Thursday, July 28, 2022

Senior Advisor To D.A. Krasner Is Disbarred Lawyer Who Lives In N.J.

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

On May 11, 2020, the Rev. Gregory Holston, a senior advisor on advocacy and policy to District Attorney Larry Krasner, got an email about time cards from the office's head of Human Resources.

In response, Holston, probably by mistake, hit the reply all button.

“Good morning," Holston wrote in an email sent to everyone in the office. "I’m coming up on my six month[s] with the district attorney’s office."

"I live in New Jersey and I’m supposed to move to Philadelphia by July," Holston wrote. "Because of the pandemic, I’ve been unable to search for a new home. Will I have additional time to move to Philadelphia? Rev.”

Yes, rest assured, Rev., you'll have plenty of time to move to Philadelphia. Because more than two years later, the Rev. Holston, who is paid $140,000 annually by D.A. Krasner, still lives in Sicklerville, N.J. in the house he bought back in 2003, in the community where he's registered to vote.

The Philadelphia City Charter requires all employees of the district attorney's office to live in Philadelphia; in the past, city employees have been fired for flouting the residency requirement. But apparently that clause in the city charter doesn't mean much to Rev. Holston, or his boss, D.A. Larry Krasner.

Holston is the second official in upper management in the D.A.'s office to be outed in less than a week by Big Trial for flagrantly flouting the city charter's residency requirement. The first was Nancy Winkelman, the supervisor of the D.A.'s law division, who twice listed on campaign finance reports last year a phony address in West Philadelphia, a rundown rental property with a coffin in front, when Winkelman really lives in a house on a scenic lake in Medford Lakes, N.J.

While Winkelman recently lectured a federal judge that "My integrity, my reputation, my candor, my ethics have never been questioned," the Rev. Holston can't make that same speech. Because like too many employees in D.A. Krasner's office, Holston has skeletons in his closet.

Greg Holston posing in his N.J. backyard 
For starters, Holston, a graduate of Georgetown University who did not respond to a request for comment, is a disbarred lawyer. 

After his legal career ended, Holston subsequently became a minister known for a bad Martin Luther King Jr. imitation, and blatant race-baiting against white people. 

Holston also has a record of not paying his bills and not paying his taxes. And in 2016, he presided over the sale of three church buildings on behalf of the United Methodist Church of Philadelphia that were ultimately sold for a total of $865,000. 

Before the sale went through, however, a valuable old pipe organ worth tens of thousands of dollars was stolen from one old church, causing a realtor to drop the church as a client. And, after the sales finally went through, church leaders and congregants were left to wonder where the proceeds went that were supposed to go to the United Methodist Church of Philadelphia. 

Krasner's Roster of Lawbreakers 

Sadly, in the D.A.'s office under Larry Krasner, Rev. Holston isn't an exception for bad behavior. When you're Larry Krasner, who didn't respond to a request for comment, you tend to surround yourself with people of questionable ethics, such as: 

-- Krasner's former gun violence counselor who shot and killed a male prostitute that he arranged a tryst with during work hours.

-- A top Krasner advisor who got arrested for child abandonment after she left her four-year old daughter locked in a car. 

-- An ADA who was accused by his former stripper girlfriend of breaking into her home and stealing porn that he had allegedly co-starred in. 

-- A total of four top Krasner supervisors, and one former ADA who has since resigned, who were formally reprimanded by two different judges for a "lack of candor." 

-- Five Krasner ADAs who signed a brief sent to Common Pleas Court Judge Scott DiClaudio that claimed Krasner didn't have a financial relationship with a couple of former law partners who were involved in a double murder case up on appeal. 

Judge DiClaudio subsequently discovered that according to Krasner's own personal financial disclosure forms, the D.A. did receive income from his former law partners.

-- An ADA who was Krasner's former head of homicide who was demoted after a road rage incident where he was sued for false arrest.

Birds of a feather
-- Krasner's chief of community engagement who also has a habit of getting into road rage incidents where he allegedly pulled over an FBI agent, as well as a female cop on her way to work.

