We told you last month how Harrisburg gadfly Gene Stilp was collecting vacuum cleaners to protest U.S. District Justice Ronald Buckwalter's controversial sentence for former state Sen. Vince Fumo, who is scheduled to report at the end of the month to serve 55 months in federal prison for his conviction on corruption charges. Now Stilp says he has collected 300 vacuum cleaners, which he plans to drive from Harrisburg to Philadelphia tomorrow. Stilp and other protesters will deliver the vacuum cleaners to Buckwalter's office in the federal courthouse at 601 Market Street on Thursday morning. Their message to Buckwalter: "Your Fumo sentence sucks."
The vacuum cleaner stunt is a wry reference to one of the many issues in Fumo's 137-count indictment. Fumo used more than $6,500 from a nonprofit he founded to buy 19 vacuum cleaners - one for every floor of every house he owns.
Fumo this week asked Buckwalter to either let him stay out of prison while he appeals his sentence or put off the deadline for him to start serving time. Stilp has a message for Fumo too: "Time to go to jail." That, Stilp says, will be printed on a sign on the side of the truck driving in from Harrisburg. And Stilp takes one more little shot at Fumo, saying he plans to bring along a hand-held vacuum cleaner for the former senator's prison cell.