A New Initiative Against City Corruption

Posted On Monday, April 29, 2013
By: Douglas K. Rosenblum

On April 16, 2013, at the request of District Attorney Seth Williams, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas President Judge Pamela Dembe ordered the empanelment of a new investigating grand jury to be supervised by Judge Gary Glazer.  This order marks the first public notice of District Attorney Williams’ otherwise quiet work on a new initiative to combat public corruption.  Over the last several months, the City’s top law enforcement officer has assembled a team of veteran prosecutors to target this seemingly omnipresent issue in the community.  Historically led by the Commonwealth’s Attorney General and the United States Attorney, the District Attorney will now join in investigating and prosecuting such cases.

District Attorney Williams’ “Special Investigations Unit” consists of seven prosecutors.  The three most recent and notable additions to the team are E. Marc Costanzo, Frank Fina, and Patrick Blessington, all of whom worked in the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.  Fina is well known for his roles in the “Bonusgate,” “Computergate,” and Jerry Sandusky prosecutions.  Williams’ predecessor, Lynne Abraham often referred corruption cases to the state or federal level to avoid potential conflicts of interest.  While District Attorney Williams appreciates the work of those offices, they will no longer be “the only game in town.”  Former Governor, Mayor, and District Attorney Ed Rendell perhaps said it best when he commented on public corruption prosecutions and said, “Sadly, there’s enough to go around.”

For more information, visit http://articles.philly.com/2013-04-28/news/38880260_1_veteran-prosecutors-political-corruption-attorney-general