Jul 12, 2015
Criminality and Immorality Merge In Allentown
Those familiar with Pawlowski are less surprised than John Q Public about the allegations. The mayor is known to be a vindictive manager. City employees have toiled under that fear for three terms. Furthermore, those of us engaged in policy disagreement know that he doesn't hesitate to publicly defame his opponents. Combine that deficit of character with the NIZ revitalization, and you have the recipe for unbridled hubris. In less than a week, he has gone from stating the investigation centers on city policy, to hiring an acclaimed defense attorney for himself. I do not know if the mayor has done anything illegal. Apparently, the FBI felt that there was probable cause, and executed search warrants. On the other hand, some things that are legal, have profound moral shortcomings.
I believe that some day business and law students will read a case study about the NIZ, and how it legally stole from the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. Over the decades the state devised tax incentives to revitalize certain sites. These plans became more lucrative, climaxing in the absurd NIZ. Everything about the plan suggests that it received little to no oversight by state representatives, who seem universally incompetent. It blatantly only applied to Allentown, which required an amendment to fix. It blatantly overreached on earned income tax, which required an amendment to fix. Its application in Allentown is highly questionable. One individual was loaned a huge amount of money before any plans were submitted to a supposed oversight committee, which was yet to be formed. That individual now owns most of the real estate in the NIZ zone, including almost a square block across from the arena. More astounding, state income taxes and sale taxes are used to finance his privately owned buildings. Even the state cigarette tax can be used, yielding $millions from tobacco wholesalers he acquired. None of the above is illegal, it conforms with a new law, which received no scrutiny by legislators in Harrisburg. How did this money tree come to be?
In the last general election, seven out of eleven state representative were unopposed. The statehouse has become a closed club, where familiarity breeds complacency. Here in Allentown, Pat Browne wisely included the Morning Call building, although it was outside the NIZ map rectangle. News coverage of the arena and construction resembled promotion from an advertising agency. The attitude is that maybe everything is light on fairness, but Allentown's changing for the better.
Although Pawlowski was used as a prop to cut the ribbons, the NIZ was way above his pay-grade from it's start. He tried to use it as a backdrop to first move on to Harrisburg, and now Washington. He's half right, he will be moving. He now is a negative distraction for the Renaissance. The NIZ Barons will pay for his moving van.