Kane’s Struggles Weigh on AG Staff

Kane Press ConferenceAttorney General Kathleen Kane’s term has been awash in scandal and lawsuits, which has poisoned the atmosphere of the AG’s office.

The staff members who remain deal with an atmosphere of trepidation, reports Wallace McKelvey of the Patriot-News.

“There was almost this sense that every day, they’d shoot another hostage,” a former staffer told McKelvey. “You never knew if they’d come for you.”

According to court filings in the criminal case and lawsuits from ex-staffers, the office was defined by a “culture of paranoia,” as Kane fought against enemies both real and imagined.

As a result of this atmosphere, many employees have left while those remaining worry about their job security.  

“I joked with people initially that I was suffering PTSD,” one ex-staffer stated. “But I think that was actually true. When people [at my new job] would compliment my work product or thank me for working hard, I was looking over my shoulder all the time to see if there was a knife in my back.”

Kane does not often show up to the main office in Harrisburg, instead choosing to work in the Scranton office closer to home. Although she apparently still has eyes and ears in the state’s capital.

For his article, McKelvey was touring the office with Kane’s spokesman Chuck Ardo when Ardo received a call. The Patriot-News reporter could hear Kane from several feet away. The office is now “off limits” to the press.

55 Responses

  1. Brad Kirsch-

    The school charter PAC is undermining the public school system and buying politicians. They aren’t giving $100,000 to the AG race to promote better public schools, but rather expecting more profits for the millionaires behind the PAC, by having the AG’s office look the other way.

    They are only legal if there is no quid-pro-quo. Take a look at the votes by Anthony Williams, Margo Davidson and others they give too. Margo with some other charter school beneficiaries even wrote a letter to Wolf supporting the anti-union effort to fire teachers.

    It’s legal for the Koch Brothers to give Josh money as well. Doesn’t mean it’s right or comes without strings attached.

  2. David, I wrote a serious piece and you immediately went ballistic over my endorsement of the only one who has the proven ability to administer change in his career as a politician running for this race.

    I don’t like charter schools! I am an ex school Board Member and I believe we sap our schools when the have to account for private profits. But the contributions they make are legal and we would have no competition if our own didn’t take from those who want to be part of the process (you would have to prove favors directly that benefit the contributor and that a deal has been made).

    But as I said at the beginning of my post those of you who have self-anointed yourselves as experts in the AG controversy haven’t been addressing the controversy much. Most of what you have done is to tout your views without suggesting the proper course of action or the solving of the problems that have existed for years (even before it was made elective).

    The subject of my post was about the AG’s office and how to solve the problems. If you want to discuss corruption fine. But after you actually have more than a personal dislike for the contributor or the one receiving contributions because it doesn’t meet your personal views of who should contribute.

    If you really want to discuss politics than please don’t shotgun subjects about solutions by smearing those who work within the poor contributionary systems we have. They have no choice in not keeping their race viable.

  3. HaHaHa-

    I try to avoid supporting candidates who take money from the school charter PAC.

  4. HaHaHa-

    All the charter school contributions are illegal bribes. That’s the entire point of them. Especially big money ones like this of $100,000 in one shot (and Josh’s attempt to cover it up until the last minute makes it all the shadier).

    The teachers’ union pulled their endorsement of Josh as soon as the news hit.

  5. HaHaHa-

    No, it is illegal, because there is no way that they gave Josh $100,000 without a quid-pro-quo promise from him.

    Whether or not the FBI (who is already looking into PA corruption) has tapes, wiretaps, emails or informants showing evidence and willing to prosecute is another matter. It’s still illegal, even if you don’t get caught (like bank robbers still on the loose).

  6. DD – Right. So – it’s not illegal … in any way.

    Those people (Kane and Zappala) are no longer options. So – do I need to repeat my question?

  7. HaHaHa-

    We’d be better off with Kane (or Zappala).

    My point being that the political corruption of the AG’s office shows no signs of abating.

    It’s illegal if it came with the clear understanding that Josh wouldn’t investigate all their bribery of public officials.

    Also, Josh was talking a lot of nonsense during the primary about the AG’s office and schools. Coincidence?

  8. DD – Was there anything illegal about the “charter school donation” Shapiro accepted? Are you seriously suggesting we’d be better off with Rafferty? He would protect the Hate-gate scum.

