Friday, July 3, 2015

Rendell-era Pa. Turnpike bosses busted: Link to grand jury report

"Pay to play"

Rendell-era Pa. Turnpike bosses busted: Link to grand jury report


"Top former officials of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and a prominent ex-legislator were among eight people indicted Wednesday on political corruption and "pay to play" charges," reports the Inquirer's Amy Worden, Angela Couloumbis and Paul Nussbaum. Read the Inquirer's initial account here.

Read the report of the Grand Jury, which began sitting in 2009 under then-Attorney General, now Gov. Tom Corbett, here.

More from the Inquirer story: "Joseph Brimmeier, who retired in 2011 as chief executive of the turnpike commission, and former state Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Mellow (D., Lackawanna) are accused of illegally soliciting political contributions and misusing turnpike funds, state attorney general Kathleen G. Kane and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said in a news conference.

 "Others indicted by a state grand jury included former turnpike chairman Mitch Rubin, former chief operating officer George Hatalowich, turnpike employees Raymond Zajicek and Melvin Shelton, and vendor employees Dennis Miller and Jeffrey Suzenski.

"A 'pay-to-play culture permeated' the turnpike, Kane said. Engineering firms and other companies seeking work with the turnpike lavished its officials with entertainment, dinners, trips and sporting events... 'These men were using the turnpike to line their pockets and influence elections.'... Political contributors were rewarded with contracts, and politicians were rewarded with gifts and perks, the grand jury said...

"In March 2009, then-Gov. Ed Rendell fired Rubin as commission chairman after it was disclosed that Rubin was a target of an FBI investigation related to the corruption probe of former State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.)."

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PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at,, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

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