Welp, now that our District Attorney is safely down the shitter, what’s next?   It’s the other shoe that’s been waiting to drop of course: the FBI investigation into the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98.

Several sources have relayed to Philadelinquency that the FBI released target letters a month ago to several Local98 officials in relation to last summer’s shocking FBI raids of the union and its leadership.

But some who also received target letters are not on the union’s payroll.  Of those that received target letters, all sources agreed that Edgar “Sonny” Campbell, Jr., who is not on Local98’s board but instead is a powerful Democratic ward leader was one of the recipients.   This has led to broad speculation as to the nature of what the FBI is actually investigating.

FBI target letters also went out to several members of Councilman Bobby Henon’s staff.  Henon staff’s involvement came to light when the City revealed that it was picking up legal costs for at least one of them in lieu of the FBI raid.

It is not yet known whether Dougherty or Henon have received target letters asking them to participate in the grand jury proceedings.

Henon, as all who remember from last year, was a particular focal point of the FBI raids into the union.  His constituency office in the Northeast was raided as well as his office inside City Hall.

An FBI target letter is a courtesy letter telling you that you are included in a criminal investigation and that you may be asked to testify before a Federal grand jury.  Target letters almost always inform the recipient that they are going to be asked to produce evidence and answer questions before the grand jury.

Target letters also signify that an FBI investigation is close to wrapping up and indictments could be a few short months away.

IBEW98, “Local98”, “98”, as it’s known, is not just any old building trades union.  It’s the most powerful political force in Philadelphia if not the whole state.   IBEW98’s business manager Johnny “Doc” Dougherty is its business manager.  Johnny Doc’s brother sits on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  More than half of all the sitting members of Philadelphia City Council owe their political existence to Dougherty in some form or another.  When Councilman Kenyatta Johnson felt he was being snubbed by Doc, he accused Dougherty of having a “plantation mentality“.  Such is the power of Doc.

Mayor Kenney can’t even hold himself at arm’s length from the Doc’ster.   He installed Jim Moylan, Johnny Doc’s chiropractor, to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.   Moylan had to resign in the wake of the FBI raids as his home was searched.

If you don’t know anything about unions and Philly to get a feel for how significant this FBI probe could be on the local political landscape, you need to stop now and go read this.

Mayor Kenney held a dog-and-pony presser to further the make-believe fairytale that the City’s PreK program is on the path to fixing all the social ills in the universe.  If only you would believe.

During the presser, one person who is described by The Spirit newspaper as an “educator”, said this to the mayor:

  Kenney then began to talk about the national political climate and topics such as immigration and the proposed travel bans. He spoke of these policies as policies of fear and speculated on how this fear affects the nation’s children. He told stories of children he had met at political events who are scared of their parents being deported and scared of being deported themselves. “This isn’t how this country is supposed to be,” he said.

  An educator in the room voiced her fear that some of her undocumented teachers and staff would be deported.

There’s some massive things wrong with what that educator said.

Let me list a few:

  • Who filled out the workers I-9s?
  • Are those “teachers and staff” being paid cash?
  • There gonna be a W-2 issued for all those undocos at the end of the year?
  • How, exactly… did you manage to get these teachers and staff who are handling children to pass a background check?   Does this Pre-K provider have the records handy that they performed those checks?

That last bit–the background checks… I am really interested in hearing how Sanctuary Cities advocates are going to answer (or more likely dodge) that question.

I’m guessing there was such a shortage of unemployed U.S. citizens in Philadelphia that we needed to resort to undocumented workers.

Well, OK then.

Tags: | |

The count is in!

90% of all write-in voters voted for Emilio Vazquez for the 197th District special election.   Vazquez is a nobody at the Philadelphia Parking Authority who was thrown-in at the last minute as a replacement for Frederick Ramirez, a resident of Bristol PA who was thrown off the ballot for living in Bristol.   There was only one name on the ballot, Republican Lucinda Little.

The outcome seems quite unlikely given that Green Party candidate Cheri Honkala had a significantly-sized ground campaign and produced a laundry-list of observations that make this outcome questionable.   Honkala also had 3 months to campaign, whereas Vazquez had barely three weeks.

During the course of Tuesday’s special election, numerous observances of outright elections fraud have been reported.

Yours truly witnessed polling place workers directly holding ink stamps in their hands.  Stamps were being used to write-in votes in the voting machines.

One of the most egregious displays of impropriety occurred in the 43rd Ward where at several divisions polling place workers were holding the privacy curtains wide open where everyone could see whom the voter was voting for.  In this video, the woman in the purple shawl is at a voting machine that is not even at her own division.  She got up from her table to join 3 other poll workers and a judge of elections.   Up to four polling place workers were trying to peek through a privacy curtain to ensure that the voter voted for Emilio Vazquez.

The election-day shenanigans in the barrio is a time-honored tradition and happens every election cycle.   Progressives that hope to have any shot of electing a good-government candidate in the barrio were also treated to electioneering and an inordinate amount of “voter assists”, where a campaign worker pretends to help out a voter who does not know how to vote in order to get into the election machine with the voter.  This election was unusual in that this is the first time the electioneering has been challenged with having to use the write-in process to elect their candidate, which made the electioneering much more visible and blatant.

