The LuLac Edition #266, July 18th, 2007
PHOTO INDEX: WILKES BARRE COUNCIL CANDIDATE IN DISTRICT "A" WALTER GRIFFITH AND JUDGE ANNE LOKUTA.
STIRRING THE POT
Walter Griffith objected to Luzerne County’s handling of a campaign finance complaint during Tuesday’s Election Board meeting.
Griffith said he found several missing expenditures and receipts in campaign finance reports filed by Rick Cronauer and his campaign committee. Griffith is running against Cronauer for a Wilkes-Barre council seat in the city’s District A.
When he filed a complaint with the county district attorney’s office, Griffith said the district attorney’s office informed him that it would not be pursuing the matter because county solicitor Neil O’Donnell said there was not a valid complaint.
Griffith said he has a valid complaint and believes the election board has a legal obligation to ask the district attorney to investigate it.
He also said Tuesday that he objects to the county’s willingness to allow Cronauer to amend his reports.
County Election Bureau Director Leonard Piazza said in May that Cronauer, after learning of Griffith’s complaint, filed an amended report and paid a $250 late fee. Cronauer portrayed the lack of disclosure as an unintentional mistake, Piazza said.
Griffith said all candidates should be forced to adhere to reporting requirements because reports are the official documents telling the public how campaign funds are received and spent.
The GOP council candidate has been ruminating about this since the primary. Now that he has his decision, he should now go full steam ahead and start hitting all the church picnics, town meetings and community events he can. Griffith has tremendous name recognition and perhaps part of his slogan should be that Wilkes Barre needs a strong minority voice and watchdog. As Mr. Piazza and the Election Board can vouch, he'd be the guy.
A group was formed on Monday night to try and save the FireHouse on Scott Street. Known as the old number 9 facility, it has become the focal point for activitists in the Parsons section and East End. Here's the link to Bill O'Boyle's story in the TL.
LOKUTA EVENT SET
Whether Luzerne County Judge Ann Lokuta can testify about an “apparent federal investigation” at the county courthouse probably won’t be decided until she takes the stand.
Lokuta, who will stand trial in September on a list of judicial misconduct charges, intends to testify on her own behalf and tell the state’s Court of Judicial Discipline about her “voluntary assistance” with the alleged probe.
Lokuta’s attorney, Louis Sinatra, said he wants to introduce evidence of the alleged probe to show it is part of the “motive” behind Lokuta’s charges. Lokuta's testimony, if allowed will have stunning ramifications for the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. Her detractors felt that with her removal, there might be another open seat. With her testimony, the hot rumor is that there might be multiple races for Judge if scandal finds itself on the robes of the jurists.
NIPPER WRITE IN?
He seems closer to trying the stunt. In a way, who can blame him, he nearly won in the primary against Mike Savokinas. But Savokinas will have the backing of the Dems in the race and Stankus will have his supporters and what's left of the GOP. Savokinas stated publicly that Nipper's write in can only help the Democratic candidate because Nowakowski will take more votes away from Stankus. In most normal cases that might be true but this was a very close race and I see Stankus winning a third term if Nipper tries his write in campaign. Nipper will take more votes away from Savokinas because he got a huge block in the primary. Changing anyone's mind about Stankus at this time would be problematic at best.
AND THE STIRRED POT SIMMERS!