Sunday, December 11, 2011
"MY WHOLE PRACTICE DEPENDS ON OPERATING ETHICALLY AND TRANSPARENTLY"
Chadwick markets himself as an investigator above reproach, but he's functioned more as a shadowy "fixer" for two prominent Pennsylvania public officials while paid with taxpayer money. Rather than impartially investigate, Chadwick has used taxpayer funds essentially to extricate his clients from sticky situations -- former Speaker Bill DeWeese during the "bonusgate" investigation and Chief Justice Ronald Castille in the ongoing Family Court building scandal.
In both cases, Chadwick has followed a nearly playbook-like pattern:
Step 1 -- "White hat" Chadwick hired to impartially investigate
"DeWeese (D., Greene) brought in Chadwick Associates, a Washington-based consulting firm, before State Attorney General Tom Corbett launched a grand jury probe to examine whether government bonuses were handed out to legislative aides from both parties last year as a reward for off-the-books campaign work. Through the end of August, DeWeese has paid the consulting firm $180,000 from a state discretionary account he controls. DeWeese said the effort was aimed at finally ending a 'culture of causality and politics as usual' that has existed in Harrisburg for decades...William Chadwick, who runs the consulting firm, said his mission was to serve as a set of independent eyes focused on 'evaluating the practices, policies and procedures of the caucus, to make recommendations for improving internal controls and to ensure compliance with the law and promote public confidence in the operations of the caucus.'" (Inquirer 10/5/2007)
"Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille has hired a longtime adviser and colleague to conduct what he said would be an independent investigation of a troubled Family Court project in Center City. William G. Chadwick, a lawyer who worked as Castille's top deputy in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office in the 1980s, was hired to do a 'thorough, independent, and objective' review of the project, now terminated, for construction of a Family Court building at 15th and Arch Streets...Chadwick said Tuesday night he would figure out what went wrong in the deal even if his examination found mistakes by Castille. 'I told him going into it I am not going to pull punches,' Chadwick said. 'My whole practice depends on operating ethically and transparently.' Castille could not be reached for comment. He said in his statement he wanted Chadwick to develop a chronology of events, including an examination of any conflicts of interest and 'misrepresentations by any parties that resulted in losses to the court.'" (Inquirer 6/9/10)
Step 2 -- Chadwick is paid millions to pin wrongdoing on anyone but his clients
"A source close to Mr. DeWeese's office said yesterday the mass ousters [Manzo, Brubaker, Cott, Mosely, Webb, Keefer, McClure] followed an internal report by William G. Chadwick, an attorney whose firm was hired by the Democratic caucus earlier this year." (Post Gazette 11/14/07)
"Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille says he was the victim of fraud and legal malpractice by attorney Jeffrey B. Rotwitt, who was paid by the court to put together a deal for a new Family Court building at 15th and Arch Streets - and ended up as the codeveloper of the project." (Inquirer 11/2/2011)
Step 3 -- Chadwick feigns cooperation with prosecutors
"The caucus also has paid about $800,000 to Chadwick Associates Inc., a Washington, D.C., firm that is helping it respond to the state attorney general's investigation into the bonuses. 'We understand that this is a substantial expenditure of public funds, but we believe strongly that it was entirely appropriate under the circumstances to facilitate the truthful cooperation of the caucus' staff with the attorney general's investigation,' said Bill Chadwick, a lawyer and president of the Washington firm." (Associated Press 7/31/2008)
"'DeWeese is the most-investigated guy on the landscape,' said attorney William Chadwick, a consultant for House Democrats. The grand jury 'turned over every stone' in July and did not implicate DeWeese in any wrongdoing, Chadwick said" (Tribune Review 10/16/2008)
"Castille has hired William G. Chadwick, his former top deputy in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, to conduct a review. Stalberg says that won't be good enough to reassure the public, noting that Chadwick also has been serving as Castille's press spokesman. 'Many of the recent quotes didn't sound like a guy who was objectively investigating the situation,' he said. 'It sounded like a guy who was trying to explain the chief justice.' Chadwick said again that his role is to review the deal and cooperate with the real investigation being conducted by the FBI. (Inquirer 7/2/2010)
Step 4 -- Chadwick keeps taxpayer-funded work product secret
"A former lawyer for state House Democrats who was paid $1.3 million by taxpayers won't give caucus leaders a file on a public corruption investigation. Bill Chadwick, who represented the caucus as a legislative bonus scandal unfolded, said Tuesday that House Majority Whip Bill DeWeese instructed him not to provide the file to the caucus. Chadwick represented the caucus and DeWeese while DeWeese was majority leader through 2007 and 2008." (Tribune Review 3/11/2009)
"When a Family Court deal blew up last year, after the payment of millions in fees, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille hired an investigative consultant and pledged a 'full public accounting' of what went wrong. But now, Castille's lawyer says there will be no report released to the public. Instead, the findings of Chadwick Associates, paid $780,540 so far, will be used to support a lawsuit seeking to recover the lost public money. "(Inquirer 11/4/2011)
Sadly, there were big problems with Chadwick's "cooperation" while in DeWeese's employ .... not all the documents in Chadwick's "investigation" were turned over to the Attorney General...
