The guy who told you so

    So federal prosecutors are now handing out grand jury subpoenas like Acme coupons to everybody involved with the Philadelphia sheriff department’s real estate sales.

    One guy who has to be smiling at his desk is Mayor Nutter’s press secretary, Mark McDonald.

    As a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News five years ago, he wrote a series of stories about the very players and problems that are now attracting scrutiny from the feds and the city controller’s office.

    McDonald’s stories from late 2005 are chock full of familiar names – employees and contractors of the sheriff’s office that were recently terminated, suspended or re-assigned in a house-cleaning.

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    McDonald wrote that one of those employees was suspended in 2005 and then re-instated by Sheriff John Green, and that the investigator Green hired to look into it turned out to have ethical lapses and disciplinary issues of his own.

    And there’s one detail I’d forgotten: Joe Vignola, who was recently hired by acting sheriff Barbara Deeley to clean up the place, was brought on in February 2006 by Sheriff Green to improve the ethical climate in the office.

    Vignola told me when I called him that he’d prepared an ethics manual for the office and had given it to two of the employees who were removed after the recent investigations.

    It doesn’t seem to have been reproduced or distributed.

    “We haven’t been able to find it in the offices,” Vignola said.

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