Why Vote on Tuesday? Reason #2: The Solicitor Scandal of 2012

Dsyfunction-300x199Still not convinced your vote is needed tomorrow? Here’s the second reason you should vote!

On December 17, 2012, a special meeting of Bellevue Council was called in order to replace Tom McDermott as solicitor. Changing solicitors and other borough employees is not in an of itself a scandal. However, when certain facts come together at just the right time and add up to a narrative of deceit, cronyism, and corruption – a scandal jis what you’ll discover!

backscratchers3During this special meeting to replace the solicitor, Councilman Mark Helbling explicitly pointed out that the law firm which Linda Woshner, Jane Braunlich, and Jim and Sue Viscusi seemed all too eager to hire for a number of months was the same law firm which represented Councilwoman Jane Braunlich in her disgraceful lawsuit to throw out a military member’s absentee ballot in order to secure her seat during the previous election. Questions of impropriety and ethics violations were raised at the very notion of the fact that Braunlich had a previous relationship with this law firm and it seemed far too coincidental that their names surfaced again and again until the votes added up to replaced McDermott.

Additionally, as if Braunlich’s connection to the new law firm was not questionable enough, Councilman Frank Camello proceeded to unpack a story accusing Council President Linda Woshner and known political meddler Mark Purcell of conspiring to acquire his vote in a similar attempt to replace Tom McDermott a year prior to this incident. According to Camello’s story, President Woshner explicitly said, “You have to vote to replace McDermott, Mark Purcell wants this to happen now.” Compelled by his conscience to vote on the merits of the job performed by McDermott and not by outside influence, Camello voted against the move and has since been shunned by the current majority as someone unwilling to cooperate with their schemes.

Don’t believe us? Watch the drama unfold for yourself by clicking here!

This is yet another example of the gross dysfunction of the current majority on Bellevue Council. We have an opportunity tomorrow (Tuesday, May 21) to rectify this dysfunction. Councilmembers Jane Braunlich, Jim Viscusi, and Sue Viscusi are each in a heated contest for their respective seats. Councilwoman Braunlich, in fact, is running for mayor and hoping that her husband Mike Braunlich will replace her on council. Let’s look to some new, capable leadership for our borough rather than perpetuating this gross dysfunction and cronyism which has plagued it for decades.

 

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8 Responses to “Why Vote on Tuesday? Reason #2: The Solicitor Scandal of 2012”

  1. The most disturbing thing here is that everyone didn’t have the same reason to AT LEAST look into this as Jim Sciciani suggested. There is obviously an issue about Jane’s involvement as more than a friend with the new solicitor. To at least not look into it and CLEAR her, to me, shows her both ignorance and guilt. How does Linda know for a fact that Jane paid? It’s all crazy to me. It’s also scary to think what else is at hand.

    My biggest issue, however (to play devil’s advocate), is what is the gain of the people the voted to get the new solicitor? I know why the ones didn’t – he did a great job and knows the system and could probably make up that $17k. What is the reason to change?

    If there was nothing to hide, they should have said it. Instead, they hid behind the mask of $17k and didn’t allow him to make it up.

    There is obviously something going on.

    What’s my motivation? I don’t have any. Corruption is rampant in politics and I’m sick of it. If we can get just one of them to either change their ways or get out, I’d be happy.

  2. Please do not post pictures of Braunlich (as unflattering as they are). As a military veteran, father of a military veteran, son of a military veteran and grandson of a military veteran and brother of a military veteran and supporter of all our military persons I find her extremely offensive. To think someone would dare do what she did to the vote of an active military person leaves me horrified to think to what depths some people will go for a little self aggrandizement.

    • Bill,

      The PA State Supreme Court make the determination concerning a tainted ballot which was not found for over one week. Jane’s father served in the Armed Forces during World War II. Two of her brothers served in Vietnam, where one was seriously wounded. She has the utmost respect and appreciation for our active military and veterans.

      • Actually the story that i had hear was this. They candidates tied so before anything about this happened Jane agreed to a casting lots. She lost. So instead of following the agreement that was made she sued. Guess what she lost again. Still not satisfied with denying a perfectly valid vote (the problem was with the person handling the ballots not the soldier) she appealed to the pa Supreme Court before she finally won. Again funny thing is that Linda says this lawyers specialty is in municipal law not election law. If I were Jane I would have found someone who specialized in that. But as luck would have it someone turned her to our current solicitor. I am not saying that there is any one toon here I just marvel at how small the world is.

  3. A request for a proposal was advertised in the Citizen and the Post-Gazette. The proposals were received by the borough manager and the sealed proposals were opened at a council meeting. All three were interviewed. The least expensive law firm was selected. There was no favoritism. Jane did use the law firm 3 or 4 years before the selection. She paid for their services and had no contact with them after her case was won. Jane had no financial gain because of the selection. The law firm specializes in municipal law. This process was much different than how the past solicitor was hired. He was hired against the advice of the solicitor at the time because it was a lame duck council. He was allowed to negotiate his fees unlike any of the other candidates. None of this happened with this solicitor. The firm was hired using a transparent process.

    • Sorry, Linda. I just can’t let this one go. You’re telling voters that if a mistake is made at no fault of their own, that their vote shouldn’t count? So, as long as you have the “right person” handling the ballots at the “right time” you can effectively CONTROL THE OUTCOME OF ANY ELECTION. If it is the voter’s fault that a mistake is made, that’s one thing. But to say with a straight face that voters can be disenfranchised if the right lawyer is hired is to effectively say an election CAN BE BOUGHT!

      As a veteran and someone who has been forced to vote on an absentee ballot due to my military service, I must say what Jane did four years ago was absolutely abhorrent in my book!!! To actively seek to have a military member’s vote thrown out in court is to effectively say, “Your sacrifice for our nation is FAR LESS IMPORTANT THAN MY DESPERATE NEED FOR POWER!”

      If Jane wins the primary tomorrow (which will be a shock in and of itself), I can personally guarantee there will be a lot of money from military members pouring into the borough to declare her actions four years ago as an absolute disgrace!!

    • The other part of this that no one is mentioning is that after months of Linda and Jane trying to deny payments to the solicitor they were asked directly in a council meeting if they would like to make a motion to advertise for a new solicitor. This was about 2 years ago. They both declined. Why would they decline and then continue to throw tantrums about the solicitors bills? The reason is that the hiring of the solicitor was legal. Doesn’t that sound like the same argument that she is making above about the soldiers vote? They continue to say that we are the negative ones however watch the videos. The smiling faces that they have….if you already think it bad you should have seen it before the cameras.

      On a related note. Check out mark purcells campaign finance page…there are two donations…one from Patricia mccroll and another from Patricia mccrell. One of whom is from white oak where our solicitor is from. It’s amazing how there are three people from white oak with such similar names who happen to know mark…here is the website…
      http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/candidate.phtml?c=123664

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