission from his probation officer.

Last month, Fumo's lawyer, Dennis J. Cogan, asked the court to loosen the controls on Fumo so he could meet with his "many friends, business, and political contacts" to earn money, perhaps by starting a "consulting business."

Cogan said Fumo wanted to travel to his "other residences." Along with a mansion in the city's Spring Garden section, Fumo and his son or fiancee own a beach-block home in Margate, N.J., and condos in Ventnor, N.J. He also gave his fiancee, Carolyn Zinni, his 100-acre farm outside Harrisburg.

Fumo needs advance approval from his probation officer, Carmen Vasquez-Ongay, before he can leave Philadelphia and the other eight counties that make up the federal court's Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The district does not include New Jersey or Dauphin County, home to Harrisburg and Zinni's farm.

Zauzmer said the requirement of travel approval was "not onerous." He said Fumo had already received approval for numerous trips to the Jersey Shore and Harrisburg.

However, the prosecutor noted, Fumo twice went to New Jersey without approval "and was called into account for that." Zausmer's filing provided no details.

According to a story in the Philadelphia Daily News, Fumo met in June with the Democratic caucus in Harrisburg.

The paper quoted State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D., Phila.) as saying that Fumo was "warmly received" and that the former senator had said he was "looking at a business opportunity where I give advice."

Fumo, once the most powerful Philadelphia Democrat in the legislature, served 54 months of his 61-month sentence behind bars in Kentucky. For the remainder of his term he was confined to his Spring Garden house.

He began serving his three years of probation in February.


cmccoy@phillynews.com

215-854-4821 @CraigRMcCoy

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