Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Intellacom- Maybe Not So Intell-igent

Martin Carlson, U.S. Attorney and Rich Southerton of the FBI must feel like they hit the motherload when they landed in Northeastern Pennsylvania. They probably feel like Michael Corleone in Godfather III- "Just when I thought I was out...they pull me back in.."

But according to disgraced Mark Ciavarella the media is making more out of it than there is. According to him there is no mass corruption in Northeastern Pennsylvania- Luzerne County Court System, Luzerne County Row Offices, Pittston Area School District, Wilkes-Barre Area School District, Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center, Luzerne County Community College, Wilkes-Barre Scranton Airport, PNC Field. Nahhh Chiv you are sooo right.

It was only a matter of time before Lackawanna County entered the FBI crosshairs.

Intellacom and its President Anthony J. Trombetta have been in the news for several months. A Pittston Area School District contract with Intellacom worth nearly $300,000 that was supposedly awarded under a state program never went through the agency, PEPPM, that coordinates that program. Superintendent Ross Scarantino was later charged with accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to influence the awarding of district contracts.

Subsequently Dave Janoski of the Scranton Times revealed that a board member's son worked for Intellacom said board member who made the motion to award the contract and voted on the contract. According to the board president Mark Singer he thought that wasn't a conflict of interest since the son wasn't an owner.

Evidently Mr. Singer didn't read this Auditor General report for the Weatherly Area School District in 2005. 65 PA C.S. § 1102 The Ethics Act specifically prohibits a public official from using the authority of his office in order to obtain a private pecuniary benefit for himself, a member of his immediate family, or a business with which he or a member of his immediate family is associated. It is pretty clear that an mere association gives rise for concern.

In the meantime the FBI headed to Luzerne County Community College for more Intellacom records. Ross Scarantino was on the board of Luzerne County Community College as well. Intellacom received a no-bid contract in 2007 for an “off-campus closed circuit television” system at the college's Hazleton, Kulpmont, Shamokin, Berwick and Wilkes-Barre campuses. Intellacom submitted a proposal of $191,000. Records show LCCC paid $134,802 to Intellacom before the contract was cancelled because the company did not provide service as promised in the contract.

I guess cash flow became a problem because Dave Janoski reported Intellacom was behind on its rent payments at their Cross Creek offices. Subsequently Jennifer Learn-Andes reports that Tormbetta's restaurant, Portifino, near the arena temporarily closed.

Missed payments and an abrupt vacation closing raised questions about the viability of the Portafino Ristorante and its owner, Anthony Trombetta, who's already under scrutiny in the growing public corruption probe in Luzerne County.

A notice taped on the inside of the front door Thursday and a message on the electronic sign outside the restaurant on Schechter Drive alerted the public to the vacation.

"We will be reopening next week. Sorry for the inconvenience," read the notice.

The Italian restaurant opened last year on the site of a franchise that closed for lack of business. Trombetta secured a $1 million mortgage on the property from Wachovia Bank, according to court documents.

The restaurant and Trombetta, president and treasurer, were named in a complaint filed May 27 in Luzerne County Court alleging Portafino and its owner failed to pay for advertising and design of its Web site. Tree Design Studio Inc. of Shavertown sought $21,452 plus interest for services provided since May 1, 2008, according to the suit.

In the same article she also reports that another of Trombetta's compaines missed a payment on a business development loan to Luzerne County.

Terra Firma Land Development Group Inc. did not pay its monthly installment on a $500,000 community development loan for the restaurant. A payment of $3,103 was due June 12 and the next due July 12, said Andy Reilly, director of the county Community Development Agency.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, Trombetta is president, secretary and treasurer of the company that has an East Oak Street, Pittston, address. He holds identical titles with Intellacom.

County commissioners voted to loan Terra Firma the money at the start of 2008. Terra Firma still owes $477,579 on the note, which was borrowed at 1.5 percent interest over 15 years.

The county will receive all money owed no matter what because borrowers must secure a letter of credit guaranteeing repayment of all money owed if they default, Reilly said. Terra Firma's letter of credit is with Wachovia Bank, he said.

And the beat goes on.

I Will Dare This Story

Sotamayor may feel that her upbringing and environment shaped her outlook on life but I think she misses the mark. Who she is as a person, her personality, how she lived life from her perspective shaped who she is. What she says comes from her, not her life's experiences. Who she is comes from her inner self not her life's experiences. She was born her, not shaped to be her.

That is how I feel. Barack Obama is half white. Henry Louis Gates,Jr. traces his heritage back to white roots. So why do they put their African-American heritage above being just American? Is it due to their life's experiences or just them being them? Do they want to be black when it is convenient or black because it serves an agenda? Being human means just that, being human. There is no color to human; there is only life. Do we want to help the plight of others or do we only want to help persons of color? If we only helping persons of color does that mean we are reverse discriminating?

Barack Obama, you are an American. Not black, not white, not African-American, but an American. You represent the United States of America. I don't see any color in that title, only honor. Start emulating the role. Forget the rhetoric. Leave that for Al Sharpton. As Commander in Chief you have an obligation to stand with the troops, not the indignitaries whom you have extended an apology to. Never apologize for an American death. Never apologize for an American injury. When Mom and Dad watch their child represent the United States on the battlefield, understand the sacrifice made to uphold our liberties.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ciavarella- Shame Shame Shame Chain Of Fools

"You can't imagine how it bothers me because juvenile court was a passion to me. It wasn't something where I was looking to hurt a child, I was looking to help each and every one of those kids who came in front of me. Maybe they didn't like the way I helped them but I was doing what I thought was appropriate and right for them,"

"I mean, I had the greatest job in the world. It was the best job anybody could ever have and I screwed it up. I the one who did it. I have myself to blame for that, nobody else. I'm sorry that I brought such shame to the bench. There's a lot of good people who sit on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas who don't deserve to be tarnished by what I did. Unfortunately they do get tarnished for that and that's wrong. They didn't do anything wrong. I did, they didn't," the former judge added. "I pled guilty to an honest service fraud, pled guilty to some tax matters. I did not plead guilty to cash for kids or quid pro quo or extortion."

