Carson says left Saul Ewing over $s, revealed DUIs because Phil Inquirer onto story

February 13, 2010

Tim Carson, former Pennsylvania Turnpike vice-chairman has told the Philadelphia Business Journal that his leaving law firm Saul Ewing LLP (SE) was nothing to do with his standing down from the Turnpike which he said was on account of 'driving under the influence'  (DUI) of alcohol incidents in 2003 and 2006.

Carson, 60 years old, was with Sauls (SE) for 32 years and for many of those ran the firm's public finance practice. He was one of the partners in the firm which has about 230 attorneys in offices in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, New York, Wilmington, Newark, Baltimore and Washington DC. His annual pay was negotiated at the turn of each year, he says.

The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Carson says he left January 1 because he and the management of SE were unable to agree on his pay for the coming year. SE has made no comment on why he left, except to say they wished him well in difficult times for him.

As to the reason he came out with details now of the 2003 and 2006 DUI incidents and resigned from the Turnpike Commission, Carson says it was because a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter had "caught wind" of the events. No one was hurt in either incident, but Turnpike rules required him to report them because he was driving his Turnpike issued vehicle, and he had not done so.

Uninquiring Inquirer's "wind catching"

The Philadelphia Inquirer may have "caught wind" of Carson's driving mishaps but this publishing titan of the Pennsylvania establishment, splendid in its old gothic font (nearby), didn't manage to actually publish anything.

It also failed to discover the Bailets lawsuit, and was caught flat-footed by Carson's resignation, running a short AP piece initially.

Next day when it picked up the resignation story it managed to incorrectly describe Carson as still employed at Saul Ewing, missing the next piece of the Carson puzzle as well. (We revealed the Bailets lawsuit and Carson's departure from the law company.)

Author of Act 44/I-80 tolling

Carson, a Republican, is a controversial figure because as vice-chairman of the state Turnpike he was the leading critic of Governor Rendell's proposed privatization of the Turnpike, and authored and brokered Act 44 under which the Turnpike incurs huge new debt based heavily on plans to toll I-80. He is also criticized for working both sides of bond issues, and there is speculation he may be a subject of the criminal investigation of the Turnpike Commission by the state Attorney-General.

A former finance manager at the Turnpike Ralph Bailets in a wrongful dismissal law suit against the Commission says there is rampant patronage and corruption at the top including a political spoils system for allocation of contracts.

At least one major figure in the ex-Senator Fumo affair is known to be cooperating with law enforcement, and a second is thought to be cooperating. This suggests the likelihood of new indictments at the Turnpike in coming months.

Previous articles on Carson resignation/departure:

TOLLROADSnews 2010-02-13

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