I had to do it! I had to create a blog so you and I could gripe about all of "The Crap" that we encounter everyday in our lives. Believe me, there is plenty! You can now come to this blog to Gripe because you have the right to do so. Over time, we will Gripe about topics ranging from sports to politics to just about all of the garbage that happens around us. When you Gripe, you can add your name or not. It's your right! You can vent any way you want. Use foul language if you are angry enough to and if you are offended, just Gripe It! Hell, we have been banned from Facebook twice! You can Gripe about people, places and things. The only thing I ask is if you are going to Gripe about someone and you use their name, make sure you have the facts straight or say it's your opinion. Otherwise they will sue your and my ass off! It's your RIGHT TO GRIPE! You can respond to one of our Gripes or you can lay down your own Gripe. It's easy. To post your own Gripe just email it to email@example.com and we will get it on. You can also post a Gripe on our Facebook page. Just search The Right To Gripe. If you don't want to write it down, just click on one of the boxes below each Gripe to give your opinion. You can also become an official "Griper". All you need to do is "Sign Up" and create an account. IT'S FREE! So, don't sit back and take it, just GRIPE IT!
The tentacles of the Gripe have reached out far and near to update you on what has been going on with a few of our Gripes. My tentacles have brought back a few updates and here they are.
As for the stolen purse and the Wilkes-Barre Police, the purse was found in the parking lot of Wegmans Grocery Store and NOT by the WB cops. An employee of the store found it and turned it in. Kudos to whomever that was. About 95% of the contents were intact except for the cash and cards. It has been almost one week since the scum bags lifted the purse and there have been no calls or contacts from the WB Police. Not surprising! As one of our Gripers stated, if it was a Turkey Hill and they stole $25.00 and a pack of smokes the surveillance video would have been plastered all over the TV news. We The People take a back seat to big business.
A quick update on our man Thom "The Tick". After taking a look at the alleged city shakedown, the FBI quickly determined that there was no cause for an investigation. As I stated, it was nothing but our biggest local parasite trying to get some free publicity for his doomed business. This guy needs to jump off the scalp of the community and disappear.
Finally, there appears to be outrage in the Gripe Community over the "Ciavy" trial results so far. We are all waiting on pins and needles to see what sentence is handed down to the corrupt judge. I think outrage should pour into the streets if he is not taken to the crow bar hotel. Hell, outrage in the streets works in the Middle East.
Our good old friend Thom "The Tick" Greco is back in the news but this time he claims that he is a victim. "The Tick" claims that he paid the city of Wilkes-Barre a fee of $350.00 to open one of his doomed downtown businesses. As we all know, "The Tick" constantly opens new businesses downtown and then runs them into the ground until they close. In fact as we speak, some poor bastard is going to open a new Martini Bar at the site of the old Grogg Shop. Good luck with that because you are going to need it. There have been numerous trys to open a business there but no success has been achieved. It's almost like Red Jones running for office. Anyway, Greco claims that the FBI told him that the $350.00 fee was nothing more than a "Shakedown". "The Ticks" revelation brought a quick response from Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton who said, “There is absolutely no merit to this frivolous allegation”.
Thom "The Tick" was renovating the old Kings College football weight room to put in yet another nightclub he calls The Mines and claimed he had a valid occupancy permit for a place of assembly and that it should be grandfathered to include The Mines. The city informed him that it could not and that he had to put in a sprinkler system. Greco agreed to making the place safer and installed the system. Our man "The Tick" then wanted to have an art show there without the sprinkler system being fully functional and the city told him no. They told him that he would have to pay 2 off duty fireman $350.00 to be there in case something happened. When asked, Mayor Leighton confirmed that Greco wanted to open the nightclub/restaurant when the fire suppression system was inoperable. The International Fire Code permits two firefighters to be present to conduct a “fire watch” so that the event can take place, the mayor added. “This is standard practice and the firefighters were paid directly by the property owner for the service,” said Leighton. “The city did not benefit financially from this transaction at all.”
