is often referred to as one of the most powerful politicians in the state. But what are the sources of that power? Until yesterday, Fumo held the influential Democratic chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which is a major player in dividing the state's multibillion-dollar budget.
At the heart of his power locally is the Citizens' Alliance for Better Neighborhoods. The South Philadelphia nonprofit founded by Fumo staffers in 1991 is now also at the heart of a looming federal indictment.
Citizens' Alliance has expanded its original mission of cleaning up trash-strewn streets and vacant lots, emerging as a force to revitalize real estate along the Passyunk Avenue commercial district and helping to launch local charter schools, including one housed in the "Fumo Family Building" at 13th and Wharton streets.
Citizens' Alliance has received at least $10 million from the Delaware River Port Authority that maintains bridges over the Delaware River and collects tolls. Fumo has served as a Pennsylvania commissioner for the agency. Peco Energy Co. gave the group $17 million as it sought to win deregulation of electricity markets.
Fumo's political calculations also have been felt across the state. He was a key player in legalizing slot-machine gambling. Fumo's longtime friend and lawyer, Richard A. Sprague, is an investor in one of two partnerships approved in December to open casinos in Philadelphia.
Fumo was also a chief supporter of U.S. Rep. Bob Brady's entering the May primary for mayor. Fumo allies on City Council are President Anna Verna and Councilmen Jim Kenney and Frank DiCicco, a one-time leader of Citizens' Alliance. One group that has benefited from state money is the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn's Landing. Fumo is a board member. He's also of counsel to the law firm of Dilworth Paxson LLP, attorneys for Penn's Landing Corp., a nonprofit that manages and develops the waterfront. Fumo for years was chairman of PSB Bancorp, which owned First Penn Bank, founded by his grandfather.