  9. Brad Kirsch-

    Given that Shapiro took $100,000 from the charter school PAC this March (in addition to $50,000 in previous donation) and that he hid the donation until the last possible minute, I think the office will remain quite political and we won’t see any investigation of the wholesale bribery of public officials by the charter school groups.

  10. I hope that most of those who play act at being experts on just what is happening will, in a few years, realize the ego show that some use is juvenile posturing about expertise. We are all victims of our failure to understand the dangers present in this matter and the impact bad prosecutors have on our society. Experts on how it happened are plenty. Experts on focusing on what we need are few when too many blame individuals involved without looking at the focus of this office as it existed for many years. I fear Ms. Kane’s only failure was to really understand the depths of the depravity quickly enough to approach it with a well planned reconstruction of this agency.

    There is only one thing certain here. The AG’s office had been a den of inequity for many years and the attempt to take over a bad set of circumstances was not performed with the surgical proficiency needed to do the job properly.

    This office was a plum for those who want to use political power to punish instead of correct the political system it should be focused on. I fear that unless we get someone on board who understands the need for steady and calm process we will not attain the full function we need.

    I hope that our next Attorney General (I am supporting Mr. Shapiro) will administer this office with a view toward it being used as a non-partisan top enforcement arm for our Commonwealth that serves the greater good. To my opinion, this is an agency that is about justice and not just about prosecuting a few miscreants to make show trials.

    Public corruption starts the moment a public official acts without regard for the real relationship between themselves as fellow human beings and with their duty to those people they serve. The comment I just made seems simple to many – but to those who have often served by bad faith they would consider me to be naive.

  11. Speaking of Seth Williams … here’s a brief synopsis:

    The guy who is covering up for the criminal who defaced City property in front of his house.

    The guy who hired his lawyer’s wife to a six-figure City job.

    The guy who’s Twitter feed once included photos from Big Booty Latinas.

    The guy who spent campaign funds on membership dues at The Union League and The Sporting Club at The Bellvue.

    The guy who turned his back on the victim of a violent crime because one of the perpetrators gave him lots of $$$.

    The guy who lives with his Mommy.

    The guy who demoted a top Deputy and hard-working prosecutor because she suggested that the Office not have racist, sexist prosecutors on staff.

    The guy that has a Harrisburg bartender and Corbett Republicans running his PAC.

    The guy that got his ass kicked by a defense attorney.

    The guy who gets field-passes for NFL games and then refuses to prosecute NFL players who sucker-punch off-duty police officers.

    The guy whose family lives in the suburbs with the wife that he cheated on repeatedly.

    The guy who goes to bat for disgusting lawyers with multiple ethics violations so they can become Judges.

    And that is all BEFORE WE EVEN TALK ABOUT Frank Fina and Marc Costanzo.

  12. SBob – I have no reason to dispute anything you typed there except for this: “That’s the issue here.”

    That’s your issue here. But the smear-campaign, Fina stealing files, the trumped-up charges, license suspension, leaked grand jury material, the Philadelphia D.A. injecting himself into the battle, high-paid State officials using their government computers on racist e-mails, corrupt SC Justices … All those things are issues too.

    In my mind – the corrupt prosecutors are far more dangerous than the elected official.

    Don’t worry though – Josh Shapiro will fix the OAG for you!!!

  13. Pat, I think people don’t understand or seem to know that so much of the office is not political. When Kane took office she certainly entered an office that had lots of staffers who had been there a while. That’s not a bad thing. Certainly there were those who were more political in nature and as with any regime change regardless of party you expect there to be alterations but typically not at the rank and file level. The people in the interviews who were rank and file employees should not experience the noise from the political side of the house. Those are people who showed up every day to do a job to help people of the commonwealth. Not live in fear of keeping their jobs. When she caused the mass exodus of people you don’t just clear out the junk you also lose valuable experience. Were bad apples tossed sure, but it seems like so much stability was lost because of people who were there to just do their jobs were forced out because even trivial tasks turned political. That’s the issue here. She imploded an office that generally did good work.

  14. They could use the Kane case in text-books someday. It’s exactly how the system ought not work. A corrupt group of “insiders” got together to run an end-around on due process.