At first glance, this looks like a total shakedown by our friends in the city. However, after further review, it appears that this is part of standard procedures to insure the safety of business patrons. I do know for a fact that there are times that organizations hire off duty police officers to be present at functions and this seems no different. This is just that parasite Greco trying to throw a little shit on the city to get some free publicity. I will say this, what we don't need is another Greco business scarring the city. As in the past, "The Tick" will open the doors and close them about a year or two later leaving the building to deteriorate until some poor sucker comes along with a business idea. I think we may have another Grogg Shop incident here. You can't fool us again Thom. We are not that stupid, or are we?
Tuesday night the donuts at Dunkin must have been hot because our men in blue, the Wilkes-Barre Police were missing in action. A friend of mine, I'll call her JM, had her purse stolen at Chacko's Family Bowling Center by a few scum bags who cased the joint and then made their slimy move. After looking all over the place, inside and out, we called 911 to report the crime. The first call was placed at about 9:00 pm. After waiting about 30 minutes, another call was placed to 911 with the question as to when the cops were going to arrive. The dispatcher told us that the police were very busy and would get there when they could. Now, let me ask you this. On a Tuesday night with temperatures dipping into the teens, how busy could an entire police force be? I'll tell you, they were not! These slackers just don't like to respond to these types of calls because it means more paperwork. If it was a DUI, 12 police cars would be there along with the K9 unit and Ryan Lecky of Channel 16!
After waiting about another 15 minutes out in the bowling alley, we all decided to retire to the bar for an adult beverage. There is were we all sat and waited and waited and waited. At one point we all got excited because we mistook a taxi cab pulling into the parking lot for a police cruiser. Finally, one hour and 37 minutes later, the donut horking cops showed up. The girl, JM who had her purse snatched along with a few friends and the owner of the bowling alley went outside to report the crime. After about 5 minutes, the cruiser pulled away and they all came inside. JM had a small piece of paper in her hands and tears running down her face. We asked what happened. I'll tell you what happened, NOTHING! The officer took the information and said that he would have to turn it over to the detective. OH BROTHER! What that tells me is nothing is going to happen. The filthy scum bag pigs that stole the purse were actually caught on surveillance cameras throughout the bowling alley and the cop would not even look at them. My guess is that the detective won't either. This type of crime falls well below the hot donut priority line.
What burns my ass here is that these petty scumbags will get away with it because the cops think that they have bigger fish to fry. My opinion is that these crimes need to be dealt with just like any other crime, with swift justice. One hour and a half later is a disgrace! These filthy pigs were long gone, money and credit cards in pocket and the rest dumped on the street. In the mean time, we have a young girl who was not so much worried about those items as she was the pictures she carried of her deceased father. These are things you can never get back and the cops act like they just don't freakin care. I am going to keep an eye on this story to see how it progresses. I am also going to keep my eyes peeled for these low down scoundrels as well. Keep looking behind you you filthy bastards. Once I see who you are, I will be watching!
Now that the dust has settled and about 48 hours have gone by, I smell something rotten in NEPA. At first I thought they were bringing trash from New Jersey in again, but it's not that. I thought maybe the river was stinking to high heaven, but no its too cold for that. I thought maybe the WV Sanitation shit pond in Hanover overflowed and the stench floated up river. NO! What stinks here is the entire Ciavarella trial! It stinks that this guy got released to his family pending sentencing. If it was you or I, we would have been lead out of the courtroom in irons. That, is exactly what they should have done to this slime bag. He should get what he dished out to some of those kids!
Let me tell you what else really wreaks. Ciavy's arrogance, that's what. He is about as brash as they come considering he was just convicted in federal court on 12 counts. It would have been great to see that angry mother go ape shit on Ciavy's little carcass. My question is what does he know that we don't? Another stench has wafted out of the courtroom and that is what Ciavy has to pay back. I believe he has to pay back around $980,000 plus out of the $2,1000,000.000 that he allegedly took. That leaves about $1,300,000.00 still in his pocket. THAT REALLY JUST PLAIN SUCKS!
