Dec 2, 2015

Allentown's Pawlowski Dilemma

Allentown City Council is beginning to realize that you cannot legislate integrity. Although freshman council member Hendricks called for Pawlowski's resignation, council as a whole is reluctant. Understand, that Pawlowski isn't going to respond, but such a request by council is long overdue. Of course, another elephant in the room of elephants, are the citizens requesting that certain council members also resign. Politically, this isn't a sophisticated place. For the most part, the voters elected Pawlowski's recommendations last month, despite knowing that he going to the pokey.

While I'm talking about legislation and integrity, allow me to clear up a common misconception. People wonder when the FBI will be going after the NIZ? They won't be, everything about that development was legal, immoral, but legal. It conformed with a custom made law by Pat Brown, to benefit mainly J.B. Reilly. Because, you're served in Harrisburg by incumbent midgets, they approved it, hoping to get their back scratched in return sometime. Pawlowski saw these $millions being made two blocks west from city hall, and wanted his own taste. It appears that a scheme was devised that normal city contracts, having nothing to do with the NIZ, would be influenced by contributions to Pawlowski's Campaign Coffer.

I believe that corrupt elected officials will always find loopholes for profit. You cannot legislate against a wink and nod. Until which time the public puts aside partisan politics, and measures candidates by different criterion, we will need a FBI.


Anonymous said...

Councilman Hendricks call for Mayor Pawlowski's resignation is too little too late.
Mr. Hendricks was an enthusiastic supporters of the wayward mayor untill the FBI investigation was well under way.
What we have here is another opportunist desperate for damage control.

Concerned Allentonian said...

Ed didn't do his dirty deeds in a vacuum. These cries for his resignation are likely coming from those who benefited from Boss Ed's corruption and playing some CYA. I'm sure the FBI is following the path of the money. Ed is simply the last card to fall.

This is small town corruption. But Ed reminds me of William Tweed. MM I understand he isn't officially connected to the NIZ, but with all of the money flowing into Reilly's pockets, I'm sure Ed found a way to get a taste of it.

michael molovinsky said...

concerned@6:38, there was an article several months ago that claimed that mike fleck sent a list of pledged, but unpaid contributions to pawlowski, which included $50,000 from reilly. such a huge amount begs for an explaination

Anonymous said...

I really think it only natural the Pawlowski administration is intertwined within the ANIZDA operations.

If memory serves, the Mayor designated one of the ANIZDA board members. Other city officials and department heads have oversight over necessary approvals and regulations. At its very inception, the boundary of the special zone was crafted in curious form, and we all heard rumors property buyers were tipped-off early. Then, the matter of secrecy behind the NIZ operation.

I do not believe the NIZ was the focus of the FBI investigation at the outset, but the examination tracks had to have passed throughout every segment of it. Fingerprints are certainly there. Hopefully, everything was above board and there was no influence peddling.

Sure does appear now, the Mayor WILL be indicted and ultimately be incarcerated. Others, presently unannounced, will also be joining him. I'm not ready to rule out ANIZDA operatives.

Fred Windish

spencer said...

While personally I don't have an opinion on the NIZ, I completely agree with what you said in your previous blog entry.

Pawlowsky needs to go. Ethically its the right thing to do, but we all know he won't. I believe he wont do it, because if he resigns it will be taken as a form of "admission of guilt" to the public. I'm worried he won't leave until he is (if) put in jail, and knowing how slow the wheels of justice turn, that could take forever.

I look forward to hearing all the details when (if) he goes to court/trial.

michael molovinsky said...

spencer@8:18, i agree, furthermore, pawlowski gets paid $2,000 a week plus accrued time toward pension.

Anonymous said...

Pawlowski may lose his pension under the pension forfeiture act?

Elijah LoPinto said...

I disagree on the NIZ. That first 20 million to City Center may very well have been illegal (there was no way to apply for it) and the contract with brooks group is questionable. The districting of the NIZ as well could be called into question.

While much of the NIZ is technically legal there is a reason why J.B. was named in the subpoena.

Anonymous said...

Pawloski will not lose His pension.

michael molovinsky said...

elijah@9:52, for those reasons i refer to the NIZ as immoral. for those reasons i say that it was a custom law for j.b. reilly. the law is written in pencil, being interpreted and made up as they go along. the pre-loan by fainor for j.b. to buy up the zone through straw buyers, i.m.o. didn't violate any law, just our sense of decency. sy traub, rather than being arrogant, should be ashamed, as should everybody connected with the anizda

Anonymous said...

