Monday, March 31, 2014


The defenders of former Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina recently bent the ear of Philadelphia Inquirer commentator Michael Smerconish. It appears that intrepid crime fighter Fina really wasn't trying to nab just any ol' bad guys in the sting Attorney General Kathleen Kane deep-sixed. Instead, Fina wanted to use controversial confidential informant Tyron Ali to troll Harrisburg "to see what would happen":

"However, these five individuals were never the investigation's focus, according to a person close to the investigation with whom I spoke last week: 'We could have done that until the cows came home.' Instead, the investigation had a broader, long-term focus predicated on relationship-building, 'not pinching individual legislators,' said this individual. Indeed, investigators say this wasn't about individual lawmakers, which  is why they take umbrage with Kane having played the race card. Their effort was born of frustration that, despite having racked up 23 convictions of both Republicans and Democrats in Bonusgate and Computergate, there was no change in the culture of Pennsylvania politics. So they set their sights larger, intending to let Ali spread money around, ingratiate himself, and see what would happen if the faux lobbyist set up offices in Harrisburg." (Philadelphia Inquirer 3/30/14)

Well, if they didn't really want to nab the now-infamous four Democratic state legislators caught on tape, who exactly did they want to entrap to end this nefarious "culture" of Pennsylvania politics? A sitting leader in the legislature? All members of all four legislative caucuses? What does it really mean to say they wanted an open-ended sting to "see what would happen?"

Apparently, Fina didn't want to grab a sitting Speaker of the House for using his taxpayer-funded staff for his campaign. Pre-trial documents filed by former State Representative Mike Veon show that Fina had in his possession reams of fundraising databases and emails used by then-Speaker Keith McCall for his campaign and those of other House candidates. (Veon pre-trial filing exhibits) In fact, McCall had multiple state legislative staff working on his fundraising, including a former Veon staff member who testified under oath during the "Bonusgate" trial that he was doing precisely the same kind of illegal political work for McCall that he did for Veon:

"Lavelle also did not dispute the assertion that he continued fundraising after joining the staff of then-Democratic Whip Keith McCall in 2007, who has not been charged with wrongdoing. 'You continued to do fundraising as part of you job with Speaker McCall?' defense lawyer Dan Raynak asked. 'You continued to send out memos and e-mails during the work day with Speaker McCall?' 'That's correct,' Lavelle replied." (Associated Press 2/19/2010)

McCall isn't the only sitting Speaker of the House that Fina let off the hook.  He was untroubled by Speaker Sam Smith's deep involvement with the "Computergate" scandal in the House Republican Caucus. Page after page of grand jury testimony documents Smith's knowledge and participation in the scheme that defrauded the taxpayers by at least $10 million. (9/27/11)

Nor did Fina and his crew seem concerned about the Republican State Senate Caucus' 40% share of the illegal 60/40 scheme that determined who got Pennsylvania Turnpike contracts and jobs. Only the State Senate Democratic 60-percenters were investigated by Fina's team for Kane to ultimately indict:

"A former Chief Operating Officer of the Turnpike explained, 'the choice of who the -- which firms they are, as I said, typically, there was always a 60/40 rule,...that selection, depending on what year, and who the governor was, and who was on the State Senate, it would either come out of the Senate leadership or out of the Governor's office.' In practice, the Senate provided direction to the Commission through their staff persons." (Grand Jury presentment)

We'll be hearing quite a bit about the 60/40 rule this spring during the Turnpike corruption trial, but only the State Senate Democratic Caucus...not Governor Ed Rendell, Senator Chip Brightbill, or Senator Bob Jubelirer.

Let's face it...Fina and his defenders are blowing smoke about trying to end corruption in Harrisburg.  They certainly wanted to make arrests and glorify themselves, but only by carefully selecting who to go after and who to indict...regardless of their own evidence and witness testimony.


Anonymous said...

Ex-Penn State President Graham B. Spanier filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane asking a federal court to dismiss the criminal charges that Spanier conspired with top aides to hide retired coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children.

Spanier's suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, alleges that former Chief Deputy Attorney General Frank Fina acted in bad faith when he filed criminal charges based largely on the inadmissible grand jury testimony of a university lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Someone is going to be unemployable in a matter of weeks ...

bobguzzardi said...

CasablancaPA is indispensable reading. Every statement is sourced. Well done.

Anonymous said...

At what point does the PA Disciplinary Board pay a visit to FF?

Anonymous said...

AG Kane should open an Official Grand Jury Investigations on all prior and current Staffers in the Pennsylvania Attorney General Office.

This would be to make sure all the employees are pit under oath that handled all Grand Jury Hearings Investigations the past 8 years.

There has still been no INVESTIGATIONS on GRAND JURY ILLEGAQL LEAKS that happen under AG Corbett, AG Kelly, and AG Ryan, all conducted by Frank Fina.

Once on record with the proper questions no employee will be exempt, and if nothing is found, it is the best way to prove AG Kane's current Staffers were never part of the illegal leaks, selective, and malicious prosecutions that happen under Frank Fina.

Include the Judges that presided over the Grand Juries as well!

Anonymous said...

