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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Top 10 Public Employee Scandals

Great article from PushBackNow!

Most of our state and local public employees are undoubtedly upstanding citizens, yet the growing scope of government power leads some to do incredibly selfish things. Here are the Top 10 Public Employee Scandals:

1. Prince George’s County corruption: This Washington, D.C., suburb is a cesspool of corruption. County Executive Jack Johnson was recently indicted on conspiracy, extortion, and bribery charges relating to a pay-for-play scheme, taking money, trips, meals, drinks, hotel rooms, airline tickets, rounds of golf, mortgage payments, and campaign contributions from developers. Unrelated to Johnson’s scandal, Ulysses Currie—the state senator representing the Maryland county—was indicted last September for taking $245,000 in bribes. And Currie’s campaign treasurer Olivia Harris pled guilty to stealing $157,350 from Currie’s campaign account.

2. Bell , Calif. , salaries: The mayor and former city manager of Bell , Calif., along with six other city officials, were arrested last year and charged with illegally paying themselves huge salaries. Bell is a mostly Hispanic working-class town of 40,000 near Los Angeles, yet City Manager Robert Rizzo was receiving an $800,000 salary. Rizzo, booked on 53 counts of misappropriation of public funds, and the other officials were charged with taking $5.5 million from the city coffers.

3. Kickbacks for jailed kids: Former Pennsylvania juvenile court Judge Mark Ciavarella was found guilty of 12 counts of racketeering and conspiracy in February for sending youthful offenders to detention centers in exchange for $2 million in kickbacks from the builder of the for-profit facility. While the disgraced judge said the money was a “finder’s fee,” the state Supreme Court threw out thousands of juvenile convictions from Ciavarella’s court.

4. Washington, D.C., shopping spree: Harriette Walters, a tax assessments manager in Washington, D.C., was sentenced in 2009 to 78 months in prison for approving $48 million in false tax refunds, which she used to go on expensive shopping sprees and to lavish gifts on friends and family members. Walters, whose annual salary was $81,000, spent more $1.4 million at Neiman Marcus for jewelry, clothing, and designer handbags.

5. New York pension scandal: Former New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi pleaded guilty last year to corruption charges for accepting more than $1 million in expenses, fees, and donations from a California businessman in return for allowing the businessman to earn $18 million in fees for investing $250 million of the state’s pension fund. Despite his guilty plea, Hevesi is allowed to keep his own $105,000 annual pension.

List Continues...

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