Friday, December 7, 2007

Today's Column Today

Here's my print column for today, corrected. (It's not John Possenti, it's of course, Joe Possenti. Unless in the last 24 hours, he's changed his named his name to Joe Boulet.)

Ruinations and more ruinations as prosecutors and other lawyer-types run amok...

Havertown political crank, Joe Breslin, speaks for a lot of Delaware County residents when he blasts the selective prosecution of Haverford Township Commissioner Fred Moran.

Breslin writes that he is "outraged" that Moran was charged, tried and convicted of soliciting a bribe when he was clearly acting in what he believed to be the best interests of township residents.

The only thing Moran was guilty of was "trying to secure an additional $500,000 for the taxpayers from the Haverford State Hospital developer in order to keep taxes down and to avoid a tax increase."

Breslin points to a recently published report about the antics of Philadelphia City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell who refused to introduce legislation to build the $12 million Youth Study Center without receiving something "positive" for West Philadelphia constituents. For her efforts, Blackwell garnered some $11 million in projects funded by other taxpayers.

If, as the prosecuting attorney Assistant Attorney General Marc Costanzo, claimed in the case against Moran, the bribery statute prohibits any "benefit," including the burnishing of one's own political standing, it could just as easily be applied to Blackwell, not to mention a hundred other politicians.

Will it? No.

Expect, Moran's attorney, Tom Bergstrom, to argue such prosecutorial selectivity in his appeals. And rightly so.

* * *

Apparently, I upset Newtown Square Commissioner Linda Houldin the other day with my mentioning the Attorney General's office and her efforts to negotiate a settlement between two warring developers in the township.

According to one of the developers, George Spaeder, Houldin called him Wednesday morning in tears asking if he read my account of the meeting she arranged between him and Claude de Botton. He hadn't yet.

He told me she said I demanded she be investigated for soliciting a bribe. In fact, I had suggested the exact opposite. It was the AG I was took a shot at (see the above item), not Linda.

George said he realized that after he read the column for himself. I told him to call Linda and explain it to her. (She is not returning my calls, including one I made to her the day before the column ran.)

I have been tough on Linda recently for her asinine and clumsy treatment of the BPG Town Center project. But I thought what she did in this case was fine.

Now, if she will just learn how to read.

* * *

And then there's former Penn Delco School Board member John Green...
This week he pleaded no contest to a felony ethics violation for failing to disclose commissions he received from his company for work done for the school district.

According to prosecutors, Green knowingly failed to disclose $838.66 in commissions he was paid over three years.

A quick story to illustrate my feelings on this subject.

When I was in the second grade and in the hospital recovering from an operation, my mother read to me from a book called "The Great Big Book of Jokes."

One night, she read me this:

"Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jumped over a candlestick. Big deal."

At the time, I thought that was about the funniest thing I ever heard.

Now, though people getting charged with felonies isn't funny, I feel the same way about this.

As in: John be nimble, John be quick, John failed to disclose his $800 jump over a candlestick.

Big deal.

* * *

There is also this bit of news out of Penn Delco:

From the same people who brought you Keith Crego, introducing Penn Delco's newest school board president, Anthony "Get Steffi" Ruggieri.

After a year on the board, what qualifies Ruggieri for the board presidency? Could it be his extensive experience, his keen intellect and verbal acuity?

Ah, probably not.

It's his canine-like ability to take orders from GOP bosses like Republican leader Joe Possenti.

Back in the day, former school board president Crego complained in a famous e-mail to the township Republican boss that he didn't appreciate all the stuff he'd gotten his "lackeys" in the district to do for him. That's what Crego called them, "lackeys."

Crego is out, charged with multiple felonies. But Possenti's lackeys are in.

It's a new day in Penn Delco.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is Linda Houldin negotiating with builders on behalf of the fire department. She seems to stick her nose into everything. She and her buddy Claude now are trying to shake down the new owner of the post office property. If Claude cant get control then he will just take his parking away. Poor old Linda... seems like she is the pawn of Claude....when will she ever learn...

December 7, 2007 at 8:11 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gil, you should read the entire Email between Crego and Possenti, I did. It was Possenti that called them lackeys. Again you are wrong. And how did we know you would say good things about Green and Steffy. You are a joke Spencer. Real journalist. I call you a punk!

December 8, 2007 at 8:58 AM 
Anonymous Jeremy19015 said...

Gil - Do you know you've lost all respect of your Penn Delco readers?

You predicted that your source John Green would get ARD for his felony ethics violation. Wrong! Not only did the District Attorney's Office prove you wrong, your source John Green proved you wrong too by pleading no contest this week.

And then your own paper's editor blasts your source John Green for trying to blame his criminal prosecution on someone else. I wonder where he got that idea from, Gil?

Why should we believe anything you say about Penn Delco?

December 8, 2007 at 9:14 AM 
Blogger Joe said...

I live in Penn-Delco, and I still respect Gil. I don't always agree with him (like about the John Green situation) but I do respect him. Also, people sometimes seem to forget Gil is not a reporter. He's a columnist. He's SUPPOSED to give his opinion.

December 8, 2007 at 3:21 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Penn Delco, and I think Spencer's a rotten jerk who doesn't care what kind of damage he does to people or even our property values, as long as he can keep seling his newspapers.

December 8, 2007 at 5:16 PM 
Anonymous Mike said...

to the poster commenting about property values: i don't really think many people move into the Penn Delco SD because the school district adds value to the house. Areas like Wallingford-Swarthmore, Radnor, and Conestoga are the areas people move into for high dollar due to good schools. Penn Delco's reputation as a school is pretty bad.