And the taxpayer is on the hook for the unending litigation and poor handling of Baldwin by Fina and his pal Judge Feudale, the two Finks that cannot Think, so blame others!

Anonymous said...

I really do not see a specific federal issue, that isn't mirrored in the issues before the state courts.

Spanier probably has more rights under state law than under federal law in his current situation.

They may have wanted to get Spanier's and Baldwin's transcripts out, but that is hideous Public Relations.

They may be hoping that Kane uses it as excuse to drop the case; if she did, she'd be impeached and removed.

Anonymous said...

One has to wonder if the lawyer for Spanier got the idea after the story broke that Fina signed off on 2033 felony counts with the OAG sting actor???

Fina's failures and fake prosecutions on Corbett's friend in the senate and The Second Mile keep costing Commonwealth Taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

AG Kane has a valid argument...the OAG under Tom Corbett and run by Frank Fina was like watching The 3 stooges...except with Shemp instead of Curly?

Anonymous said...

Isn't the release of GJ testimony supposed to be illegal? Should not Spanier and/or his lawyers be charged for that and let them prove they did not do it?

I guess he realized that Paterno, not having been charged with actual crimes, didn't apply. Oh well still does not explain Frank Fina famous Statement.......“I did not find evidence” that Coach Paterno was a part of the conspiracy to conceal -- to cover-up the crimes at Penn State by Jerry Sandusky.

Math 101
Based on Freeh’s conclusions we can write the following formulas:

Spanier + Schultz + Paterno + Curley = Cover-Up And Spanier + Schultz + Paterno + Curley = 4.

Based on the transitive property: 4 = Cover-Up

Now take into consideration Frank Fina’s statement.

“I did not find evidence” that Coach Paterno was a part of the conspiracy to conceal -- to cover-up the crimes at Penn State by Jerry Sandusky.

Considering Fina’s statement, the formula now becomes:

Spanier + Schultz + Curley = 3. We already know: 4 = Cover-Up.

Since 3 ≠ 4 then Spanier + Schultz + Curley ≠ Cover-Up.

In addition, if Paterno was not the mastermind behind the cover-up, then who was?

Frankie you can't have it both way????

Anonymous said...

It is consistently clear the simple facts that CYS and DPW have flown under the radar since 2009 when the Sandusky investigation began and have not been thoroughly reviewed nor held accountable for their actions (or inactions) in the 1998 probe, is either due to Frank Fina intentional delays or outright refusal to investigate them.

But, how can Fina explain that ChildLine answered approximately 121,860 calls in 2010.

However, ChildLine missed answering 11,792 calls that year; almost 9% of all calls went unanswered.

The national average for child abuse reports triggering an investigation is 5 times higher than PA’s rate?

The national average of substantiated child abuse reports is 7 times higher than PA’s rate.

These statistics should be a red flag to Corbett, Frank Fina and Investigators at PAOAG??

These men and women and now known Frank Fina and Tom Corbett hired to protect the children were not doing a thorough job.

Anonymous said...

Fina--did you lawyer up yet? Matt Haverstick? :)

Anonymous said...

Doesn't this excerpt from a story by Couloumbis in July 2013 become clearer now?
The dispute is part of a larger struggle, between the new attorney general and her office's old guard of career prosecutors, that has spilled over into how several high-stakes cases are being handled - including a probe into political corruption in several counties, Philadelphia among them, according to people familiar with the situation.
The scope and specifics of that investigation could not be learned.

Anonymous said...

#BlingSting: What If Frank Fina Just Wants Cover For Botched Sandusky Investigation?


The most important thing to know about the fake controversy over Kathleen Kane’s decision to drop the unprosecuteable Corbett AG sting targeting black Philadelphia Democratic elected officials doesn’t appear until quite far into Thomas Fitzgerald’s Sunday piece:

Kane’s troubles give critics – some of whom might want to stop her rise – a chance to take her down, or at least muddy her up. Her allies have suggested Fina has a motive to hurt her because she is conducting a review of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse investigation, which Fina ran when he was with the A.G.’s Office.

Real reporters unfortunately can’t go here because there’s too much speculation involved, but this is a blog so we can tell it like it is.

The real political meta-significance of the whole #blingsting story is that Frank Fina and Tom Corbett are terrified of what Kane’s Sandusky probe will say about them, so they are trying to slime Kathleen Kane preemptively.

The only actual offense the sting uncovered – non-reporting of gifts – is a misdemeanor.

The gifts themselves are legal. And we know that the gifts, which are the focus of all the media attention, can’t be the real issue, because otherwise the same people would’ve been hyperventilating over Tom Corbett’s wife Susan taking over $11,000 in gifts from business execs who have interests before state government.

But some natural gas baron giving Susan Corbett an expensive fancy dress doesn’t offend the right-wing id quite like a blah person getting a Tiffany bracelet, so the latter is a “scandal” and the former isn’t.

Anonymous said...

For those that thought Fina was one of the good guys, because Fina praise Joe and basically said that there is no way he did anything wrong?

Fina lucked out by some shoddy representation and a corrupt not, but Fina did some truly shady things.