"I didn't do anything wrong relative to any juvenile. I never took a dime for sending a kid away. All I ever did is what I thought was in the best interest of that child," said Ciavarella. "I devoted 13 years of my life to that court. I loved the juvenile court. I loved helping those kids. I would never do anything to hurt a child. That's just not my, that's not what I do. That's not me. I was always there for those kids and I resent the fact that people think I did something improper. I didn't do anything improper when it came to the care of those kids."

"I don't know if things in Luzerne County are as bad as the press has depicted them to be. I don't think there's this mass corruption.

If I were Ciavarella I would stop talking. Brains should engage before mouth opens.

From The Smoking Gun

Here's the link to The Smoking Gun. The document speak for themselves. Amazing how the drive by media have spun this into Officer Crowley's fault.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mysterious Governor X- What's Coal And Steel Go To Do With It?

Kristen Davis New York Daily News Photo

Chez, the blogger who writes Deus Ex Malcontent reported that Ed Rendell is screwed, literally. Chez is a veteran network news producer and manager, a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, and a writer who's been featured in the New York Observer and the Village Voice. He also is the author of a book called Dead Star Twilight.

Chez reports the madcap radio duo, Opie and Anthony, on Sirius/Xm Satellite Radio interviewed Kristin Davis Of course you will remember Kristen Davis as the madam who rang Eliot Spitzer's Steepel Tower. He liked the way she rode his disco stick I guess. She liked it so much she spent four months in Rikers for her role in the scandal.

Well, during the interview, she admitted that someone she called "Governor X" employed her services at least ten times during a year-and-a-half period. She apparently wrote his name down on a piece of paper and showed it to Opie and Anthony, who then proceeded to spend the next ten minutes dropping hints that a 4-year-old could've deciphered.

"What, did he pay her in coal and steel?"

"I guess he had a little filly on the side."

"Did he used to be an Eagles scout?"

The whole thing ended with show regular Jim Norton making a hysterical Freudian slip during the plugs for his upcoming gigs.

"I'll be in Pennsylvania this weekend," he said, then corrected himself to the sound of everyone's laughter.

Oh but it get's better. Over at the PA Conservative Bloggers Nathan asks the question "Who Is Governor X?"

Which leads us to the Rush and Molly column at the New York Daily News.

Here is their account. As it turns out Kristen didn't mean her services personally but in a business sense.

Now the elegant blond courtesan, whom we'll continue to call "Annie," is talking about three "dates" she allegedly had with another state's chief executive, who we'll call Gov. X.

Though Annie's former boss, ex-madam Kristin Davis, corroborates that Gov. X was a client, his spokesman flatly denies that the married politician has ever hired hookers.

Still, it's hard not to be intrigued by Annie's detailed story. She contends that, in the spring of 2006, Davis' agency booked her for an out-of-state date with a man identified as "Michael."

"He picked me up in an Italian sports car," says Annie. "He was in his 30s, handsome enough to be an actor, an impeccable dresser. I wouldn't think he'd have a problem getting girls.

"We went to a restaurant where the governor was dining at another table with two or three other men. Michael said the governor was a client of his. He introduced me to him. I thought it was odd that he'd introduce someone he'd hired, but the governor was very gracious. It was a brief meeting. Later, Michael and I went to an apartment our agency kept. We had sex.

"A couple of days later, Michael booked another appointment. He was supposed to come to the same apartment. I buzzed him in. When I opened the door, it wasn't Michael. It was the governor. He was smiling. I knew what was happening. I was okay with it.

"He was a very standard client. He didn't take the full hour. There was no exchange of money. Michael handled the payment.

"I had two more dates with the governor. Never in public. Always for just an hour, around dinner time. He'd arrive at the apartment in a suit. I never had a problem with him, like I did with Spitzer. He was always nice. There wasn't a lot of conversation. It wasn't a girlfriend experience, but he was relaxed. He was very appreciative, like I was giving him a sort of affection he wasn't getting elsewhere. Later I found out he was married. His wife is quite prominent in her own right." (Annie and Davis say Gov. X is free to say he didn't pay for sex, since "Michael" took care of the bills.)

A reminder- a governor spokesperson denies any invovlement. Hmmmmmm.... Shush girl, shut your lips, do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips.

It is worth noting that political gossip howls on the Libertarian Republican where Chuck Ardo, Rendell's media person, is resigning in December.

Ardo, though, is vehemently denying that his boss's alleged fling with a Call Girl has anything to do with his resignation. “No way, no how..." he said.

No wonder they can't pass a budget. How do you put in a line item for that expense?
(Snickers from the crowd.) Of course you remember that famous quote "Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me breasts!"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Get The Facts About Eachus and Hazleton's Cargo Airport

Mr. Eachus, you should be very familiar with the image above. It is a scan of of the DVD handed out the day of the Hazleton Cargo Airport announcement in 2007. The seal at the top states "Seal Of The House Of Representatives Of Pennsylvania". It is a promo video for the fantasy airport project.

On the label it states it came from the Legislative Communications Office G18 Irvis Office Building Harrisburg PA 17120 Ph (717) 787-7895. Obviously it was paid for with taxpayers money. Did you authorize the making of this video? How much did the taxpayers of Pennsylvania pay to produce and distribute this video? How much in donations did you receive from Robert Powell and associates of his law firm? Did that money influence the use of taxpayers money for the making and distribution of the video?

Mr. Eachus, what about the Green Mountain water project for the airport. Is it true that CanDo had a grant for that project to improve supply at Humboldt but people wanted the grant diverted and used for the airport.

