Thursday, September 1, 2016
The bloodhounds at our city's intrepid paper of record are hot on the trail of D.A. Seth Williams.
But what those bloodhounds really need is a seeing eye dog to lead the way. Because the bloodhounds are blind, and have been for a long time.
In case you missed it, the Inky's hounds are sniffing a trail of blood left behind by Seth's self-inflicted wounds. It began with $160,000 in undeclared "gifts" that came from donors that included the Philadelphia Eagles, a roofing contractor, and some friendly defense lawyers. Also on the trail is the FBI and a federal grand jury.
The latest blood that was spilled resulted from a confession by the D.A.'s girlfriend, Stacey Cummings, that she had slashed tires on two official city vehicles parked outside Seth's house.
As in the $160,000 in gifts that went unreported for up to six years, Seth waited a while before doing the right thing. Twelve days went by before Seth's security officer finally got around to reporting the crime. Can you say cover-up?
Why would Seth's girlfriend want to slash his tires?
Well, Seth's personal life is known to be something of a mess.
There were so many stories swirling around the bald Lothario that he famously defended himself by telling Philadelphia magazine in 2012, "You've got me fucking all the women in the office."
Another puddle of blood on the trail stems from a recent decision by the board of directors at a charity that Seth set up, the Second Chance Foundation. The board of directors, after recently receiving a federal subpoena for their records, voted to disband that charity and give away its assets.
If somebody showed up from Mars yesterday, they would have to conclude that Seth Williams is corrupt from head to toe.
Seth knows he's in deep shit. A local politician who recently saw Seth at a party said, "The fear is all over him."
Seth has to know that the feds are all over his list of "donors." He probably lies awake at night wondering how many of those "donors" will roll over and tell the feds that those "gifts" weren't voluntary, and maybe they were even quid pro quos.
Wouldn't that be shocking? Our corrupt D.A. possibly on his way to the slammer?
With the smell of blood in the air, no wonder there's so much excitement down on Market Street, at the headquarters of the new nonprofit Inky.
"While his office smolders, Seth Williams tweets," Inky columnist Mike Newall wrote on Aug. 30th. Newall was recounting the D.A.'s recent musings on social media about such important topics as the block parties he's been attending.
Kind of like Nero fiddling while Rome burns. Newall was pointing out all the hard questions Seth is ducking about the many allegations of corruption that surround our pathetic and embarrassing D.A.
There is one place, however, where the Inky bloodhounds will never go in their relentless quest to expose Seth.
That would be the grandest alleged accomplishment of Seth's corrupt regime as D.A., namely his self-described "historic" prosecution of the local Catholic Church.
Because, as bad as the Inky wants Seth, there is one big sacred cow standing in their way: The sainted alleged victims of sexual abuse, and the beloved media story line about Catholic pedophile priests preying on helpless youngsters.
As bad as the Inky wants Seth, this is one door they refuse to open.
So, according to the Inky's non-logical story line, we are left to assume that a D.A. who takes in $160,000 worth of unreported free gifts, who may be facing penalties for his screwed-up campaign finances, and has a screwed-up private life, suddenly turned into Mr. Clean when he staged his witch hunt against the Catholic Church?
This is a corrupt D.A. who accepted free sideline passes from the Eagles for five years, and then pardoned an Eagle wide receiver for allegedly sexually assaulting a dancer at Cheerleaders.
A corrupt D.A. who had a roofer install a new roof worth $45,000 for free and didn't see a problem until he found out a federal grand jury was after him.
A corrupt D.A. who took free vacations paid for by defense lawyers.
A corrupt D.A. who prosecuted a 71-year-old former traffic court judge for accepting as a gift a $2,000 bracelet, but didn't see a problem while he was taking in $160,000 worth of free gifts.
This D.A. is going to do everything on the up and up when he stages a state-sponsored witch hunt?
As previously outlined on this blog, Seth began his witch hunt by charging Msgr. William J. Lynn under a 1972 state child endangerment law. It was a law that a previous D.A., a previous grand jury, and a previous amendment by the state legislature, all had clearly stated in writing didn't apply to Lynn.
Then, Seth rounded up two drug addicted-criminals to pose as sex abuse victims, even though the record showed both were transparent frauds.
And when the facts as gathered by a grand jury didn't match the story line in Seth's 2011 bogus grand jury report, his office brazenly rewrote those facts.
No, Inky bloodhounds, the more logical conclusion is that Seth Williams is corrupt to the core, and that everything he touched is tainted.
Especially his grand crusade against the church.
Because a man without principles, without any regard for the truth, will stop at nothing to get ahead. Even if it involves putting innocent men in jail to promote his political career.
In the Inky's defense, there is one journalist employed at that newspaper who is on to Seth's corruption regarding the Catholic prosecution.
Christine Flowers is a lawyer and a columnist at the Daily News, before Philadelphia Media Network consolidated the Inky, the Daily News, and philly.com into one unified newsroom.
On August 6th, Flowers wrote a column, under the headline, "When justice is blind, but ambition isn't."
In the column, Flowers compared Seth Williams to Mike Nilfong, the disbarred lead prosecutor in the infamous Duke lacrosse rape case. And Marilyn Mosby, the state attorney general of Maryland, who lost three cases in a row attempting to prosecute Baltimore cops for the death of Freddie Gray, who died of injuries received after he took a ride in a police van.
"Beware of ambitious prosecutors with a righteous cause." Flowers began her column for the one unified newsroom. "People who get in their way end up as road kill on the justice highway."
Seth, Flowers wrote, "was hailed as a hero, and set out to get his pound of ecclesiastical flesh by putting [Msgr. Lynn], a man who never touched a child, in jail."
Even though when his conviction was overturned, Msgr. Lynn has served 33 months out of his 36-month sentence, plus 18 months of house arrest, Williams announced he was going to retry the case May 1.
Because "while justice may be blind," Flowers wrote, "ambition has 20/20 vision."
So we have one journalist at the Inky who gets it.
But wait, you say, you don't remember reading that column?
That's because over at the one unified newsroom, the editors decided they didn't want that column.
So it ran in the Delaware County Times.
Because in this town, justice is blind.
And so is the paper of record.
Over at the Inky, the stonewalling continues.
I sent a couple of emails to Stan Wischnowski, vice president of news operations at Philadelphia Media Network, the guy who oversees the Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com.
I asked Wischnowski if he could explain why the Inquirer won't touch the Msgr. Lynn story, and why they didn't run the Flowers column.
He didn't respond to a couple of requests for comment.
Since "Silent Stan" wasn't forthcoming, I reached out to Amy Buckman, spokesperson for Philadelphia Media Network. She did her usual great job of elucidating the public.
"We have no comment," Buckman wrote back in an email.