This circus stench of elephant crap is not over yet! So far, I have been right on with all of my predictions concerning this circus and here are a few more.
1. Ciavarella will appeal 8 of these convictions which involve the "finders fee" that he received from Rob Mericle. Mericle said it was indeed a "finders fee" as did our man "Ciavy". He will win the appeal thus knocking the convictions to 4. It will be the 4 IRS related convictions which may net him a 12 to 15 year sentence along with having to pay money back.
2. I've said it once and I will say it again, "Ciavy" will not spend one minute in the slammer. He will string this thing out for a few years at least. As far as I'm concerned, the prosecution dropped the ball a few times just like Ernest Byner at the goal line. This ineptitude in the courtroom will open the door for multiple appeals thus dragging it on and on and on.
3. On a good note, there will be several civil cases filed and "Ciavy" will have to spend a ton of cash to defend himself. For some reason I have a feeling that the families cannot file a civil suit against a judge or former judge for an incorrect verdict or sentencing. I could be wrong here, but I predict that "Ciavy" will not even sniff a civil hearing.
There you have it. I sat back for 48 hours to let the odor sink into my skin like the smell of a fishing pier after the catch comes in. This entire thing just plain stinks! On TV the legal experts keep reminding us that "Ciavy" is in deep crap and that he can go to jail for a long time. Well, I'll believe it when I see it. Maybe, just maybe we will see him at the soup kitchen with Tom "The Tick" Greco and Bob "Really" O'Reilly. Somehow I doubt that as well.
At approximately 1:30 pm today, the jury in the Mark "Ciavy" Ciavarella trial came back with verdicts on the 39 counts of bribery, racketeering, mailing of statement of financial interest, money laundering, money transfer via wire and extortion. The jury found "Ciavy" guilty on the Racketeering, Mailing Of Statements Of Financial Interest, Money Laundering, Conspiracy To Defraud The Federal Government and Filing False Tax Statements. Here are the verdicts.
Count #1 Racketeering (Guilty) Count #2 Racketeering Conspiracy (Guilty) Counts #3 thru #6 Money Transfer Via Wire (Not Guilty on all counts) Count #7 thru #10 Mailing Of Statement Of Financial Interest (Guilty on all counts) Counts #11 thru 20 Bribery (Not Guilty on all counts) Counts #21 thru #26 Money Laundering (Guilty on all counts) Counts #27 thru #34 Extortion (Not Guilty) Count #35 Conspiracy to Defraud The Federal Government (Guilty) Counts #36 thru #39 Filing False Income Tax Statements (Guilty)
There it is, just as I predicted right here on The GRIPE. Guilty on all of the counts he admitted to and Not Guilty on the rest. It appears that the jury of 6 men and 6 women did not have any faith in the testimony of Robert "The Slip" Powell. Go figure! Anyway, our man "Ciavy" faces up to 157 years of looking at striped sunlight in the crow bar hotel. He also may have to pay close to $1,000,000.00 in fines and restitution. We will see, we will see?
Let me tell you that I am worried to death about the outcome of the Mark "Ciavy" Ciavarella trial. The prosecution put together what I will call a good case, however it didn't sound air tight to me. They called several witnesses to the stand but for some reason excluded any juvenile department workers. That I did not understand. It was missing a lot of pieces that could have sent this guy up the river for a long time. On the other side, the defense brought very little to the courtroom to try to save this guys ass. This is what scares me. It almost seems like a back door deal was made to get "Ciavy" off easy. At no time during the trial did this guy look like he was fighting for his life. Every picture you see in the newspapers has our man "Ciavy" smiling like the cat that got the canary. He is acting like he doesn't have a care in the world. The only thing that I keep thinking is "the fix is in".
