Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Allegations Of Corruption Against Toohil Unfounded

The Pennsylvania Democratic State Committee paid for and authorized the flyer pictured above. It headlines the word "Corruption" followed by Extreme Partisianship and Political Opportunism.

The PDSC tries to support its claim of corruption by stating "Tarah turned a blind eye to Luzerne County Corruption when she defended a man for embezzling thousands of dollars from the county prison." The PDSC cites Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. Robert Mark Licata filed November 10, 2009 as its source.

Anyone following the Luzerne County Corruption scandal knows that the players were charged by the FBI and those federal charges were heard in the chambers of the U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik.

Times Leader reporter Edwin Lewis covered the story on Robert Licata on November 10, 2009. Mr. Licata surrendered with his attorney at Wilkes-Barre Central Court where he was arraigned on charges of theft and tampering with public records. He was released on $10,000 unsecured bail.

According to arrest records, Licata made 17 duplicate copies of haircut inmate sign-in-sheets from Dec. 26, 2006 to Dec. 1, 2008, and submitted them for payment. Licata allegedly received $5,982 in the scheme, arrest records say.

This WNEP news report chronicles the investigation conducted by the Luzerne County District Attorney's office, not the F.B.I.

In addition the money Licata stole was not taken from Luzerne County funds. It was actually taken from the prisoners if the PDSC had bothered to do its homework.

Licata was sentenced to three months home confinement and had to payback the excess charges. He plead guilty before Luzerne County Judge Hugh Mundy according to this Citizen's Voice story by Michael Sisak published August 26, 2010.

Although Mr. Licata worked at the Luzerne County prison his arrest was not part of the F.B.I. probe into Luzerne County corruption. The F.B.I. has been probing corrupt actions by public officials in the performance of their office. Mr. Licata was not an elected official. He was a petty thief. His case was prosecuted by Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney William Dunn with detectives from that office as investigators.

This flyer points to very sloppy opposition research with an even sloppier verification of the information. The facts do not support the allegations.

Tomorrow SOP will post a story about the multitude of legal firms hired by the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus. Maybe they can explain to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania the need for all of these contracts.

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