-- An alleged criminal justice reformer whom Krasner hired to train his young prosecutors who was subsequently accused of being a serial predator and rapist who was knowingly spreading STDS. 

-- Finally, there's Krasner's former supervisor of the victim and witness services and restorative justice unit who was still on the job when Krasner's office decided to ignore an obvious conflict of interest and not prosecute her son for beating up his baby mama in broad daylight. 

Movita Johnson-Harrell went on to become a state legislator who subsequently went to jail for stealing $500,000 from a nonprofit that she founded. 

Nothing better illustrates Krasner's coziness with criminals than his continuing friendship with Johnson-Harrell. At a rally at City Hall in March of this year, Krasner, Holston and Police Officer Agnes Torres, a member of Krasner's security detail, were only too happy to fraternize and pose for pictures with Johnson-Harrell.

At the time, Johnson-Harrell was on probation after spending two months in prison for the three felonies she pleaded guilty to, which involved stealing money that was supposed to support the homeless, seniors, drug addicts, the mentally ill, and the disabled. But instead, Johnson-Harrell spent the money on fur coats, a trip to Mexico, payments on a Porsche as well as funding her political campaign for state representative. 

Greg Holston's Checkered Past As A Lawyer

In 1993, the state Supreme Court of Pennsylvania disbarred Gregory Holston as a lawyer because he forged a judge's signature on a phony divorce decree, and when questioned about it by that judge, he lied.

According to an opinion issued by the state Supreme Court, in the case of Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Gregory Holston, Holston was hired in 1987 to represent Richard Wofford of Philadelphia in a divorce. But Holston's attempts to serve Wofford's wife with the divorce complaint through the Philadelphia sheriff's office resulted in a return of "not found."

According to the state Supreme Court opinion, Holston "did nothing else to serve the defendant or to locate her whereabouts." Some seven months later, when Wofford asked Holston how the case was coming along, Holston "assured him that things were proceeding and in early August, 1988, [Holston] informed his client that a divorce decree had been granted."

Holston mailed Wofford a divorce decree dated July 16, 1988 and signed by Common Pleas Court Judge Alex Bonavitacola, along with a certificate purporting to verify the accuracy of the decree.

But on Nov. 14, 1988, attorney Holston filed a motion to amend the complaint, and a petition for special service of the complaint through the U.S. Mail.  In a hearing two weeks later, the judge looked at the complaint, and then asked Holston "to tell him where he had gotten it."

In response to this "direct question," according to the state Supreme Court opinion, Holston "lied and said that he did not know how he got the document and who prepared the order and certification." 

In a subsequent meeting with an ethics lawyer, Samuel Stretton, Stretton advised Holston "that his conduct in this matter was improper and that he should reveal to Judge Bonavitacola that he was responsible for forging the name of the judge to the decree that he sent to Mr. Wofford."'

Holston "did so and, throughout these proceedings, he has admitted his wrongful conduct and shown his remorse for having forged a court order and lying to a court of law," the state Supreme Court opinion states.

Rather than be disbarred, Holston asked the state Supreme Court to publicly censure him. But Holston was disbarred, the state Supreme Court wrote, because his conduct "demonstrates a callous disregard for the very integrity of the judicial process and calls for the most severe sanction."

Holston's Suspect Career As A Minister

As a minister, Holston became the executive director of POWER Philadelphia, an interfaith justice advocacy organization. In that position, Holston was known for race-baiting.

In an Aug. 13, 2019 speech to Netroots Nation, Holston denounced "white privilege," and described the longstanding "unholy alliance" between the "white elite" and the "white working class." According to Holston, the "white elites promised poor white folks" that "I'll treat you just a little bit better than black folks."

And black people, Holston said, were treated as "less than human." According to Holston, the "promise that black people would be treated less than human . . . is still being kept." And that's why the country needs to pay reparations to black people, Holston said, plus an guaranteed annual income to all.

