Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Eachus Attack Not Supported By Facts

Yesterday Todd Eachus spent the day personally visiting the newspapers and television media in the region to try to discredit the reputation of Tarah Toohil. Before SOP gets into the facts it is a sad commentary that the House Majority Leader of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania would stoop to Chicago-style politics and act like a thug. You are about to read some of the sloppiest opposition research ever performed which will be ripped apart one section at a time.

Eachus presented a document to the newspapers in Allegation 1. This is a document signed by Judge Mark Ciavarella, October 2008. He hired her for a position as senior clerk. He signed the document, he hired her. And we all know that there’s no such thing as merit in the courthouse, it’s patronage. It’s a patronage position that she took in October 2008 and she was there through the time that the scandal erupted, the judges were indicted and she stayed after, through March.

She’s going to have to answer how she took a patronage job from Ciavarella

FACT- Former Judge Mark Ciavarella never hired Tarah Toohil. She was interviewed and hired by Judge Joseph Musto as verified in the Standard Speaker article written by Kent Jackson and published today.

Here is a picture of the day Tarah Toohil was admitted into the Luzerne County Bar by Judge Joseph Musto.

Here is a picture of the entire class on that day. As you can see neither former judges Ciavarella or Conahan were present at the time.

"That is the most ridiculous stretch that I have heard in my entire life," Musto said Tuesday when told about the mailings. "I interviewed Tarah Toohil. I hired Tarah Toohil. Judge Ciavarella was the president judge. He signed the order, but she was my law clerk. She had nothing to do with Judge Ciavarella."

As to patronage, Musto said he never met Toohil before interviewing her for the job.

"I needed to hire a law clerk who was intelligent, who could write, who could research," Musto said.

There is no secret that the Ray Musto, Judge Musto's brother, and Todd Eachus are foes within the same political party.

Eachus has multiple attorneys representing him acccording to this article. Corbett declined to comment on whether charges had been considered against House Majority Leader Todd Eachus, D-Luzerne County. Like DeWeese and Stetler, Eachus was invited to testify before the grand jury last week.

It could mean that Corbett has decided the evidence doesn’t support charges against Eachus, said Michael Engle, a Philadelphia attorney. It could mean that Eachus has decided to cooperate in exchange for immunity, or that an investigation of Eachus isn’t finished, Engle said.

Eachus and his attorneys have refused to take questions on the probe.

It should be noted that Eachus was there before the arrests in Bonusgate, continued to serve during the arrests in Bonusgate, and continues to remain there even thought the probe isn't over.

Allegation 2. She shares a fax number, she shares an office and I would make the argument that she has an informal business relationship with these firms. Gelso and Nocito have represented at least 10 people involved in Luzerne County corruption, including Judge Toole. So what you have is, on a professional timeline, an individual who was given a patronage job under Ciavarella, stayed through the corruption and the indictments, made a professional decision to stay there, for what reason, you’ll have to judge for yourself.

FACT 2. If you check Tarah Toohil's Ethics Commission filing you will find that she is a sole proprietorship which means she alone owns her practice. Intimating that the location of her office is an indictment of her professionalism is totally absurd. This directory demonstrates Philip Gelso has his own firm, Briechle & Gelso Llc (570) 763-0006 separate from Joseph Nocito of Nocito & Nocito Law Offices (570) 283-0509 both located at 63 Pierce Street, Kingston.

Tarah Toohil had this to say in the Times Leader article. She also said she works on the opposite side of the building from Gelso and the Nocitos and never represented anyone in the corruption probe. “The way it works with lawyers is that you have your own separate office. I have nothing to do with any representation they provide,” she said.

Allegation 3. While she was an attorney and a senior clerk operating at the same time, from Octiober til March, she was writing opinions for a judge and arguing a criminal case in the chambers next door. There aren’t many places in Pennsylvania you’re going to find that kind of insidious clerk relationship. As a matter of fact, professional attorneys told me it’s an anomale. Usually if you’re a clerk, you’re isolated from arguing cases.

FACT 3. Had anyone in the Eachus camp bothered to do their research they would know that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stopped the practice of law clerks appearing before judges who hired them as detailed in this report. Team 4 investigator Jim Parsons aired Aug. 15, 2005, on Channel 4 Action News at 5 p.m The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has barred judicial law clerks from appearing as private counsel in the same division where they clerk. Judge Musto gave this explanation in the Standard Speaker article. While Toohil served as a clerk for Musto, she represented clients in criminal cases heard by other Luzerne judges, Eachus said. Musto said that because he heard only civil cases, Toohil was allowed to defend people in criminal cases.

Allegation 4. These two judges involved in the Kids for Cash scandal knew they were under investigation, then they brought in Miss Toohil in October, put her into the courthouse and then she goes back into the criminal defense cottage in Kingston where these folks cohabitate and she’s in the relationship of these firms as it relates to how they do their business representing clients. And then instead of coming back to Hazleton and hanging out her own shingle or making the professional decision to leave when the indictments took place, she stayed on and then converted her business under the same roof as the attorney who represents Judge Conahan. In my world, that’s either professional bad judgment or there’s a conflict.

FACT 4. As previously posted on SOP House Majority Leader Todd Eachus through the House Democratic Caucus hired 12 legal firms in 27 contracts and amendments. Among the firms hired was Sprague and Sprague from Philadelphia who represented Robert Powell, admitted participant in the Luzerne County Courthouse corruption probe. In Eachus's own words that must bad judgment or a conflict.

Eachus continues to attack Toohil's character calling her "pollyanish, cloaked herself in piousness, and deceptive". I would like to share two pieces of information.

According to her alma mater, Northeastern University, Tarah Toohil was honored for donating her kidney to her mother in 2003.

Tarah Toohil, AS'03, of Drums, Pennsylvania, was honored in November 2004 with one of the inaugural Elpis Awards from the NephCure Foundation, an organization committed to seeking a cause and cure for the kidney conditions nephrotic syndrome and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. In 2003, Toohil donated a kidney to her mother, Barbara, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Toohil raises her two god daughters who have no mother. Her family helped raise 42 foster children.

Is that a family character one would want to attack?

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