Incorporating the The Germantown Chronicle & The Northwest Independent

6661 Germantown Ave • Philadelphia, PA 19119 • 215-438-4000 • germantownnewspapers.com

 
 

MY OFFICE DOES NOT INVESTIGATE MUNICIPAL CORRUPTION” and “Casting the first stone”

 

“Casting the first stone”

 

Now that it has been disclosed that Attorney General Kathleen Kane herself was recipient of some of the same email porn she attributed to others, I thought I would resend my prior posting.  Let’s hear from that local group of outraged feminists and office holders who wanted legal cases overturned because of the actions of “misogynist male prosecutors” and furthermore wanted the DA removed from office on the same “evidence”.

 

Before we get too caught up in gender bias on who does their job and for what motive, please read my summary of the policy, practice and actual campaign promise of our long serving female DA who proudly stated she would never investigate municipal corruption and didn’t for years.  Then we have the situation where the first significant official act of our first female State Attorney General is to stop the prosecution of four insider party members just before an election.

 

God only knows why Ms. Kane made such a move, and the result in the courtroom yesterday shows all are running for cover now.  Let’s focus on what really matters and that is the facts that we just sent Philadelphia Traffic Court judges to jail, closed a court completely, one State Senator resigns for misusing office, four State Reps were caught taking cash, ethics violations for those serving are standard practice, our longest serving U.S. Congressman is on trial for theft using front nonprofits, and so is his son.  Add to that the fact there are sitting city and federal grand juries dealing with related subjects.

 

Instead of using distraction tactics and pointing fingers on trivia, when are Philadelphians going to make it a priority to force the cleanup of the most corrupt city in the nation and when is the press going to start covering it?

 

  

“MY OFFICE DOES NOT INVESTIGATE MUNICIPAL CORRUPTION”

 

Those were the exact words of former District Attorney Lynne Abraham on a televised debate with Seth Williams during his second run challenging her long tenure as Philadelphia’s District Attorney.  In the words of many it was a campaign promise underscoring the fact that she had carried the water for politicians and power brokers for years, never going near the long chain of misdeeds, power plays, manipulation of public dollars and front nonprofits that everyone knew were fronts that often carried cash back to elected officials and their friends.  Her explanation was that if there was anything to be investigated, it was a job for the feds, not her office.  Only in Philadelphia can a DA say that with a straight face on public TV – you just can’t make this stuff up.   

 

Seth Williams won that race and had been serving as the city’s Inspector General, having been appointed there by Mayor Street.  His work in that office continued an internal reform program as , like most of Philadelphia, even the IG’s office was corrupted as the prior IG was illegally living outside of the city, a clear violation of standing law.  Williams reforms and new staff did some serious work, but it was short lived as he had to resign to run for DA.  But even before that would have been required,  the first act of newly elected Mayor Nutter was to remove Seth Williams and replace him with the politically affiliated insider Amy Kurland;  who promptly shut down the most important investigation in the office - - The Germantown Settlement real estate and social service monopoly. 

 

The level of political and municipal corruption in this city has been a cat and mouse game with law enforcement for years as power players squash investigation after investigation or shut down the sources of the misuse of public money to shelter it from them.  One classic example was PCDC, a so called small business lending operation known on the street as “loans you don’t have to repay”.  Here, another shut down ordered by Mayor Nutter protected those who distributed the cash during election cycles and of course rewarded the operatives with new political jobs. This was not the only slush fund so used.  State investigations into other high profile elected officials, as in the one concerning OARC and State Rep Dwight Evans, resulted in a quite and largely unreported slap on the wrist, forfeiture of state funds, repayment of others illegally distributed, but in the end the investigation was buried and the investigator sent packing outside the state when local politicians cried “racism”.   Apparently it made no difference that the state prosecutor herself was an African American, but one with no local political baggage.  

 

But DA Seth Williams has taken a different tact, created an Office of Municipal Corruption, and hired experienced former state prosecutors to do just that.  During the last few years, investigations into an intensely corrupt traffic court sent many judges to jail and closed down the court itself.   Judges have been challenged in other situations and violations uncovered by the independent ethics board have seen elected officials censured and fined in increasing numbers.  Finally, the process of peeling the onion of corruption and cover up has begun in this most corrupt of all major cities.   The DA’s office has quietly impaneled Grand Juries and reportedly opened up investigations on many fronts that could lead back to our top heavy cadre of elected officials and their staffs.   Staff members of some city and state offices have been indicted and quietly resigned with virtually no press coverage over the last few years.

 

However, what the political operatives most fear is where DA Williams and his team may be eventually going and at the same time federal prosecutors are about to take our highest level U.S. Congressman, Chaka Fattah, to trial for doing the same thing many others have done - - misusing public dollars through front nonprofits and CDCs with the help of staffers and powerful political associates.

 

Seizing the moment, a daily war of words between State AG Kathleen Kane has politicized DA Williams’ operations and in an effort to justify the state trying to bury clear evidence of bribes to State Reps.  A war of character assassinations over emails and their content has superseded priority press investigations in the public interest and concentrated on attacks from so called concerned citizens and some elected officials have become another example of the “distraction government” this city uses to take focus from the disease that is in the bones of city operations at most levels.

 

Dirty jokes, ethnic and racial slurs have been an unfortunate part of society since the creation of language and the written word.  Having folks removed from office for being the recipient of or listener to these is hardly something new and I would want all those “outraged individuals” to be held to the standard of “let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”.  I wonder if all of them would easily agree to having their personal and work emails reviewed for political correctness?

 

As to the outraged feminist contingent that wants investigators fired only on the basis of their supposed “gross misogynist tendencies”, I suggest the mainstream press may want to outline how connected the leadership of that group is to powerful elected officials and government contracts.

 

Jim Foster

Editor

The Independent Voice

215-438-5171