Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Son Of DROP -- The Triple Dip!

By Ralph Cipriano
for Philadelphia magazine

The first time he "retired from the City of Philadelphia, Ruben David was project director for public safety in the department of property, a job that paid him an annual salary of $83,063. Thanks to Philadelphia's DROP program, which lavishly rewards municipal employees just for showing up during their last years on the job, David left his city gig in 2015 with a parting gift from taxpayers: a lump-sum cash bonus of $268,224, plus an annual pension of $61,320.

But for David, his initial retirement as a public servant was just a prelude to a far more lucrative career as a private contractor. One year after he retired the first time, David took a new position that would eventually pay him more than double his old salary, laboring as a contractor for -- surprise! -- his old employer, the very same City of Philadelphia.

How is that possible? Well, get this -- it's all perfect legal. That's because David (who couldn't be reached for comment for this story) is part of an exclusive club at City Hall we'll call the "triple-dippers." And exactly how many members are in this club is a mystery.

The rest of the story can be read here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

"Phony Baloney" Plea Deal May Come Back To Bite D.A.

By Ralph Cipriano

To District Attorney Larry Krasner, it was just a "phony baloney" plea bargain with a would-be cop killer.

When the D.A. got on the phone with Maurice Hill, after the career criminal with the AR-15 assault rifle had just shot six police officers, Krasner agreed to a lenient 20-year jail sentence just so Hill would come out and surrender.

But to Richard Sax, a retired homicide prosecutor, what the D.A. did was a blatant violation of the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Responsibility, Rule 8.4, which states: "It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to . . . engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."

So that's why this week, Sax, an outspoken critic of Krasner's, filed a complaint against the D.A. with the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

Monday, August 19, 2019

A Tale Of Two Philly D.A.'s Who Are Costing Taxpayers $$$Millions

By Ralph Cipriano

This is a story about two Philadelphia district attorneys, past and present, and how they teamed up to unleash a crime wave upon the city, and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

A few years ago, when Rufus Seth Williams was D.A., he joined forces with Larry Krasner, then a cop-suing defense lawyer, to spring more than 1,100 convicted drug dealers out of jail. The vast majority of these dealers had already pleaded guilty after being caught with large quantities of drugs, cash and even guns. But thanks to Williams and Krasner, those lucky drug dealers not only got out of jail free, they also got their money back and their convictions expunged, and then, records show, hundreds of them went out to commit even more crimes!

But 300 of those newly emancipated drug dealers had a bigger aspiration; they wanted to hit the lottery. Led by lead plaintiff's attorney, Larry Krasner, the drug dealers filed 300 civil rights cases against the city of Philadelphia and the former narcotics cops who had arrested them. To defend itself, the city had to hire eleven lawyers from three law firms, who have been representing the cops and the city for THE PAST FIVE YEARS, costing taxpayers untold millions in legal fees.

Friday, August 16, 2019

D.A. Got Stiffed The Night Six Cops Were Shot

By Ralph Cipriano

During the nonstop media coverage of the shooting of six Philly cops, one public official was never out of range of the TV cameras -- District Attorney Larry Krasner.

He was there on camera with the mayor, he was there on camera with the police commissioner, he was there on camera talking with cops on the street. Which is kind of amazing considering that Progressive Larry is pretty much uniformly despised by the men and women in blue. The local chapter of the FOP has even paid for billboards advertising for a new D.A.

But Krasner has chutzpah, and loves the limelight. So on Thursday night, while the bullets were flying, Krasner even tried to visit the six wounded officers at the two hospitals were they were being treated, with little success.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Board Of Elections Won't Rescind Voting Machines Purchase

By Ralph Cipriano

The Board of Elections today decided who cares if the company that sells the most expensive -- and allegedly the most easily hacked voting machines out there -- broke city law by failing to disclose that it had hired lobbyists to help land a $29 million contract with the city?

And who cares if those same lobbyists were writing undisclosed campaign checks to a couple of elections commissioners who allegedly were in the tank big time for the winning bidder?

To ratify a deal that smells pretty ripe at this point the Elections Board had to ignore City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, who stopped by today to personally ask the board to wait just "a few short weeks" until her ongoing investigation of the voting machines deal was complete, so the board could make a "fully informed decision."

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

City Asked To Void $29 Million Voting Machines Contract

By Ralph Cipriano

The manufacturer of Philadelphia's controversial new voting machines, the ExpressVote XL, violated city law by failing to disclose that it had hired lobbyists and consultants to help land a $29 million contract with the city.

The discovery that Election Systems and Software LLC, or ES&S, had hired two lobbying firms, Duane Morris and Triad Strategies, was made by Controller Rebecca Rhynhart during an ongoing investigation of the city's procurement process, which the controller has repeatedly said has been compromised, and that's why she wanted to block payment on the $29 million contract.

ES&S also didn't disclose campaign contributions made by its lobbyists to a couple of commissioners on the Board of Elections. Together, the violations amount to a serious enough offense that the city would be justified in voiding the $29 million contract, according to the controller, and the city solicitor's office. ES&S is also on the hook for a ten percent fine, or $2.9 million, according to the city solicitor, which the company has announced it will pay if the city proceeds with the contract.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

D.A.'s Office Caught Playing Politics With Criminal Complaint

By Ralph Cipriano 

Attention, citizens of Philadelphia. If you're going down to the District Attorney's office at 1425 Arch Street to file a private criminal complaint against somebody who's allegedly sent you a terroristic threat by text message, it might help to have some political muscle behind you.

Because when it comes to filing that kind of criminal complaint, unless you've got some juice, you might be out of luck. As a recent case demonstrates, the top officials who work for our "reform" D.A., Progressive Larry Krasner, apparently are not above playing politics. And what may ultimately matter in a case involving alleged terroristic threats is not what actually happened, but who you know.

Monday, August 5, 2019

What To Do When Your Boss Tells The FBI You're A Crook

By Ralph Cipriano

What do you do when you find out your boss was talking smack about you to the FBI?

If you're Dominic Verdi, the former deputy commissioner of the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections, after you beat the rap at a political corruption trial, you go to court to sue your old boss for malicious prosecution and wrongful termination.

In Verdi's case, his lawsuit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court targets the city and Frances Burns, the incompetent, scandal-plagued know-nothing of an L&I Commissioner appointed with tragic consequences by former Mayor Michael Nutter. And if you're Verdi, when the city's lawyers try to get your lawsuit tossed out of court, you strike back with a 286-page response to the city's motion filled with depositions and affidavits.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Scandal-Plagued NCAA Hires Tainted Investigator Louis Freeh

By Ralph Cipriano

It took him nine years to get there, but former FBI Director Louis Freeh is right where he always wanted to be. This week, after nine years of trying, Freeh and some friends were finally hired as the "go-to investigators" for the scandal-plagued NCAA.

According to a report from CBS Sports yesterday, five employees of the Freeh Group International Solutions were among the 16 independent investigators appointed to the NCAA's new Complex Case Unit.

According to the NCAA, the new unit will be paid to investigate allegations of infractions of "core NCAA values, such as alleged failures to prioritize academics and the well-being of student athletes; the possibility of major penalties; or conduct contrary to the cooperative principles of the existing infractions process."

Freeh, of course, shows up at his new post with plenty of baggage from his notoriously bungled investigation of Penn State, which was the basis for draconian sanctions the NCAA issued against the university.


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