Former Pennsylvania Turnpike officials sentenced to probation

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Thursday, November 20, 2014

A judge in Dauphin County, Pa., has sentenced the last three defendants in an alleged pay-to-play scheme involving Pennsylvania Turnpike contracts to probation.

Mitchell Rubin, a former chairman of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, pleaded guilty last week to one misdemeanor count of commercial bribery and received a sentence of two years’ probation, 100 hours of community service and a $2,500 fine from Judge Richard A. Lewis.

Nine other charges against Rubin were dropped along the way since he and five turnpike officials and two contractors were indicted on corruption charges in March 2013.

Many of the initial charges of bid-rigging, bribery and political corruption were dropped or reduced along the way for the defendants.

Former Turnpike Commission CEO Joseph Brimmeier and former Chief Operating Officer George Hatalowich pleaded guilty on Thursday, Nov. 20, to one count each and received sentences of probation similar to Rubin’s, according to media reports.

Former Pennsylvania state Sen. Robert Mellow was cleared of wrongdoing in October, while two other defendants entered a diversion program that will allow their charges to be dropped after two years.

Since the 2013 indictments of former officials, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has implemented new policies and reforms in an effort to improve operations and restore public trust.

Interestingly, Rubin once worked for former state Sen. Vincent Fumo, who was charged with corruption in 2009 and served a 55-month prison sentence. Rubin and his wife Ruth Arnao faced separate charges for “no work” contracts tied to Fumo’s office. Rubin took leave in 2006 and was then fired by then-Gov. Ed Rendell.

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