Allentown Gone Wild


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I mean, you can’t make this up:

In an early morning meeting with Allentown Managing Director Francis Dougherty and Pawlowski’s Senate campaign manager Mike Fleck, the Mayor was first made aware of a possible FBI investigation into the city’s contracting practices, according to a report from Matt Assad and Emily Opilo of the Morning Call.

Fleck excused himself from breakfast and returned to his third-floor office in the Corporate Center with Pawlowski following close behind. A heated discussion intensified on the third floor, before Fleck and Pawlowski got back in the elevator to leave.

Between the third floor and the building’s exit, Pawlowski must have realized his run for U.S. Senate was over after patting down his best friend and finding Fleck was wearing a wire for the FBI.

With Fleck’s cover blown, the FBI swooped in, serving Pawlowski with a warrant before he reached his car outside the Corporate Center. The FBI also seized the mayor’s iPad and cellphone, beforeraiding Allentown City Hall hours later.

Court documents filed in the mounting legal case describe the actions of Public Official No. 3, who worked closely with staff to identify and solicit campaign donations from firms with a financial interest in Allentown. Public Official No. 3 swept his office for listening devices and used disposable “burner phones,” according to court documents.

Though unnamed, Public Official No. 3 launched a campaign for Senate on Apr. 27, leaving no doubt as to the identity of the official.

In a little more detail:

But all that crumbled July 2 as Pawlowski and Fleck had breakfast at Billy’s Downtown Diner on the ground floor of the Butz Corporate Center with city Managing Director Francis Dougherty, sources said. Dougherty turned to Fleck and, citing rumors, asked if Fleck was under investigation by the FBI. Pawlowski was caught off guard.

Fleck excused himself from the breakfast and went to his third-floor office. Pawlowski followed and their discussion about the investigation became more intense, several sources said. As they rode an elevator back to the ground floor, Pawlowski would make the uncomfortable pat-down of his friend.

As they exited the Butz Corporate Center, the two separated and Pawlowski walked toward his car on Ninth Street. That’s where he was met by FBI agents, who served him with a warrant and seized his cellphone and iPad. Within hours, agents made their way into City Hall.

I find this all to be really sad. Sad because it wasn’t necessary. Sad because Allentown was doing well, but now that is in question. Just sad in general. Things can get out of hand pretty easy, and here we see another example of how.

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