In light of the very serious allegations levied against John J. Dougherty of the Electricians union, Councilman Bobby Henon, and a host of others in Local 98 in a 116-count federal indictment, the South Philadelphia Republican Coalition has grave concerns about the corruption and abuse of power uncovered in the U.S. attorney’s report.
Due to these serious allegations, we call on Mayor Jim Kenney, City Council, and others to take the following actions.
First, we ask for the immediate resignation of Councilman Henon as majority leader until such time as he is found not guilty. His presumption of innocence certainly stands; however, with all of the information and intercepted communications gathered, we believe it to be prudent for Councilman Henon to step down as majority leader until the trial is over.
If he refuses to step down as majority leader, we call on Council President Darrell L. Clarke and the rest of Council to immediately remove him from his post. These allegations of corruption and abuse of power are so strong that we believe it to be a detriment to the city if he is allowed to retain this leadership post and potentially continue the abuse of his power. If these allegations are found to be true, we are witnessing one of the worst abuses of power and corruption this city has ever seen.
Particularly worrisome are the allegations of abuse of power and intimidation directed towards Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. That the medical needs of children apparently were subordinated to a desire to assert union dominance over such a revered institution is unconscionable.
We know that everyone who received campaign contributions from the Local 98 PAC was not involved in these horrible acts; far from it, in fact. However, we call on any elected officials and candidates who have been implicated in this indictment to donate any tainted contributions from the IBEW Local 98 PAC to Children’s Hospital.
We also echo the calls of our state chairman, Val DiGiorgio, for state and federal investigations into alleged “Family Member No. 4,” allegedly Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty, “to ensure that there is no fatal ethical taint on Justice Dougherty that would preclude him from carrying out the proper administration of justice in Pennsylvania.”
We also call on District Attorney Larry Krasner to investigate Justice Dougherty and these allegations immediately. Members of our elected judiciary have a solemn duty to remain above even the suspicion of impropriety, and the allegations concerning Justice Dougherty must be thoroughly and dispassionately investigated before he hears another case.
Finally, we’re calling for immediate public hearings in Council on the political machinations behind passage of the soda tax, and for Mayor Kenney to make a public statement explaining exactly what happened behind closed doors during those negotiations. Was this union retribution to kill jobs? Was this a “revenge tax”? Philadelphians deserve answers.
After speaking with many Republicans in Philadelphia, we can attest that many are appalled by the nature and severity of these allegations. We believe that by embracing these suggestions, the rest of Philadelphia’s elected officials can show that they are serious about reform, good government, and rooting out corruption.