Lamb McErlane Penalized $4.3 Million

Lamb McErlane Penalized $4.3 Million — Lamb McErlane, a law firm inextricably bound to Chester County’s Republican bosses and state GOP movers and shakers, is in the news and not in a good way.

The firm is chaired by William H. Lamb, who served as interim state Supreme Court Justice in 2003. Its managing partner is Joel Frank who is general counsel for the state Republican Party, while remaining the county party’s general counsel. State Sen. John Rafferty (R-44) works for them, as does Alan P. Novak who chaired both the state and Chesco GOPs.

Chester County Common Pleas Court Judge Mark Tunnell ruled, May 2, that Lamb McErlane must return $4.3 million in excessive fees charged for work relating to the estates of Chesco millionaires Sir John Rupert Hunt Thouron and his son  John J. “Tiger” Thouron.

Lamb McErlane “repeatedly and willfully failed to comply with several of this court’s orders regarding their production of the Estates’ administrative files and requisite privilege logs,” Judge Tunnel said.

“The Lamb firm’s fees are extraordinary when evaluated under any analysis, the Johnson Estate guidelines or the LaRocca factors,” he said.

The upside is that Lamb McFarlane is not getting hit as hard as the executor Charles Norris. He is being surcharged $4,915,224

Donna Ellingsen, the Elk Township Republican who was just elected chair of Chesco GOP’s Area 19 despite tenacious opposition from the crowd connected to Lamb McErlane, notes that political participation is not about party loyalty.

“A political party is merely a means to providing honest, responsive government,” she said. “It is not as an end to itself and it is especially not a means to a well-paying  job.”

Or getting filthy rich some other way.

Judge Tunnel’s decision is well written but it’s long and will make your blood boil with anger and stomach churn with disgust. Here it is.


Joel Frank says Lamb McErlane is appealing Judge Tunnel’s decision to the State Superior Court. It will make your blood boil with anger and stomach churn with disgust when you realize they might prevail.

UPDATE — It has been pointed out to us that Lamb McErlane represents numerous municipalies and governmental agencies within Chester County and throughout Pennsylvania as per its website.

Wonder if its fees are also “extraordinary when evaluated under any analysis” in that arena.

Lamb McErlane Penalized $4.3 Million

Lamb McErlane Penalized $4.3 Million


Delco Sanctuary City Trump Says

Delco Sanctuary City Trump Says Sorry John McBlain, but it looks like the Center for Immigration Studies is right after all.

President Trump included Delaware County, Pa. on its list of sanctuary cities released yesterday, March 20.

The list comes from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Section II covers jurisdictions with recorded declined detainers between Jan. 28 and Feb. 3. Section III is a table of jurisdictions that have enacted policies that limit cooperation with ICE.

Delco is in Section III as being a jurisdiction that “will not hold individuals solely based on an ICE detainer.” However,”arrangements may be made for ‘in person’ review of the policy”. This has been the policy since August 2014 says ICE.

Chesco, Montco, Bucks and, of course, Philadelphia are also listed

Chesco is in Section III as “will not hold individuals solely based on an ICE detainer” but “will allow ICE agents access to the daily populations reports and other records for investigative purposes”. This has been policy since May 2014.

Bucks is in Section III as “will not hold individuals solely based on an ICE detainer but will notify ICE via email of a pending release from custody.” This has been policy since April 2014.

Montco is in Section III as “will not honor ICE detainer”; “will not accept anyone brought to it solely on an ICE detainer: and “has daily contact with ICE”. This has been policy since April 2014

Philly “will honor ICE detainer where the alien has a prior conviction for a first or second degree felony offense involving violence and the detainer is accompanied by a judicial arrest warrant.” Even more damningly, Philly “prohibits notice to ICE of the pending release of subjects of interest to ICE unless the above criteria is met.”

Section II lists Chester County as declining a detainer on Feb. 3 for an El Salvadorian sought for a probation violation; and Philadelphia as declining detainers on Feb. 1 for a Jamaican wanted for homicide and on Feb. 3 for a Dominican wanted for selling heroin.

Delco Sanctuary City Trump Says

Delco Sanctuary City Trump Says




State GOP Chairman Fight National News?