"A state grand jury is poring over the contents of a recently discovered box of files from a Capitol office, a find that has triggered renewed prosecutorial interest in longtime state Rep. Bill De-Weese, D-Greene. The files, described by those who have seen them as a collection of e-mail printouts, discuss political operations apparently from inside Mr. DeWeese's office at the time he served as state House minority leader...The data in the box also include campaign donation spreadsheets that appear to have been assembled on a state computer...The latest round of inquiries into the activities of Mr. DeWeese, who has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing, came as a seeming accident: a newly appointed Democratic caucus employee moving into an empty office earlier this year stumbled across a box of records left by a predecessor. Sources close to the investigation say the documents appear to suggest widespread campaign activity inside Mr. DeWeese's Harrisburg and district offices during state work hours." (Post Gazette 6/28/2009)
...DeWeese turned out to know much more than Chadwick repeatedly asserted...
"A trail of e-mail messages has surfaced suggesting that former House Democratic Leader Bill DeWeese may have known all along that tax dollars were being used to reward aides for work on political campaigns. Mr. DeWeese maintains he knew nothing about the scheme to use state money to reward campaign work, which became the focus of an ongoing grand jury investigation that so far has resulted in 12 arrests. 'I can't thank you enough for the bonus for campaigning. I am speechless as most of us are,' research analyst Karen Steiner wrote in a December 2004 e-mail message to Mr. DeWeese, D-Waynesburg, and former House Whip Mike Veon, D-Beaver Falls. She received a $1,000 bonus that year, according to grand jury documents. A short response, 'UR welcome,' came from Mr. DeWeese's e-mail account." (Post Gazette 3/17/2009)
...DeWeese was eventually found by the Attorney General to have broken campaign and ethics rules while Chadwick repeatedly insisted his "investigation" had cleared DeWeese ...
"A statewide grand jury recommended the prosecution of former state House Speaker Bill DeWeese, one of Pennsylvania's most colorful politicians, for running political campaigns for years out of his Capitol and district offices...'The grand jury showed that DeWeese's legislative staff and campaign staff were virtually one and the same,' said Corbett, a Republican candidate for governor, who oversees the grand jury." (Tribune Review 12/19/2009)
What does this mean for Castille? Especially when you consider the FACT, that before Castille began to pay Chadwick with taxpayer funds, Castille admitted he was aware of Rotwitt's role as a co-developer on the the Family Court building project:
"When Castille was first asked about Rotwitt's codeveloper role, he didn't seem upset with Rotwitt at all. Instead, he was angry at being questioned about it. With an Inquirer writer pushing court officials for an explanation, Rotwitt met with Castille, then e-mailed him a suggested 'clear statement of the facts': Yes, Rotwitt and Donald Pulver were codevelopers, the statement said, without suggesting it was any sort of problem. Castille ordered it sent to The Inquirer as his own opinion - word for word as Rotwitt had written it, e-mails show. In a Family Court saga filled with twists, there are few more jarring than court officials' shifting response to the revelations about Rotwitt's working on both sides of the courthouse deal. A review of e-mails and other records from April, when Rotwitt's partnership deal first came to light, show that Castille and other court officials reversed themselves on the project within a month. At first, they denied knowing such a partnership existed. Then they acknowledged it, but defended it." (Inquirer 7/25/10)
Bill DeWeese's corruption trial is scheduled for next month (here at CasablancaPA, we still aren't sure the case will ever make it to trial). Will Bill Chadwick's opaque "investigative" methods be mentioned in the trial? Or, will Attorney General Linda Kelly put Chadwick off-limits to save the Chief Justice (and fellow Republican) from having to answer uncomfortable questions about Chadwick's work for him?