In fact, Eachus said, it’s conceivable Green Mountain water could supply the nearby Humboldt Industrial Park North. A Coca-Cola plant is slated to move there, but CAN DO, which operates its own water supplier, is not able to supply its needs.

Eachus said that while the final decision would be up to airport developer Gladstone Properties LP, he could envision a treatment plant supplying the firm’s water needs.

Mr Eachus, who was supposed to be a partner in that treatment plant?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Senator Mellow Pays Himself Rent With Taxpayer Money

Philadelphia Inquirer reporters John Sullivan and Mario F. Cattabiani are reporting that Senator Bob Mellow from Lackawanna County has been the recipient of $200,000.00 of Pennsylvania taxpayer money for rent on a building owned by him and/or his then wife, now former wife.

Mellow appears to have some ethical questions to answer concerning this deal according to the details laid out in the article.

When the General Assembly passed the Ethics Act in 1978, it created the State Ethics Commission to interpret the law. Public officials frequently ask the commission about possible conflicts.

In 1989, a state representative from Erie named Italo S. Cappabianca asked the commission if the law would allow him to rent a district office, using taxpayer money, in a building he owned. He would pay the prevailing rates.

The commission said no.

Mellow said he saw no ethics problems when his wife was an owner. Once he acquired a stake in the property after the divorce, he said, he realized he had a "problem," reported it, and began taking steps to sell the property.

"If I thought I had done something inappropriate back in 2000, I never would have made the declaration in 2006, to expose myself," he said.

Though Mellow acquired his interest in the building in 2007, he did not report the Brad Inc. acquisition until the spring of 2008. That was the deadline to report financial activity from the previous year.

In his defense of the rental agreement with a company his wife partly owned, Mellow cited a Senate resolution - routinely passed by the chamber dating back to the early 1980s - that appears to contradict the state ethics law.

The resolution says that if a senator rents an office from himself or a family member, the Senate clerk must obtain an appraisal.

The State Ethics Commission has never considered whether the resolution, passed only by the Senate, somehow allows senators to do something banned under a state law.

Bruce Ledewitz, a professor of constitutional law at Duquesne University, said the resolution is irrelevant to the rental question.

"I can't say if this is a violation. I can just tell you that if it is, the resolution has nothing to do with it," he said.

I just added one more Democrat to my list at the right. And another reason to support newspapers by buying one or two or three. I do.

Rendell's Political Speech Coming To Hazleton

Evening Sun Photo by Meghan Gauriloff

It was reported by Sam Galski last week in the Standard Speaker that Fast Eddy Rendell was turned away on two occassions by the Hazleton Area School District when his office tried to arrange Rendell to speak at a Hazleton Area School.

Superintendent Sam Marolo and school board President Brian Earley insisted that the governor's visit is politically motivated and violates district policy pertaining to political activities on school property. Sounds like a reasonable assumption to me.

The word on the street is that eight out of nine Hazleton Area School Board members have signed a letter asking Rendell to come to Hazleton to speak.

You be the judge. Here is what PRN/USNewswire is reporting on Rendell's visits across the state.

Pennsylvania's next state budget must adequately invest in education in order to avoid local property tax increases, Governor Edward G. Rendell said today during a visit to the Fort Cherry School District in Washington County.

The Governor cautioned that a budget plan offered and approved by Senate Republicans would force school districts to hike property taxes and cut programs.

"I am not willing to accept their budget -- which is already $1.5 billion out of balance, as the economy has continued to slip -- because it is counter-productive to turning around our economy," Governor Rendell said. "In addition, a failure at the state level to fund essential programs and services simply shifts the tax burden to the local level."

He visited Adams and Cumberland County school districts with this message according to HEATHER FAULHEFER at the Evening Sun.

At the press briefing at Bermudian Springs High School, the governor defended his proposal to raise the state's personal income tax from 3.07 to 3.57 percent for three years, saying that the increase would, in part, provide funding for education and prevent local taxes from increasing.

Rendell has proposed an increase in education funding by $418 million, while the Republican-supported Senate Bill 850 would keep basic education funding the same as last year, providing $5.3 billion in basic education funding.

Rendell argued that Senate Bill 850 would hurt school districts like Bermudian Springs, which would receive $1 million less in the budget put forth by the Senate than in his budget.

Bermudian Springs School District Superintendent Paul Healey noted that the loss could not be absorbed by cutting pens and pencils - programs and people would be affected, he said.

"We need a state budget that does not pass the burden onto school boards to raise additional taxes," he said. "We need a state budget that recognizes that our most important resources are our children, and they do not deserve to be a pawn in a budget battle."

Local Republican legislators argue that, when combined with federal stimulus money, Senate Bill 850 does provide increases to school districts, just not as large an increase as the governor's proposal.

State Reps. Will Tallman, R-Reading Township, and Dan Moul, R-Conewago Township, attended Rendell's briefing and later said the governor was using scare tactics to gain approval of his tax increase.

Rendell is singling out the Republicans, not just the Senate as an institution that passed Senate Bill 850. If that isn't partisan and political nothing is.

Superintendent Paul Healey is another buffoon. Uhh Paul what difference does it make whether the state hikes taxes or the school district? Sounds like you want to make sure your school directors don't take the blame, let's blame state lawmakers. Why would you want to do that? Because your directors already raised taxes in June by 5.4%. What did you say Paul? That was the fourth consecutive hike in taxes. Mr. Healey what is your salary? $120,120.00. Ain't that a hoot. How many people in this state make $120,000 per year?

Brad Bumsted over at PittsburghLive calls Rendell's propaganda tour for what it is.

Rendell's propaganda campaign lays the groundwork for an income tax boost by pointing out all of the "devastating" consequences of spending less.

