x

WNEP.com | News, Weather & Sports from WNEP-TV — Proud to Serve Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania

Turnpike Case Over, No One Serves Jail Time

HARRISBURG—Last year, State Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Scranton native, made a shocking announcement. “The Turnpike operates under a pay-to-p...

HARRISBURG---Last year, State Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Scranton native, made a shocking announcement.

"The Turnpike operates under a pay-to-play system that is illegal and corrupt," she said.

Kane spoke about hundreds of millions in turnpike contracts being handed over for campaign contributions and gifts.

Former Senator Bob Mellow of Lackawanna County was among the state officials charged in the scheme, known as the "Pay For Play" scandal, but the charges against the once-powerful Democrat were all dismissed or dropped.

"Bob Mellow has maintained his innocence in this matter from the very beginning, and he is relieved that the court and the attorney general recognize that he is innocent," said Daniel Brier, Mellow's attorney.

One by one everyone else charged either had charges dropped or agreed to plea deals.

No one has gone to jail for the turnpike scandal.

"Conflict of interest is a serious crime, it's a felony and they'll be convicted felons and no longer executives or pillar members of the community," said J.J. Abbott, a spokesman for the state attorney general.

For one man who has been following the Turnpike scandal closely, the end of the case is a major disappointment.

"The punishment I think is disappointing it sends a signal a bad signal that you can engage in this type of cronyism and get away with it," said activist Eric Epstein.