Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Inky Reporters & Editors Picket Publisher

By Ralph Cipriano

Bill Ross aimed his bullhorn at the executive offices of the Inquirer.

"Terry can't hear you up on the third floor," he told the 200 or so staffers who were picketing in front of the building on a 90 degree afternoon.

"Inquiring minds want to know," they chanted, "Why our publisher won't show."

Ross, executive director of the NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia, was targeting Inquirer Publisher Terry Egger over the issue of layoffs at the paper where newsroom staffers haven't had a raise in more than ten years.

"No layoffs," they yelled; "Save local news."
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Can Msgr. Lynn Case Be Retried Without A Victim?

By Ralph Cipriano

Judge Gwendolyn Bright today set a Jan. 13th date for the retrial of Msgr. William J. Lynn on a single charge of endangering the welfare of a child. Now the question hanging over the case is whether the D.A.'s star witness will be there.

Judge Bright also set an Oct. 28th date for a pre-trial hearing in the case, at which two big issues may be discussed. One is the topic of further prosecutorial misconduct in the case involving two sets of documents that the D.A.'s office withheld from defense lawyers during the original trial.

The second more complicated issue is whether the D.A.'s office will be able to retry the case against the monsignor without a victim. In doing so, the D.A.'s office would spare itself the burden of having to watch former altar boy Danny Gallagher try to explain on the witness stand all of his many lies and memory lapses while he was fraudulently claiming in three different courtrooms that he was supposedly raped by two priests and a schoolteacher.

The big question is whether Judge Bright will go along with a victim-less case.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Frank Fina Gets Spanked!

By Ralph Cipriano

Frank Fina finally got his comeuppance.

In a 36-page report issued today, the Disciplinary Board of the state Supreme Court called for a suspension of the former deputy attorney general's law license for a year and a day. That recommendation now goes before the state Supreme Court.

Fina, the former lead prosecutor in the so-called Penn State sex abuse case, got blasted yesterday by the disciplinary board for his "reprehensible" and "inexcusable" conduct. Fina, the disciplinary board said, was guilty of purposely duping a grand jury judge into thinking that Fina wasn't going to press Cynthia Baldwin, Penn State's former counsel, into breaking the attorney-client privilege behind closed doors and betraying three top Penn State officials who were her former clients.
Monday, June 3, 2019

A Cloud Of Corruption Over City's Purchase of New Voting Machines

By Ralph Cipriano

There was no formal announcement made or press conference held to commemorate the event. But the week before the May 21st primary election, the Kenney administration quietly signed a $29 million contract to buy new voting machines.

Two weeks later, when the election was over, and the mayor victorious by a landslide, his spokesman confirmed last Friday that the voting machines contract had indeed been "signed by all parties and finalized in the city system." The unannounced contract includes an additional $6 million in possible contingency costs, which would put the total purchase at $35 million, with additional expenses expected to follow.

While the city administration proceeds with plans to buy what critics say are the most expensive and riskiest voting machines out there as far as hackers are concerned, the ExpressVoteXL, the controller's office has issued two series of subpoenas prying into the secrecy of the procurement process behind the purchase. With the assistance of outside counsel, city Controller Rebecca Rhynhart is proceededing with her own investigation of the murky deal that may ultimately cost taxpayers more than $50 million.


Happy Birthday Inky!

By Ralph Cipriano

Last week, I tried to get Inquirer Publisher Terry Egger to comment on the latest round of buyouts in the newsroom where they haven't had a raise in more than ten years, but the publisher of the year wouldn't talk to me about it.

I was also curious about why the Inky can't afford raises for newsroom employees, but they can afford to blow hundreds of thousands of dollars on expensive independent contractors [like Brian Tierney] and officers of the nonprofit that owns the for-profit Inky, but did I mention that Terry wouldn't talk to me?

But now Terry is talking to me. And he's positively giddy about it.

"Dear RALPH," Terry wrote me in a chirpy email at 7:23 a.m. this morning. "We're a little giddy about being 190 -- and excited for the next 190 years. We're glad to have you along for the ride so we can share stories like these . . . " And then Terry proceeded to brag about some examples of that "high impact journalism," as written by those same employees who haven't had a raise in more than 10 years.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

D.A. Krasner Loses Msgr. Lynn Appeal; Up Next A Retrial

By Ralph Cipriano

The state Supreme Court last week denied an appeal by Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, clearing the way for a retrial of the long-running child endangerment case against Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

On Thursday, the state Supreme Court in a brief two-sentence order wrote that the D.A.'s "petition for allowance of appeal is DENIED."

The D.A.'s office had tried to overturn Common Pleas Court Judge Gwendolyn Bright's pre-trial ruling that prosecutors could only introduce as evidence against Lynn three supplemental cases of sex abuse -- in addition to the case where he's accused of endangering the welfare of a child -- to show a pattern of cover-ups in the archdiocese. The D.A.'s office had wanted to present nine such cases as part of a strategy to put Lynn on trial as a scapegoat for the collective sins of the archdiocese against children.