REGISTER | LOGIN
By | November 24, 2008 11 Comments

Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent J. Fumo on trial for corruption

Daily newspaper accounts of two big trials currently underway in the Philadelphia area have put sociopaths on display for all to see, if only people knew what they were looking at.

In the first trial, Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent J. Fumo, a Democrat who represents Philadelphia, is accused of 139 counts of conspiracy, fraud, obstruction of justice and filing false tax returns. The testimony emanating from the Philadelphia courtroom is far more colorful than those charges sound, and we’ll get to that in a moment.

In the second trial, taking place across the river in Camden, New Jersey, five young men, all foreign-born Muslims who grew up nearby Cherry Hill, are accused of plotting a terrorist attack on United States soil. Prosecutors allege that they planned to kill soldiers at Fort Dix, a military base located only a few miles up the road. I’ll write about the “Fort Dix Five” case next week.

Now, let’s take a look at the prosecution of arguably the most powerful politician in Philadelphia, Vincent J. Fumo.

Fumo indictment

Vincent J. Fumo was first elected to the Pennsylvania state senate in 1978. In 30 years as an elected official, he built a web of power that enabled him to demand political and charitable “donations,” control where the “donations” and many tax dollars were spent, and crush anyone who opposed him.

On February 6, 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice released the 139-count indictment, alleging that Fumo:

  • Defrauded the Pennsylvania State Senate of more than $1 million by using Senate employees and contractors to attend to his personal and political business.
  • Defrauded a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, the Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, of more than $1 million by using its funds for personal and political benefit.
  • Defrauded the Independence Seaport Museum of more than $100,000 by using the museum’s yachts for his personal pleasure cruises.
  • Used senate funds to hire a private investigator to follow his ex-wife and girlfriend on dates, and to dig up dirt on political rivals.
  • Used a senate aide, who was paid $31,000 per year, as his housekeeper in his Philadelphia home. Another aide, paid by the Senate, was responsible for managing the renovation of Fumo’s 33-room mansion.
  • Fumo’s philosophy, according to the indictment, was that “it is best to spend ‘other people’s money,’ which he referred to by the acronym ‘OPM.'”

Plenty of outrageous information is available about Vince Fumo and the case. In fact, Philadelphia reporters are blogging live from the courtroom, while the trial is underway. Read the comprehensive coverage by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Christmas wish list

Witnesses called to testify in the trial include numerous Fumo aides, his estranged daughter, and former girlfriends.

One such girlfriend, Dorothy Egrie-Wilcox, corroborated the “OPM” allegation. “He used it quite a bit,” she testified in court, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “When we’d go out to dinner, he would say, ‘Let’s use OPM.'”

Egrie-Wilcox verified that Fumo used his senate staff to do everything from buying his groceries to dumping his trash. One of their responsibilities was maintaining his Christmas wish list. This was a nine-page list of items, complete with store locations and prices, that was handed to people who felt obliged to buy the senator a Christmas gift. The list included:

  • Antique boxed flintlock dueling pistols, $10,000
  • Cannon, $5,000
  • Krieghoff skeet gun set, $30,000
  • Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso “flip watch” with gold watchband, $12,000
  • Van Staal titanium fishing pliers, $229
  • Waterford crystal champagne flutes, $100
  • Hassablad 503 camera, $4,500
  • Vespa motor scooter, $3,600
  • Brass shoe horn, $29.50
  • LeCreuset 6-Piece set, Sonoma Blue, $379
  • Grundig classic 960 radio, $199

Egrie-Wilcox, who dated Fumo for a stormy five and a half years, said she loved him. Although they broke up in 2004, the woman still said that she thought Fumo was “ethical.”

The real Vince Fumo

An article in Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer asks, Who’s the real Vince Fumo? It’s complicated.

The story points out:

  • The senator was grandiose and ruthless.
  • He laid demands on his staff day and night, all of which had to be met IMMEDIATELY.
  • He was a control freak.
  • He was a shopaholic, allegedly paying for goods with OPM.
  • He was paid $1 million a year as a “rainmaker” for a law firm, and had a lucrative salary from his family’s bank, but was financially strapped.
  • In e-mails to his girlfriend, he wrote, “Good night my love! My dove, my beautiful one!!”
  • He also installed spyware on the girlfriend’s computer.
  • When Fumo and the girlfriend broke up, he lashed out about the hurt she inflicted on him.
  • Then he had a private investigator tail her.
  • He was estranged from his daughter, and made sure she lost when she ran for a lowly county supervisor office.
  • He loved the fact that he was above everybody else.

Who is the real Vince Fumo? He’s a sociopath. When you understand the nature of this personality disorder, the senator’s seeming split personality, his tenderness (feigned), his controlling nature, his rages and his vengefulness—all the behaviors mentioned in the article—make perfect sense.

Maybe this time

In 1974, Fumo and three associates were charged in a 44-count indictment for mail fraud. They were accused of helping Fumo’s predecessor in the senate seat, Buddy Cianfrani, add 33 ghost employees to the state payroll. (Cianfrani was convicted of racketeering, bribery and obstruction of justice.) A jury convicted Fumo of 15 counts in 1978—the same year he was first elected senator—but a federal judge overturned the conviction in 1981.