State GOP Chairman Fight National News?
A registered lobbyist with close connections to Democrat power brokers.

State GOP Chairman Fight National News? — We are hearing national media have become interested in the looming fight to chair the Pennsylvania State Republican Party.

The leading candidates are Chesco GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio — who is the pick of the business-as-usual types — and respected attorney Lawrence Tabas who is the general counsel of the state Republican Party.

The decision will be be made by members of the Republican State Committee on Feb. 4. Every county chairman is automatically a member of the committee with the rest being elected to four year terms during a municipal — i.e. low turnout — party primary.

DiGiorgio is a registered lobbyist with close connections to Democrat power brokers and the special interests who have been sucking the blood from our state. His wife was given a $105,000  a year job with Democrat-controlled Montgomery County.

He dragged his feet in supporting President-elect Donald Trump and Chesco is the only county in the state where Republicans did worse last November than they did in 2012.

Perhaps most upsetting is his claim regarding his support for the grass roots. Actually, DiGiorgio purged  citizen activists from Chesco.

State GOP Chairman Fight National News?

Dan Truitt Chesco Failure

Republican incumbent Dan Truitt was 80 votes ahead in the initial count in the race for the 156th District Pennsylvania House seat but when all the votes were counted he lost by 25.

The Democrat replacing him on Jan. 3  is West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta.

Dan Truitt Chesco Failure
Political organizations modeled after restrictive country clubs are doomed to failure.

Truitt’s defeat was an anomaly and a searing rebuke to the Chesco GOP leaders as Republicans did very well throughout the state.

Political organizations modeled after restrictive country clubs are doomed to failure. Good leadership does not demoralize citizen activists.

Dan Truitt Chesco Failure



Pennsylvania Elector Faces Orchestrated Pressure

Pennsylvania Elector Faces Orchestrated Pressure
Sorry spammers, Sheriff Bunny Welsh is voting for Trump/Pence.

Pennsylvania Elector Faces Orchestrated Pressure — Carolyn Bunny Welsh, who is Chester County sheriff and one of Pennsylvania’s 20 electors for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, is getting swamped with letters, emails and phone calls demanding she not vote for the victorious Republican ticket.

The demands are coming to her home and office, and to her personal and business accounts.

She has received thousands over the last three days and she no longer even bothers checking her voice mail.

“It’s harassment,” she said. She had to assign an assistant to specifically deal with the onslaught until Chester County’s I.T. staff developed new filters.

She says most of the messages asked that she vote for Hillary Clinton although many  merely wanted her to abstain or vote for another person.

She said the messages are clearly orchestrated. One sender even inadvertently included a form to follow.

She said the messages started as trickle on Wednesday and then exploded.

She said that none she received could be construed as threats and most were generally respectful. She said some implied, though, she’d be a racist or misogynist for voting for Trump.

She said many claimed to be minorities or gays and begged to be protected from Trump.

The plan is to keep Trump from getting the 270 electoral votes need to take office.

It is not going to work.

“I don’t get it,” she said. “What do they expect to accomplish?”

Pennsylvania is one of 21 states whose electors are not bound by law, so the Keystone contingent can expect the spamming to continue until Trump and Pence officially become president and vice president when the Electoral College votes on Dec. 19.

“It’s normally just a ceremonial thing and a great honor,” she said.

Pennsylvania Elector Faces Orchestrated Pressure

Gleason Replacement Battle

Gleason Replacement Battle
Chairman Va DiGiorgio, the bad choice.

Gleason Replacement Battle — That Chairman Val DiGiorgio from Chester County is on the short list to replace Rob Gleason as Pennsylvania Republican Party Chairman is now in the open.

This is something about which our readers have known for months.

And they know that this would be a disaster for the taxpayers of Pennsylvania not to mention the Republican Party.

DiGiorgio has a personally beneficial relationship with extremist Democrats and, in fairness, he has treated them pretty well as well.

Gleason Replacement Battle
Respected Attorney Lawrence J. Tabas, the good choice.

Further, he is a lobbyist and place whatever spin you want, a hired gun can’t serve two masters. Either it is the client who pays him that gets the shaft or it is those who trust him to protect them from the types who hire lobbyists.

