Gov fires corruption 'target' chair Rubin from Penn Turnpike Commission
By Peter Samuel
Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell says in a letter released this morning that he is removing the chairman of the Turnpike Commission, Mitchell Rubin as a commissioner because of his links to corruption. Rubin had asked Rendell for a "leave of absence" from the chairmanship, but instead the Governor today fired him from the Commission.
The Governor gives four reasons in his letter to Rubin:
- that he is himself now the target of a federal corruption investigation
- the US vs Fumo indictment alleging Rubin and his company BNR Preferred Revenues received $150k from the state for no work
- in the trial no evidence was produced to contest the no-work contract
- the jury found Fumo guilty on the no-work counts
Rendell says under these circumstances it is inappropriate for Rubin to remain as a commissioner.
Earlier Rendell said he wasn't sure whether he had the power to simply remove a commissioner. Either he has decided he does have that power or that his exercise of the power is unlikely to be challenged.
March 16 Rubin's patron and friend former senator Vincent Fumo was convicted on all 137 counts of corruption and thievery in US Court along with Rubin's wife Ruth, a longtime Fumo aide who was found guilty of all 45 counts charged. Among the counts Fumo was found guilty were two of providing Mitchell Rubin with no-work consulting contracts worth $150k at the state Senate where Fumo was the ranking Democrat on the Senate appropriations committee.
Fumo also bragged that he had Rubin - a man with no knowledge or expertise in tollroads - made chairman of the state Turnpike Commission. His appointment made Feb 4, 2003 was "my call" Fumo told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
We reported some of Rubin's entanglements with felon Fumo here:
The full text of Governor Rendell's letter follows:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 23, 2009
CONTACT: Chuck Ardo 717 783 1116
Governor Rendell's Office Releases Letter to Mitchell Rubin
HARRISBURG - Governor Edward G. Rendell's office today released the Governor's letter to Mitchell Rubin. The text is as follows:
Dear Mr. Rubin:
I am in receipt of your letter of March 21st in which you indicated you are taking a leave of absence from your duties as a Commissioner of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
However, I am, effective today, removing you as a Commissioner. I do so for the following reasons:
1) You have received a target letter from federal authorities for your conduct delineated in the recent trial of United States v. Fumo;
2) Counts four and five of the indictment in U.S. v. Fumo alleged that you and your company, BNR Preferred Revenues, received $150,000 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for which no work was ever done;
3) At trial in U.S. v. Fumo no evidence was produced to demonstrate any work done by BNR in return for that compensation; and
4) The jury returned a guilty verdict against Senator Fumo on counts four and five. Said verdict required that the jury found no evidence of work being done by BNR in return for said compensation as a predicator for mail fraud.?
Under these circumstances and others it is inappropriate for you to remain as a commissioner.
Notwithstanding my conclusion, I want to thank you for your years of service to the Commission.
Edward G. Rendell" (END TEXT OF LETTER)