12/11 Ups & Downs

Mutinies, coups and a call for resignation. See who made this week’s list!

Down ArrowBudget Hopes. At this point last week it appeared that a budget agreement was just around the corner. Over the weekend, however, Republicans in the State House rebelled and threw everything up in the air. Governor Wolf attempted to rally but the prospects still remain very much uncertain. So much so that the Governor is choosing to avoid PA Society because of fear that it would look bad to be partying in New York while the stalemate in Harrisburg continues to drag on.

 

Up ArrowStephen Zappala. The Allegheny County District Attorney made a splash on Wednesday when we reported that he’ll be running for Attorney General next year. With Kathleen Kane embroiled in controversy, the Democratic primary in 2016 has become wide open. In fact, an internal poll released by Josh Shapiro shows that a majority of voters are undecided and that name ID is relatively low for all the possible candidates. This creates a major opportunity for Zappala, who is the only western PA candidate in the race so far.

 

Down ArrowMike Turzai. If the Speaker of the Pennsylvania was just dealing with an uprising among his caucus, this week would be bad enough. To make matters worse, however, it appears his colleagues may not want to stop at the budget. They’re rumors that they also want to topple him. Given what we’ve heard about the relationship between the Speaker and the Majority Leader this possibility has to be seriously considered. This could quickly turn into the biggest story of the season.

 

Up ArrowTodd Stephens. Speaking of the 2016 race for Attorney General, there was also a development in the GOP primary between State Sen. John Rafferty and State Rep. Todd Stephens. Stephens won a straw poll held by the Republican’s Central Caucus which covers much of the commonwealth. This victory is particularly impressive given that Stephens hasn’t been in office as long as Rafferty, though the State Senator remains confident that he’ll eventually win the party’s endorsement.

 

Down ArrowMichael Eakin. It’s increasingly looking like the walls are closing in on State Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin. On Monday, Governor Wolf called on the Justice to resign after it was revealed that he and his allies on the Court had concocted a plan to appoint someone favorable to his cause to the Court of Judicial Discipline. That same body is currently deciding his fate. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the Judicial Conduct Board filed three misconduct charges against Eakin in a 52-page ruling. It is incredibly difficult to see how the Judge escapes this ever evolving email scandal.

The tweet of the week goes to Philadelphia Magazine’s Patrick Kerkstra for pointing out this masterful opening from the Daily News’ William Bender.

December 11th, 2015 | Posted in Features, Front Page Stories, Top Stories | 21 Comments

21 thoughts on “12/11 Ups & Downs”

  1. Gerard says:

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  2. HaHaHa says:

    Oh look … the now-disgraced Castille is talking in NY again!!

    Remember – the last time we heard from him, he was calling for a Special Prosecutor to investigate “Porngate” …. Guess he meant the Special Prosecutor of the Repervlicans’ choosing …

    From PennLive:

    “I think he’s going to meet a lot of resistance from whoever he tries to press for information,” ex-Chief Justice Ronald Castille said of former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, who’s been tipped by Kane to lead an investigation of corruption and vulgar emails implicating state officials.

    “It’s going to be a stretch certainly,” Castille said of Gansler, who is not licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania. “There will be a challenge to everything this guy does.”

    Castille made his comments during an event at a private club on the edge of Central Park put on by the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association.

    It was one of the dozens of events held during this year’s gala Pennsylvania Society weekend.

    Meanwhile, Castille declined to comment when he was asked whether he thought his former colleague, Justice Michael Eakin, should voluntarily resign after being caught up in the porn scandal.

  3. Pat Unger says:

    Mr. DiNardo – I couldn’t care less what you believe. Glad you are a fan though!! Anything to say of substance? Do you think it’s OK that a lawyer convinced one client to let his other client keep $400,000.00 he stole from a non-profit set up to help children? Why was it that Fina dropped all criminal charges against his lawyer’s other client?

    That $400,000.00 was taxpayer money. Your money. The First deputy AG (who just testified against Kane in the Senate hearing) found that Fina’s “deal” with his lawyer’s other client was UNJUST. Do you agree? And do you agree it looks fishy now that we know that have the same attorney?

  4. DiNardo says:

    Pat Unger, do you really expect anyone reading this site to believe that you and HaHaHa are different people?

  5. Pat Unger says:

    Real Ha3 —

    If Seth Williams thinks he can get away with paying his own criminal lawyer through a high City salary to the lawyer’s unqualified wife, he is playing with fire.

    I agree that the hard questions need to be asked. Did the lawyer’s wife get interviewed by the HR department? Did she get vetted by the Hiring Committee?

    Isn’t it a conflict? Is it right that Fina’s lawyer’s wife now has access to records and files at the DA’s Office that Fina may want for his money-driven lawsuit against AG Kane?

    And – what about the “sting” case. How is it OK that the lawyer convinced one client to let his other client keep $400,000.00 he stole from a non-profit set up to help children? Why was it that Fina dropped all criminal charges against his lawyer’s other client?

  6. HaHaHa says:

    DD – Is it true that Seth Williams is also represented by Levant – the attorney that already represents the con-man (Ali) and the corrupt prosecutor (Fina)?

    If so – that would explain A LOT.

    And it would also mean that he just hired his own lawyer’s wife too … and is paying her from taxpayer dollars.

    It would be one thing if she were qualified. It would still look bad, but at least she would be able to do the job. But this Kath Martin has very little prosecutorial experience and zero general counsel experience.

    Something is NOT KOSHER at the DA’ s Office.

  7. aaron says:

    Has Eakin resigned yet?

  8. rsklaroff says:

    The missive to Sy Snyder has already been sent. The impostor will again be dispatched – with aplomb.

