April 4, 2014
Stories of local officials using their offices for personal profit are as wearying as they are familiar. The latest concerns Dominic Verdi, a former deputy Licenses and Inspections commissioner who, according to a federal indictment, protected errant bars and strip clubs as long as they patronized the distributor he had a stake in, Chappy's Beer, Butts, and Bets. The story reinforces the public's worst fears of a City Hall in-crowd that works for itself with little concern for anyone else.
March 2, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA In 2012, Democrat Jose "J.P. " Miranda won 95 percent of the vote in an election that landed him a seat in the state House. Little more than a year later, he was arrested, along with his sister, on corruption charges. On Friday, in a marathon preliminary hearing that pitted the siblings against several former legislative assistants, Miranda's fall from grace continued. Municipal Court Judge David C. Shuter ruled that the case against Miranda and Michelle Wilson should proceed to trial.
March 2, 2014 |
PHILADELPHIA A Common Pleas Court judge overturned 17 more convictions Friday tied to former Philadelphia narcotics officer Jeffrey Walker, the latest consequence in a widening corruption scandal involving the department's antidrug squad. So far, Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper has reversed about 85 cases in which Walker played a role. Friday's batch marked the first dismissals since the disgraced former officer pleaded guilty to federal robbery and firearms charges this week. Nine other cases were flagged for potential reversal at an April hearing.
February 13, 2014 |
A Montgomery County judge on Tuesday ordered a former tennis coach at a Main Line girls' school to face trial for allegedly kissing and sending suggestive text messages to a player on his team. The judge's decision followed about 30 minutes of sometimes tearful testimony from the girl, who was 15 at the time of the alleged crimes. Charles Meredith, 52, coached her for about two years at Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Bryn Mawr before his arrest in December. He has since been fired.
January 29, 2014 |
It began with a TV news story that said an aide to a newly elected state representative preferred to work all day at his North Philadelphia garage. On Monday, it grew into something more, as Philadelphia prosecutors announced corruption charges against Democratic State Rep. J.P. Miranda and his sister, accusing them of siphoning pay from the "ghost" employee to divert it to the sister. Miranda, 28, and Michelle Wilson were each charged with three felonies - conflict of interest, perjury, and criminal conspiracy, District Attorney Seth Williams said.
January 19, 2014 |
Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey confirmed Friday that a federal grand jury has been impaneled to probe allegations against former members of Philadelphia's narcotics unit. During a news conference at Police Headquarters on an unrelated matter, Ramsey volunteered that six former narcotics officers had been pulled off street duty and a seventh was in custody. The declaration was the first public acknowledgment of the grand jury's involvement. Ramsey said that the department's Internal Affairs unit and corruption task force and the FBI were part of the investigation, and that they had been working closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
December 16, 2013 |
Turner Classic Movies, the cable network that is a welcome antidote to 24/7 news, reality shows, and ESPN's smarm, recently ran a half day's worth of old college football movies. All were as awful as they were alike: State U. gets football hero. State U. loses football hero. State U. finds football hero in the nick of time. Throw in the dithering dean's blond daughter, an intellectually challenged lineman or two, sneering gamblers, and the familiar plots were complete. There was, however, one other recurring and relevant element to these cornball films, most of which were nearly 80 years old - the corruption of collegiate sports.
November 10, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA A Common Pleas Court judge reversed 53 narcotics convictions Friday, the latest fallout from investigations of corruption in the police drug units. In a rapid-fire hearing, usually taking no more than 20 seconds for each case, Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper overturned convictions that were based on the testimony of former Officer Jeffrey Walker, who was arrested in May as part of an FBI corruption investigation. But the assembly-line treatment belied the implications of her action, with each case representing major taxpayer outlay for police work, trial costs, and other expenses.
October 29, 2013 |
When it comes to crime in the City of Brotherly Love, should public corruption or gun violence be the priority for the District Attorney's Office? As the race for that office nears in the Nov. 5 election, incumbent Seth Williams and Republican challenger Danny Alvarez have sparred over that question. During a recent debate and in interviews, Williams, who ran on a "smart on crime" campaign four years ago, told of his efforts to transform the office's ways by having more diversionary programs and focusing on prosecuting what he sees as the most important cases - those dealing with gun violence.
July 16, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - In a bitter and secret legal fight, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane has succeeded in ousting the judge who has long overseen corruption investigations in Pennsylvania, The Inquirer has learned. After a conflict that had been roiling since she took office in January, Kane took the unusual step of asking the state Supreme Court to remove Judge Barry F. Feudale as the supervising grand jury judge in Harrisburg. Kane told the high court in April in sealed papers that the judge was no longer fit to run a grand jury.