Thursday, March 15, 2012

The LuLac Edition #1985, March 15th, 2012

Former Senator Bob Mellow.


Bob Mellow was a fresh faced 28 year old ball of energy when he first sought election to the Pa. Senate in 1970. It was after all the Senate chair held by Scranton resident Bob Casey. The seat was supposed to stay Democratic when Jim Haggerty, a Scranton attorney and relative by marriage of the powerful Scranton Times newspaper ran as the Democratic nominee in 1966. In the Republican landslide of that year, Arthur Piasecki, a bar and grocery store owner became the Republican State Senator from the 22nd. The young Mellow was going to reclaim the throne for the Democratic party. That he did and then some. Mellow won that election in 1970 and was subsequently re-elected to 9 more terms. Mellow was in office longer than some of his constituents were alive. In his younger days Mellow kept in touch by officiating PIAA basketball games. The legacy of Bob Mellow always has been longevity and an impenetrable political fortress that nothing or no institution could touch. Until today.
On the Ides of March, Former Senator Mellow joined the long list of political characters that were ensnared in a corruption probe. But unlike the charges against Commissioners Munchak and Cordaro and Judges Conahan and Ciavarella, these charges did not smack of kickbacks or financial gain schemes. Rather, Mellow plead to misusing staff for political fundraising and campaign purposes, mail fraud, and filing a false tax return.
If you remember correctly, Mail Fraud and the filing of a false tax return were two of the lesser charges former Judge Ciavarella was convicted on. It is obvious that the feds had more, especially after they raided his home and office last year. By Mellow pleading to these charges, he becomes associated with the statewide Bonus gate scandal where legislators allowed their governmental offices to be used for political purposes. Mellow thus spares his long time legacy by not being convicted of a charge that allowed him to gain financially from any illegal maneuver. (Ray Musto, awaiting trial does not have that luxury). Now to be sure, Mellow will end his career as a convicted felon but the severity of those charges pale in comparison to those against former Senator Vince Fumo who chose to fight at a trial and was convicted on more than 135 counts against him. Obviously Mellow read the handwriting on the wall and cut a deal. A $250,000 fine as well as a 5 year jail sentence will most likely end up with Mellow serving less than two years. He kept his mouth shut, didn’t show up the feds by mouthing off and kept his head down before taking his medicine. To many, Bob Mellow is a disgraced former politico that is on his way to jail. To others, Bob Mellow will be defended as a politician that got in trouble for being a politician. There will be those who will say the charges detailed against him run from 2006 through 2010. Because of that, many Mid Valley residents will tell you “The Leader” (as he was referred to because of his leadership positions in the Senate) took his eye off the ball and got careless. They will justify the plea because Bob Mellow was their hometown boy who made good. You become a State Senator at the age of 28 by being faster and smarter than the rest of the crowd. You stay there for 4 decades by taking care of your constituents with excellent service. And when the pressure gets too great, you hand pick a successor from your home area to succeed you. Finally when the feds come knocking on your door, you don’t defy them with righteous indignation and pronouncements of innocence that historically go on deaf ears. You do what you did for 4 decades with recalcitrant members of the opposition party. You do what politicians do: you cut a deal. One thing Bob Mellow learned in his 4 decades in the Pa. Senate was this: you have to know when to fold them. And today he did.


At 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they accepted a plea to mail fraud and improper tax fillings; that means they did NOT have much more against him. Those 2 charges have very vauge criteria for standard of proof. Mellow was smart to take it though. He will probably get less than a year and no extra money on lawyers or any chance of any other conviction.
He may lose his pension, but you have to wonder just how much he may have put in a rainy day fund.

At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Possibly time for "Donovans Mellow Yellow". As to a rainy day fund, I bet theres a rain forest fund in money stashed all over the place! Mellow had a hell of a run and was a consumate player in local and state politics. Too bad for a guy it appears kept his word to a number of people and may have done some good. Another arguement for term limits. Another member in the Lackawanna County Hall of Busts that wont be sculpted County Museum. Groudbreaking Soon!

Waverly Bob

averly Bob


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