Time once again for our roundup of corrupt and misbehaving Democrats around Washington and the country at large. Miss a week and they pile up on you. Dan Spencer has already covered Obama’s mortgage deal, and you know all about Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad, but as usual, there’s so much more. In fact, this installment is so big that we have to break it in two parts; we’ll have a second piece later today or tomorrow just to update you on the sagas of the Democratic mayors of Detroit and Baltimore.
Also, I leave it to the reader to count how many of the news reports cited below fail to mention the party affiliations of the miscreants.Washington Governor Christine Gregoire: Erick covered the core of this story, Gregoire’s shady deals doing gambling favors for Indian tribes (without taking a cut for the taxpayer as all other states do) and raking in their donations. As the Seattle Times explains, direct favors for the groups that bankrolled her has been a pattern with the Washington governor who got into office through multiple recounts that overturned the Election Day result on the backs of fraudulent ballots. She’s up for re-election and facing off against her 2004 opponent, Dino Rossi.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich: You know the Tony Rezko story, which typically is just a piece of a larger puzzle. Blago’s not talking publicly, but he sure has had to talk to the feds a lot:
Blagojevich has been dogged by the investigation for years. Documents released last week following the federal corruption conviction of Antoin “Tony” Rezko revealed that the governor has been interviewed “multiple times” by federal investigators in the probe, which involves allegations that he and members of his administration offered contracts and state work in exchange for campaign assistance.
The governor has scheduled public appearances around news in the Rezko case and has consistently declined to answer, with any depth, questions about the allegations or his relationship with his friend and former top fundraiser.
Blagojevich has snapped at reporters asking if he’s a target.
Three former aides to Chicago Mayor Daley: Speaking of corrupt Illinois Democrats:
A federal appeals court on Tuesday handed another legal setback to the three city officials convicted of rigging hiring in Mayor Richard Daley’s administration, but a stinging dissent by two judges gave the officials a glimmer of hope.The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request that the entire court reconsider a decision by a three-member panel that upheld the convictions….The three men—Robert Sorich, Daley’s former patronage chief; Patrick Slattery, a former top official in the Department of Streets and Sanitation; and Timothy McCarthy, who worked in the mayor’s office—will next ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal, lawyers said.
Pennsylvania state Sen. Vincent Fumo: Fumo is under indictment, and the net is closing:
A longtime confidante and adviser to …Fumo has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with authorities who are prosecuting the Democratic lawmaker from Philadelphia.Howard Cain entered the guilty plea in Philadelphia to a single count of income tax evasion… Cain has agreed at sentencing to stipulate that he, Fumo and others illegally used more than $200,000 in state Senate funds on campaign work and conspired to lie on invoices about the real use of those funds.
Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton: Herenton, only re-elected last fall, has announced his resignation effective July 31:
As recently as December, a federal grand jury subpoenaed records related to Herenton’s association with a city contractor.The subpoena demanded e-mails from Memphis Area Transit Authority surrounding the awarding of a $300,000 engineering contract awarded to Herenton friend Elvin W. Moon in 2006.The federal probe came months after an investigation by The Commercial Appeal found that Moon paid the mayor $50,000 in a private land deal after his civil engineering firm landed $702,000 in no-bid city road-design contracts.A second criminal probe swirling around the mayor involves the bizarre claims of a Memphis woman who alleges that powerful businessmen tried to frame Herenton in a sex plot last year to keep him from seeking a fifth term in the October election. Former cocktail waitress Gwendolyn D. Smith claims businessmen offered her money in an unconsummated plot to lure Herenton into a videotaped sexual encounter.After hearing Smith’s account, Herenton asked for a criminal probe. A resulting investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation remains open. Special prosecutor Joe Baugh of Middle Tennessee said in October he planned to subpoena records related to the matter.
Herenton is hearing footsteps:
Herenton says federal prosecutors dropped charges against two people so they could focus on him.In an interview with reporters Thursday, Herenton said the FBI has questioned him about city contracts. Earlier this week, federal prosecutors dropped charges against former Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division president and CEO Joseph Lee and former City Council member Edmund Ford Sr. Prosecutors said they reviewed bribery and extortion charges against the two and determined they should not face trial.
Inglewood California Mayor Roosevelt Dorn: Not so long ago – 2006 – Dorn “was honored by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party as a recipient of their prestigious 2006 Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Democrat of the Year Award” for “individuals who reflect the progressive diversity of the Party and who also exemplify leadership symbolic of the proud tradition of the Democrat Party.” Well, they got that last part right:
Mayor Roosevelt Dorn was charged Thursday on allegations he obtained a low-interest $500,000 loan that was originally intended to help municipal employees afford to live in town.Dorn was charged with felony misappropriation of public funds, using an unauthorized loan for private profit and conflict of interest, the district attorney’s office said. He faces up to four years and eight months in state prison if convicted of all counts.
New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia: The NY Daily News reports:
Recchia sponsored thousands of taxpayer dollars for a nonprofit that gave a wealthy board member an improper interest-free loan, a Daily News probe has found.The $60,000 in Council funds was earmarked last year for the Sephardic Angel Fund, a nonprofit that’s supposed to award no-interest loans to “poor, distressed or underprivileged persons” to start or improve businesses. But the group’s treasurer, Eddie Shamah, got a $50,000 interest-free loan in 2005, tax documents show. The nonprofit later admitted the loan was a blatant conflict of interest when it applied for a federal program that bars such self-dealing.
