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.
June 3, 1994
So we have former City Councilman Leland M. Beloff, a shakedown artist who "attempted to make municipal government a branch of the local mob," according to the judge who sentenced him, unanimously elected Democratic chairman of his old ward in South Philadelphia. Unanimously. And Beloff fresh out of prison. Even if this were a first, Beloff's easy return to political favor would be remarkable. He and his associates, including former Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo Scarfo, tried to extort $1 million for a zoning approval.
August 7, 1987 |
Robert Rego, former aide to former City Councilman Leland M. Beloff, has a new employer - Leonard E. Sweeney, a Pittsburgh legislator who was thrown out of the state House of Representatives in 1975. In a letter dated July 27 to Chief U.S. District Judge John P. Fullam, Sweeney said his firm, Solid Waste Management Systems Inc. of Pittsburgh, had offered Rego a job as the company's representative in Philadelphia, and Rego had accepted. "I have known Robert Rego and his family for the past 20 years," Sweeney wrote.
March 9, 2010
City Council wants to rename the Philadelphia Navy Yard in honor of the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha. This may seem like a fitting tribute for a city known for patronage and pay-to-play. But it is hardly in the best interest of taxpayers. Granted, Murtha, who died last month, spent a lifetime serving his country. He joined the Marine Corps during the Korean War and served in Vietnam. Murtha went on to serve 19 terms in Congress. But right there with "longtime congressman" in his Washington Post obituary headline was this phrase: "master of pork-barrel politics.
January 29, 1998 |
It is, as Joe Klein observes in the New Yorker, the Krakatoa of bimbo eruptions. President Clinton's alleged dalliance with a young intern could bring down his administration. And it raises a question: What are the chances of a major political scandal here? The last juicy local scandal was Abscam in 1979 and 1980, when some FBI agents dressed up as sheiks and plumbed the venality of Philadelphia's political class. The result: Three city councilmen and a congressman took bribes.
June 28, 1986 |
On Thursday, Joan L. Krajewski, the leader of City Council's Democratic majority, officially announced to her colleagues the bills the full Council would consider during that day's session. She said, however, that among others, two measures key to the development of Penn's Landing would not be taken up for action. It was routine. There was no fanfare, no debate, certainly no protest. Democratic Councilman Leland M. Beloff, in whose district the $50 million retail development was to be be located, had asked for and received a delay.
January 19, 1986 |
It was business as usual yesterday at the York Tavern in West Kensington, with owner Harry Jannotti lumbering about pouring up shots of whiskey, ringing up six-packs of beer and wiping down the linoleum that covers the tavern's rectangular bar. "How ya doin' Harry?" came the greeting time and time again as customers wandered into the dimly lit tavern for a midday drink or a quart of Budweiser to go. If Jannotti was hurting, he wasn't showing it. And he wasn't talking about it, either.
January 16, 1986 |
City Controller Joseph Vignola will not pay the $30,865-a-year salary of Harry P. Jannotti, former city councilman convicted of taking an Abscam bribe, because his hiring as head of a city veterans' services office violates the state Constitution and city code, Vignola said yesterday. Council President Joseph E. Coleman, who named Jannotti to the post Tuesday, said last night he would seek "an interpretation of the statutes and of the Home Rule Charter" from the city Law Department.
May 7, 1988 |
Former Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas N. Shiomos was convicted on two counts of extortion and was acquitted of a third count last night by a jury in U.S. District Court. Shiomos, 67, was convicted of accepting $300 from Center City lawyer Barry H. Denker in 1986 as the two men were walking down Sansom Street, and of taking $300 from the Roofers Union in December 1985 as part of the Christmas payments distributed by the union's leader at the time, Stephen J. Traitz Jr. The jury, which deliberated for seven hours before returning its verdict at 9:30 p.m., acquitted Shiomos of accepting a total of $1,000 from Denker in 1984 and 1985 to fix a criminal case.
November 20, 2003 |
Michael Francis Comerford, 70, who as night metropolitan editor of The Inquirer orchestrated the coverage of breaking deadline stories from Abscam to the murder of mob boss Angelo Bruno, died Tuesday at Hospice of Port Orange in Daytona Beach Shores, Fla. Mr. Comerford suffered from heart disease. He retired in 1995 after more than 27 years at The Inquirer. Mr. Comerford, nicknamed "the Commodore," possessed a gnarly sense of humor and fierce news judgment that inspired loyalty among his reporters.