US Rep citing TOLLROADSnews asks state AG to investigate potential criminal offenses at Penn Pike

February 2, 2010
By Peter Samuel

US congressman Glenn `GT' Thompson, (Republican, Howard, 5th District PA) is asking Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett to investigate claims in former financial manager Ralph Bailets' lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC). His letter to the state Attorney General quotes a report of the lawsuit in TOLLROADSnews and includes a printout of our report as an attachment, together with a copy of the complaint and other legal references.

"While this is an ongoing civil suit, there are criminal elements in the complaint that are very serious and need to be looked at further," Rep Thompson says in his letter.

"The severity of the accusations made within the complaint are so egregious that I am compelled to ask that you investigate the criminality of the claims against those named in the complaint and additionally those in charge of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for any misuse of Turnpike (taxpayer) funds."

The letter says the citizens of the state and motorists using the Turnpike "deserve to know that their toll dollars are not being squandered on political patronage and personal gain."

He ends requesting "you investigate the potential for criminal charges".

A statement released with the letter says:
 
"Prior to his dismissal for alleged budgetary reasons, the complaint reads that Bailets had previously discovered and reported a discounting scheme being engaged in by the largest commercial EZPass Customers.  Bailets claims organizations would act as suppliers of transponders to service smaller organizations not privy to the 20% volume discount on toll charges."
 
The Bailets' complaint states that "despite the loss of potentially millions of dollars in toll revenue which could have relieved budgetary pressure, no action was taken to further investigate or correct this situation."

Bailets also claims that billable hours were duplicated for a Turnpike computer services contractor CIBER,  a contract involving $82 million to date, but Bailets was told to "not make waves."

The law suit by Bailets also says that secret or executive sessions of the Turnpike Commission regularly saw a job formally advertised, a favored person nominated, and then appointed - all in the one session.

Political connections were the dominant factor in job appointments and contract awards.
 
Bailets was Assistant Secretary of Treasury and Manager of Financial Reporting and Systems at the Pennsylvania Turnpike February 1998 through July 2008, when he was moved aside. In November 2008 he was laid off by the PTC, he claims, for making waves over fraud and waste. Bailets was told he was being laid off for "budgetary" reasons.

letter Rep Thompson to AG Corbett:

http://www.tollroadsnews.com/sites/default/files/ThompsonToCorbett.pdf

enclosures sent to AG:

http://www.tollroadsnews.com/sites/default/files/ThompsonEnclosures.pdf

our scoop on the lawsuit Jan 25:

http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/4553

Rep Thompson's website:

http://thompson.house.gov/index.html

BACKGROUND: Thompson, 50, was elected to the US House of Representatives Dec 2008, following 28 years as a therapist and nursing homes administrator in Lycoming County PA. He was also active in many local organizations - boy scouts, the local fire company, a parks society, a small business group, the school district, and the Republican party. He has degrees from Penn State and Temple University. He lives in Howard Township.

His successful election in 2008 was his third try at a seat in the US Congress. His district seems to us rather oversized! If it grew much more he'd be the only congressman from PA.

TOLLROADSnews 2010-02-02


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