House Republicans have asked PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro to launch an investigation into Tuesday’s election.

Several Republicans have signaled to Philadelinquency that as a reward for elections fraud they will not be allowing any legislation, including honoring-resolutions that may come from Mr. Vazquez to reach the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for final passage; essentially turning Emilio Vazquez into a lame-duck legislator before he can assume the remainder of Leslie Acosta’s term.

Typically legislators who are not in the party that controls the chamber and have the clout to push forward legislation that the House will pass will often use honoring resolutions as a way to pander to voters to generate media interest in order to keep their names in the papers so voters continue to recognize them.  Honoring resolutions typically pass a legislative body without much comment.

Tags: |

In the Harrowgate neighborhood, which is the northernmost part of Kensington and located at the Tioga stop on the Market-Frankford line, sits a large brick building that looks like a school annex.

It’s the Harrowgate Boxing Club, which opened its doors in 1972 during the city’s zenith when boxing and Philadelphia were co-mingled as the sport of the city and the spawn of the Rocky franchise.   The building itself was once a leather factory churning out the pieces and parts needed to maintain the horse-drawn carriages that once hobbled along every Philadelphia street.   It’s conversion to a sporting venue occurred as Harrowgate had begun its transition from a mainly Irish-American neighborhood over to a Puerto Rican one.   Both ethnic groups long participated in supporting the venue and over here you can read a bit more about its history.  This gym has been the launching pad for several Olympic medalists.  It’s one of the few bright spots of pride in an area of the city that has seen more than its fair share of depression.

Today the boxing venue is in financial peril and it needs your support.   The boxing club has been embroiled over a legal contract that’s gone sour and has put the gym in jeopardy.

As you can probably tell from the ad slick with comedians who have done time on the Opie & Anthony Show, this isn’t gonna be a “politically correct” comedy night.  If you’re into Kenzo dentistry and North Catholic jokes, this is the place for you.   The comedy benefit will be held across the street from Sugarhouse Casino in Fishtown at the Punchline Comedy Club, 33 E. Laurel.

Buy your tickets here.

Tags:

Welp, it’s finally time to talk about that subject that no civically-minded Fishtowner ever wants to talk about in the open: the lawsuit against the Fishtown Neighbors Association.

For the TL;DR people:  The FNA has been embroiled for over a year in a defamation lawsuit by one of its ex-acting presidents and two previous presidents of the organization for claiming in e-mail traffic that the ex-acting president, Jordan Rushie, had “defrauded” the organization.  That e-mail was written by Neil Brecher, also an ex-president of the civic.   The reason for the defraud accusation: Rushie helped out a Fishtown business apply for a grant from another non-profit.  The grant was to be used for security cameras.   No one from the FNA nor Brecher actually investigated to see if anything illegal actually took place.   Nonetheless, in an e-mail Brecher sent out he was adamant that a criminal act had occurred.

The lawsuit has ballooned to the point where about ten separate lawyers are involved in representing everyone as the case continues through the discovery phase of the suit.

In a new filing made to the lawsuit this week, Neil Brecher is now suing former FNA president Jamie Ware and the Fishtown Neighbors Association by way of a cross-claim.  Specifically:

NEW MATTER AS TO CO-DEFENDANTS

By way of further answer and defense and pursuant to pursuant to Pa. R.C.P. 1031.1, Brecher avers New Matter against JAMIE M. WARE, FISHTOWN NEIGHBORS ASSOCIATION and DARREN SMITH(collectively “Co-defendants”) as follows:

255. Brecher, while denying any liability on its part, states that in the event that Rushie is entitled to recover at trial, then any injuries or damages suffered by Rushie were the sole, direct and proximate result of Co-Defendants’ negligence or intentional acts or ommissions which allegations are set forth more fully in Rushie’s complaint and are incorporated here by reference solely for purposes of raising this cross-claim against Co-Defendants, and while making such reference, Brecher makes no admission as to the truth of any of the allegations contained in Rushie’s complaint.

What Brecher is doing is he’s saying that he didn’t commit any defamation.  BUT, and this is a big but… if a jury doesn’t believe that and Jordan Rushie is awarded damages by the jury, Brecher feels he’s entitled to some of the money he extracts out of Ms. Ware and the Fishtown Neighbors Association because it’s the FNA and Jamie Ware, Darren Smith who are ultimately liable for whatever Brecher said or did.

I know that makes no sense, and the cross-claim is tacked on to the back of 70 pages of default answers and isn’t even a page long so it doesn’t seem well-thought out, but perhaps in more court filings we’ll get to find out how Brecher formulates the reasoning into how he’s entitled to damages for being found to have made defamatory statements.

I’ve attached the last version of the lawsuit and Brecher’s response if you want some reading to put you asleep.

A jury trial is expected to take place in August.

(Previous posts about this lawsuit are here, here, and here.)

 

Tags: |