Pennsylvania Turnpike appoints oversight panel in response to scandal

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has appointed an advisory committee to review contracts and provide oversight to the agency in the wake of a scandal involving a former CEO, a former commissioner and a former state senator who were among those indicted in an alleged pay to play scheme in March.

Current CEO Mark Compton says the panel will examine how the turnpike conducts its business and advise the agency on its policies and procedures. The turnpike’s board approved the creation of the panel during a meeting in June.

Compton announced the appointment of retired law professor John Gedid, retired Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Maureen Lally-Green and retired chief engineer M.G. Patel of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation on July 1.

A grand jury indicted former state Sen. Bob Mellow, former Commissioner Mitch Rubin and former CEO Joseph Brimmeier on March 18, along with former Chief Operating Officer George Hatalowich, former information officer Dennis Miller, construction company owner Jeffrey Suzenski and two others.

According to the allegations against them, the former turnpike leaders rigged contracts in exchange for political campaign contributions and personal gain. Mellow and Brimmeier face nine counts each while Rubin faces three counts.

A district court held hearings this past week and a judge has yet to decide whether the case should go to trial. The hearings have included testimony from political advisors and turnpike employees who took the stand with immunity.

See related stories:
Did Pennsylvania Turnpike defendants do their jobs or break the law?
Former state senator, Pa. Turnpike officials charged in ‘pay to play’ scheme

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