ShareThis Page
Mayor of Allentown under federal indictment |

Mayor of Allentown under federal indictment

The Associated Press
Ed Pawlowski has been mayor of Allentown since 2006.

The mayor of Pennsylvania’s third-largest city was charged Tuesday as part of a long-running federal corruption probe, according to his lawyer.

Jack McMahon told The Associated Press that Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is named in an indictment.

Pawlowski has consistently denied misusing his office, and McMahon said the mayor, who is running for a fourth term, will vigorously contest the charges.

“There will be nothing but fight in Ed Pawlowski, because he did nothing wrong,” McMahon said.

The indictment was temporarily sealed. McMahon said the defense would have more to say after it sees its contents.

The criminal case culminates an investigation that began in 2013 and led to charges against a slew of lower-ranking city officials and contractors in a pay-to-play scandal. Nine people have pleaded guilty.

Court documents in the earlier cases allege that Pawlowski, identified as Public Official No. 3, ordered Allentown officials to give “preferential treatment” to political donors as the Democrat raised money for unsuccessful runs for governor and the U.S. Senate.

Developer Ramzi Haddad, who earlier pleaded guilty to a federal bribery conspiracy charge, admitted that he raised tens of thousands of dollars for Pawlowski’s Senate bid after the candidate “made clear” to city vendors, including Haddad, that giving campaign cash “was a necessary condition for receiving certain favorable treatment from the city of Allentown,” according to court documents in that case.

Separately, the city’s top administrator, Fran Dougherty, admitted he helped rig a $3 million contract to replace the city’s streetlights so it would go to a company whose executives and consultants gave thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Pawlowski. Dougherty pleaded guilty and agreed to testify about “corruption in Allentown.”

Pawlowski did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment.

The FBI is running a parallel probe in nearby Reading, and it appeared charges might be imminent there, too.

Federal prosecutors, the FBI and the IRS planned a Wednesday news conference to announce charges “in matters concerning Lehigh and Berks Counties.”

Allentown, which has about 120,000 residents, is in Lehigh County. Reading, with a population of about 88,000, is in Berks.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.