I seem to recall a Morning Call report from a few months ago claiming Pennsylvania officials say "No more NIZ funds until we start to get back our investment in the arena construction." Or, something to that effect.

Can't understand why obligating future tax dollars to even MORE projects is continuing. With each new project, the likelihood of ever recovering those funds decreases.

Some sort of pause in this program is needed. Maybe the Mayor will help the investigation climb even higher up the chain, if only to save his own skin.

Fred Windish

Rich Fegley said...

I feel that Hendricks call for Pawlowski's resignation is too late.

Hendricks rubber-stamped the parking meter increases and he approved spending the $5 million of water/sewer "windfall" money. That same money was used to buy Atiyeh's $1.4 million property that the City did not need.

I told Hendricks and Council that the $5 million was not theirs to approve and spend like this. Only Jeanette Eichenwald voted no.

Hendricks voted for Pawlowski's bullshit schemes. He is too late to call for Pawlowski's resignation.

Hendricks also chose to sit on the sidelines when the water/sewer deal was going down. He chose not to speak up then, why does he suddenly choose to speak up now?

Cowards. City Council is uninformed and fearful. They should be voted out ASAP.

Monkey Momma said...

The thing is, if Pawlowski is shaking down everyone for campaign contributions, it begs the question of WHY hasn't anyone complained about this before? Why did it take an FBI investigation to reveal that you have to pay to play in this city?

I'll tell you why...because EVERYONE is in on it. Well, almost everyone. The people who are sophisticated enough to know what's going on are either participating in the scheme OR do not want to get anywhere near the scheme. There are very few Fegleys and Eichenwalds here. (Well, there's one of each. And a handful of like minded advocates. But hardly enough to affect voting.) You only have to be very peripherally involved in city business to see that it is corrupt and inefficient.

So while Allentown may eventually boot Pawlowski (but it may not - do not trust the FBI to finish this job), there are many more waiting on the sidelines to fill his void. If no one bothered to call him out on his very obvious shenanigans before, then he had a huge team of enablers. It is scary, and I do not think this electorate, on the whole, has the ability or the will to change things.

Anonymous said...

Monkey Mama,

I led the effort from the school board to block 2 KOZ zones for Pawlowski cronies. In the last election I came in dead last. Allentown is what Allentown does, it is frankly populated by people who just don't care about the integrity of their local government. It is my guess Ed Pawlowski will be re-elected if the FBI doesn't haul him off to jail. This all mystifies me, I can't explain it, but it is what it is and we have to recognize that fact.

Scott Armstrong

Michael Donovan said...

Well, Scott, there are others who have challenged the status quo.

Many citizens constantly brought issues to council, but could not get enough of us to listen.

The controller and I tried to rewrite the ethics rules, but could not get buy-in from enough of the council members.

While on Council, I challenged the Mayor from the beginning on all financial matters, including the budget. I did agree with the NIZ -- still do -- but only if run in a totally different way. Sadly, those involved have no idea of what is true urban development. And the suburbans and wealthier Allentown residents ooh and ahh at the arena or fancy restaurants, while the rest of the population has not benefited.

And I ran against the guy because of everything he was doing that hurt the residents of Allentown from NIZ policies geared to favor a few, to the water lease, to the waste facility, to mismanagement of finances. And this is not to say how he tried to bully Kim Velez of the council ballot.

It is possible to find individuals who are trying to take a bipartisan view on how a city is run. It is difficult here because of the entrenched habits of those in power.

I have had to ignore all this with 2 cancers in me, and details at work. Plus, I know that my perspective of good government is different from many, even yours Scott.

I believe in the role of government, and I believe that there are true statesmen and women out there. I have met many in my life.

Not many here, though.

Anonymous said...

......of course that wouldn't be the first council person with a boy on the city payroll, would it?

Rich Fegley said...

Council voted 6-1 tonight in favor of borrowing $4.5 million from the Solid Waste Fund (the city's other pocket). Only Councilwoman Eichenwald questioned this and voted NO. The 6 rubber-stampers with nothing to say. Silence. They really just feel they only have to vote YES or NO.

This is not what I ever expected City Council would devolve to.

bball24 said...

Rich, you're incorrect. They say nothing, and only vote YES or YES.

Anonymous said...

Mike Donovan,

While we disagree on the role of government we do agree on the value of integrity for good government. Because you have integrity you were a poor fit for Allentown's city council. That is an indictment not just of corrupt city elected officials but of the voters as well who elect and re-elect proven collaborators of the corruption.
My hat is off to you Micheal for your service and willingness to speak truth to power.

Scott Armstrong