Monday, June 13, 2011

The LuLac Eition #1636, June 13th, 2011


If what all the government witnesses say turns out to be true, it appears that Bob Cordaro and A.J. Munchak were equal opportunity bribe takers. Everyone from a cleaning company to a car dealer testified as to their campaign contributions that put them first in line for business with Lackawanna County. And if some were more generous than others, they got on a “preferred” list.
The day started with testimony from John Heim of A.J Guzzi General Construction. Heim was told by Cordaro’s brother Ronald that he hoped Heim would back the right horse. Heim wrote a check but never acted on it.
Michael Conflitti, a consultant for Northeast Credit Collections, testified about how that firm lost the contract to collect delinquent real estate taxes. They lost out to a company that was owned by Joseph Durkin, a buddy of Cordaro's. Conflitti said Cordaro had repeatedly expressed disappointment to Conflitti that the owners of Northeast Credit were not "on his side" or "in his corner." Conflitti said he personally gave $1,000, but the firm never held a fundraiser as requested for Cordaro/Munchak. Because of that, he believed his firm lost the contract to Durkin's.
Dan Marion, owner of Marion Maintenance, explained that his company obtained work as a subcontractor to Quality Building Services. He also said he donated $1,000 to the Cordaro-Munchak campaign in November 2006, with the understanding that the campaign contribution would smooth the way for the $8,000-a-month cleaning contract.
Al Grow a car dealer from Lackawanna County talked about his $500.00 contribution to Munchak Cordaro’s campaign. Shortly after their election he got a seat on the Lackawanna County Stadium Authority Board. He also gave more than $3,0000 to the effort but did not construe it as a kickback.
Al Magnotta, of the Scranton engineering firm CECO Associates, took the stand for prosecutors. Magnotta, whose firm did county work and was the county engineer during the Cordaro-Munchak administration, made a $500 contribution to Cordaro that was not reported in campaign finance paperwork.
During the trial, there was testimony that Cordaro paid for two brand new cars with cash and that he bought a home for nearly half a million dollars in and around Lake Scranton.
As the testimony continues, it is quite evident that the Commissioners weren’t too choosy about where they wanted their money from. At first blush you can say the government is stacking a methodical case against Munchak and Cordaro but the wild card element in this will be the fact that all of the witnesses were granted immunity.
Day 7 tomorrow.


At 7:11 PM, Blogger D.B. Echo said...

I think the people of Luzene County should send these guys some fruit baskets as a thank-you for making Luzerne County look clean by comparison.

At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So they consider campaign contributions as kick backs yet one big donor did not get a contract. Sounds like BS to me. Businessmen have been making campaign contributions for hundreds of years and yes they are considered friends so when appointments are given out, who do you give them to strangers? None of these people testified that they were asked for kickbacks and they testified with immunity so WTF? This began as a slam dunk but now I'm beginning to wonder. I'm now thinking tax evasion will be the crime and that's the most these clowns with the badges can hope for.

At 1:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grow testified that he was merely a figurehead at the Stadium Authority after he paid for the appointment. What does he think the Stadium Authority was during previous administrations and what did he expect? Believe me I know what I'm talking about. The only good GM the Stadium ever had was Bill Terlecky and he has been quoted as saying he didnt even get to hire the ushers. You will remember the previous group ran him off. The stadium has always been a fiefdom and every contract ever awarded was tainted and involved the buddy system from construction to food service! The whole culture was and maybe still is corrupt. The difference is that bids were fixed but at least bids
were taken. These guys were so arrogant and stupid they didnt even go thru the charade! Business as usual in Lackawanna County for a long long time. The coin of the realm was always jobs from King Joe to King Bob and a bit of corruption. According to testimony
it turned into a get very rich very quick scheme and if the majority had gotten reelected it would have gone on. I cant say I think much of the current majority,
but I would be very shocked if they were dishonest and at least one of them seems to me to have the best interest of Lackawanna County and its citizens at heart.

At 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
Love your coverage. I have a question. I have read and heard about all of this "testimony" against Cordaro and Munchak. The one thing I have not noticed is any evidence. Has there been any presented?
I find the whole Cordaro paid cash for cars kind of amusing. Anyone familiar with Bobby know he had money before he entered office.


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