Public corruption: Philly’s 2014 sleaze parade


    It’s been a busy year for public corruption in Philadelphia. I still believe we’re making progress in this area, and you can read my argument here. Meanwhile, here are some of the Philadelphia public officials who were tainted by scandal in 2014:


    miranda 1200x675State Rep. J.P. Miranda

    Following a piece on Fox29, he was charged in January with using a ghost employee to funnel money to his sister. He lost the Democratic primary in May. His case is scheduled for trial next year. (Image by Brian Hickey/WHYY)

    leannawashington 1200x675State Sen. LeAnna Washington

    She was indicted in March by a grand jury for using state resources and staff to plan her annual birthday fundraiser. The grand jury report quoted her as saying to a staffer, “I am the f—ing senator. I do what the f— I want.” Washington pleaded guilty to conflict of interest charges in October. (AP Photo/file)

    dom-verdiDominic Verdi

    This former deputy commissioner of the city’s Licenses and Inspections Department was charged in April with extorting more than $1 million from bar and nightclub owners. He left the government in 2011 when news of the probe surfaced. He’s denied the charges and pleaded not guilty. (Image courtesy of CBS Philly)

    traffic-court wht 1200x675Traffic Court Judges

    In July, former judges Thomasine Tynes, Michael Lowry, Robert Mulgrew and Willie Singletary were convicted of lying to authorities in a ticket-fixing probe that saw 2013 guilty pleas from three other judges and a top court administrator. In a separate case, Tynes pled guilty to accepting a $2,000 bracelet from an informant posing as a lobbyist in a sting operation. [Clockwise from top left: Lowry (Image courtesy of, Singletary (Tom MacDonald/WHYY), Mulgrew (Image courtesy ofCBS Philly), Tynes (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

    Judge Willis Berry

    The former common pleas judge was charged by the state attorney general’s office in May with theft and conflict of interest for running a business from his judicial chambers for more than a decade. He agreed to, then rejected a plea bargain.

    fattah 1200x675U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah

    In August, federal prosecutors asserted in a court filing that Fattah and others had “orchestrated the theft of federal grant funds and other grant funds” to repay an illegal loan to his 2007 mayoral campaign. Fattah has not been charged, and says he’s done nothing wrong. (Image by Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

    thomas-nocellaJudge Thomas Nocella

    In August, the common pleas court judge was removed from the bench after disciplinary charges filed by the state Judicial Conduct Board. (Image courtesy of

    Judge Joseph Waters

    In September, the municipal court judge resigned and pleaded guilty to federal mail and wire fraud charges after an FBI investigation. Two other Municipal court judges implicated in the investigation were suspended from hearing cases.

    seamus-mccafferty 1200x675Justice Seamus McCaffery

    In October, the state supreme court justice resigned after embarrassing revelations about his exchange of pornographic email, and after another justice said McCaffery had threatened to release damaging information about him if he didn’t come to McCaffery’s defense. McCaffery’s resignation also ended inquiries into his conduct by the Judicial Conduct Board, which was investigating referral fees paid to McCaffery’s wife and other matters. (NewsWorks file photo)

    ron-waters 1200x675State Rep. Ron Waters

    In December a grand jury charged Waters with taking $8,750 in nine payments from a confidential informant posing as a lobbyist in a sting operation run by the attorney general’s office. Authorities say he admitted the allegations to a grand jury. He’s expected to plead guilty. (Image by Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

    vanessa-lowry-brown 1200x675State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown

    She faces the same charges as Waters, caught in the same sting operation. She allegedly accepted $4,000 and also admitted the allegations to the grand jury. (Image by Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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