A.G. Kane: Mellow Involved In Pay To Play Scheme

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HARRISBURG -- Former state senator Robert Mellow is already serving a federal prison sentence for corruption. Now, he's charged in another scheme, this one involving the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Prosecutors call it a "pay to play" with millions of dollars in highway contracts resulting in kickbacks for politicians, including Mellow.

At the state capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane made the case against former Pennsylvania Turnpike officials and the disgraced former state senator as clear as possible.

"Former state officials charged wielded extraordinary power which they wrongfully used for self-enrichment for their own political purposes rather than for good of the Commonwealth and of its citizens," said Kane.

The eight men face corruption charges for an alleged scheme to rig turnpike contracts in exchange for gifts and political contributions.

Prosecutors say the "pay to play" scheme resulted in the misuse and theft of millions of taxpayer dollars.

According to the grand jury indictment, the man who orchestrated a lot of the deals was former state senator Bob Mellow of Lackawanna County.

"Former state senator Mellow, during his tenure, directed his chief of staff to secure turnpike contracts for key contributors and supporters," said Kane.

Mellow's portrait still hangs in the capitol building while he sits in federal prison in South Carolina, serving time for a separate corruption case.

According to prosecutors, PNC Bank treated Mellow to seats at a New York Yankees baseball games, concerts, and dinners in return for getting business from the Turnpike Commission. None of it was reported.

State Senator John Blake now holds Mellow's 22nd district seat and says the latest charges are unfortunate.

"It's a big disappointment and very discouraging," said Senator Blake. "It casts a shadow over an illustrious career of public service so it's discouraging. Again, justice will continue."

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission released a statement about the grand jury finding. To read the statement, click here.

To read the grand jury presentment, click here.

Many of those former Turnpike officials and two men they did business with are being formally charged Wednesday and Thursday.

Mellow will be brought back to the area to face this round of corruption charges.