Receipt of Gifts, Transportation, etc. From The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission

1 | P a g e


With the holidays approaching, it is useful to review the restrictions and requirements of the Public Official and Employee Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. § 1101 et seq. (“Ethics Act”), regarding the receipt of gifts, transportation, lodging or hospitality by public officials and public employees. Particularly during the holidays, public officials and public employees may find themselves in the position of being offered gifts, transportation, lodging or hospitality (also generically referred to herein as “items”) by individuals or entities they regulate, vendors, or professional service providers. Such items may have minimal value or significant value. Although the Ethics Act does not prohibit the receipt of “no-strings-attached” items (see, Cooper, Opinion 92-009), public officials and public employees should consider any ramifications under the Ethics Act before receiving them.

First, depending upon the value of the item(s) received, the public official or public employee may be required to disclose his receipt of such item(s) on his Statement of Financial Interests, which is a public record. An important step in determining whether disclosure is required is the proper categorization of
what was received. There are two categories for disclosure, specifically “gifts” and “transportation and lodging or hospitality received in connection with public office or employment” (see, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 1105(b)(6)-(7)). Proper categorization is important because the thresholds for disclosure for these categories are different, as detailed below.

The Ethics Act uses the same definitions for the terms “gift” and “hospitality” that are used in Pennsylvania’s Lobbying Disclosure Law (see, 65 Pa.C.S. §§ 1102, 13A03). The definitions are as follows:

"Gift." Anything which is received without consideration of equal or greater value. The term shall not include a political contribution otherwise reportable as required by law or a commercially reasonable loan made in the ordinary course of business. The term shall not include hospitality, transportation or lodging.

"Hospitality." Includes all of the following:
(1) Meals.
(2) Beverages.
(3) Recreation and entertainment.

The term shall not include gifts, transportation or lodging. 65 Pa.C.S. § 13A03.

The above definitions make the reporting categories mutually exclusive, so that any given item may only be considered to fall within one of the reporting categories.

After properly categorizing the item(s) received, the public official/public employee must determine whether the value of the item(s) received from any given source will require disclosure.

For any given source, gift(s) valued in the aggregate at $250 or more must be disclosed on the Statement of Financial Interests filed by the public official/public employee. 65 Pa.C.S. § 1105(b)(6). Such disclosure must include the name and address of the source, the amount of the gift or gifts, and the circumstances of each gift. If the gift(s) from a given source do not meet the aggregate threshold of $250 in value, they need not be disclosed. (Also, gift(s) received from a family member or friend need not be disclosed when the circumstances make it clear that the motivation for the action was a personal or family relationship. However, for purposes of this exception, the term “friend” does not include a registered lobbyist or an employee of a registered lobbyist.)

Similarly, for any given source, the name and address of the source and the amount of any payment for or reimbursement of actual expenses for transportation, lodging or hospitality received in connection with public office or employment must be disclosed on the Statement of Financial Interests if such expenses exceed $650 in an aggregate amount per year. (The disclosure requirement does not apply to expenses reimbursed by a governmental body or by an organization or association of public officials or employees of political subdivisions which the public official or employee serves in an official capacity.)

In addition to considering the financial disclosure requirements of the Ethics Act, a public official/public employee should also consider whether the receipt of item(s) may result in a conflict of interest. Item(s) received by a public official/public employee may form the basis for a violation of Section 1103(a) of the
Ethics Act (pertaining to conflicts of interest) if the public official/public employee takes action in furtherance of the interests of the donor. While the receipt of an item of de minimis (insignificant) value would not, in and of itself, create a conflict of interest as to action involving the donor (see, e.g., Stieh,
Advice 93-503), the decision as to whether a conflict of interest is presented by the receipt of item(s) is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Generally, when a public official or public employee has received item(s) that would form the basis for a conflict of interest under the Ethics Act, the public official/public employee must abstain from acting in matters pertaining to the donor. In the event of a voting conflict, the public official/public employee
must abstain and satisfy the disclosure requirements of Section 1103(j) of the Ethics Act, 65 Pa.C.S. §1103(j).

Item(s) received by a public official/public employee may also form the basis for a violation of Section 1103(b) or Section 1103(c) of the Ethics Act (pertaining to improper influence) if there is an understanding that the vote, official action or judgment of the public official/public employee will be influenced thereby. See, e.g., Kasaback, Order 993; Helsel, Order 801; Volpe, Order 579-R; and Smith, Order 578-R.

Finally, it is noted that depending upon the position held, public officials and public employees might need to consider additional sources of ethics restrictions, such as the Governor’s Code of Conduct, municipal ethics restrictions, or agency policies. If another applicable source of ethics restrictions would prohibit the receipt of item(s) by a given public official or public employee, the Ethics Act would not operate to make the receipt of such item(s) permissible.

Public officials/public employees with questions may write to the State Ethics Commission at the following address for an advisory under the Ethics Act as to their own prospective (future) conduct: Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission, 309 Finance Building, P.O. Box 11470, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1470.

Powell's Airplane

Let's discuss Robert Powell and the forfeiture of his interest in his jet and boat. I believe most readers didn't catch the operative words "his interest." The 1980 Saberliner owned by 40 Degrees North, LLC was not Bob Powell's jet. It belonged to the limited liability corporation who had at least three owners- Powell, Zappala, and Marsicano.

The plane was moved from Hazleton and is located in Green, South Carolina. It appears to be for sale, well I guess that depends on what day it is. I used a caching feature of the net to find this information.

Here is a description of the interior:

Accessories: Gold-plated fixtures

Air Conditioning: Freon

Cabinetry: Light mahogany woodwork

Carpet: Beige carpeting w/light maroon & green accents

Entertainment Equipment: 8-place wireless entertainment headsets, cabin speakers, dual CD/DVD players w/remote controls, dual integrated video screens

General: Interior is in excellent condition as reported 07/14/08

Headliner: Cream seashell headliner

Lavatory: Flushing potty

Seating: Bucksin leather seating, mid-cabin club, 3-place couch, aft belted lav seat

Sidewalls: Light gray & burgundy sidepanels

Mr. Eachus is it true that you flew in this jet? If so did you report the flights on your campaign filings or your Statements of Financial Interest?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Governor Rendell Helped Pittsburgh's Financial Woes

Todd Eachus stated publicly that he would not pass legislation "specifically" for Hazleton. Governor Rendell and Todd Eachus had no problem passing not just one but a package of bills specifically for the City of Pittsburgh.

