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Philly Corruption All-Stars (1990s)

"I'm not afraid to do time"

Our corrupt culture is unique, and it’s easy to forget that when you’re in the throes of the latest scandal. That’s why we’re publishing our Philly Corruption All-Stars, baseball card-like profiles of the best—er, worst—practitioners of political black arts, Philly-style. Though we’re committed to being a constructive force for making the city better, we think these cards are necessary to hammer home an important point: We have a longstanding cultural issue before us.

We’re publishing our All-Stars by decade, and at the end we’ll provide you with a link to a PDF version, so you can print the cards out and trade them with your friends.

Of course, we’re having fun with this, but it’s really no laughing matter. Our research for these tongue in cheek posts shows that things have gotten worse, not better. Just think of recent history, and the respective falls of Seth Williams, Kathleen Kane, Chakah Fattah, and Rob McCord—to just name a few. The culture is alive. The virus is spreading.

Here at The Citizen, we’re always looking for solutions. This time, it’s not so complicated: We need good men and women among us to demand better of those we hire to represent us.

Today, we take a look at the 1980’s and the corruption brought along with it. Suffice it to say, the perm was not the only cringe-worthy aspect of this decade.

The 1990’s introduced not only to Hillary Clinton pre-pant suit, but some seriously corrupt Philly politicians. Check out these all-stars below.

99

James J. Tayoun

Philadelphia City Council

James J. Tayoun

Philadelphia City Council

(1988 – 1991)

Corruption charge: Tayoun was charged in 1991 with 10 counts of racketeering, mail fraud, tax evasion, obstruction of justice and receipt of money in exchange for political favors.

Outcome: Tayoun avoided trial by pleading guilty just days after his indictment. He spent 40 months in prison.

He used his time in prison to author a helpful book for similarly-situated colleagues called Going to Prison? A Primer On Prison Etiquette. "A lot of people reach out to me," Tayoun said. "They cry out to me. They just don’t understand the system."

99

Rolf Larsen

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice

Rolf Larsen

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice

(1978 – 1994)

Corruption charge: Criminally charged with forgery for sending his aides to obtain prescription medication for him. Impeached by the Pennsylvania Senate for meeting with an attorney friend to decide which appeals to accept or reject.

Outcome: He was convicted on two counts of criminal conspiracy and removed from the bench. Afterwards, he was also convicted in his impeachment trial in 1994.

A grand jury report noted that Larsen was being treated for clinical anxiety and depression but didn’t use the state’s insurance plan for several years because he didn’t want anyone to find out. The silver lining was that Larsen’s case changed the way judicial ethics cases are handled in PA. According to Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, “It led to a constitutional amendment strengthening the way that Pennsylvania judges are disciplined for misconduct in Pennsylvania. They needed to have a new judicial discipline system. His case gave it legs."

99

Ernie Preate

Pennsylvania Attorney General

Ernie Preate

Pennsylvania Attorney General

(1989 – 1995)

Corruption charge: Mail fraud, resulting from his mailing of falsified campaign finance reports, which failed to disclose $20,000 in illegal cash contributions from video poker operators.

Outcome: Pleaded guilty, sentenced to 14 months in prison.

Federal prosecutors found that Preate had engaged in "a nearly decade-long scheme of repeated violations of state campaign finance laws through a pattern of fraud, concealment and deception." Preate was unfazed. "I’m not afraid to do time," he said. "I can do federal prison standing on my head."

The Philadelphia Citizen will only publish thoughtful, civil posts. We want to be a communal space. But that doesn’t mean you have a First Amendment right to be an idiot. Send us an insulting, offensive and/or wildly off-topic comment and not only will we refrain from posting it -- we will laugh at you before we hit delete.

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