Kane refers LCB ethics question to Dauphin County district attorney
HARRISBURG — With her husband having ties to a multimillion-dollar contract with the state Liquor Control Board, Attorney General Kathleen Kane on Tuesday asked the top Dauphin County prosecutor to review whether ethics violations by three ex-agency officials warrant a criminal investigation.
Three former officials violated rules by accepting golf outings, expensive wine and lavish dinners, the state Ethics Caommission said. It's a matter of course for the attorney general to review ethics opinions, officials at the agencies said.
Kane is attempting to avoid a potential conflict. It isn't unusual for district attorneys to refer cases to the attorney general when they have conflicts.
“In the usual course of business, the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission refers findings to the Office of Attorney General to determine whether criminal charges are warranted,” said Joe Peters, Kane's spokesman. “In this instance, because Attorney General Kane's husband's family company has a long-standing business relationship with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, the Attorney General is referring these Ethics commission findings to the Dauphin County District Attorney's office.”
District Attorney Ed Marsico could not be reached. Though a county prosecutor, Marsico sometimes handles high-profile state cases because his office is in the capital.
The Ethics Commission could have recommended criminal charges but agreed not to do so.
Kane's husband, Chris, sits on the board of Kane Is Able, a company that has $12.4 million in warehouse and trucking contracts with the LCB. The family business was established long before her 2012 election. His connection to an LCB contractor became public during her campaign.
Under the ethics ruling:
• Former marketing director James H. Short Jr. of Susquehanna Township in Dauphin County was ordered to pay $13,582.92;
• Former chairman Patrick “P.J.” Stapleton III of Malvern in Chester County was ordered to pay $7,258.54;
• Former chief executive Joe Conti of Doylestown in Bucks County was ordered to pay $2,388.51.
Matthew Haverstick, Conti's lawyer, declined to comment.
Neither Stapleton nor Short could be reached.
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Secret Service chief resigns after security lapses
- Attorney General seeks halt in Conneaut Lake Park sheriff’s sale
- Jobs on state website include ‘private party dancing,’ ‘car dates’
- Penguins notebook: Crosby ‘confident’ despite limited preseason time
- Fans flock to what they hope will continue ‘magical season’
- State looks into UPMC complaint that Highmark violated agreement
- Group’s grant to help Pittsburgh feed more needy kids
- Advocacy groups call for closer scrutiny of charter schools
- Rossi: Pirates plan to carry Hurdle deep into playoffs
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin bringing officials to practice
- Steelers’ Tomlin does not like his coaching style to be characterized