Thursday, June 09, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1630, June 9th, 2011


While the heat and humidity made for some hot and sticky situations on the outside today, in the Federal Courthouse in Scranton Tom Dubis the head of Emergency Services told stories of heated discussions with Commissioners Cordaro and Munchak.
The head of the Lackawanna County emergency services department said today that he got into a heated conversation with defendants Munchak and Cordaro regarding comments he made to the media about his involvement in the selection of a company that built a 911 cell tower. Dubas said the Commissioners called him following their indictment to dispute his memory regarding who had initiated contact with John Brayfee LLC, a company federal prosecutors say shared the profit on the tower with Cordaro and three other men. Dubas said he played no role in the selection of the firm, which was owned by attorney Thomas Cummings. Dubas said Cordaro told him during the conversation that Dubas "came to him," regarding the selection of Brayfee. Questioned by Cordaro's co-counsel, Jerry Johnson, Dubas acknowledged that neither Cordaro nor Munchak threatened him. However, he was concerned about the angry tone in both Muchak and Cordaro’s voices enough about their talks that he contacted the FBI shortly afterward to arrange an interview. Cummings testified that he approached P.J. McLaine with the idea of building a new cell tower for the county. McLaine advised Cummings that he should contact Al Hughes, to act as an intermediary to bring the idea to commissioners. Again it appears that Hughes, a funeral director was the great negotiator and Henry Kissinger of the Cordaro and Munchak administration.
Hughes held no paid job with the county, but Cummings reported that P.J. McLaine advised him he should utilize him as a go-between because he could "facilitate" in getting the project approved. Federal prosecutors say Hughes, was paid $14,000 for his share of the profit after being made a partner and that he received an additional $14,000 to give to Cordaro for his share of the profits. McLaine and a third man were also each paid $14,000.
Court reconvened after lunch with prosecutors calling a principal at architectural firm Highland Associates. Kevin Smith testified that county contracts "were a big part of the activity in the office, especially in 2005." Feds say that the principals at Highland paid Munchak $60,000 in kickbacks and Cordaro $30,000 in kickbacks to keep those county contracts and to be selected for newer ones down the road.
Smith and Dominic Provini of Highland Associates said they made the payments in 2005 reluctantly after another partner in the business, Don Kalina, told them the commissioners had demanded money.
All of the testimony today pointed to a pay for play or pay for work culture in Lackawanna County politics. What has struck me is the virtual timidity of the business people. No one was willing to take a stand against two Commissioners that were elected by a razor thin margin of only 200 votes. How jurors will react to their testimony and their admissions that they paid kick backs out of fear will be fascinating analysis when all is said and done.
Bob Cordaro told news crews on the street that he and Munchak’s rebuttal to the charges filed by businessmen today will be addressed at trial on Friday. Day 5 tomorrow..


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

These giants of local business, not a one had the balls to report the demands to authorities. Bob and AJ may be guilty but these bastards who got immunity are nothing but scumbags and should be banned from doing business with
state, county or federal entities.
They claim they were looking out for their employees. Bullshit! The Feds were too generous in their desire to get the commissioners. It seems these guys were all cowards and the threat of jail would have been enough. With the exception of Tom Dubas and Mike Washo everyone who has testified has been corrupted by greed. I'd like to put them all in the same

At 5:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All seems like such a waste of time and money. Nothing will change.

At 5:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One individual had the good sense to contact law inforcement! He was a police officer and a detective for over 20 years and saw himself being set up after signing a document under false pretenses. I believe his testimony totally. The others might or might not be good at their word. The whole thing is absolutely amazing! What the hell was wrong with the other citizens? No faith in the system. I agree with 11:11.
Throw them all in the slammer.


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