If this trial is indeed rigged, I may go ape shit! What about the kids that were sent to the Juvie Centers for incredibly minor crimes? Their lives were in some cases destroyed by this jerk! I know what some of you are going to say here, "These kids committed a crime and they should be punished". Yes, some of them did commit serious crimes, but there were quite a few that didn't. Close to 2500 didn't! It's the ones like Hillary Transue who simply made a fake MySpace page mocking the Assistant Principal at her school. I don't think this was an offense worthy of time in the Juvenile Center. Some of these kids were in fights in school and "Ciavy" spent under 2 minutes deciding that they should be lead off in irons and sent to his Center.
As of right now, I don't think I like what I see. Something has the smell of a rotting carcass here and I think it may be what we are about to hear. Let's hope not! I predicted it here and I will stick with what I said. "Ciavy" will be found guilty on the charges he confessed to and not guilty on all of the others. An appeal will be filed causing this thing to be stretched out like the underwear of the 650 pound virgin. Did you ever watch that show? I hope I am wrong, but as one of our avid Grippers Philip said, if this verdict comes back wrong, we all need to go "Arab" on the Federal Courthouse in Scranton. I think I hear the FBI at my door now!
Closing Arguments, Jury Instruction and Deliberation
On Day #7, both the prosecution and the defense gave their closing arguments to the jury of 6 men and 6 women. Both teams spoke for about 45 minutes each detailing what had transpired over the past week and debating the interpretation of the evidence that was presented. In my opinion, this all boils down to who does the jury believe. It probably should be no one because they are all a bunch of no good thieves. It was a rats nest of corruption with plenty of rodents biting at the bum of the judicial system. Believe me when I say that I am a little bit worried about the outcome of this trial. There were plenty of doors left open, but the defense did not kick them in.
Right after closing arguments, Judge Edwin Kosik reviewed in detail all 86 pages of jury instruction that the 12 jurors will use in coming up with their verdicts. Eighty six pages? Can you imagine sitting there with a judge going over 86 pages of this stuff word by word. My brain would have turned to concrete after page 4! Once this was completed, the jury organized a few things and then quit for the day. I don't envy these poor bastards on the jury. They may be deliberating for 6 months on this one. My guess is that "Ciavy" will be found guilty on the counts he confessed to and not guilty on all of the rest. Let me tell you that will stink like rotten garbage! Of course whatever happens an immediate appeal will be filed by Ruzzo and Flora. Hell, "Ciavy" might as well keep milking the teat of the tax payers a little longer.
On a side note, the courts made Michael Conahan turn over more than $12,000.00 from an account that his wife had at Citizens' Bank of PA. This mere pittance will go towards a $2.5 million loan that the Conahan's took out from First National Community Bank of Dunmore. The one thing that really baffles me about this entire Kids For Cash thing is that Conahan took a deal from the Feds and pleaded guilty to a "related" charge and is awaiting sentencing. Is that it for him? If it is he just basically got away easy! He didn't even testify against his pal "Ciavy"! I just don't get it????
Finally, I see this trial has taken on galactic proportions. Chewbacca was spotted outside the Federal Courthouse yesterday with a sign that read, "Send them on a jet to planet Jupiter prison. I'm the boss, real Chewy justice". Luke, "Ciavy" is your father!
'I Made The Wrong Decision' - "Ciavy" Takes The Stand
Day #6 saw the courtroom overflowing with onlookers since this was the much anticipated day for former judge Mark "Ciavy" Ciavarella to take the stand in his own defense. On this day "Ciavy" was in the hot box for 6 hours where he admitted to filing false tax returns for three or four years. He admitted that he disguised the source of millions of dollars from Rob Mericle. He admitted that he lied to a state agency regarding his financial holdings. The words "false", "disguised" and "lied" are not words to describe a judge by. Those words were usually saved for the people that "Ciavy" ruled on the other side of the bench. During his testimony he also stated that he worked hard to prove that he is not the greedy tyrant that the prosecutors have portrayed him to be. I think he didn't work hard enough! He also said that the $2.1 million that he received from Mericle was a finders fee paid by a generous friend. WHAT! WHAT! I need to find a generous friend like that! That's one hell of a finder's fee! "Ciavy" also said he knew nothing about the 3 Fed Ex boxes stuffed with cash that Jill Moran delivered to Mark Conahan and most of all he never, ever coerced Robert "The Slip" Powell into paying him a dime. No, only a million or so!
