Sunday, February 14, 2016

Arlene's Backer-men

Those private donors who bought-out Queen Arlene's contract are anonymous but we can probably figure out who they are.

Arlene's Backer-men


(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Well, boss, The Queen is gone, long live The Queen.

BE: And she oughta be able to live pretty well for some time, given that $900,000 buy-out.

JB: Tribute money. Well-deserved. And you know all this hoo-hah about who ponied up? Easy to figure out.

More coverage

BE: You mean the private, anonymous donors who kicked in $400,000? Who are you thinking?

JB: The usual suspects.

BE: Names, I want names.

JB: Well, since nobody knows, I'll just make this up. You got this non-profit Philadelphia's Children First Fund where The Queen's cash got laundered and whose board includes, ta da, soda-bottling magnate Harold Honickman. He shows up annually on Forbes lists of the richest Philadelphians AND he recently ducked that whole soda tax thing. A little "thank you" to the mayor? I figure he's good for at least 100k.

BE: Makes sense. Who else?

JB: Follow the money. How about Mary Alice Dorrance Malone, granddaughter of the Campbell Soup founder? She's rated richest in the region. Something like $2.2 billion. She wouldn't miss 100K.

BE: Mmm, mmm, good.

JB: Then there's Comcast king Brian Roberts. Local guy, went to Penn, already owns everything and is politically connected through his executive VP David L. Cohen. Hardly a stretch to put him down for $100 k.

BE: I get the picture. In HD!

JB: How about Harold Lenfest who sold his communications company to Comcast a decade ago for several billion? He's a Democratic donor and, more importantly, a major philanthropist. Maybe the mayor touched his Democratic philanthropic heart on behalf of the children of Philadelphia. Because, you know, this is all about the children.

BE: Boy, we're up to 400K without breaking a sweat.

JB: And the board of Children First that includes Ackerman is packed with lawyers from the city's major firms, the firms that routinely bundle cash from partners to give to political candidates. It's hardly a stretch to think they could do so for this.

BE: Well, when you put your mind to it, I can see how easy it is to raise money in this town.

JB: And especially for such a good cause such as covering the backsides of the geniuses who came up with The Queen's contract and buy-out provisions.

BE: Because it IS all about the children.


UPDATE: Although this is made up, Comcast called to say that Roberts wasn't involved. 

Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

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