November 21, 1986
I was appalled to read Jimmy Breslin's Nov. 13 Op-ed Page column, "The Irish gunrunners are arrested. " Mr. Breslin apparently thinks that Michael Flannery, who raised money to buy munitions for the Irish Republican Army, deserves sympathy because, "I never did anything that could hurt an American. That's more than the government that prosecuted me can say. " Mr. Breslin feels that the recent covert arms sales to Iran make the IRA less sinister by comparison. Earlier, he writes of Mr. Flannery's taking the bait from FBI agents who offered to sell him a cannon and machine guns.
August 19, 1989 |
A judge yesterday sentenced John W. Jenrette Jr., a former South Carolina congressman, to 30 days in jail and fined him $2,000 for stealing a necktie and shoes from a department store in Virginia. Jenrette, 53, served 13 months in prison after he was convicted in 1980 of bribery in the Abscam affair, a sting operation in which FBI agents posing as Arab sheiks and businessmen offered bribes to lawmakers. Jenrette was found guilty in June of stealing a pair of shoes and a tie and altering the price tags on a shirt and a pair of pants at a Marshall's department store on Dec. 7. The jury recommended two six-month jail sentences and fines totaling $2,000 for two counts of petty larceny.
January 1, 1986 |
Former U.S. Rep. Raymond F. Lederer, a Philadelphia Democrat who resigned from Congress in 1981 after he was convicted of bribery and conspiracy in the Abscam investigation, is preparing to return to the local political scene - albeit on a smaller scale. Lederer is expected to be elected to his old position as leader of the 18th Ward, in Fishtown, after the current ward leader, Mario Driggs, assumes a Muncipal Court judgeship on Monday. Driggs was elected to the Municipal Court bench in November.
September 25, 2004
The young John Street surely wouldn't have tolerated all the stonewalling the current mayor of Philadelphia is doing about a payment received in 1998 that appears to have been unethical, if not illegal. As a fiery young freshman councilman, John F. Street demanded answers from Council President George X. Schwartz, an FBI target in its 1980 Abscam bribery investigation. It didn't matter to Street that Schwartz and two other Council members eventually convicted in Abscam had not yet been charged.
January 3, 2001 |
In his 12 years as the first African-American president of Philadelphia City Council, Joseph E. Coleman, a soft-spoken chemist with a Temple law degree, presided over a sea change that transformed council from an unruly gang to a body near equal with the mayor. Between 1980, when he became council president after the disaster of the Abscam scandal, and when he retired at the start of Mayor Rendell's first term in 1992, Coleman frustrated two mayors while dramatically expanding council's ability to critique mayoral dreams and schemes.
January 17, 1986 |
Entering the York Tavern at midday requires an adjustment from light to darkness, and a few seconds to drink in the irony of it all. Harry P. Jannotti - former city councilman, former Abscam defendant, late of Allenwood federal prison camp - looms behind the bar in the 4th and York streets tavern wearing a plaid flannel shirt and an old pair of pants. He goes about his business as if he has done this all his life, so often that he does not have to think about it - empty an ashtray, pour a shot, ring up a six-pack of Bud on the cash register.
January 19, 1986
The five-page opinion that City Solicitor Handsel B. Minyard issued Friday on the Harry Jannotti controversy is clear and welcome affirmation that the former city councilman is not legally eligible to serve as executive director of the Veterans Advisory Commission. City Council President Joseph E. Coleman, who has authority to fill the job, requested the opinion. Mr. Minyard, after referring to Mr. Jannotti's "criminal prosecution for his participation in the Abscam affair," said it is his opinion that "Mr. Jannotti is legally not capable of holding such office.
March 30, 1987
Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Lois Forer decided last week that Harry P. Jannotti, the convicted Abscam conspirator and former city councilman, was not precluded from running for his old Council seat by a state constitutional provision barring certain convicted felons from office. The decision surprised many. The charges against Jannotti stipulated that he accepted a $10,000 bribe from FBI agents posing as agents of an Arab sheik, and the constitution does bar people convicted of bribery, as well as embezzlement, perjury, and other "infamous crimes.
October 25, 1991
Gutsy, tireless, State Rep. Connie McHugh asks a darn good question in her slugfest against the Democratic machine that has owned - and soiled - the City Council seat in the First District: Aren't you tired of seeing your councilmen wearing prison stripes? Indeed, Leland Beloff and Jimmy Tayoun, the last two councilmen from the First, which snakes along Philadelphia's southeastern edge, have been convicted and sent up the river for crude, money-grubbing, office-selling schemes.
November 16, 2004
Former Congressman Thomas M. Foglietta, who died unexpectedly Saturday at age 75, was an honest and gracious gentleman who was at his finest when championing Philadelphia. In a town still trying to live down its reputation for employing public officials who prompt federal corruption investigations, Foglietta was different. Quite appropriately, it was Foglietta, the former councilman, who in 1980 defeated U.S. Rep. Michael "Ozzie" Myers, a convicted Abscam crook. When his South Philadelphia district later changed to include primarily minority voters, Foglietta still won reelection, addressing urban issues important to city residents.