Judges sued in $2.6M scheme

Judges sued in $2.6M scheme

There are 6 comments on the GoErie.com story from Feb 14, 2009, titled Judges sued in $2.6M scheme. In it, GoErie.com reports that:

Two lawsuits have been filed against two Pennsylvania judges accused of taking more than $2 million in kickbacks to send youth offenders to privately run detention centers.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at GoErie.com.

Laid Back Farmer

New Castle, PA

#1 Feb 17, 2009
Let’s look at the facts:
1) Greg Zappala was a 50% partner in PA Child Care/Western PA Child Care which paid these judges $2.67 million dollars. If you were a 50% partner in a corporation, would you not question where $2.67 million disappeared to? How can you be a 50% partner and not know this type of payoff is going on?
2)“A draft state audit found Western PA Child Care paid a half-million dollars in consulting fees to a company owned by Greg Zappala, but there was “no documentation of any services provided for these fees.”
3)“Corporate records show Greg Zappala’s business address for his consulting firms and his former partner’s address for Western PA Child Care. But it’s actually the home of his father, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Zappala Sr.
A court spokesman says Zappala Sr. has absolutely no connection to any of his son’s businesses and cannot imagine why Greg Zappala’s former business partner would have used Zappala Sr.’s home address as a business address.”
Having a few corporations of my own, I know that unsolicitated mail is sent out by marketing firms to corporations. Zappala Sr. can play dumb and there may be some void of brain cells out there that will actually believe this apparent bullchit, but does anyone with two or more brain cells believe he didn’t know?
Laid Back Farmer

New Castle, PA

#2 Feb 17, 2009
4) Let’s not forget about Greg Zappala’s involement in the “School Board Bond Scam” that took money that could have been used to educate children! There seems to be a pattern of ripping off institutions that provide for children with these sick predators that are preying on our children!
…”What New York-based JPMorgan Chase didn’t tell them, the transcript shows, was that the bank would get more in fees than the school district would get in cash:$1 million. The complex deal, which placed taxpayer money at risk, was linked to four variables involving interest rates. Three years later, as interest rate benchmarks went the wrong way for the school district, the Erie board paid $2.9 million to JPMorgan to get out of the deal, which officials now say they didn’t understand.
“That was like a sucker punch,” Barker says.“It’s not about the district and the superintendent. It’s about resources being sucked out of the classroom. If it’s happening here, it’s happening in other places.”…”
…”The board relied on an old friend, with the kind of connections that go far in western Pennsylvania: football and politics. The district put its trust in municipal finance firm Russell Rea Zappala & Gomulka Holdings Inc., known as RRZ.
Greg Zappala, head of JPMorgan’s office in Cranberry Township just north of Pittsburgh, is the son of former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Zappala and the brother of Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. Greg Zappala, 46, played football for the University of Miami Hurricanes in the early 1980s. He was a roommate of Jim Kelly, a Pittsburgh-born, Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Buffalo Bills to four Super Bowls. Zappala’s uncle, Charles Zappala, was an RRZ executive. In 1990, Greg Zappala became a broker with the firm. One of the founders was Andy Russell, formerly of the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2003, JPMorgan bought the firm’s municipal unit: RRZ Public Markets Inc., which Zappala ran. The company had worked for the Butler Area School District since 1991. There was no competition when the former RRZ bankers paid $730,000 for an option to refinance, five years in the future,$39 million of bonds sold by the school district in 1998.”
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/ …/mm_0308_story2.html
Is this a modern day crime family? We need to rid our society of these sick leaches that suck off the future of our children! As citizens, we need to make sure we as individuals and our government officials do not do any business with these scum. If they are shunned enough, they will soon whither and die away. These families that believe they are powerful and can get away with these crimes need to be stamped out of our politics as well. The Zappala’s need to be oppossed anytime they seek government office. These people are a cancer our society cannot afford to let grow.
Laid Back Farmer

New Castle, PA

#3 Feb 17, 2009

5) Then you have the brother, democrat Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. which includes the city of Pittsburgh, coming out claiming his brother is a victim. Note that Allegheny County paid Western PA Child Care, which is owned by his brother, inflated rates for the detention of juveniles. This is the same DA brother that believes he is fit to be the US Attorney in Pittsburgh or deserves a seat on the bench of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Isnt the job of the DA to prosecute those that commit crimes against the citizens of the county? Isnt overbilling for services a crime that should be prosecuted? Yet this guy claims his banker brother that overbilled the county for services is a victim? On Friday, while attending an unrelated event at Woodland Hills High School, Stephen Zappala said his brother has done nothing wrong.My brothers out a great deal of money, so hes actually a victim in this whole thing, Stephen Zappala said.


The Obama administration hasnt approached Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. about his interest in the U.S. attorneys post in Pittsburgh, even though his name circulates as a candidate, Zappala said Wednesday.Its a very powerful office. You can coordinate a lot more assets. Im very interested in how that office works, Zappala said. But Im not sure about the job.In a meeting with Tribune-Review reporters and editors, Zappala said he has toyed with running for a statewide judicial office now that his children are older. He reflected on his achievements in 11 years as district attorney and said there are things he still would like to accomplish as the countys chief law enforcement officer.


If Western Pennsylvania Child Care had not misspent funds as the audit alleges, the facility could have reduced its charges to counties. The facility bills $314 a day for secure treatment and $255 per day for shelter services, but could have reduced those charges to $249.84 and $194.81, respectively, if it hadnt spent the questioned costs, auditors concluded.Butler County Commissioner James Kennedy has long questioned those charges.He abstained from a 2005 vote to contract with Western Pennsylvania Child Care because he thought the charges were too high.The costs were exorbitant, Mr. Kennedy said in an interview Tuesday. I couldnt condone going through with this deal.Similar facilities at the time were charging $180 per day for secure treatment and $140 per day for shelter care, according to minutes of the 2005 meeting.


With the characters involved in this scheme, it would read like a cheap sleazy novel if it werent, so sadly, so true. Democrat judges, the father a former democrat Chief Justice, the son with the bank ties with past history of financial gain at the expense of children, and the other son appears to be running protection with his position as the democrat DA of Allegheny County with what appear to be ties to the Obama democrat political machine. Instead of defending the citizens of the county he serves, this DA tells the media, that his banker brother that overbilled, the county this DA is paid to serve and protect, for services and profited from that overbilling, stating his banker brother is the victim.
The sickness of this group jailing children for money makes my skin crawl!

We need to make sure this does not die until they follow the money trail completely and prosecute all that are involved!

They rule by intimidation and instilling fear, and because we are intimidated and fear, they rule, allowing for their own personal gain at our expense!
mike ference

Pittsburgh, PA

#4 Feb 18, 2009
The Zappala's are a bunch of Sicilian scumbag mobsters. I'm not afraid to say it.
Mike Ference

P.S. I can't make it any easier, come and get me.

Birdsboro, PA

#5 Feb 26, 2009
Taking this case wherever it leads is the key to reform. I'm betting this thing is absolutely massive. Expect intense warfare behind the scenes if the investigators push hard to find all the cancer. This particular betrayal is just the tiniest tip of that mountain of ice called "our judicial system" IMHO. It is time to clean up this disaster. Newspaper Publishers, you will do an invaluable service for our Commonwealth if you don't back off. Obviously, you risk retaliatory lawsuits. However, if you determine to expose this charade once and for all, the good folks of PA will stand with you.
Learned Hand

Oil City, PA

#6 Feb 26, 2009
PA must change Article 5 of the Constitution and require merit selection of judges, as is already done with Article 2 judges.

Stop electing PA's Article 5 judges by popularity contests!

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