November 2004

Governor Edward G. Rendell today signed a package of bills that will help restore Pittsburgh to fiscal health and provide it with stable sources of funding. The bills include reforms to the city’s business taxes, a phased reduction in the city parking tax, an increase in the city’s occupational privilege tax and an increase in the earned-income tax on visiting athletes.

Those bills contained taxation issues while Eachus claims finding a fix for the City's(Hazleton) problem right now is impractical. Evidently it wasn't impractical for Pittsburgh.

IssuesPA has a great article highlighting the problems faced by Pittsburgh. One of the problems detailed. The largest single factor in its rising debt service payments has been the city's bonding of unfunded pension liability. Annual expenditures for pension costs, benefits and debt service are expected to have increased $119 million between 1993 to 2005. Most cities in this Commonwealth are in the same boat defined in a report submitted by James McAneny of the Public Employees Retirement Commission..

It is no secret that Todd Eachus is using unprecedented legislative tactics for inexcusable political retribution. His use of scare tactics with the police and fire unions in Hazleton over unfunded pension liability is wagging the dog. The unfunded pension liability is due to losses in the stock market that every pension faced in the current financial meltdown. It is time Eachus remembers who put him in office. Arrogance that the office will always be his blinds him to the realities of mankind. Be kind and kindness will be a reward. Being arrogant lulls one into a false sense of competence and entitlement.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Eachus-Which Way Is It?

Steve Mocarsky reported in today's Times Leader that Todd Eachus was subpoenaed for a pre-trial hearing in the case against former Beaver County State Rep. Mike Veon.

However, in the report something seems very odd. Mr. Eachus and the House Democratic Caucus spokesman seem to be saying opposite statements.

Eachus wanted to make it clear that the subpoenas were not served by the attorney general or any law enforcement agency, but by the defense. He said he and current HDC staff have “cooperated fully” with the attorney general’s investigation.

HDC spokesman Brett Marcy said Eachus was not among the legislators who testified before the grand jury, nor was he interviewed by any law enforcement officials regarding the Bonusgate case.

If he never talked to law enforcement how can he "fully" cooperate? Maybe its just me, Ollie.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Eachus Subpoenaed In Bonusgate Trial

It was only a matter of time before this would happen. According to Brad Bumsted over at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Todd Eachus, House Majority Leader, has been subpoenaed in the trial of Mike Veon. On the issue of credibility Eachus paid off Veon's campaign debt uniltateralyso it will be interesting to see what impact his testimony may have in this case. Eachus's rhetoric in that matter was simply amazing.

I know PA Pundit has some questions.

State Rep. Todd Eachus, D-Luzerne, is chair of the HDCC and authorized two payments. Three House Democrats who raise money for the HDCC – Rep. Joe Preston, D-Allegheny; Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny; and Rep. Jennifer Mann, D-Lehigh – said they were not consulted, although Eachus says he consulted with unnamed others in Democratic leadership before making the gifts.

Back to our regularly scheduled contributor on Bonusgate, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article,

Last week, Brett Marcy, spokesman for House Democrats, confirmed that DeWeese, of Greene County who is now the majority whip, and House Majority Leader Todd Eachus of Luzerne County, and Majority Caucus Secretary Jennifer Mann of Allentown were among those receiving defense subpoenas.

Mann, does she get around!!!

Eric Epstein over at the Central Penn Business Journal has a question for Mr. Eachus. However, the first order of business for Casey is to ask one question: "Mr. Eachus, when are you going to pay back the money my brother said you took illegally?"

Mr. Eachus- Are You Misleading The Public About Senate Bill 961 That Would Help Hazleton?

Eachus seeks guidance on Hazleton pension fund woes by Mia Light for the Citizen's Voice published June 29,2009.

Here is what Mr. Todd Eachus had to say:

House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-Butler Township, reached out to the office of the Pennsylvania auditor general Friday for guidance in correcting Hazleton's $2.5 million debt to its pension fund.

It was reported in the Times Leader by Bill O'Boylethat Eachus has sent a letter to state Auditor General Jack Wagner that condemns Barletta’s action in removing money from the city’s pension fund and asks Wagner for help to resolve the issue.

Mr. Eachus, a simple freedom of information request would find that the Auditor General supported Senate Bill 961 on June 10, 2008 in an email to Sam Monticello, then Hazleton City Administrator. Why do you want people to believe otherwise?? What is your motive?

Click on Image

Email from Robert Teplitz, Chief Counsel/Policy Director, Deparment of the Auditor General

You can read Robert Teplitz's bio here. It seems clear to me that the legal advisor from the Auditor General saw no legal or constitutional problems with Senate Bill 961. It is hard to understand why Mr. Eachus would make claims to the contrary.

James Mcaneny, Executive Director of the Public Employee Retirement Commission gave this conclusion on page 5 in his testimony before the House Finance Committee on August 18, 2008.

We believe that Senate Bill Number 961 provides a better way to provide for Hazleton's financial need than the method currently being employed. PERC supports Senate Bill 961. Mr. Eachus, again why are you misleading the public about support on this issue?

What Does Todd Eachus Really Know About Bonsugate?


In addition to his legislative leadership roles, Todd also provides political leadership for Pennsylvania Democrats. In 2006 Todd’s campaign strategies and dedication to help incumbent members and first-time candidates led directly to House Democrats retaking the Majority for the first time since 1994

In 2007, Todd expanded his leadership with the House Democratic Campaign Committee and served as chairman, thus helping to coordinate all Democratic House political activities. In 2008, Todd led the effort to expand the Democratic majority by a crucial two seats, setting the stage for the election fo the first Democratic Speaker of the House since 1994.


