Health - March 15, 2013

Turnpike scandal unfolds

 The Pennsylvania Turnpike had been under grand jury investigation for the last several years.  The outcome of that investigation came to light on Wednesday when Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced charges against eight people in a “pay-to-play” scandal.  Among those charged were a former state senator, three former top Turnpike officials, and two businessmen.  Charges range from bid-rigging to bribery.  The scandal involved vendors being solicited for and giving gifts and campaign contributions in exchange for contracts with the Turnpike.  The York Daily Record reports that collectively hundreds of thousands of dollars were given by vendors who then won tens of millions of dollars in contracts.  Trips, gifts, and entertainment were also paid for by vendors, including trips to Europe.

Attorney General Kane stated that “these men were using the Turnpike to line their pockets and to influence elections."  The investigation is ongoing but AG Kane also noted that it is restricted by an eight year statute of limitations.  Current turnpike CEO, Mark Compton, was quick to release a statement saying the charges against former turnpike employees are not representative of the current employees of the turnpike.  He also pointed out that in the last two years the turnpike has “hired a chief compliance officer, and toughened the process for awarding professional services contracts such as engineering, legal services and bond underwriting.”  It remains to be seen whether any others will be charged as the investigation continues.


Corbett, McCord file to dismiss NCAA lawsuit

Governor Corbett and State Treasurer Rob McCord filed motions this week to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the NCAA.  Both Corbett and McCord are named as defendants in the suit that challenges a law passed just last month.  The NCAA fined Penn State University $60 million last year as a result of the mishandling of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse issue.  The recently passed law would keep that $60 million in Pennsylvania.  The NCAA had planned to use the money all over the country, not just in Pennsylvania to help combat child sexual abuse.  Immediately after the law passed, the NCAA sued.  Corbett in turn had already filed another lawsuit to get the fine overturned; and state Senator Jake Corman also sued over how the fine would be distributed.   Corbett and McCord are now asking for the NCAA suit to be dismissed due to the pending outcome of the other lawsuits.