March 27, 2010 |
George X. Schwartz, 95, former president of City Council whose political career ended in an Abscam extortion and conspiracy conviction in 1980, died yesterday. Mr. Schwartz was one of the dominant players in city politics for more than 20 years, wielding tremendous power and influence as both a private attorney and city councilman and ward leader. But he was one of more than a half-dozen local officials caught in the FBI Abscam sting, one of the more controversial political corruption investigations in the nation's history.
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.
December 2, 2008 |
Raymond F. Lederer, 70, a quintessential Philadelphia blue-collar Democratic politician who lost his congressional seat after he was ensnared in the FBI's Abscam investigation, died yesterday of cancer in the Fishtown home where he had spent his childhood. Mr. Lederer had been diagnosed with lung cancer in June, said Richard Dickson, his former congressional intern and a close friend. "He was just a very decent guy, unassuming," said David B. Glancey, a former Philadelphia Democratic Party chairman.
January 8, 2008 |
The lawyer representing news anchor Alycia Lane in her battle with CBS3 has long experience handling high-profile cases where professional reputations and plenty of money are at stake. Paul R. Rosen also is known as a fierce advocate for his clients, stretching back to his days representing a defendant in the Abscam political-corruption case. He represented the Lower Merion Township Commissioners in their lawsuit against former Barnes Foundation board member Richard H. Glanton, who accused the panel of racism for opposing the Barnes' expansion plans.
October 27, 2005 |
Twenty-five years ago, when Philadelphia City Council President George X. Schwartz was caught up in the Abscam bribery sting, a freshman councilman was his most vocal critic. "Why'd you take the money, George?" John F. Street demanded, jabbing his finger at the tainted pol. Under pressure from Street, Schwartz stepped down from the presidency upon indictment. He quit entirely when he was convicted. Today, with another councilman accused of taking bribes, the reaction is startlingly different.
October 26, 2005 |
It's been more than 14 years since a member of Philadelphia City Council was indicted on criminal charges of any kind. By local standards, that's quite a while. Council's modern history is replete with indictments for taking bribes, attempting extortion, and taking more bribes. In fact, Rick Mariano, accused yesterday of trading favors for money, is the seventh sitting Council member since the mid-1970s to be formally charged with abusing his office. He joins a list of names that includes Isadore "Izzy" Bellis; the Abscam trio of George X. Schwartz, Harry P. Jannotti and Louis C. Johanson; Leland M. Beloff; and James J. Tayoun.
July 20, 2005 |
Just how tough was the 10-year sentence given former Philadelphia Treasurer Corey Kemp? Tough enough to surpass those meted out in recent memory to many local and national public officials swept up in public corruption scandals. Take ex-Camden Mayor Milton Milan. In 2001, he was sent to federal prison for seven years for taking payoffs from the mob and laundering drug money. He's in prison in Loretto, Pa. - also the temporary home of former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland, who is serving one year for accepting $107,000 in charter flights and vacations, in exchange for access.
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.
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.
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.