Greg Holston & Movita at a rally
Like his boss, Larry Krasner, who owes $80,888.26 in back taxes as of today, the Rev. Holston is also a tax deadbeat.

According to court records, Holston failed to pay $1,286.84 in water bills from 2004 to 2014 for a property at 2320 Morris Street. A judgment was issued for $2,686.48 on Sept. 30, 2019 consisting of a $1,400 fine plus the money owed. 

Records show that between 2005 and 2012, Holston also failed to pay $6,917.56 in property taxes on 2320 Morris Street, which led to the house being seized and put up for a sheriff's sale.

Holston subsequently sued in Common Pleas Court, claiming that he was the victim of a forged deed, and the court returned the property to him within a year. 

However, court records don't state whether Holston ever paid the back taxes. The property, which was sold on Feb. 9th, is currently in a payment agreement with the city to pay back taxes of $1,384, an agreement similar to the one that fellow tax deadbeat Larry Krasner has with the city.

City agencies, including the revenue department, require a Philadelphia address before they will issue a paycheck. That means for the past three years, in order to get paid, Holston would have had to provide the city with either the address on Morris Street, or another address within the city limits.  

Where'd The Money Go?

In 2016, Holston oversaw the sale of three church buildings on behalf of the United Methodist Church of Philadelphia that were eventually sold for a total of $865,000. 

They include the former New Vision United Methodist Church at 1217-23 North Hancock Street in Philadelphia, for $515,000; the Mount Carmel Methodist Episcopal Church at 5901-07 North Park Avenue, for $300,000; and a building at 5909 North Park Avenue adjacent to the Mount Carmel church, for $50,000.

In 2020, church officials discussed hiring an auditor to investigate what happened to the proceeds of the sales.

But in an email, Bishop Peggy Johnson, who oversaw nearly 1,000 churches in the United Methodist Church's Eastern Pennsylvania and Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conferences, wrote, "I retired last year before anything was ever resolved. I really don’t know anything further about this situation."

"Was any of the money ever turned over?" I wrote her back. "I was told it was all missing."

"Don’t know one way or the other," the retired bishop wrote back.

When Holston was appointed as a senior advisor to Larry Krasner in February of 2020, Jane Roh, Krasner's spokesperson, wrote that Holston "will advise DAO employees on ways to integrate social justice best practices and community-based policies and procedures into their work."

Johnson-Harrell with P.O. Agnes Torres
And externally, Roh wrote, Holston will "work to advance the mission of the DAO to make the criminal justice system more accessible and accountable, in order to build trust in law enforcement, the DAO, and the court system."

But apparently building trust in the DAO doesn't involve obeying the residency requirement in the city charter.

According to the charter, employees in exempt positions such as Holston must move to Philadelphia within six months of their appointment. Civil service employees are required to live in Philadelphia for one year prior to their appointment.

But that doesn't mean much to Larry Krasner, who presides over an office where law-breaking is not only tolerated, but is also widespread. 

City officials who allegedly oversee the district attorney's office didn't have much to say about the continued flouting of the residency requirement.

A spokesperson for Mayor Kenney's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Alex DeSantis, the city's inspector general, referred questions to the district attorney's office, which isn't talking, and the city controller.

"I’m afraid that we are unable to address this issue as a matter of law," DeSantis wrote. "Although the OIG does investigate compliance with the City’s residency requirement for employees, our authority extends only to Executive Branch employees."

A spokesperson for city Controller Rebecca Rhynhart said she would share the information about Holston's New Jersey address with investigators in her office who oversee the residency requirement.

"There isn't much else I can say at this point," the spokesperson wrote in an email. 

24 comments

  1. Add it to the evidence folder for the impeachment inquiry/hearings.

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  2. Hey Dum Dum Agnes....Do you know your Police Directives? Conduct Unbecoming- Fraternizing with a known criminal??? Does Sgt. Tom approve? If he does can u say failure to supervise? Np worries Internal Affairs will handle this! Integrity? U have none!!!