A Penn State trustee asked Gov. Tom Corbett to support his company while he led the university’s investigation into the Sandusky scandal, newly released e-mails show.

The request by Merck CEO Ken Frazier was made during a secret 2012 meeting in Washington, D.C. as the probe by former FBI director Louis J. Freeh entered its fourth month.

“Merck is the Commonwealth’s largest manufacturer,” he wrote to former secretary of education Ron Tomalis, after his Feb. 24, 2012 meeting with Corbett. “I just wanted the Governor to know that we appreciate his support for our business and to invite him to visit our facility in Montgomery County.”

The meeting came as former Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly continued to negotiate a settlement with Merck over its controversial painkiller Vioxx. Unlike most states, Kelly didn’t agree to a November 2011 settlement agreement involving the federal government and 43 states.

Instead, Kelly, who succeeded Corbett when he became governor, continued the legal battle with Merck. Though a final settlement was announced by Attorney General Kathleen Kane in February 2013, it was Kelly’s office that filed the $8.25 million settlement agreement six days before her term expired, according to court records.

It’s unclear why Kelly settled the case just days before she left the Attorney General’s office, or if the Corbett administration urged Kelly to take action before the start of Kane’s term.


Anonymous said...

Hey brett are you still dating bubba?

Anonymous said...

Brett did you and bubba get married yet? You libs love gay marriage.

Anonymous said...

When are you guys gonna just accept the fact that you committed crimes,got caught and were sent to prison by good honest hard working prosecuters.So sad.

Anonymous said...

Part 3: What Corbett and Fina should fear about Kane's Sandusky probe

Corbett and Fina's foot-dragging led to continued abuse of Victim 9, but there was more misconduct than just delaying the arrest of Sandusky.

In Part 2 of this series, I revealed that the foot-dragging in the Sandusky case led to the continued victimization of Victim 9. In addition, I stated that it was highly probable that there were other victims in Lock Haven and at Central Mountain High School (CMHS) that should have resulted in an immediate arrest of Sandusky. I will touch on CMHS a bit more, then move on to other potential areas of misconduct, but first a word from Governor Tom Corbett.

According to Governor Tom Corbett, former OAG prosecutor Frank Fina should have nothing to fear about Kathleen Kane's investigation of the Sandusky investigation. As Corbett pounded the podium at a July 2012 press conference, he exclaimed that he was tired of hearing about what took so long for the successful prosecution and a "monster was taken off the streets." They had successfully convicted Sandusky on 45 of 48 counts.

As Governor Corbett should know, sometimes the result is undermined by how you got to it. In math class, you had to show your work on how you got the answer and it appears that Corbett doesn't want ANYONE to "show the work" in the Sandusky case.

As it turns out -- there was quite a lot wrong with, not just the work, but even with the result.

The Unknown
While it's rather easy to point out all of the seemingly dishonest, unethical, and underhanded actions that have been documented on the public record in the Sandusky investigation, one can only imagine what Geoffrey Moulton's investigation is uncovering that is not on the public record.

The recovery of the OAG's e-mail evidence could get rather interesting, considering that Frank Fina attempted to delete all his emails before departing his position there. Moreover, Acting AG William Ryan's decision to change the e-mail storage policy from two years to six months likely deleted e-mails concerning how the OAG might respond if the FBI stepped in (per request of Dawn Daniels, the mother of Victim 1).

Also, this passage from Governor Corbett perhaps provides insights on why he believed the Kane investigation should only take a matter of weeks:

“Since she’s the one who wants speed in investigations, I hope that she does this very quickly, because it’s not going to take too long to sit down and talk to everybody and say, ‘Did you ever receive orders? Are there any e-mails?’ There is nothing out there.’ “From the time she walks into office in the middle of January, there’s no reason for her not to complete it, frankly, in about two, three months. Actually, frankly – in about two, three weeks. Because there’s nothing there.”

Unfortunately for Governor Corbett and Frank Fina, what wasn't there in November 2012 is now being recovered by Geoffrey Moulton's team of investigators.


Anonymous said...

Yo Yo Brett, thank God Fina didn't drag his feet with you dog. You and Bubba would never have met yo. Stop making him out yo be a bad guy. He's only a hopeless romantic.

Anonymous said...

She better worry about what Peters is saying to the BIG BOYS.

Anonymous said...

Bobby, why are you running in the R primary? Your obviously not an R when you support the pro- abortion pro-gay marriage KK. Sounds pretty liberal to real conservatives.

Anonymous said...

Brett, and others will have the last laugh, Fina's actions were terrible and Corbett's life will become unbearable.

Anonymous said...

Signor Ferarri,
It is unfortunate to see CasablancaPA fall to the level of insider conversations. You Blog has always been informative and on the leading edge. The comments posted on this story will destroy the Blog. Please monitor the comments to the theme of the story. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

No, what is unfortunate is these convicted criminals coming on here and lying about Corbett and his terrific prosecuters for four years.

Anonymous said...

Corbett was warned about the risks of prosecuting Jerry he's seeing it come back to bite him and his friends on the backside. This case is going to take down the Old Boy's Network in PA.