Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Times Shamrock Reports Grand Jury Indicts Ray Musto

In a somewhat shocking revelation to the political community the Times Shamrock is reporting that State Senator Ray Musto has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

State Sen. Raphael Musto was indicted by a federal grand jury today on charges that he accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks from an unnamed company after supporting the company's efforts to secure state grants.

The company performed nearly $48,0000 in renovations on a building Mr. Musto owned in 2006 and billed him $25,000, according to the indictment. Mr. Musto issued a $25,000 check to the company, but representatives of the company then paid him $25,000 in cash, the grand jury alleged.

The company did an additional $10,000 worth of work on the building, but never billed Mr. Musto, according to the grand jury, and provided Mr. Musto with annual holiday gifts in 2005-2008 that Mr. Musto did not report on state financial disclosure forms, the indictment said.

The indictment identifies the company only as "Company A," but federal agents are known to have examined records in Pittston Twp. detailing renovations on a building Mr. Musto owned there. The company performing the renovations was Mericle Construction, owned by Robert K. Mericle. Mr. Mericle has already pleaded guilty in connection with illegal payments made to two county judges who lodged juveniles in two detention centers built by his company.

On April 22,2010 Michael Sisak, staff writer for Times Shamrock, wrote this piece about the link between Mericle and Musto.

The mystery surrounding a recent federal raid on state Sen. Raphael J. Musto's home and the subsequent seizure of Pittston Township building permits twisted toward clarity Wednesday as the township released documents tying the lawmaker to $40,000 worth of home renovations conducted by the construction wing of Luzerne County corruption figure Robert K. Mericle's real estate empire.

Mericle's firm, Mericle Construction, obtained building permits in February and May 2006 to perform $5,200 worth of roof repairs and $34,800 remodeling work on a Bryden Street house that has been in Musto's family for more than a half century. Musto, who inherited the property from his father in 1970, transferred ownership to his son, Raphael J. Musto Jr., in August 2006.

The property, which was rezoned from residential to commercial following the construction work, now serves as an office for Musto Jr.'s physical therapy practice, Physical Therapy Center Unlimited.

Ray Musto(real name Raphael John Musto) ended his 40 year political career by not seeking re-election this year. Musto started his ascent by winning a special election for the unexpired term of his father, James Musto, House of Representative's seat in 1971. In 1980 he won a special election to become Congressman of the 11th Congressional district. In 1982 he was elected to the Senate representing the 14th District of Pennsylvania.

On October 7, 2005 Congressman Paul Kanjorski honored Senator Musto on the floor of the United States House of Representatives for his Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed upon him by the Italian American Asssociation of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

Link to the Musto Indictment Paperwork from the Times Leader.

The announcement from the Citizen Voice's website.

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