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    1. I was going to say the same thing you beat me to it, “associating with known criminals” it’s right in the police dept directives but we all know they only apply to certain people.

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  3. Well, Jim Kenney lives in Philadelphia, apparently, who knows, we only see him when he is crowing about giving local Republican tax avoiding, Trump supporting billionaire Josh Harris corporate welfare for his arena - Not that the Inquirer seems to see anything wrong with that. But I don't think Harris i an American-Italian or a Catholic, so the Inquirer and Mayor are okay with this Trumpster.

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  4. "the city charter doesn't mean much to Rev. Holston, or his boss, D.A. Larry Krasner." Nor Kenney, Council, The Inquirer, at least when it comes to removing statues and targeting Catholic Social Services..

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  5. "...he forged a judge's signature on a phony divorce decree," The REV did this?! Oh lordy!

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  6. In other news...anyone know anything of the rumored racial allegations in the office lodged from a BLACK LEO against a WHITE LEO? Any legs to it?

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  7. Agnes hangin and bangin felons....

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  8. Doors are closing in on you Larry. U have nightmares at night of Cipriano! Maybe even when your taking a nap over your side pieces place whom works in the office!

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  9. Sgt. Tom, what are you going to do? Look the other way on this? Two 3RD District flunkies with no clue! Holston do you have esy pass or pay tolls? lol. Cameras at all booths buddy! Winklebutt u too!!

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  10. Movita’s son was doing point of gun robberies. His death is tragic but it wasn’t a case of mistaken identity that she stands on. It’s a case of horrible parenting. Knowing all we know about her now…sounds about right.

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  11. Thank you Ralph. Criminals are loose in the City because this “office” has more criminals in its building than in the prisons.

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  12. Agnes your past is well known in the police Department and Krasner kronies are common thieves

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  13. Rocks we guess your dirty moves have caught up to you! Question are you a Sgt. or still acting Chief of County Detectives? How can you call the shots to a Lt. in the office when he out ranks you? Well Larry are you aware of a Black LT. in your office putting a racial complaint against your lap dog Sgt.? How will this investigation go? Oh we know your cronies in HR have zero investigation skills!! Rocks is just sucking you off until the next DA comes in! Rocks we got news for you when Larry is gone you and your girl the chain smoker are gonna be tossed from 18 so fast your head is going to spin. Stay tuned

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  14. Jeff Cole where are you this is your bread and butter?????

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  15. KENYATTA LEE- JERRY ROCKS

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  16. Rocks like to mess with Black female supervisors also! WTF!

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  17. Hey Agnes! why hasn't your girl on city council announced her run for mayor yet? Cant afford to resign to run? broke ass!

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  18. KRYBABY KENYATTA LEE, IT SO GOOD WHEN YOU TOOK OVER WHEN CRAM LEFT RIGHT? LARRY LOVED YOU. HE USED YOU LIKE A 2 DOLLAR HOOKER! WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND. EVERYONE KNOWS YOUR BAGGAGE DUDE! YOU ARE NOT A GOOD PERSON......DO US ALL A FAVOR AND GO BACK TO THE PPD.....SMARTEST GUY IN THE ROOM RIGHT. LYIN LEE! KEEP TAKING THOSE ORDERS YOU CUCK!!!

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  19. Did Lee take a test to get promoted to LT? HMMMMMMM. HELL NO!!!

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  20. Lee and Rocks have been putting knives in each others backs for years. Too bad they both will be nobodys when Larry leaves ot gets impeached and removed. Both only care about themselves. BUMS

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  21. Hey Larry why wasnt Frank Bonnet sent back to the Police Dept for getting arrested in Florida or James Allen for threatening a guy for having relations with his wife and reported to internal affairs? Someone as Lee that.... he takes care of his guys! lol

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  22. Why didn't Pepe Le Pew aka Pierre GOMES get arrested for Seth's incident or not paying tax on his inheritance that he received... oh because he snitched...

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  23. Ralph, Keep up the good work! You are a godsend to journalism in this city!

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