Obviously, a lobbyist will soon be out of work if he fails his clients and, well, Val still has his lobbyist job.

And let us not forget the 2015  purge of Chester County’s conservative committeepeople who had not been  marching in lockstep with DiGiorgio. The dirty deeds that were required were traced to Ray and Jennifer Zabroney’s State Street Strategies, which is starting to get a light shed on it.

Fortunately there is a good alternative for the Republicans in widely respected attorney Lawrence Tabas.

How respected is Tabas? One of his cases was mounting the ultimately successful legal challenge to Bob Guzzardi’s primary gubernatorial candidacy in 2014.

What does Guzzardi say about him?

“Lawrence Tabas Esq. is an outstanding choice for Pennsylvania State Republican chair; I have the highest regard for both is professionalism and competence,” Bob says. “Several years ago, Lawrence Tabas on behalf of the State Republican Party challenged my nominating petitions for Governor of Pennsylvania. At all times, he was professional and skilled, respectful of the Court and all witnesses. There was no snark, no sneaky tactics, no insults but straightforward, well-prepared legal representation on behalf of his client. The most excellent Commonwealth Court judge hearing the case ran a disciplined courtroom and not once did she have to admonish Mr. Tabas. His representation was first class. Even though he lost in the lower court, he, eventually, prevailed in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  Lawrence Tabas is first class.”

Gleason Replacement Battle 

Trump West Chester Excitement

Trump West Chester Excitement
Trump fans remained in good humor despite not being able to see their guy in West Chester.

Trump West Chester Excitement — Donald Trump’s rally today, April 25, in West Chester, Pa. was way overbooked and while 3,500 filled the venue at the eponymous university’s Hollinger Field House thousands more mingled outside unable to get in.

They still made themselves useful, however, facing off against a contingent of protestors — many of whom were bused in — on opposite sides of South Church Street.

Trump West Chester Excitement
Anti-trump protestors. Some held signs preaching love. Others held signs filled with insulting obscenities.
Trump West Chester Excitement
An anti-Trumper tries to be edgy by pretending to hit golf balls off this bus which brought many of the protestors to the site. The bus carried the Trump logo along with middle-schoolish sexual innuendos.

A line of police from several departments including Pennsylvania State Police, Montgomery County and Phoenixville kept the sides apart.

Except for some chanting, which was more often good-natured than not, nothing untoward was seen happen by this reporter.

Say what you want even missing it was more interesting than a Kasich rally.

A video of Trump’s talk can be found here.

Trump West Chester Excitement —

Rep. Lawrence Nixes Pension, Per Diems

John Lawrence, the Tea Party Republican who beat incumbent Democrat Tim Houghton in November to represent the 13th District in the Pennsylvania House has declared that he will accept neither per diems nor pension.

“The citizens of Chester County are tired of rhetoric and are looking for action,” he said.  “If we are truly going to reduce the financial burden on taxpayers and get a handle on excessive state spending, then it is incumbent upon me as a lawmaker to lead by example.” 


Lawrence advocates replacing the current defined benefit plans for government workers with a defined contribution plan akin to the 401(k) of the private sector.


“Under the state pension system, if investment returns suddenly drop, as they have during the past few years, taxpayers are responsible for making up the difference.  The citizens of Pennsylvania should not be forced to fund the pensions of state legislators especially while many individuals have seen their personal retirement savings lose value,”  Lawrence said.

While the state’s pension policy is going to have a far greater impact on the lives of Pennsylvanians — the lame-duck bailout is estimated by Commonwealth Foundation to have a cost per household of  $1,360  per year
the $163 per diem policy for state legislators is a far more glaring example is what is wrong with government in the state.

Don’t forget these guys are already getting a base pay of close to $80,000, a great health plan and, of course, a pension to die for.

Lawrence had earlier said he will not accept the cost of living increase .

Hat tip to Bob Guzzardi.

Rep. Lawrence is no relation to the proprietor of this site.