'Bonusgate' timeline
Friday, July 11, 2008



Democrats take control of the state House for the first time in 12 years. The Patriot-News, responding to tips from House Democratic employees, reports on a secret bonus program for caucus employees. Tipsters alleged that the bonuses were tied to work on 2006 political campaigns. Within a week, all four caucuses disclose similar bonuses exceeding $3.6 million in 2005-06.


State Attorney General Tom Corbett says his office will investigate allegations that the staff bonuses were tied to campaign work.


After months of meetings with caucus officials on their bonus policies, staff interviews and other work, Corbett's investigators raid the House Democrats' Legislative Research Office, responding to a tip that materials relevant to the probe were about to be destroyed.


The first subpoenas go out to Democratic staffers, requiring their appearance before the grand jury. Caucus attorneys seek to block the subpoenas, but are foiled by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. October

Corbett's office issues subpoenas for records of the House Republican Caucus. November The Democratic caucus forces the resignations of or fires seven senior staffers as it turns over a new information to Corbett's agents. House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese said the information uncovered made their continued employment "untenable." December

DeWeese makes a tour of Pennsylvania newspapers, making the case that the caucus's problems were tied to actions of the fired staffers and former Democratic Whip Mike Veon, D- Beaver County. He said he had no knowledge of bonuses for campaign work.

Leaked e-mails implicate Veon and several staffers in tying bonuses to campaign work.



Senate Republican leaders issue a statement confirming that Corbett's office has subpoenaed records from them. The news, along with follow- up requests of the House Republicans, fails to quench criticism in some circles that Corbett, a Republican, has staged the probe to hit Democrats first....

From Attorney General Tom Corbett's website:

2006 Bonuses

The election year of 2006 would prove to be the largest effort yet undertaken as part of the incentive scheme. Eric Webb testified that in 2006 the pay raise vote had "changed the whole map." He testified that there were many "more seats in play" requiring more volunteers to do everything from opposition research to campaign work in the field. It was also a unique year because both caucus leaders, Veon and DeWeese, had serious challengers. As a result of these factors, the campaign efforts started in earnest very early in the year.

Whether measured by the effort expended in tracking the campaign work of caucus employees, the number of bonus recipients or the dollar amounts expended on bonuses, 2006 far exceeded the prior years.

It was Eachus's strategies that led to House Democrats retaking the majority by his own admission. Hmmmm..oddly interesting.

Todd Eachus- Define Constitutional

From Steve Mocarksy's article that appeared in the Times Leader on June 25, 2009.

"Something must be done to get the city out of this bind, but I want to make it clear that any solution must be within the confines of the state law and the state Constitution- Todd Eachus on Hazleton's Pension Fund Issue

Here is a link to Senate Bill 961 of 2007 that was introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate as a solution for Hazleton's pension issue.

Here is a link to the Senate Appropriations Committee vote which was unanimous. Note that Senators Musto and Mellow voted YES.

Here is a link to the Senate Finance Committee vote which was unanimous.

Here is a link to the Senate vote on Senate Bill 961. The vote 49-0.

The bill was referred to the House Finance Committee on June 26, 2007. The bill was not considered by the House Finance Committee until 8-18-2008. As you can see it was never reported out of the House Finance Committee.

According to the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Government Relations Committee Senate Bill 961 would allow the City of Hazelton to increase its earned income taxation rate up to an additional five-tenths percent beyond the maximum rate provided by law, provided that the proceeds are used solely to reduce any taxes assessed and collected under the Municipal Pension Plan Funding Standard and Recovery Act from and after Jan. 1, 2003.

State Representative John Yudichak on the issue in the Times Leader by Bill O'Boyle:

State Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, said he remembers Barletta coming to Harrisburg in 2007 to try to work out a legislative solution to the issue.

“I thought we had one,” Yudichak said. “It passed the Senate 49-0. I offered a discharge resolution in the House to get it out of committee and I was told that a solution was being worked on with Mayor Barletta and Rep. Eachus to resolve the issue. Now here we are two years later and the problem continues to threaten the health and welfare of the residents of Hazleton City.”

Todd Eachus wants people to believe Senate Bill 961 was unconstitutional. Forty nine Senators voted Yes. It was considered by the House Finance Committee where it died. Representative Yudichak authored a discharge resolution to get it out of committee but a hissy fit was had by Mr. Eachus. Don't you think those elected officials consulted with legislative attorneys before voting on this bill?

Mr. Eachus, why did it take over a year for a committee to consider a bill for your legislative district? Why didn't the bill move out of the House Finance committee? Why did it take so long to hear from you on this issue? You were elected to represent us.

There is a saying-"Just because you can doesn't mean you should". Just because you can hold Lou Barletta hostage doesn't mean that you should hold all of the residents and businesses of Hazleton hostage. Cut the crap, swallow some pride, reintroduce SB 961 and get it passed.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mr. Eachus- Is It Really True That The Legislature Cannot Pass A Bill That Only Helps One Person or Municipality?

Over at Checking the Balance some political fodder is being served about Todd Eachus's comments that he can't get a bill passed that only helps one municipality. Well, Mr. Check, check on these which Todd Eachus voted for or were passed in Pennsylvania for just one reason.

House Bill 1868, sponsored by Rep. Martin R. Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter), repeals an obsolete Act from 1850 that vested certain property in Barbara Griffith and Polly Conrad, incorporated the Delaware and Schuylkill plank road company, and is relative to market stalls in Philadelphia. The bill was approved in the House, 200-0, and passed the Senate, 46-0. It takes effect immediately.

House Bill 2587, sponsored by Rep. Merle H. Phillips (R-Northumberland/Snyder), authorizes the Department of General Services, with the approval of the PA Historical Museum Commission and the Governor, to convey to Milton Area School District certain land and a building (Sodom School) located thereupon, for consideration of $1. The bill passed the House, 195-0, and was approved in the Senate, 47-0. It takes effect immediately.

