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.
May 11, 2003 |
You can take the boy out of South Philadelphia, but you can't take South Philly out of the boy. Back in the '60s, '70s and '80s, Leland Beloff was a Pennsylvania state representative, a Philadelphia city councilman, and a Democratic power broker from that political hotbed. But then, like so many of his fellow pols from that time and place, Beloff did a little prison time, and while he was away for five years, his wife moved the family to the Main Line. So now Beloff - who as a city councilman was convicted in 1987 of conspiring with the mob to extort $1 million from a developer - lives in Gladwyne.
January 20, 2001 |
It is a good deal for both sides, and perhaps for the nation as well. That was the consensus yesterday from a handful of legal scholars, defense lawyers and former prosecutors: The agreement that Bill Clinton revealed on his last full day in office spares him the perils of a criminal indictment - and spares the country a rerun of the most embarrassing scandal of his presidency. "It would be a very unpopular prosecution. The polls have shown that," said Donald J. Goldberg, a Philadelphia defense lawyer and a master plea negotiator.
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.
November 21, 2000 |
Charles Ruff, the scholarly attorney seated in a wheelchair who defended President Clinton during his impeachment in the House and Senate, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack at age 61. "All of us at the White House admired Chuck for the power of his advocacy, the wisdom of his judgment and the strength of his leadership," Clinton said. "We loved him for his generous spirit and his keen wit, which he used to find humor in even the most challenging circumstances. " The President issued the statement aboard Air Force One during the flight back to Washington after his visit to Vietnam.
July 30, 1999 |
In 1834, Davy Crockett, the famous backwoodsman and congressman from Tennessee, spent a day in Camden, where he gave a shooting demonstration and lost $160 to a pickpocket. Then there was time in 1991 when a ruby ring and gold cross were stolen from the corpse of the bishop of the diocese of Camden as his body lay in the city's cathedral. There's a legendary quality to crime in Camden, where a mayoral candidate in 1973 was free on $10,000 bail, another hopeful was a convicted murderer and the winner, Angelo Errichetti, would do federal jail time in the infamous Abscam case.
October 18, 1998 |
Job security doesn't get much better than being a congressman in South Jersey. Not since 1980, when Republican Chris Smith unseated Democrat Frank Thompson has an incumbent congressman lost a reelection campaign in the four congressional districts that cover the region. It took the Abscam scandal, in which several representatives were ensnared in an FBI sting operation, to bring Thompson down. Indeed, dislodging a congressman anywhere in America is an almost-futile exercise.
October 15, 1998 |
After 1980's Abscam bribery scandal, Mayors Bill Green and W. Wilson Goode - as well as City Council - toughened up the city's ethics code and requirements for employees to disclose outside financial interests. A look today finds that compliance is not universal. A spot check of city records shows that while hundreds of appointed and elected city officials have filed the proper forms, six of 17 Council members and two of 24 Rendell administration department heads and commissioners neglected to disclose their outside financial interests this year, as required by the city code.
September 6, 1998 |
Harry P. Jannotti was a key figure in a dark chapter of Philadelphia politics - the Abscam scandal of the early 1980s, in which he was convicted of taking a $10,000 bribe as a city councilman. But after his death at age 74 from cancer Thursday at Allegheny University Hospitals/Parkview, he was remembered by friends as the tall, weary-eyed man who could wring services for his constituents from a recalcitrant city bureaucracy. An overwhelming physical presence, Jannotti bore a slight resemblance to former President Lyndon B. Johnson.
September 5, 1998 |
Less than three months ago, Harry P. Jannotti, a colorful ex-City Councilman snared in the Abscam scandals of the early 1980s, made a surprising comeback, winning election as a Democratic ward leader in his home neighborhood of West Kensington. Jannotti may have known what other pols did not, that it was his last hurrah. On Thursday, Jannotti, 73, died at Parkview Hospital, suffering from pancreatic cancer. Political friends said that funeral arrangements probably would not be announced until after the Labor Day weekend.