December 9, 2007 at 7:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen, Gil is gil. Like him or not. he is a parasite that bottom feeds and gives opinion and makes money off of people troubles. His sources have given him very very bad information and the paper will be sued. you can't just print thinks that he does. Lets go over his sources: john green, felon, John Steffy, coward and is probably next, Possenti, fraud and will get his, Christina Fink, oh god where do you stat wtih this one, it will never end, Dave Seitz, that is just laughable. The list continues but that should be enough. These people he gets his info from have about as much credit as Bomar. They all have issues and it will be exposed in a trial if one ever happens. Should be funny to see how many lives are ruined when a trial happens. Nice job Gil. You are a joke.

December 9, 2007 at 10:36 PM 
Blogger Spencerblog said...

Dear Anon,

Trial for who? Trial for YOU?

December 10, 2007 at 6:27 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, check out Penn Delco's standardized test scores. They're really good. But Spencer and people like him keep trying to sell newspapers on our backs here.

A good school district like Penn Delco may not add real estate value, but what is considered to be a "bad" school district, like Spencer tries to paint us, will definitely detract from real estate value.

I know what I'm talking about. I have family in the real estate business.

December 10, 2007 at 5:13 PM 
Anonymous Daddy please come see me said...

Yeah Gil, trial for me. Damm exposed. What will I do now. Again, you show how much of an idiot you are. I must have hit the nail on the head with your sources. You don't respond to much but you certainly responded to that one. Interesting. You are way to easy. And when the paper gets sued they will settle out of court because you did a lot of wrong with a lot of things. You know it and admitted it. See i can stay undercover because i don't get paid for what you do. But pleasee don't tell anyone who I am, I want to stay low profile. What a joke you are.

December 10, 2007 at 5:30 PM 
Anonymous Mike said...

Anonymous, because you have "family in the business," proves your point htat you know everything now and I know nothing? Where are the facts behind that? Where does my background in work come from? Do you even know? It's not a difficult concept to understand public schools affect the value of property, but the Penn Delco SD wasn't driving the prices of houses in that area. For that to happen you need a top school in the state which PD is not. The ones that are (Strath Haven, Radnor, Conestoga) all have houses that are 50-175k higher for the same house in the PDSD.

Also, Penn Delco tests at or barely above the state average in PSSA scores for 5th, 8th, and 12th grades. The best scores for the most part come from 5th and 8th grade reading. What college cares how smart your kid was in 5th grade? None. It's more the rarity the score is way above the state average. How is that "really good" as you would say? Isn't that basically just "average."

Gil makes it look as it is for the most part. To argue the fact that corruption at the top isn't cause for concern is to hide the facts. There's also a difference between corruption at the top of the school and the education the school gives. Saying a school has a bad superintendent doesn't make it a bad educational school. Need we go into Wallingford-Swarthmore's superintendent who stole money to buy samurai swords? Has that school district seen decreases in property values? Actually their property values have sky-rocketed and were named on of the best places to live in the USA.

December 10, 2007 at 10:05 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JS is a coward. Did you know he sets innocent employees up for termination and covers up for the quilty employees, but yet when he knew ______ was going to hit the fan he got scared and ran to the authorities to cover his own _____ in the attempt to save his own job.

Steffy might be able to fool some of the people but he can't fool all of the people and if A.R. was put in his position to get JS that's great because somebody needs to get him.

December 11, 2007 at 7:53 AM 
Anonymous Someone who knows Steffy said...

OH I know Steffy is a chump. He did set up JB for failure when most of it was his fault. And if the stories about Steffy come out at a trial, he will be in tons of trouble. Who knows though. His day will come one way or another. From the last person I spoke to he back dated his ethcis statement but didn't get charged for that. Humm wonder why? Cause he is a snitch and a b....well you know. If I ever worked with him I wouldn't trust him for a second. He is one way and always will be. He should just leave penn delco and do us all a favor. He is not very well like and the things that he did will ruin him and his wonderful family life.

December 11, 2007 at 12:34 PM 
Anonymous PD watch dog said...

Is it true that John Steffys favorite movie is "Viva Las Vegas"?

Is it true that John Steffy was a boxer in Chicago, you know he took a lot of body shots?

Can't wait for the trial!

December 11, 2007 at 2:50 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Careful PD Watchdog, Steffy's criminal defense lawyer Art Donato is going to get his buddy Gil to delete your comment!

You know that's all Gil cares about - protecting his buddies and his sources! The truth has nothing to do with it!

December 11, 2007 at 2:58 PM 
Anonymous penn delco bus drivers unite said...

Anonymous is way right.

Steffi is bad news. I cant believe Steffi is trying to come out of this hole mess smelling like a rose.

The man is 2 faced. Hes the kind of guy who will pat you on the back with one hand and than stab you with the other. Just ask any Penn Delco bus driver.

Steffi must go!

December 11, 2007 at 6:38 PM 
Anonymous Close to the DA's office said...

you guys hit the nail on the head. Any of the people that will go on the stand in this trial will get demolished by the defense attorney. They ALL have baggage and the DA knows it. The trial will make a lot of people lose the lives they are used to. Las Vegas and Chicago are the least of the worries. Anyone that goes on the stnd will have no credability in a matter of minutes. The DA should be careful and get a deal before they look like fools. Just my opinion of course.

December 12, 2007 at 6:38 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or do most of these comments sound like intimidation of witnesses. Gotta love IP tracking.

December 13, 2007 at 8:36 PM 
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