House Bill 2980, sponsored by Rep. Craig A. Dally (R-Northampton), amends the Local Health Administration Law such that a municipality under the Act shall include a township of the second class. It also provides that when a municipality is located within two or more counties, the governing body of the municipality may enter into an agreement to have a single-county department of health provide services to the entire municipality. The bill passed the House, 193-0, and was approved in the Senate, 46-0. It takes effect in 60 days.

Senate Bill 731 designates Bushkill Drive on State Route 2019 in Northampton County as the Victor W. Anckaitis Memorial Highway and a portion of State Route 2017 in Lehigh County as the Sgt. Ashly L. Moyer Memorial Road. The bill will take effect in 60 days.

Measures Grant Riparian Rights Along Delaware River

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today signed House Bill 1621 and House Bill 1627 into law, and issued the following signing message:

"Today I am signing HB 1621 and HB 1627. These bills authorize the grant of riparian rights along the Delaware River in Philadelphia for two very
important residential developments that I am happy to see move forward.

Broadband Wireless Access World #15

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
November 30, 2004

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell signs "House Bill 30 (HB30)" into law, citing Verizon's "signed agreement" "to waive its right of first refusal in regard to Philadelphia’s proposed municipal Wi-Fi network guaranteeing that that particular project can proceed"

Under the terms of HB30, the City of Philadelphia would only have been able to proceed to implement such plans itself AFTER Verizon indicated it wasn't interested in doing so.

PA Governor Rendell Signs 47 Bills Into Law

House Bill 2313 appropriates $338.4 million to Penn State University.

House Bill 2314 appropriates $766,000 to the Fox Chase Institute for Cancer
Research in Philadelphia.

House Bill 2316 appropriates $211,000 to the Wistar Institute, Philadelphia,
for operation and maintenance expenses, and $91,000 for AIDS research.

House Bill 2317 appropriates $175.5 million for the operation of Temple
University and $442,000 to enhance its recruitment and retention of
disadvantaged students.

House Bill 2318 appropriates $128,000 to the Central Penn Oncology Group.

House Bill 2319 appropriates $58,000 to Lancaster Cleft Palate for
outpatient-inpatient treatment.

House Bill 2320 appropriates $14.5 million to Lincoln University.

House Bill 2321 appropriates $413,000 to the Burn Foundation, Philadelphia.

House Bill 2322 appropriates $957,000 to the Children's Institute, Pittsburgh.

House Bill 2323 appropriates $6.9 million to Drexel University.

House Bill 2324 appropriates $445,000 to the Children's Hospital of

House Bill 2325 appropriates $104,000 to Beacon Lodge Camp.

House Bill 2326 appropriates $46.4 million to the University of Pennsylvania.

House Bill 2327 appropriates $502,000 to the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

House Bill 2328 appropriates $6.6 million to the Philadelphia Health and
Education Corp. for its colleges of medicine, public health, nursing and
health professions and for the continuation of pediatric services.

House Bill 2329 appropriates $759,000 to the Franklin Institute Science

House Bill 2330 appropriates $465,000 to the Academy of Natural Sciences.

House Bill 2331 appropriates $4.9 million to Thomas Jefferson University,

House Bill 2332 appropriates $354,000 to the African-American Museum,

House Bill 2333 appropriates $45,000 to the Everhart Museum, Scranton.

House Bill 2334 appropriates $6.5 million to the Philadelphia College of
Osteopathic Medicine.

House Bill 2335 appropriates $193,000 to the Mercer Museum, Doylestown.

House Bill 2336 appropriates $139,000 to Whitaker Center for Science and the
Arts, Harrisburg.

House Bill 2337 appropriates $1.7 million to the Pennsylvania College of
Optometry, Philadelphia.

House Bill 2338 appropriates $1.2 million to the University of the Arts,

House Bill 2340 appropriates $192,000 to the Johnson Technical Institute of

House Bill 2341 appropriates $70,000 to the Williamson Free School of
Mechanical Trades, Delaware County.

House Bill 2342 appropriates $1.8 million to the Lake Erie College of
Osteopathic Medicine.

House Bill 1691 allows the departments of Conservation and Natural Resources,
Transportation, Environmental Protection and the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, acting for and in the name of the commonwealth, to obtain authorization to agree to hold and save the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers free from all damages arising from the construction, operation and maintenance of the Delaware River main channel deepening project. The hold harmless provision would apply to certain liability issues. However, all permit and regulatory requirements still apply to all projects. The Delaware River project involves deepening the body of water to 45 feet.

Senate Bill 917 authorizes and directs DGS to grant and convey five acres in Cambria Township, Cambria County, to CDM Ebensburg LLC for approximately $675,000. A May 6, 2006, appraisal determined the property’s market value to be $650,000.

Does there seem to be a pattern? It is Todd Eachus who wants us to believe otherwise.

His issue with the Mayor have made the rest of us hostage to his political posturing. He was elected to serve us from the bottom up, not the top down.

No money for our Intermodel project but $250 million dollars for now admitted criminal Bob Powell. Hazleton citizens should not be suffering at the hands of Eachus or Kanjorski because they feel the have the power to do it.

Our forefathers would be hotter than a cauldron in a steel factory if they saw how politicians turned this nation into one that isn't for the people, by the people, or of the people but one where a congressman or senator says "How dare you talk to me like that" or "I'll bury you. I'll destroy you?"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Can Pennsylvanians Afford More Democratic Control?

The latest proposal to raise the state personal income tax from its present level of 3.07% to 3.57% should have Pennsylvania citizens up in arms. Don't be fooled into believing our state government NEEDS to be the size it is. Our elected officials WANT it to be the size it is.

In this article written by Robert Swift for the Scranton Times he charts the rise in Pennsylvania's income tax rate since 1971.

Fluctuations in the state personal income tax rate since 1971.

