Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Things not looking so hot for the Mayor

This, my friends, does not look so good. It seems like the US Attorney ethics probes in City Government are getting closer and closer to Mayor Street and his top dog, George Burrell. It was reported in the Inquirer that well respected, ex-city finance director Janice Davis, will testify in court that she was ordered to award city contracts to those who were "reccomended" by Ron White. White, who recently died of cancer, was allegedly the all powerful go between with the Mayor's office and city contractors.

From the Inquirer:

Davis, now Atlanta's finance director, will testify that White often lobbied her to hire certain firms - and that Street had "instructed" her to favor those firms, prosecutors said. They said the defendants had sought to curry favor with White because they knew he had a "substantial degree of control" in city matters.

"Indeed, that is the only reason that they favored White; it is why LeCroy and Snell decided to break the law to give White $50,000, and it is why Carlson decided to lie about it to the FBI," wrote prosecutors Michael A. Schwartz, Robert A. Zauzmer, Joan L. Markman and Richard J. Zack.

The prosecutors wrote that LeCroy, for example, had told his colleagues that White "carries a lot of stroke with the city and looks out for our interests on an ongoing basis."

A second article, shows that Burrell thinks this is simply how business gets done in the city. At least he is somewhat honest.

Confronted yesterday with his own words from an FBI wiretap, mayoral aide George Burrell offered a blunt comment about how he assesses those seeking contracts from the Street administration.

Part of the test, Burrell said, is whether they "fall into the category of friends and supporters of the mayor."

In an interview, Burrell sought to explain a statement, secretly recorded by the FBI in 2003 and released yesterday, in which he talked with the late power-broker Ronald A. White about cutting out a bond firm because it had not given to Mayor Street's campaign fund.

On tape, Burrell balked at giving work to the firm, Janney Montgomery Scott, after noting that a Janney executive was barred by regulation from making campaign donations.

"All I know, he's at Janney Montgomery Scott, and he can't give us any money, and Janney doesn't give," Burrell said. "They don't even arrange for us to get money."
I don't think this is going to end well... It may however, shame the city into passing real ethics reform.


At 11:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love political science. From that perspective, I couldn't wrap my mind around all the pundits who said Street's re-election was a foregone conclusion, despite the scandals. Nothing seems to touch the guy.


At 12:07 AM, Blogger DanielUA said...

In terms of his reelection in 03: Beating an incumbent Democrat mayor has to be one of the more impossible things. And, in fact, the whole bugging probe actually helped Street. It was painted as an attempt by Dubya, Ashcroft and Co to inject their desires in our Mayoral race. And, it worked...

At 1:41 AM, Blogger Dan M said...

Take an earthquake to solve Philly's attachment to corruption. The dems have the city, have the unions, have the patronage positions, and they are not about to give it up.

The Inq. does not help either, only occasionally making a story of it, just to maintain appearances.

At 5:29 AM, Blogger DanielUA said...

Another interesting column on the corruption, from a a business standpoint: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/10621982.htm


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