Fumo associate guilty for phony contracts

    Today’s guilty plea is part of the continuing fallout from the corruption trial and conviction of the former senator.

    A friend of imprisoned former Pennsylvania state Senator Vincent Fumo admits the powerful lawmaker steered him nearly $290,000 dollars in state funds through phony senate contracts. Today’s guilty plea is part of the continuing fallout from the corruption trial and conviction of the former senator.

    Listen:
    [audio:091020spplea.mp3]

    Fumo associate Michael Palermo was paid $150 dollars an hour to consult on transportation issues for the Senate between 1999 and 2004. He admitted in federal court that although he did some work, he did not come close to the 2,000 hours he claimed on invoices. Before being awarded the Senate contract, Palermo had worked as an associate executive director for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

    Assistant U-S Attorney Jon Pease says evidence presented at Fumo’s trial showed that Palermo falsified the invoices.

    Pease: It was one of several contracts that during the trial of Vincent Fumo we alleged were part of a fraud scheme in which he rewarded close friends and associates with state money to provide little or no services or were personal in nature.

    The 69-year-old Palermo will likely get five years probation as a result of his plea deal.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.