2004-present 3.07%

1993 2.8 percent

1992 2.95 percent

1991 2.6 percent

1987 2.1 percent

1984 2.4 percent

1978 2.2 percent

1971 2.3 percent

In my previous post I talked about Governor Thornburgh having the highest amount of people on the PACE program. Democrat Robert P. Casey was Governor from 1987 to 1995. Look at the increases that happened during his term. Along comes Democrat Ed Rendell in 2002 and look at the next increase in the income tax rate. Todd Eachus who was elected in 1996 and Ed Rendell support another increase to 3.57%. A seventy percent jump in the income tax rate is totally unacceptable.

Ed Rendell hired 110 people during his announced hiring freeze. He should be held accountable for that action in this economic crisis that Todd Eachus called the largest State deficit since the Great Depression.

If this story was about George Bush people would be calling for his resignation. But somehow in Pennsylvania what Democrats do is accepted as par for the course. With the mess in Luzerne County continuing to develop under Democratic Control when is the "revolution" going to occur to rid our midst of Democrats who believe absolute power means absolute control. It is time the voters exercised their right as the fourth branch of government to reign in the stinkin thinkin that is pickin our pockets.

Kanjorski, Powell, Eachus, Marsicano-Hazleton Cargo Airport

It is probably not necessary to detail Todd Eachus's role in trying to secure $250 million dollars of taxpayer money(which he wanted the citizens of Pennsylvania to borrow on behalf of Robert Powell and Mike Marsicano), however another actor in the "Fantasy Cargo Airport" was not Ricardo Montalbon but none other than Paul Kanjorski.

Here is a press release from his website from January 31, 2007.

"I have been a supporter of the concept of locating a cargo airport in Northeastern Pennsylvania because of the tremendous economic development benefits it could have for our region, as outlined in the feasibility study released in February 2005, for which I worked to obtain federal funding in association with my colleague Congressman Tim Holden. As former Mayor of Hazleton and a pilot for Continental Airlines, Mike Marsicano convinced me that our region could be an ideal location for a multi-purpose airport that could handle not only air cargo, but also emergency landing capacity and aircraft maintenance facilities.

"Private sector investment in a project such as this can potentially get it done more quickly, rather than waiting for the approval process of obtaining federal grants. I am supportive of any thoughtful initiative that strengthens our local economy and brings good jobs to our area. I look forward to learning more of the details of this project so that I can be of assistance."

But it doesn't stop there. Kanjorski's role to help now convicted felon Robert Powell can be traced back to 2000 as Kanjo continued to push for a feasibility study in spite of the fact that no municipality was supporting the project. He wasted $300,000.00 of taxpayers money to help Robert Powell, who just yesterday admitted to handing cash to convicted Judges Conahan and Ciavarella in Fed-Ex boxes.

The $270,000 for the study was included in legislation that funds the Federal Aviation Administration for the next three years, U.S. Reps. Paul Kanjorski and Timothy Holden report.

After Kanjorski and Holden got on board, Luzerne County commissioners agreed
to pay the local share, about $30,000, for the study.

Commissioners from Carbon and Schuylkill counties said they must be
contacted about the next steps.

"I have yet to hear anything from those people," Carbon Commissioner Tom
Gerhard said.

Schuylkill Commissioner Forrest Shadle said he has not been contacted about
forming an authority.

Gladstone partners remind us of the fact that Paul Kanjorski kept pushing for the airport for at least ten years in this press release.

Almost 10 years ago, then-mayor of Hazleton Michael Marsicano pitched an ambitious project -- a cargo airport where Carbon, Luzerne and Schuylkill counties meet.

But for much of the last decade, the proposal seemed more off than on. U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski reminded area folks about the potential airport from time to time. A study found that such a facility would be feasible, but many were turned off by the billion-dollar price tag and few seemed to be willing to take it to the next step.

Then last week, seemingly out of the blue, there it was: The airport idea -- a project that if realized could transform the Hazleton area even moreso than King Coal itself -- went from a pipe dream to a near certainty.

There was certainly much work done behind the scenes, because before invitations went out for Wednesday's big announcement, the airport wasn't even on the radar screen.

The mayor of Hazleton, the closest city to the airport location, wasn't consulted or even informed. State Rep. Todd Eachus was a main speaker at Wednesday's announcement; maybe he and Louis Barletta haven't completely buried the hatchet.

Eachus and Kanjorski have been ganging up on screwing Hazleton for a long time over Lou Barletta. Shame on them for violating the public trust put in them when they were elected. Like him or not, Lou Barletta is the Mayor of Hazleton. If you don't like him at least have the decency to honor the office.

“It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.”- Henry Louis Mencken quotes (American humorous Journalist and Critic of American life who influenced US fiction through the 1920s, 1880-1956)

Heck they didn't have the decency to contact officials of the municipalities where this airport would be located or affect.

Hazle Township Supervisor Chairman Bill Gallagher said he found out in Tuesday's Standard-Speaker that the airport idea might fly.

Maybe most importantly, some Schuylkill County officials were in the dark. That's alarming, considering that about half of the airport's 13,000-foot runway, as conceived now, would be in Schuylkill County.

"We haven't heard anything for at least four years," said Gerald L. Heffner, vice president of the Schuylkill Economic Development Corporation, adding that he was not aware of Wednesday's announcement beforehand.

Kanjo, here's a question. Why did you keep pushing for an airport that without contacting the public officials who should be kept informed of your efforts? Was now convicted felon Robert Powell more important to you than the citizens you represent?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Eachus "DOA" Non-Responsive To Constituents- Won't Help Just Hazleton

Click On Image Ad Appeared In Standard Speaker Page A7 July 1, 2009

"I Won't Back Legislation Specifially For Hazleton"- Representative Todd Eachus- 116th Legislative District- June 14, 2009 WYLN He essentially states the Pennsylvania budget is more important than Hazleton- June 25, 2009.