November 25, 2012
Two Judges, Thousands of Children, and a $2.8 Million Kickback Scheme By William Ecenbarger New Press. 272 pp. $26.95 Reviewed by David W. Marston Zero tolerance. That was Judge Mark A. Ciavarella's rigid formula for dealing with even trivial juvenile misconduct, and the tough boss of "kiddie court" made sure everyone in Scranton knew it. But almost no one - except Ciavarella's coconspirator, President Judge Michael T. Conahan - knew that zero tolerance was also the secret ingredient fueling a lucrative kickback scheme that paid millions to the corrupt judges.
October 12, 2012 |
WHILE WE JOKINGLY wonder why people in haunted movie houses don't leave, we know we really don't want them to go. Not the viewers and certainly not Hollywood, which would be nowhere without haunted houses, as it makes most of its easy money in the horror arena. With that in mind, the industry has been looking for a bankable new franchise since the decline of the "Saw" series and the diminishing returns of the "Paranormal Activity. " It may have found a successor in "Sinister," a thoroughly familiar but slick and effective horror movie starring Ethan Hawke as Ellison Oswald, a true-crime writer who moves into the home where a horrible murder occurred.
June 19, 2012 |
REMEMBER Tim Donaghy? Delco native. Ex-referee in the NBA. Recovering gambling addict. Felon. Yeah, that guy. A Florida jury wants to make him a millionaire. After 5 rough years that included banishment from the NBA, gambling and wire-fraud convictions for betting on basketball games, and even 2 weeks spent in solitary confinement "like Charles Manson" while serving a 15-month prison term, Donaghy can finally put one in the win column. According to Donaghy and his lawyer, a St. Petersburg jury on Friday awarded Donaghy $1.3 million in his civil suit against Shawna Vercher and her now-defunct company VTi Group, which published Donaghy's tell-all book about the NBA and its referees.
June 4, 2012 |
You are so busted. You are in Cherry Hill driving a blue pickup truck in the left lane of Springdale Road where it crosses Route 70, and you are blowing through the intersection a second after the traffic light turned red. Township police just got a nice video of your truck, as well as some close-up photos, and you will soon receive a notice in the mail demanding $85 for your haste. Congratulations. You are part of a booming cohort in South Jersey: motorists caught by red-light cameras at nine intersections in six municipalities in Camden and Gloucester Counties.
June 25, 2010
State Sen. Anthony Williams set a record by getting three individuals to each contribute more than $1 million to his failed bid in this year's Democratic primary for governor. The extraordinary largesse raised eyebrows, even for a state with no campaign-giving limits and a governor who has raised millions over the years from firms and individuals who have profited off government contracts. The three Williams donors have refused to speak about their motives, but were said to support his stance on school choice, and in particular vouchers.
June 3, 2010 |
Once, it was banking millions of dollars and was a key redoubt in the power base of former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo - and a supporter of his luxuriant lifestyle. Today, it has only about $80,000 in the bank, its board of Fumo cronies has been cast out, and the former senator is nine months into a 55-month federal prison term. But the nonprofit Citizens' Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, which Fumo founded, can still do good for a commercial swath of South Philadelphia, its interim overseer recommended Wednesday.
April 15, 2009
SINCE Mayor Nutter has become a professional debt collector, he may want to go on Mapquest and get directions to One NovaCare Way. The Eagles still owed the city $8 million-plus, not to mention the money still owed to local contractors who helped build their cash cow. That money would let the contractors bid on work throughout the city. He may also want to talk to his city controller regarding a recent letter he received about sites widely believed to be employing nontaxpaying workers.
December 8, 2005 |
When Falls Township set out last year to update the contract it has with the company that operates the giant landfill in the township, officials decided for the first time to enlist the help of an outside law firm. What the township ended up with, according to one of its attorneys, was the "largest, nonpublic-works contract ever negotiated in Pennsylvania. " The $250 million the township will collect during a 20-year period will not produce gift checks like those that Tullytown residents receive from a landfill there.
September 14, 2005 |
Pedro Martinez Cruz milks cows for a living. He works 60 hours a week, takes home about $8 an hour, and sends every last dime he can spare back to his wife in Chiapas, Mexico. The 43-year-old, who lives in Lancaster, is at work by 6 a.m. and doesn't get home until 12 hours later. It's a hard job, he said, but he's gotten used to it. "Esta bien," he said yesterday with a shrug of his shoulders, indicating in Spanish that all was good. Still, Cruz's daily dairy reality is a far cry from the lucrative income that House Speaker John M. Perzel is making it out to be. The Philadelphia Republican is drawing fire - and ire - for what many are calling inaccurate and insensitive comments he made about milkers at a gathering of the Republican State Committee in Harrisburg on Saturday.
June 5, 2005 |
Knee-deep in an Upper Bucks County marsh, Andrea Teti plunges her arms into the dark, slimy muck and feels around. Mosquitoes swarm her. Ticks cling to her bare thighs. Is that a snake tickling her ankle, or just a bloodthirsty leech? Yet Teti's not the one looking scared. If anybody is afraid this nippy morning in early May, it is Caesar Gorski, a developer watching from the wetland's edge and praying that Teti won't find what she's hunting for: a killer bog turtle.