    The following article lays out how they operate:

    The PA Corruption Network’s Playbook

    The similarities between the prosecution of Kathleen Kane and of the PSU 3 reveal the “playbook” of Pennsylvania’s corruption network

    The cases of current Pennsylvania Attorney General (AG) Kathleen Kane and that of former Penn State University (PSU) officials (i.e., the PSU 3) are connected by a common thread.

    A group of the Commonwealth’s attorneys, judges, political operatives, and their media accomplices — hereafter referred to as the “network” — used trumped-up charges, purposely misinterpreted laws, and oversold highly dubious evidence to convict these individuals in the court of public opinion [before anything got to Court which is where truth comes out].

    After examining the timelines and evidence of these cases, it appears that the network has a well defined playbook for taking out its targets and it works like this:

    1. Individuals within the network fear their own heinous acts may be exposed and publicly accuse their opponents of crimes as a means of deflecting attention away from themselves.

    2. The network next co-opts individuals close to the target(s) –insiders — to assist in setting up the target(s) to be charged with perjury and other crimes.

    3. After the insiders have sufficiently undermined the targets (using various means of deception), the network’s attorneys and/or judges leak damaging information about the targets to the media.

    4. The media arm of the network uses the information in an attempt to compromise the targets or to promote guilt by association in the press.

    5. At the conclusion of this “framing,” that was mislabeled as a criminal investigation, attorneys go public with charging documents that allege crimes based on misinterpretations of the laws and that are chocked full of questionable testimony from unreliable witnesses, completely illogical scenarios, and dubious evidence. Perjury charges are standard in order to publicly smear the defendants as being dishonest individuals while attempting to pump up the veracity of the Commonwealth’s lousy witnesses (who would be eviscerated at an actual trial).

    6. The media accomplices ignore the illegal application of relevant laws, that the charging documents are illogical, the lousy witnesses, and the highly questionable evidence in order to continue treating the allegations as facts and even go as far as to allege the target committed crimes for which he or she has not been charged.

    7. The public falls for the deception and believes the targets are guilty of everything and are corrupt individuals — whether they have been charged with a crime or not. Citizen activists, public officials, and other groups and individuals — who are beneficiaries of the corrupt network — jump on the media bandwagon to publicly condemn the targets.

    8. Witting and/or unwitting employers recommend the targets be relieved of their duties or actually do so through employment actions — before anything is proven and without conducting a legitimate legal review.

    9. When legal proceedings in the cases reveal the false and questionable testimony put forth in the charging documents and the dubious evidence used in the case, the network’s media arm ignores the information and continues to slant the reports so the public continues to assume the targets are guilty.

    10. The legal issues from the misapplications of the laws result in appeals to the network’s judges, who refused to rule on simple matters and keep the trials on permanent hold. If the cases make it to trial, the targets [may] be convicted of lesser crimes — that the media will treat like crimes of the century.

    The network’s playbook achieves the goal of protecting its corrupt dealings and/or heinous crimes by never legally proving, but publicly scapegoating the targets in a media firestorm that is high in supposition and light on facts.

    To wit: the grand jury and Montgomery County DA Risa Ferman did not find the evidence to charge AG Kane with directly leaking grand grand jury information in the Mondesire case, but you wouldn’t know that if you just read the news headlines.

    Instead, they charged her with perjury (part of the playbook), lesser crimes, and for orchestrating the leaks, the latter of which Ferman and others know can’t be proven.

    Then again, the network’s playbook doesn’t include actually prosecuting the case [or treating their targets fairly].

  15. SBob – No one expects you to understand a nuanced argument/position. But you may want to consider that there are folks who think Kane was in over her head and ill-qualified for AG job who also believe that she walked into a shit-show and then got rail-roared and smeared.

    It’s easy to get rid of an elected official. It is happening to Kane (one term) and it will happen to Seth Williams. Some PA citizens are concerned about what is and has been going on beyond the curtain.

    Corrupt prosecutors are no good – except when it comes to the politician they are serving. For a while, it was Corbett (a R) Now it is Seth Williams (a D). Both are self-serving politicians. both used criminal investigations/prosecutions improperly. And some people (like me) call both of them out for doing so. But – you go on believing it is a R vs D worlds and that everything is R vs D.

    Smart people will look at everything.

