Jimmy Tayoun made calls to top Traffic Court judge, federal indictment says

The politically-connected newspaper publisher had three reasons for two calls to the president judge of Philadelphia Traffic Court in the summer of 2011. 

Jimmy Tayoun, publisher of the Philadelphia Public Record, wanted an interview with Judge Michael Sullivan about his new leadership post, to take his picture and to seek help for an “associate” who was in danger of losing his license due to a traffic ticket.

Sullivan was one of nine judges indicted Thursday on corruption charges for alleged ticket-fixing.

Tayoun, a former City Councilman who served time in federal prison in the 1990s on corruption charges, says his calls to Sullivan were no big deal.

“The call to a Traffic Court judge is the same in my opinion as me being a character witness in a court case,” said Tayoun, identified in the 79-page indictment only as “Ji.T.”

Judge H. Warren Hogeland dismissed the $152 ticket for driving with an expired vehicle inspection, even though Tayoun’s associate, identified in the indictment as “G.C.” didn’t show up in court. Hogeland was also indicted Thursday.

Tayoun, who has published at least three columns critical of the Traffic Court probe since it became public in late 2011, said charging judges for doing political favors “shows a definite weakness in the efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to really find something wrong with that court.”