Thursday, December 18, 2014

Perzel & DeWeese: Stir Crazy Pols

Capitolwire.com is reporting that former House Speakers John Perzel and Bill DeWeese are cellmates in state prison: it begs for a movie.

Perzel & DeWeese: Stir Crazy Pols

And in the category of only-in-Pennsylvania, the online news service capitolwire.com is reporting that former state House Speakers John Perzel and Bill DeWeese are cellmates in state prison.

It begs for a movie. Maybe something along the lines of "Stir Crazy," the 1980 film starring Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder. Except in the movie, the fictional pair was framed for a bank robbery. In real life, the two former Speakers earned their stir stints.

The capitolwire story, by veteran journalist Pete DeCoursey, is full of delicious detail.

It notes that Republican Perzel began his jail term with his former chief of staff Brian Preski, and that Democrat DeWeese began his with his former chief of state Mike Manzo, whose testimoney helped put DeWeese in prison.

Perzel and DeWeese are each serving up to five years (though both likely will serve half that or less) for different scams involving misuse of public money for campaign purposes.

Both are in Camp Hill state prison for weeks of programming to determine where they will be sent to serve their terms.

The capitolwire story quotes prison officials as confirming that they share the same cellblock. DeCoursey quotes unnamed friends of the pair who have visited them confirming they share the same cell.

There's even this.

"(There was) a recent trip to the prison dining room, where a guard teased DeWeese: `Here comes Sticky Fingers.'

DeWeese roared with laughter, as he tells the story and responded:`I’m Sticky Fingers?'

He pointed at himself:`They accused me of [misusing] $100,000.'

He pointed at Perzel:`They accused him of $10 million! He’s the Sticky Fingers!'

Perzel, guards, other inmates crack up."

Only in Pennsylvania. Scriptwriters should get busy.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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 baerj@phillynews.com.

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 baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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