The LuLac Edition #1638, June 14th, 2011
BOB & A.J. TRIAL DAY 7
Little red boxes of cash, a 4 night stay at the Playboy Mansion with Heff the man himself as well as a down playing of the purchase price of a spectacular house at Lake Scranton dominated the testimony this morning at Lackawanna County’s trial of Bob Cordaro and A.J. Munchak.
Shawn Tuffy retook the stand to testify about a real estate deal involving Cordaro.
Tuffy testified Monday that he reached an agreement with Cordaro to sell his 7,000-square-foot home at 57 Tiffany Drive to the Commissioner for $700,000. He also agreed to sell the furnishings in the home for $150,000. Tuffy said yesterday that Cordaro was concerned about buying such an elaborate home, which had heated floors, five fireplaces, a home theater and a hot tub, because he was gearing up for a re-election bid and did not want to create an impression that he lived in a mansion. I drove by that “mansion” once on a ride with one of my correspondents and I have to say that I can’t blame the Commissioner. But he might have been a tad paranoid since the size of his house was the least of his problems in the 2007 re-elect.
Tuffy talked about the deal to sell the furniture. Although the agreed-upon price for everything "not attached to the house" was $150,000, Tuffy said, the bill of sale was only for $100,000 mainly because Cordaro gave Mr. Tuffy a red box holding $50,000 when the two were discussing how to work a "drop down projection unit" that served as a television in the master bedroom. U.S. Attorney William Houser showed him a flattened piece of red cardboard, which Tuffy said was a part of the box Cordaro gave him.
In a type of comic aside, Tuffy testified that Cordaro told him he counted it at least five times, and that it was all there," Tuffy said about the cash in the box. "My wife counted it 20 more times." Apparently Mrs. Tuffy wanted to make sure this was the real deal.
Cordaro’s jaunt to the Playboy Mansion was recounted as it became evident that the Commissioners and his cronies spent thousands of dollars partying with Hugh Hefner.
A September 2007 raid took precedence in the corruption trial this afternoon. FBI Special Agent April Phillips detailed the raid at a pair of businesses that bilked the county workers’ compensation fund out of $650,000. At the county offices, agents brief Commissioner A.J. Munchak and then Bob Cordaro. Mr. Cordaro told the agents that he put Mr. Costanzo in charge because the previous administrator of the workers’ compensation fund had been “stealing millions from the county,” Agent Phillips testified.
Cordaro then requested the agents to not share details of the raid with the other commissioners, according to Agent Phillips. The agents decided not to.
Marc Boriosi, Endless Mountains owner, testified at the trial today.
Feds called Marc Boriosi to the stand to testify about Cordaro's involvement in a contract that led to the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in county funds. Boriosi, who pleaded guilty to charges relating to his role in collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in unearned fees said he and Chuckie Costanzo who has refused to testify launched Executive Claims Administration LLC to act as the third-party administrator for the county's workers' compensation fund.
He testfied that he later started a "fake detective agency" to bill the county for work never completed.
Executive Claims received a contract from Lackawanna county in 2004 to begin administering the workers' compensation fund in the spring of 2004. Boriosi and . Costanzo took over from insurance firm Hennigan-Ferrario. Those were the guys who originally had the contract but weren't playing ball with Cordaro.
Cordaro signed the county contract for Executive Claims to take over as third-party administrator. In the meantime, Costanzo became a very loyal defender of the Cordaro/Munchak administration sometimes attending Democratic rallies to see what they were up to on behalf of the Lackawanna County incumbent GOP.
The juicier testimony came about the Playboy trip.
Boriosi said he, Costanzo and Cordaro attended a June 9, 2004 party at the Playboy Mansion in California.
He said he paid for the trip, which cost $15,000, with his credit card and was reimbursed for the expenses by Executive Claims, which at the time was the administrator of the county workers’ compensation fund. So in effect the tax payers paid for the trip.
The five day trip included hotel rooms and food. Prosecutors displayed photos in court of Costanzo and Cordaro smoking cigars and carrying Playboy anniversary posters and a second photo of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and his girlfriends, with Costanzo and Cordaro in the background.
Okay, you’re on the jury. You are a working class guy or gal and maybe because of the economy your vacation is a State Park. And you’re giving up work to listen to this nonsense. How in the world is the defense going to spin this? This might be the most inconsequential of all the testimony but ironically the most damning.
It has been reported that the prosecution will rest and the defense will begin their list of witnesses tomorrow. There are some courtroom observers saying the defense side might wrap up by the end of the week but there are others who tell me this can go on for about another week or so.
Day 8 tomorrow.