  16. So just because Kane has created an office mentality of mistrust and of inappropriate behavior the people interviewed were all hired by Corbett and are Fina supporters? It’s not possible that people whose political affiliation had no bearing on them working there spoke out because of the travesty she has turned the office into? Keep dreaming. She is a train wreck and the voters got what they deserve when they elected someone so unqualified for the job.

  17. Great point Garet.

    Seems it’s no-holds-barred when it comes to Kane. Remember – the people behind the smear campaign have been feeding these guys stories for years leading up to Kane’s election.

    When Fina’s buddy, Judge Barry Feudale, was planning to illegally leak protected material, he e-mailed Craig McCoy at the Inwuirer and CC’d Frank Fina.

    Bottom line – the corrupt prosecutors and the Press have a way too cozy relationship.

  18. Hmmm. So 8 Corbett hires and friends of Fina spoke on condition of anonymity. What happened to journalism in this country? Sad. I’m guessing they didn’t want to talk with the dozens of employees in the office who work hard every day and earn success in courts for the commonwealth.

  19. It doesn’t matter! We still won’t fire him!!! My husband is representing Fina in a $$$-driven lawsuit against the OAG and Kane. It makes sense for me to keep employing him. And taking shots at Kane too. More $$$ for me and my husband!!!!

  20. Good Q, Marie.

    I remember reading that a Complaint to the Disciplinary Board was made (early this year – after Superior Court issued “highly improper” finding).

    One would think that lying to the Court would be enough. Of course there is also his racist, homophobic e-mails … the ones that made light of domestic violence and statutory rape. The ones that suggested females in the workplace need to perform oral sex on their male bosses to advance their careers.

    PA Disciplinary Board better act soon. They may lose even more credibility.

  21. Jules Struck? We are publishing compilation stories by college newspaper editors now? Good for clicks, I guess, but not actually news.

  22. Someone needs to explain to me how Frank Fina still has his law license. There’s an article today about him ignoring a Judge’s Order to turn over cell phone records.

    And we know that the Superior Court already found that his conduct in the Penn State car was “highly improper.” They found that he lied to the Court.

    We know he used his Government computer on racist e-mails … on work time.

    What does it take to get someone not named Kathleen Kane suspended?

  23. Seth Williams got into bed with Fina. It’s obvious. Did he want to be AG? Is he getting cut in on lawsuit money (if there ever is any)? Is it about raising money from Fina’s Republican buddies? Who knows. And who cares. Seth Williams has made his bed:

    http://articles.philly.com/2016-03-15/news/71513917_1_d-a-williams-new-pac-campaign

    He will soon have to sleep in it. This time next year, he will have been indicted, voted out, or contracted genital warts. He is already friendless and moneyless.

  24. Wasn’t you though, was it JJ? No one would want to photograph you … Saw your pic on Facebook … Yikes !!

  25. The report is on it’s way, gulag. Be patient.

    I keep waiting to hear about the videos they sent around to each other. Word on the street is that they included:

    – graphic violence against women

    – a 100 hr-old woman engaged in intercourse

    – a woman having “sex” with a snake

  26. Good suggestion below that Kane should have released all the emails by public posting and let others avenge the slights and disgusting perversion by the email porn network.
    In fact, what is Kane waiting for now? Just post all this smut online for all to see.

  27. I am just glad that nobody has posted the e-mail that Frank Fina, my husband’s racist client, sent to his white male buddies:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/zadock1/3580634808

    I wouldn’t want my husband’s money-driven lawsuit to be thrown out. That would mean less $$$ for me. That’s why I am on record in the Press saying what a great guy my husband’s racist client is. GREAT GUY!! Frank Fina is not at all a racist, I meant to say … Great guy …

  28. McNesby seems pretty confident that the AG’s Office is going to present findings very different from the stuff the DA’s Office trotted out there at their press conference.

    Is anyone looking into Seth Williams’ connections to the NFL, the Eagles, and/or Shady himself?

  29. Can’t argue with the “one-term” part. But there is no evidence that she is “corrupt.”

    On the other hand, Seth Williams in Philadelphia is now allegedly covering up for ex-lovers who commit crimes:

    http://articles.philly.com/2016-04-02/news/71980200_1_tires-fleet-management-12-days

    How can Seth get away with forcing the taxpayers to pay for those repairs. that should have been the girl he was sleeping with. She should have been arrested and forced to pay for the repairs. And, if Seth wanted to “protect” her, he should have payed for it himself. Of course, he is broke … so there’s that …

  30. If Kane would have released all the emails and just put everything out there the press would have helped the public shame everyone. She could have walked into the higher office. Now she is just another 1 term “corrupt” politician.