Recchia (D-Brooklyn), the latest Council member linked to the growing funding investigation, either sponsored or co-sponsored a total of $690,000 in Council funds last year for the Angel Fund and five affiliated nonprofits, records show.
Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson: In his freezer. Jefferson’s running for re-election while under indictment. Meanwhile, his sister has pleaded guilty:
His 52 year old sister, Brenda Jefferson plead guilty to misprision of a felony on Wednesday. She received over $85,000 for clerical work for several family members accused of defrauding a federal government program.Brenda Jefferson was employed by family members that allegedly pocketed more than $600,000 in state and federal grant money meant for charities and educational projects.
Other Jefferson relatives (his other sister, brother, and neice) have pleaded not guilty. It’s the family business!
Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers: Speaking of family businesses, one offshoot of the scandal engulfing the Mayor of Detroit implicates the wife of longstanding Democratic Congressman and House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers:
Federal investigators have electronic surveillance evidence that allegedly links Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers with receiving a payment or payments in connection with a city-approved sludge contract, two people familiar with the investigation said. Conyers — who changed her position from speaking in opposition to the sludge contract to voting in favor of it — and at least one other council member are under FBI investigation in connection with possible bribes related to the $47 million contract…
Jackson, Miss., Mayor Frank Melton: Another indictment:
Melton has been indicted on federal civil rights violations connected to the tearing down a private home in 2006.The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the Melton’s indictment. Also named in the indictments are Melton’s two bodyguards, Jackson police officers Michael Recio and Marcus Wright.Grace Chung Becker of the Justice Department said the three men were charged in a conspiracy to tear down a private home in Jackson and thereby violate the civil rights of the owner and resident of that home.
Of course, nearly none of the media reports mentioned Melton’s party.
Oakland City Administrator Deborah Edgerly: I’ll let the San Francisco Chronicle explain:
A police investigation dubbed Operation Nutcracker, which resulted in the arrests of 56 suspected gang members last week, also raised suspicions about Edgerly’s intervention on behalf of her nephew, William Lovan, who was among those arrested.
The two stories converged on June 7 when Edgerly showed up at a West Oakland liquor store as police questioned Lovan, and intervened on his behalf, police say. According to a police report, Edgerly bullied officers and threatened an internal Police Department probe – presumably aimed at their actions.This wasn’t the first time that Edgerly has intervened on behalf of a co-worker, friend or family member, police sources say…
Things got bad enough that Oakland’s Mayor, Red Ron Dellums, had to force her out after the City Council did nothing. Edgerly was appointed by then-Oakland Mayor, and now California Attorney General, Jerry Brown. Investigators now say the corruption angle going back as far as 2004 will be the focus of the investigation of Edgerly.
Arizona State legislator Mark DeSimone: Democratic hopes to take Arizona’s state legislature suffered a serious blow when DeSimone announced he would resign after being arrested for domestic violence after his wife called 911. Charming fellow.
Massachusetts State Sen. James Marzilli: Speaking of which:
A Massachusetts grand jury on Tuesday indicted a state senator on charges that he allegedly sexually harassed four women in a single day in Lowell before giving a false identity to police officers and fleeing from the scene.State Sen. James Marzilli, 50, faces charges of attempting to commit indecent assault and battery, annoying and accosting people of the opposite sex, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said.
Marzilli’s lawyer says he is bipolar, which is something you always look for in a legislator.
Former Tennessee state Senator John Ford:
After delays two weeks in a row, the public corruption trial of former state Senator John Ford is finally underway. Jury Selection began Tuesday morning. Ford is accused of taking $800,000 in consultant payments from TennCare contractors to promote private companies’ interests while he held elected office.
Even Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has been dragged in to testify; here’s a broader look at the scandal. If you were wondering what held Harold Ford back in Tennessee, his family’s legal woes are a major element of that.
Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James: James is trying to get a judge to throw out his April corruption conviction based on shady land deals.
Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez: The grand jury examining corruption in Perez’s administration – which the Hartford Courant has been following closely – has resulted in mounting legal bills for many of Perez’s key staffers, including “his finance director, Thomas Morrison…, his chief of staff, Matt Hennessy…, and Corporation Counsel John Rose”.
Perez has responded by accusing the Courant of racism.
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy:
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy on Thursday lost another round in his effort to overturn a conviction on resisting arrest and obstructing justice. A unanimous state appellate court found no reason to change last year’s verdicts, which stem from an incident in Bradley Beach in 2006.
Former Orlando City Commissioner and interim Mayor Ernest Page: Page is finally headed to the slammer for his crimes:
A former city commissioner who served a stint as an interim mayor of Orlando was arrested Tuesday and is headed to prison for the next 43 months.Ernest Page who had been convicted on bribery and official misconduct charges was supposed to turn in himself in Tuesday to begin serving his sentence. When he failed to show, police issued a warrant and took him into custody around five pm….In March 2005, Page filled in as Orlando’s interim mayor while Mayor Buddy Dyer [also a Democrat] was under investigation for election law violations.When the state dropped the charges against Dyer, Page returned to his city council seat.