Friday, June 10, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1632, June 10th, 2011


Day 5 of the Cordaro and Munchak trial provided still another glimpse into how business was being conducted in Lackawanna County in the first decade of the 21st century. Members of Highland Associates recounted how they paid bribes, cash money to both Bob Cordaro and A.J. Munchak. There was no testimony of an intermediary, a bag man or a third person. This was face to face delivery of cash. Plus this was not a recurring one time event, when the boys ran out of money, they called for more. Don Kalina who was hammered over his “double life” by defense attorneys said that no one ever saw him pass the money, some $90,000 in payments to either of the Commissioners.
The jury then heard from James Finan, a former director of COLTS who said he knew Cordaro as a football star at Dunmore High. The jury heard about people tied to a deal to build an intermodal center in Scranton through the County of Lackawanna Transit System.
It turns out that Cordar wanted Highland Associates involved with COLTS. But there was a problem with the bidding process and the county received a reprimand from the Federal Transportation Administration as well as the repayment of $907,345 to the federal government
Luzerne County developer Mike Pasonick testified and said he gave about 5 grand to Cordaro in expectation that some of his work with the county would continue. But when it became evident that Pasonick Engineering would be frozen out, he stopped giving any more money. No sense letting good money go after bad.
Louis Costanzo, of the construction firm L.R. Costanzo, testified that he supported fellow Republicans Munchak and Cordaro with two separate $2,500 cash payments. One was hand carried in an enveleope during a fundraiser at the Clarks Summit home of Costanzo's son in support of their unsuccessful 2007 re-election campaign.
L.R. Costanzo was responsible for the renovation of the Lackawanna County Courthouse. Costanzo said on cross-examination that he did not feel the campaign contributions were either extortions or bribes. Again, a demonstration of business as usual in the Lac.
The jury heard from Joseph Ferrario, an associate of the business that oversaw Lackawanna County's worker's compensation fund.
Ferraro, another boyhood chum of Cordaro said that he delivered two $2,000 cash payments as campaign contributions to Cordaro's brother, Ronald. But he could not say if those contributions were delivered to the former commissioner. Again, there was reasonable doubt written all over this testimony.
Ferrario, a 50% partner in Hennigan Ferrario, said he was asked by Cordaro to partner with Charles Costanzo in their administration of the worker's comp fund or "give up the business."
The witnesses again gave an idea of just how complicated doing business in Lackawanna County was under this administration.
Day 6 resumes on Monday.


At 3:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your last statement about doing business under this administration
begs the question about previous administrations which were not investigated. Most likely its always been some form of pay to play in Lackawanna County. The difference could be that these guys were exceptionally greedy and reckless!


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