May 2, 2016

Pawlowski's Taste Of The Arena

People ask me all the time about the corruption in Allentown. On Sunday, the Morning Call had an excellent exposé by Emily Opilo on contributions to Pawlowski, being investigated by the FBI. A consultant on parking matters from Philadelphia contributed $26 thousand dollars to Pawlowski, while making proposals for private management, regarding the arena garage.While details can be found in the Morning Call's article, allow me to present a Readers Digest version of Pawlowski's legal problems. 

While Mayor Ed sat in his office at 5th and Hamilton, he saw a $Billion dollars worth of development two blocks north. While Ed wasn't directly in the Arena/NIZ loop, opportunity may have presented itself, especially in the currency of campaign contributions. Although Ed isn't shy in his own right, mix in his aggressive campaign manager, and you can imagine a Soprano style collection agency.

Ed's Philadelphia criminal lawyer insists that he did nothing illegal. That burden of proof will apparently fall to the FBI. What concerns me, as a small town political blogger, is our government by default. People want to limit their involvement to a vote once a year. Then, they're willing to base that vote on mailers and robo calls.


Scott Armstrong said...


The apathy/ignorance has spread far beyond the borders of Allentown to encompass the entire nation.

michael molovinsky said...

it's always interesting that voters are motivated by presidential elections, which have little effect on their lives, and indifferent about local politics, where they could actually effect change.

Dave said...

This indicates that Ed may have links to organized crime. Anytime you have an entity that a lot of cash flows though, it's a signal that the honesty of it may be tainted by organized crime.

In this case, we have a Philadelphia group of individuals wanting control of a cash-paying parking lot for a sports arena. In exchange for allowing Ed to wet his beak with a campaign contribution, they get to control the revenues from it. Ed, being from Chicago, sees this as a normal part of doing business.

No wonder the FBI is investigating him. A billion dollars going into the city, and Ed gets his share of it. This is just a part of what is being turned up. I'm sure there is much more.

michael molovinsky said...

dave@8:44, i think that pennsylvania is rotten to the core. even the legal, authorized commissions and departments are corrupt in the sense of long standing agendas, connections and favors. however, i don't subscribe to an organized crime scenario

Robert Trotner said...

I agree with everything here, including the challenge to keep Allentown abd the entire state clean after the FBI completes it's work.

I do associate myself with my good friend Dave's remarks, as we have discussed on many occasions on the bus.

Jamie Kelton said...

I don't know if this is organized crime or not. But it does sound like a simple case of birds of a feather flocking together. There are a lot of crooks in Philadelphia, I lived and worked there after college. Remember, Rendell comes from there.

I think that Mayor Pawlowski, coming from out of the area, saw Allentown as a stepping-stone to higher office. Until the past year or so, when his ambitions for Senator and Governor were shot down. He wasn't like Mayor Daddona or Heydt or any of the other former mayors who are from the area and wanted to do the best for the city they grew up in.

No, Pawlowski wanted to do the best to better his political fortunes. And now all his crookedness is starting to come to light.

Jamie Kelton said...

Oh, Mark Mendleson also comes from Philadelphia. Look what he did to Allentown. Enough said.

michael molovinsky said...

robert@11:20, rich fegley keeps suggesting that the FBI will continue to root out corruption in the city. as i've written before, the FBI has had an office in allentown for decades. fleck and pawlowski didn't invent corruption, it's nothing new. what exactly triggered the current FBI investigation is unknown, but i certainly don't expect the state to be clean, after the FBI completes it's work.

George Ruth said...

I agree with Jamie. Mayors Dadonna and Heydt came from opposite parties and political philosophical perspectives. While each had his detractors (common in the political world), rarely were they accused of anything untoward. My only issue with ol Joe was his turning a blind eye (or actually supporting) the conversion of Allentown's row home stock to multi-family dwellings. And Bill's plan for a rinky dink hockey rink at the Hess's site was a sign of desperation.

Rich Fegley said...

The FBI has been in Allentown for decades but it seems they have been actively investigating Allentown for several years now. They were looking at Rendell, Philly and Pennsylvania before Allentown.

It looks like "secret recordings" will be what brings all of these criminals down. They have over 2,000 wiretapped recordings of McCord.

I expect the FBI to continue to expose the corruption in Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley and Allentown as it pertains to this case. I feel there are many more people that the FBI can send to jail if the make a RICO case and connect everyone to the "organization".

Extortion. There were all different types of people involved with extortion in the Lehigh Valley and Pennsylvania. They know who they are.

Scott Armstrong said...


Bill Heydt's desire to put put a hockey rink at the old Hess's site was prescient. That is borne out with the success of the hockey element of the new downtown arena. In hindsight it is clear it would have been a good move. The tax dollars it would have generated would have followed the normal channels to state and local coffers and the entire NIZ scheme would never have happened.
If Bill Heydt would have run for a third term there would not have been a Mayor Roy Afflerbach. If there was never a Roy there would never have been an Ed. Think how much better Allentown would have been without them running the ship of state into to rocks for the last 15 years.