Pileggi Stays To End In Lions’ Den

Pileggi Stays To End In Lions' DenPileggi Stays To End In Lions’ Den — Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Domenic Pileggi (R-9) entered the den that was Avondale Presbyterian Church, Dec. 2, to face about 130 lions associated with Chester County Tea Party groups. He answered generally unfriendly questions without getting flustered then stayed long after the event ended to field more.

The event was sponsored by Coalition for Advancing Freedom .

That’s not to say the questions were always answered completely or clearly.

Pileggi began with a description of what to expect in the next legislative session in which the Republicans will control the state house, senate and governor’s office.  He touched on redistricting which would apply to congressional seats and reapportionment which would pertain to state legislative seats. He noted that Pennsylvania is going to lose one congressman. He then went to describe the budget problems the state faces namely that it spends $28 billion while taking in $23 billion in revenue. He noted that Tom Corbett won the governor’s office on a no-tax pledge which was also taken by many winning legislators.

Expect cuts in spending.

Pileggi said that while Gov. Rendell was a major opponent of school choice Gov. Corbett will be a big supporter. He said to expect a major expansion of school choice, charter schools and related programs.

Pileggi said that the privatization of the state stores will be discussed. He said  Marcellus shale drilling will be a big part of the agenda.

Then came questions.

Several involved principles relating to state constitutional matters. Pileggi, in addressing one of them, said that when he votes it’s with the presumption that what he is voting for is in accordance with the state constitution. He noted that he receives few constituent comments regarding whether a particular bill is constitutional. Regarding  how the state’s unbalanced budgets don’t jibe with the constitutional requirement to have one, he pointed out that budget is based on projected revenue the projection of which, by law, comes solely from the governor’s office, which has quite a bit of leeway to fudge things. He noted in response to a question regarding how out  37 of the 68 House members who voted to call the pension bailout bill unconstitutional then went on to vote for the same bill, that what they were voting to call unconstitutional was a provision placed by the senate to provide for independent analysis of budget revenue projections.

Gossip wise he said several Republican senators carry a copy of the Constitution with them while in the Capitol citing by name Mike Folmer and John Eichelberger.

Pileggi said he kept his copy in his desk.

He took quite a bit of grief regarding the pension bailout and legislative and staff salaries.

It was noted that pension costs to the taxpayer will be rising from $500 million per year today to $6 billion in 2015 to $10 billion in 2030.

“We are here to tell you there is no institutional support from the taxpayers to support the existing scheme,” one man said.

Pileggi said that in the next legislative session the issue will be readdressed and he expects an attempt to turn the program into one of defined contributions for new hires. He noted that this will not help the present tax problem, and said that nothing could be done regarding the benefit for existing employees.

A man who had experience in dealing with pension issues in the private sector, however, challenged him on the matter. He told Pileggi that what normally happens is that the trouble plans are terminated and their assets are distributed to beneficiaries who are then placed in plans with defined contributions.

Pileggi asked to speak to the man after the meeting.

And he did.

Pileggi was confronted with the fact that there were 2,200 staffers for 203 house members and 900 staffers for 50 senators and more than 70 of them have salaries of over $100,000.

“We will reduce the number of staffers,” Pileggi promised. “Absolutely.”

Pileggi, when challenged, said his salary as majority leader was $110,000. He attempted to figure his pension but could not remember the formula. According to Commonwealth Foundation it would be 3.3 percent of his last year salary times years in office. Pileggi took office in 2002 so his pension would be $29,040 as of now.

“I’m not in the position for the compensation,” he said.

Regarding a question concerning teacher strikes, Pileggi said he was against the right for teachers to strike but thought that ending it might be complicated. It was pointed out that, that would not be case as most states do not grant teachers the right to strike and in Pennsylvania the teachers had no such right before 1970, a fact of which he seemed unaware. Pileggi said he would look into it.

He was asked by a union member if he supported “right to work” laws. These are laws that would prohibit requirements that one must be a union member to work at a plant organized by a union. Pileggi ducked it in a way that would give Sugar Ray Leonard a case of envy.

He said it was unfair to make a person pay union dues but it was wrong that a person not paying the dues should get paid the rate of a contract negotiated by the union.

He was asked what he thought of the Tea Party movement.

“I think the Tea Party is fabulous,” he said.


Pileggi Stays To End In Lions’ Den