Mellow’s Message: The Interview with Newswatch 16

SCRANTON -- Bob Mellow spent 40 years in the state senate, representing primarily Lackawanna County before pleading guilty to federal corruption and tax charges.

He was one of the most powerful politicians in Pennsylvania's history, and his fall from grace was dramatic.

The former state senator gave his first television interview to Newswatch 16 investigative reporter Dave Bohman since his release from a Scranton halfway house more than two years ago

Since his release, Bob Mellow wrote a memoir called "Used, Abused, and Forgotten."

Mellow talked with us about his political career, his time behind bars, and his decision to plead guilty to federal charges, even though he still insists he never committed a crime.

"In my heart and in my mind, I will go to my deathbed knowing I did nothing wrong," said Mellow.

"When you look at statistics, they are so skewed against you, you have no chance," added Mellow, when asked why he didn't fight the charges.

Mellow says he was blindsided when FBI agents raided his home and office in Lackawanna County in 2010.

He eventually pleaded guilty to the federal charge of allowing staffers to perform campaign work on state time, a charge he calls unfair.

"There is no way, that in any public office you were elected to, that some kind of political activity is not taking place or discussion during the course of the daytime."

Mellow hoped he'd be sentenced to house arrest in November 2012 after he pleaded guilty to those charges.

A judge sentenced him to 16 months in federal prison.

"I couldn't feel my own pulse. I couldn't believe this was happening to me."

Two months after he reported to a federal prison camp in South Carolina, Attorney General Kathleen Kane charged Mellow and seven others in a pay to play scheme involving the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

"I was then put on what was called 'diesel therapy,'" said Mellow, riding a diesel-powered prison bus between federal prisons.

After he was charged in the turnpike scheme, Mellow says he was labeled an escape risk and was moved on three occasions to more secure lockups.

"I was shackled. My hands had a lock box, which meant I could not move my hands, my hands were this way on a belly iron, so I had my hands in cuffs, with a lock box on them," said Mellow. "I was in a cage (while traveling on a bus)."

"I thought there were days that I would pray that the good Lord would take me. I would say, 'please, I just don't want to go through this any longer.'"

Mellow survived ten months in federal prisons. He was moved to a halfway house in Scranton in November 2013, and five months, later Bob Mellow was again a free man.

"And I'm a convicted felon, and if you're a convicted felon in our society in this country, you've been given a death sentence, yet you don't die."

After Mellow's release, a judge dismissed the state turnpike charges against him because of a lack of evidence.

But mellow learned his name was removed streets, buildings, even a park named after him in his hometown.

To this day, he says he's deep in debt with legal fees, stripped of his state pension, and abandoned by friends.

"Here is the one thing that hurts me: I have a lot to offer," Mellow said. "And I cannot use that experience and that knowledge that I have learned because I'm a convicted felon. And based on the fact that I'm a convicted felon, I'm not totally accepted by society. And that I regret."

Bob Mellow is appealing the decision to revoke his $11,000 a month state pension. He says the pension board did not apply the rules properly.

In the meantime, he and his wife of three years live off her income and his Social Security.

12 comments

  • Lynne Fazio

    Don’t understand how Trump can pay “rent” to Trump Towers for use of it for his campaign headquarters. Also, fuel is plane “trump force one” hahahahaha, with money from his campaign – his family has made $7.7 Million from this campaign how’s that legal? Amazing.

    • hamlinhawg

      Not paying rent for the use of campaign office space, etc., would constitute a violation of federal election laws, so it would be illegal for his campaign to accept free office space from Trump himself or from you or me. Just the way the law goes.

  • kielbasa

    So you plead guilty to federal corruption and tax charges….just because? And you’re innocent? Please. I listened to him cry about being a convicted felon, whaa, whaa. That’s what happens to criminals Bob. Suck it up. You got caught being a career politician, this is the path you chose and the bed you made, so go lay in it.

  • joe

    “Living off the wife’s income & his S.S.”
    Guess what pal, so are many others & on less too.
    You remind me of cordaro, whining & crying.
    Don’t pretend you are innocent bob, we both know of a lot of skeletons in your closet, going way back when Cappy was still alive.

  • smokeybones (@smokeybones)

    you all need a good spanking leave mr mellow out of this he still has more power then you think he still runs the show i pretty sure he also still talks to who ever is running for what ever they are running for tells them what to do pretty sure also mr blake as well.

  • joe

    How in God’s name did he amass an $11,000.00/mo pension ?
    No wonder these politicians do whatever is required to secure the election.
    People whine & cry about teachers, cops & firemen & their pensions.
    It’s time to reign in these ridiculous pensions, benefits & per diems being doled out in Harrisburg AND Washington.

    • caps not on

      I agree the greed of our politicians and union workers is ridiculous. I’d like to feel sorry for him but I’m not sorry Bob, you should have been put away longer.

  • James

    How does Valley View School District ever survive when all the new hires won’t go through Bob Mellow’s office anymore? The powerful public servant has fallen from grace and he now realizes his legacy is corruption, fraud, domestic abuse ( ask his neighbors in the old neighborhood ) and who knows what money laundering went on with the Turnpike Commission. Go away, Bob Mellow. Go far far away to the ash heap of political scum has beens that good (blind) people voted into office thinking they were doing what was best for their community.

  • don justice

    You had it made but your stupidity and greed got in the way and you have gone from the king to the pauper. You have committed a crime/crimes and you are looking now for sympathy, why? Bob, you would do yourself a favor by fading off into obscurity. You are no longer the Upper Valley boss/puppeteer!

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