  31. Harry – Shut the fuck up. I told you to say nothing. We don’t want people connecting the dots. It’s bad enough we have the same last name.

    Frank – You just can’t help yourself, can you? They are already breathing down my wife’s neck at the D.A.’s Office. Everyone there now knows how she got that six-figure job. The more you talk, the less our $$$-driven lawsuit is worth. Focus on making sure those cell phones in the collapse case never get turned over. We can’t have you getting any more bad press.

  32. See – we still have some of our “boys” at the AG’s Office !!

  33. Pat Unger-

    I don’t think the perjury rap/trap against Kane holds any water. It’s entirely subjective based on her recollection/interpretation of meetings/events. I’ve had far too many meetings with my own boss where he came out of it with a 180-degree opposite interpretation than all the staff that attended.

    SpongeBob-

    You are just jealous that you can’t work for Kane, the greatest AG this state has ever had.

  34. I actually agree with SpongeBob. Kane has been awful in many ways – even if you credit her for breaking-up the (pathetic) old-boys network. Kane stepping into the perjury trap set by Fina & The Corbett Pervs shows how naive she was. Not ready for prime time. She mis-handled the Hate-gate materials too.

    Not suggesting that any of this makes what is going on in Philly OK … nor am I condoning the continued use of the Press as part of the ongoing smear campaign.

  35. Hey look, another Kane article followed by Fina is the devil posts followed by the obligatory Diano “Kane is great” posts. I guess its tIme for my Kane is awful post to be followed by name calling followed by Diano asking me to reveal my identity. So here goes.

    Kane is awful. She clearly is just collecting a paycheck and many good people who had no political standing in the office got roped into her ruin the office rodeo. Ok now talk amongst yourselves.

  36. DD – She should have “cleaned house” on Day 1. And she made a big mistake bringing Adrian King (her former b/f in). Now it looks like King and Morrow set her up.

    Anyone know why Fina’s law license has not yet been suspended? The Superior Court has already labeled his conduct “highly improper.” What more does the Disciplinary Board need? They moved very quickly on Kathleen Kane’s suspension …

  37. Wow – a bunch of anonymous “sources.” Great reporting!! Here’s some REAL NEWS about what is currently going on at the Philadelphia D.A.’s Office. Apparently – if you do your job and suggest that the Office not employ racists and misogynists as prosecutors, you get demoted:

    http://www.phillymag.com/news/2016/03/22/deputy-da-demoted-johnny-doc-seth-williams/

    Has Seth Williams circulated a list of all the people that cannot be prosecuted by the Philadelphia DA’s Office because of donations they have made? I’d be curious to see that list.

  38. Here’s Frank Fina ignoring Court Orders and refusing to answer the Court’s questions:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20160524_Judge_punishes_D_A__s_Office_for_not_turning_over_cellphones_in_collapse_litigation.html

    This on the heels of him lying to the Court in the PSU case. The Court there found that his grand jury conduct was “highly improper.” Yet – Seth Williams and Kathy Martin have him working on grand jury cases currently?!?

    That cat sure has a lot to hide, huh?

  39. Speaking of a “cultue of paranoia,” someone may want to interview some folks from the Philadelphia D.A.’s Office – where there is now an all-out MUTINY.

    Guess it’s just a coincidence that Fina & The Corbett Pervs have taken their act there now.

    So strange that the Office functioned smoothly for 20+ years before Fina & The Corbett Pervs arrived. Just a huge coincidence that place where Fina & Corbett Pervs work is now in complete disarray?

  40. LOL … are the Repervlicans at to OAG still whining?!?

    Meanwhile, more bad news for Fina & The Corbett Pervs:

    http://www.centredaily.com/news/local/education/penn-state/jerry-sandusky/article79410042.html

    The more stuff gets unsealed, the more truth comes out. Also – Frank Fina’s pal, J. Feudale, trying to avoid testifying. I wonder why?!? Hmmmm

    Wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that he e-mailed Craig and Angela to discuss committing crimes. BTW – he CC’d Frank Fina on those e-mails.

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