  9. kraig001 says:

    This ridiculous nonsense we are watching where two prosecutors offices are going after each other is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. And it seems to me that Seth Williams started the whole thing. His “adoption” of the legislative sting case targeting African Americans and subsequent attacks on Kane were the genesis. And, if he knew of Fina’s racist e-mails when he took that case, then shame on him. I guess his career is now hanging in the balance with that sting case. It’s probably the reason he won’t fire Fina. He is probably scared that it would signal that he agrees that the lead investigator/prosecutor is/was a racist. It’s also the reason he was begging the remaining sting legislator to plead guilty. It really seems like he does not want the truth to come out in Court.

  10. Pat Unger says:

    Real Ha3 – Have you seen the NOW Petition lately? They are up over 1,000 signatures. When Kane releases the videos that Fina watched on his State computer, that number will sky-rocket …

    Kane should be very careful though. Seth Williams seems to be trying to goad her into violating Protective Orders and Privacy laws. If she’s smart, she sends only the e-mails of his current employees and sends them directly to Seth (not the Press).

    https://www.change.org/p/seth-williams-dismiss-the-hateful-prosecutors-that-abused-the-public-trust?source_location=petition_footer&algorithm=promoted&grid_position=2

  11. HaHaHa says:

    And now comes more bad news for Seth Williams and Frank Fina:

    http://mobile.philly.com/beta?wss=/philly/news/politics&id=361748621

    Seems that Williams’s Office never even reached out to the OAG before hiring Fina and Costanzo. Wonder why …. Hmmmmmm ….

    I hope this release includes the much-discussed videos that Fina liked to watch at work … on our dime. Videos that allegedly included:

    – bestiality

    – graphic violence against women

    – a 100 year old woman engaged in intercourse

    – a woman having “sex” with a snake

  12. HaHaHa says:

    “… is NOT going to stop …”

  13. HaHaHa says:

    Seth Williams’ puff-piece (written by Craig & Angela, of course) is NIT going to stop people from asking questions.

    For instance — how many racist e-mails does it take to let you know someone is a racist?

    I mean – isn’t this one (which Frank Fina sent to his white male buddies) enough:
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/zadock1/3580634808

    And how about the motivational posters suggesting that females in the work place need to perform oral sex on their bosses. There were a number of those. How many more does Williams need to see?

    Oh – and is it true that Robert Levant is also Seth Williams’ lawyer????

    That would make it the trifecta. That would mean that Seth Williams just hired:

    – Fina’s lawyer’s wife

    – Tyron Ali’s lawyer’s wife

    – his own lawyer’s wife

    Wow – Williams must be all deep in this. Or else he is just plain dumb.

  14. Jin J says:

    Tony – what part of what I wrote did not happen in the Ford case? And who is Josh?

    Zappalla, even after the trial – where Ford was totally exonerated – was still covering for the Police.

  15. Tony says:

    Hardly what happened in the Ford case, quit stirring tension, Josh

  16. Pat Unger says:

    Won’t be long til Seth Williams is in here with a big down arrow for his hiring of Kathleen Martin:

    Seth Williams hired Frank Fina’s lawyers’s wife to be his “Chief of Staff” and “General Counsel.”

    Her name is Kathleen Martin. Her husband is Frank Fina’s lawyer. Oh yeah — he is also Tyron Ali’s lawyer. Tyron Ali is the “informant” that Fina used to target Black people.
    That’s right. While Fina was at the OAG, he and this lawyer (whose wife is now Seth Williams’ Chief of Staff) agreed on a “deal” where Fina dropped all the charges against Tyron Ali.

    In essence – the lawyer got one client to drop all charges against another client.
    As if that wasn’t enough, the lawyer got his one client (Fina) to let his other client (Ali) keep the $400,000.00 he stole. That money was set aside to help children. It was taxpayer money.

    Bruce Beemer, the 1st Assistant at the OAG, recently testified against AG Kane at the Senate’s hearings. Previously, he wrote a Memo that called Fina’s deal with Tyron Ali “unjust.” He said that Fina targeting Blacks was “improper.” All the was before Kane even took office.

    Now – Fina is collecting a salary from the taxpayers of Philadelphia. His lawyer’s wife (Kathleen Martin) is collecting a salary from the taxpayers of Philadelphia. While she and her husband stand to gain from Fina’s $$$-driven lawsuit against AG Kane and the Inquirer.

    Did I mention that Ms. Martin has very little prosecutorial experience and ZERO general counsel experience? It’s true.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  17. HaHaHa says:

    Isaac – It’s worse than “shady.” It is corrupt, criminal behavior. These people think they are above the law. As the Inquirer said – they are not qualified to manage a Wendy’s.

  18. Isaac L. says:

    I had seen that the nominee was withdrawn but I didn’t realize there was actual suspicion that she was named to be a friendly face for Justice Eaken. That is pretty shady.

  19. Jin J says:

    Zappalla is the only Western PA candidate who has helped the Police cover-up the shooting of an unarmed 19 year old in Pittsburgh.

    The unarmed kid was Leon Ford. The Police pulled him over for nothing, mistook him for someone else, cursed at him because he would not “admit” that he was this other guy, told him they would “get his Black ass out of car whenever” they wanted to and then shot him.

    The Officer who shot him then lied and said Leon Ford was dragging him from his car. The video, which the Officer did not know existed, proved he was not being dragged at all.

  20. Jackb1977 says:

    Zappala isn’t the only Western PA candidate for AG. David Fawcett is from Allegheny County. Please stop repeating this mistake.

  21. HaHaHa says:

    As usual, I want to know why there isn’t a double down arrow for Frank Fina. Why do I wonder that? Because he prosecuted me and he is all I think about. You say “Kathleen Kane,” I say Fina. You say “budget bill,” I say Fina. You say “Could you please pass the salt?”, I say Fina. Clown Car. Repervlicans.

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