School Closings And Delays

Turnpike Case Over, No One Serves Jail Time

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HARRISBURG---Last year, State Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Scranton native, made a shocking announcement.

"The Turnpike operates under a pay-to-play system that is illegal and corrupt," she said.

Kane spoke about hundreds of millions in turnpike contracts being handed over for campaign contributions and gifts.

Former Senator Bob Mellow of Lackawanna County was among the state officials charged in the scheme, known as the "Pay For Play" scandal, but the charges against the once-powerful Democrat were all dismissed or dropped.

"Bob Mellow has maintained his innocence in this matter from the very beginning, and he is relieved that the court and the attorney general recognize that he is innocent," said Daniel Brier, Mellow's attorney.

One by one everyone else charged either had charges dropped or agreed to plea deals.

No one has gone to jail for the turnpike scandal.

"Conflict of interest is a serious crime, it's a felony and they'll be convicted felons and no longer executives or pillar members of the community," said J.J. Abbott, a spokesman for the state attorney general.

For one man who has been following the Turnpike scandal closely, the end of the case is a major disappointment.

"The punishment I think is disappointing it sends a signal a bad signal that you can engage in this type of cronyism and get away with it," said activist Eric Epstein.

17 comments

  • tom

    Just one more comment.Way to go Kane and the “gang” in harrisburg-show all the low lifes flocking here from Latin America how crime pays.

  • Retired and going on my way

    AMAZING, SIMPLY AMAZING!!!! And we, the paying public tolerate this. The judge that handed out these petty sentences, for major crimes, should be thrown off the bench. They made millions, and have a 2,500 dollar fine??? And Mellow, charges dropped?? WTF. FALL BEHIND ON YOUR REAL ESTATE TAX, AND THEY TAKE YOUR HOME. Rob the state for millions, and pay back 2,500 bux, and probation. This state is the laughing stock of the country.

  • Raphael

    El crimen paga en América. COMO Niel Diamond canta: “Estamos llegando a América”
    Crime pays in America. As Niel Diamond sings: “We’re coming to America”

  • US of Mexico

    i feel like a native american lately & the gov is the cowboys
    gettin raped by the gov in every direction
    in every orface
    kathy i hope u get your orfaces stuffed soon
    you don’t do your job, but what politician does after they get paid or bribes not to

  • SteveL

    They should start calling Kane butterfingers because of how many balls her and her office have dropped. What an embarassment

  • Belle

    The last comment in the article is incorrect, sadly. Not just anyone can engage in criminal activity, fraud, or cheating…whatever you want to call it…and get away with it. Those who get away with it are those who have enough money or political pull to make their deeds disappear…or get swept under the carpet. For anyone else, fear not…you’ll surely being time for the very same thing.

  • Vicki M.

    Nothing will ever change for the people. Corruption is here to stay. They get richer, we get poorer. Democrats & Republicans and their corporate friends have ruined our country.

    • poonus

      …and people keep voting for these goons, never figuring out that the game is rigged..but they will complain about having their homes stolen…

  • Herbert

    Take one relatively nondescript local assistant district attorney. Marry her into money. Use that money along with riding the theme of the possibility of electing the first woman attorney general. What’s the result? An incompetent attorney general for the state of Pennsylvania.

    • DB

      Herbert, the term for this is “identity politics”‘ choosing a candidate based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Like Kathleen Kane was chosen (by many) for her gender, we elected a President in large part because of the color of his skin (see exit polling from ’08). While that made the country feel good because we showed the world that we were “post-racial America”, we knew very little about then candidate Obama as he successfully had all of his records sealed and, as such, unable to be scrutinized so we couldn’t dig into his past. This has never been done in our history as all presidential candidates are usually thoroughly vetted. Because of this, in many ways, we elected an unknown quantity. NBC news director Chuck Todd (liberal) just published a book about the “stranger” in the White House and he posits that six years into his term we still don’t really know who Obama is (this is not a birth certificate commentary). Both sides can argue pro/con regarding how effective of a leader he has been, but the facts are clearly evident and his administration has been plagued by numerous scandals. These scandals disappear from the forefront only because they are replaced by latest contoversy. Fast and Furious lost focus because of Benghazi which then lost focus because of the VA scandal which gave way to the train-wreck roll out of Obamacare and the crashing websites which then faded because of the IRS targeting scandal. Mixed in there is the $500 million loan to failed green energy company Solyndra–the CEO of which was a major Obama campaign contributor and then add in a couple of other similar green energy fiascos. In tandem these all get lost in a herd making it hard to sustain focus on any single scandal. There is a pattern here and the media is complicit as they have not dug deep on any of these issues or connected the dots–much as they haven’t on this Turnpike story. I can see the “dislikes” on my post now which is laughable given that everything I stated above is researchable fact, not opinion. Like they do in the election booth, many will form an opinion based on their party affiliation, personal bias, who/what they “like”, or dislikes including “your post is too long”; be damned objective facts or information. This will always be and we wonder why there is corruption, abuse of power, and horrible leadership. It starts with us as enablers of this kind of bad behavior as we neglect our responsibility to remain both involved and informed; vigilant of those who will steal our freedom—just as Thomas Jefferson warned. Shame on us. Shame on us all. We get what we deserve and the course of bad government will continue as long as the vast majority remains disconnected and detached.

  • Shane

    Well I guess corruption is just a way of life for us here in the Wyoming Valley. Firs the judges, now this? whats next? they only slapped these guys on the wrist, when average people like us would have been put away for serious time for stuff like this.

    • Rich in Pa

      Yep, corruption is rampant in Pa. Getting to be like Chicago the Capitol of corruption. Guess who comes from Chicago? Yep, Barack Obama the Emperor of corruption. Rich

    • Dr. RothEisenSteinBerg

      It’s sad to say, but it’s not just the Wyoming Valley, or even PA. Our entire political system is corrupt, with the media, law enforcement, business, and even the military being complicit in it. Both sides of the aisle are loaded with BUMS! The garden needs weeding.

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