That win probably fed the senator’s sense of invincibility. Maybe this time, he’ll go down.


11
Comment on this article

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Ox Drover

It makes my blood boil that politicians and corporate CEOS like like “Kings” on the tax money and the extorted OPMs of others, and then hire expensive attorneys to “get off” or “get a slap on the wrist” instead of the HARD TIME they deserve.

Some poor smuck robs a liquor store and goes to jail for decades, and they rob and steal and abuse and it is “white collar” crime and they get little or no punishment and get to keep the proceeds of their crimes.

But I think it has always been this way with the rich and the priviledged “lording it over” the peasants (the rest of us). I don’t see it changing in the near future. They are too entrenched.

I live in one of the most corrupt little counties in the US and am privy to the crap that goes on here…faked votes, stuffed ballot boxes, etc. just like this guy on a larger scale. It all amounts to the same thing. Corruption in our society on the higher levels, and violence and crime in the lower levels and the poor guys in the middle that try to live a good life and a law abiding life squeezed out.

Maybe Fumo will get his “just deserts” and maybe not, but he has no shame so whateer happens to him, outside of a long prison sentence won’t make any difference. The rest of the Psychopaths in office will go on and on and on. Depressing, but the truth.

Ox Drover

Fumo’s conviction in 1978 and then being RE-ELECTED over and over doesn’t say much for the public’s good sense in voting.

His ability to get the federal judge to overturn the conviction is also “interesting” as well.

Royalty? YEP!

Wini

Oxy: When I see these ridiculous elections and the results how most people voted … especially when someone was convicted of a felony … I just assume there are more anti-socials out in the world than we suspect. Then I had to remember, that my EX never went to the poles to cast his vote.

There went that theory out the window. But, and there is always a but … I do believe that most people are conducting themselves extremely immaturely these days, still thinking they are in their 20s. I’m always wondering when any of them are going to look in the mirror and realize it’s not mommy’s and daddy’s world anymore … grow up, you’re almost 60.

Peace.

Ox Drover

Wini,

I’ m trying, I’m trying! I’ll be 62 next month! LOL

Wini

Oxy: You are definitely a God send in my life. It was so refreshing to run into a no nonsense individual who says it like she sees it. I think they should bottle you and sell you to the masses … something has to snap everyone out of their greed and selfishness.

Someone wrote that we are no longer in the Narcissistic Age … I forgot what they called the current AGE … I hope it has to do with spiritual enlightenment.

Peace, Love, Harmony everyone.

P.S. Oxy, stay the way you are … you are so perfect.

Ox Drover

Dear Wini,

Thank you dear Wini! ROTFLMAO “Perfect” I am not, believe me! You can ask my kids (the good ones even!) about that.

Today has been a better day for me, but I am still somewhat disquieted about the letter from P son to Mom yesterday that I read. I’m starting to be less “hot” and more “coldly rational” about it, but it will take some time.

The dog peed on the Buffalo head today that had been taken off the wall and set on the floor because he (the dog) was mad at me cause I wouldn’t let him go outside to chase the neighbor’s girl dog who’s in heat! So it’s been kind of a pissy day! LOL

Ok, quick question–who do you think got his nose rubbed into it and his butt paddled and thrown into the bathroom with the light out? (Hint: it’s the only 18 pound dog that I know that has peed on a buffalo’s head!) LOL

Would be nice if we could do that to the Ps wouldn’t it! LOL

Wini

Oxy: I wouldn’t get upset about your mom and your son’s collusion to keep getting their selfish way with you. Hey, selfish is as selfish does. You don’t think they can get rid of that upper hand attitude as they age, now do you?

I’d just let it roll like waters off a duck’s back. You are their loss. Remember that.

Speaking of selfish. I saw my middle sister last week at my uncle’s funeral. She ensured she said hello to everyone there, except me. She’s still miffed at me and refuses to talk with me (LOL) … but, I know her … she’ll cool off. We’ve not talked to each other for years … then we start talking again for a few years … then off again, on again. We’re still blood … she just has to stop having to get her own way all the time. Just let people be … instead of her tweaking all the angles all the time.

Anyway, she’s my thorn in my side … I couldn’t imagine if she were my mother. I give you so much credit for keeping your head on tight with getting it from all sides in your family. You are a true survivor and you give the rest of us hope that we too, can make it through any of the nonsense that happened in our lives. Because, after all … it’s keeping our waters calm above anything else, that counts.

Peace.

daisy123

This is so interesting, and horrible at the same time. If you read the comprehensive coverage, you can see how ruthless and how afraid others were of him. The fear they had makes me think they’ll evenentually find some “dead bodies” that he’s been responsible for…

passingthrough

Donna, will you consider send a letter to the editor raising the issue of sociopathy? High-profile cases like these are opportunities for public education about the S phenomenon.

In the event that you have tried this before, have you ever gotten a positive response from a newspaper where they were willing to print your letter?

passingthrough

Please ignore my above comment; posted to the wrong place.

Send this to a friend