THE SCROOGES at the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline aren't cutting Philly judges any slack this holiday season.
Last Friday, the court issued a ruling that kicked Municipal Court Judge Dawn Segal and Common Pleas Court Judge Angeles Roca off the bench.
Apparently, fixing cases is frowned upon these days.
But on the same day they lowered the boom on Segal and Roca, the disciplinary judges slipped a lump of coal into ex-Traffic Court Judge Thomasine Tynes' stocking, ruling that Tynes, "having been convicted of three felonies," should be removed from office, too.
Clout knows what you're thinking: Tynes is no longer on the bench, so who cares?
She retired in 2012 and pleaded guilty in 2014 to a conflict-of-interest charge after she got caught in Bling Sting accepting a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet from that smooth-talking rapscallion, Tyron Ali. She also was convicted of perjury related to a ticket-fixing case.
But because Tynes is no longer a judge, the disciplinary panel's ruling is basically moot, right?
Tynes, 73, who was freed this summer after serving about a year and a half in federal medical prison in Texas, has been collecting a yearly pension of $51,182.88, according to Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System records we obtained Thursday. She was able to pocket the pension despite the aforementioned trio of felonies because none of those crimes triggered an automatic pension forfeiture under state law.
But it turns out that under the Pennsylvania Constitution and Judicial Code, pension payments can be terminated when a judge is removed from office for a felony or certain misconduct.
So, in effect, the disciplinary court's ruling, if it stands, could take Tynes' pension away.
Too harsh, or nah?
Tynes' lawyer, Samuel Stretton, already has appealed the ruling. He had asked for leniency, saying in a recent court memo that Tynes "has no family and lives by herself," with Social Security and her state pension her only sources of income.
"Despite the misconduct, Judge Tynes has done everything she can to change and reform," Stretton wrote. "She is elderly now."
But that might not be enough to keep the cash flowing.
Dougherty: Pub sale unrelated to raids
Doc's Union Pub, the Pennsport bar with ties to Electricians union boss John Dougherty, was recently sold and is being turned into a gastropub called Mifflin Tavern that could be open as early as New Year's Day, Billy Penn culture editor Danya Henninger reported this week.
That's interesting, we thought. Maybe it was sold because FBI agents raided the pub this summer? Or maybe because they also raided Dougherty's home and the homes of then-pub owners Brian Burrows, president of Local 98, and Mike Neill, head of the union's apprentice program?
No, no, no, Dougherty flack Frank Keel said Thursday. He said the bar had been up for sale since 2007 and Johnny Doc owned only the building, not the bar.
"The former owners wish the new owners well and look forward to seeing the end results of the extensive remodeling," Keel said. "It's a nice new addition to the Pennsport community."
Regardless, Henninger reports that Mifflin Tavern will have more than 80 beers in bottles and at least two local crafts on tap. So that's nice.
Kenney's haiku fail
We all know that Jim Kenney apparently hates smiling, self-reflection, talking out loud, salad, being mayor of Philadelphia, soda, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, and federal immigration officials.
Clout wasn't about to go over to City Hall and do a Year One evaluation column. The administration recently released a review of Kenney's first year in Room 215, but that thing was like 52 pages. So we asked spokeswoman Lauren Hitt if her boss could summarize 2016 in a haiku, hoping that it would save us some reading/writing time and perhaps bring the mayor a flickering moment of joy. Instead, Kenney replied:
My first year haiku,
Lauren is making me do.
Bender still jerk weed.
Bah-humbug, Jimmy. But then something glorious happened. Kenney's communications staff started cranking out haikus. It's a Christmas miracle! "Consider it a Festivus gift from us to the media," Hitt e-mailed. Here are our favorites, which Hitt assures us Kenney did not write:
Are you kidding me?
Press wants him to smile more??
No wonder Trump won
Dumpster pool unsafe
And pretty gross too, but sure
Call it war on cool
Blah Blah talking points
Glasses off and put away
Here are my real thoughts
Facebook is OK.
Twitter is even better.
They took it from me.
Readers: Got a haiku that summarizes 2016 in Mayor Kenney's Philadelphia? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll run the best ones and maybe buy you an Old Fashioned if the Palm ever reopens.
- Staff writers William Bender and Jeremy Roebuck and columnist Jenice Armstrong contributed to this column.