June 9, 2015
LET'S TALK ABOUT a stereotype: Philadelphia's minority politicians are crooked. Discuss among yourselves. Profiling? Political stop-and-frisk? Or just overstating what looks like a pattern? And, yeah, I know the broader stereotype is that all politicians are crooked. But I bring this up because pols of color currently are in a perp parade. There's former Reps. Ron Waters, Harold James and J.P. Miranda, former Sen. LeAnna Washington, Rep. Michelle Brownlee, Rep. Louise Bishop, former Traffic Court President Judge Thomasine Tynes and head of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, Rep. Vanessa Brown.
July 29, 2014
LET'S TALK pension costs. And let's talk using corruption - arguably our most common public-sector commodity - to bring them down. I'm semi-serious. An overlooked benefit to paying taxes for public pensions in one of the nation's most corrupt states is that wrongdoing saves us money. Think about it. Many forfeit pensions after convicted of crimes under Pennsylvania Act 140 of 1978. Through a Right-to-Know request, I got numbers on some of our more high-profile perps in order to show the sorts of savings available.
April 29, 2013 |
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has quietly assembled an elite team of veteran prosecutors to investigate public corruption. To staff the effort, Williams has hired prosecutors from the state Attorney General's Office who brought successful cases against senior political figures in both parties, including former House Speaker John M. Perzel. Earlier this month, Williams received court approval to create a new investigative grand jury, which allows prosecutors to subpoena documents and compel testimony.
April 9, 2013
NOT TO RILE anyone facing the duty of filing tax returns by next week's deadline (a/k/a that time of year one really looks at how much of one's money the government gets), but every time I turn around there's reason to be pissed off. I'm not talking about ongoing aggravations such as the pay and perks of City Council, the state Legislature and Congress, members of which collectively do more to us than for us while spending our money. (Digression: Can I get an eye-roll for President Obama "sacrificing" 5 percent of his $400,000 salary because of sequestration?
May 25, 2011
HARRISBURG - A Dauphin County judge has postponed the second trial of disgraced Pennsylvania political power broker Mike Veon until next year. Judge Bruce Bratton issued an order Tuesday moving the trial date from June 1 to Feb. 6, 2012. Veon, the former Democratic whip in the state House of Representatives, was convicted last year in Pennsylvania's legislative-corruption scandal on multiple charges involving the use of taxpayers' money for campaign work and is serving a six- to 14-year prison term.
September 3, 2010 |
SOMERSET, Pa. - As a powerful state representative, Mike Veon for years was perfectly coiffed, wore $1,000 custom-made suits, smoked expensive cigars, and sipped Maker's Mark bourbon with lobbyists. He zipped around on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, attended conferences in Las Vegas, and flew back and forth to Harrisburg in a state plane. He dispatched a legislative staffer to retrieve his dry cleaning, arranged for his clothes to be tailored every time he lost or gained a few pounds, and never wore the same tie twice on days the legislature was in session.
April 3, 2010 |
During a break in the Bonusgate corruption trial that wrapped up last month, several jurors toured the state Capitol to get a sense of where some of the alleged crimes were committed. That represents "jury misconduct" and is grounds for a mistrial, according to an attorney for one of the defendants convicted in the cash-for-campaigning case. Dauphin County Court Judge Richard A. Lewis has set a hearing for Friday on the motion filed by Michael Palermo, a lawyer for Annamarie Perretta-Rosepink, the former district office manager for State Rep. Mike Veon.
March 24, 2010
ON MONDAY NIGHT, a jury in central Pennsylvania found former House Majority Whip Mike Veon guilty on 14 counts of conspiracy, theft and conflict of interest. The conviction is part of an ongoing statewide investigation into political corruption and should serve as a reminder of the desperate need for reform in Harrisburg. So far, 25 people from both parties have been charged with corruption by Attorney General Tom Corbett; Veon was the second to be tried. The list includes former and current lawmakers, and several key staffers.
March 23, 2010 |
Republicans backing Attorney General Tom Corbett for governor had been growing more nervous every day that Bonusgate deliberations had dragged on. When the jury finally returned to a Harrisburg courtroom last night and pronounced 14 guilty verdicts against former Democratic House Whip Michael R. Veon, it was more than a blow against political corruption. It was a setback for Corbett's Democratic detractors who had suggested that his ambition to become governor in November had spurred his zeal in pursuing criminal charges against two dozen Bonusgate defendants.
March 13, 2010 |
A jury began deliberations yesterday in the political corruption case against former State Rep. Mike Veon and three ex-aides after a prosecutor described what they did as a "form of organized crime" with Veon as the don. "They are not going to do anything without his direction and control," Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Blessington told the jury in his closing argument. "Once you get drunk with power, you make the rules, you can change the rules. You think you are immune.