This testimony sounds to me like our man "Ciavy" is trying to soften the sentence he may get by admitting to some things but not all. Make no mistake, this guy is as slippery as they come. I think he knows that the Feds put together a strong case and now he has to do damage control. His judicial warp drive is ready to blow! When asked outside the courtroom why he admitted to the crimes "Ciavy" replied, "I did it. You got to admit what you did and fight like hell for what you didn't do". My question is why didn't he admit it right from the beginning! He could have saved the taxpayers a bundle of money by taking the hit and doing the time. The Feds may have gone easy on him back then. Tomorrow is Day #7 as this script from a mafia movie winds down.
On a side note, former judge Ann Lokuta was in the crowd to watch her former boss squirm on the stand. Lokuta told a reporter outside of the courthouse, "Children of our county were brutalized by the avarice of Ciavarella and Conahan". If you remember, Lokuta was forced off the bench in 2008 when the State Court of Judicial discipline ruled that she brought the judiciary into disrepute. "Raggedy Ann" was portrayed by workers in her office as a "bully on the bench". If this happened now she may have been hung in the courthouse rotunda since bullying is the big No, No now. I am not a big fan of bullying, however this is another topic for a future Gripe.
Day #7 Recap Tomorrow - Closing Arguments and Jury deliberations.
Day #5 of the Mark Ciavarella trial saw the Federal Prosecutors wrap up their case without calling any juvenile probation officers to the stand. This was very puzzling since the indictment against "Ciavy" includes allegations that he pressured probation officials to detain children to his and Conahan's cash cows, the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care Juvenile Detention Centers. This move had me scratching my head as well since the real victims here other than the tax payers were the kids he sent up the river for very minor offenses. Overall, the Feds presented 24 witnesses over a 5 day span. Yesterday, the prosecution called IRS agents Brian Berntson and Ray Eppley to the stand where they testified about all of the income the two crooked judges were hiding from the Federal Government. No wonder the national deficit is so high! "Ciavy" had a total income of $1.6 million from 2003 to 2006 but reported only $944,331.00 for that period. He must have forgotten about the other $722,743.00. He ended up paying about $231,623 less in taxes. Conahan had a total income for that period of......wait until you see this....$2.5 million but only reported $1.8 million of that. That resulted in him cheating the government out of $263,062. These two thieves cheated, We The People out of $494,685.00 in taxes. These dollar amounts are staggering! My eyes bleed when I read about this! It appears that the Feds may have put "Ciavy" in the box, but by not calling the Juvie Officials to the stand they did not slam the lid and cover it with dirt. They may have left the door ajar for some charges to not stick. I guess its tough to stick to a slimy eel?
The second half of Day #5 saw the Defense open their case with a bevy of "Ciavy's" relatives taking the stand to testify. Among the people on the hot seat yesterday were Attorney Brian Stahl (husband of Ciavy's daughter), Nicole Oravic (Ciavy's daughter), Marco Ciavarella (Ciavy's son) and Gina Carelli (the ex-fiancee of former Hazleton Mayor Michael Marsicano). This line up right out of Sicily testified that Robert Powell often went to Conahan's house and then crept over next door to Ciavy's house for a few cocktails and a dip in the pool. I bet you didn't know that these two were neighbors? Gina Carelli gave the most interesting testimony when she recalled a story of when she went to pick up her former boyfriend Marsicano at the airport and saw Powell leaving the plane with "a high ranking state official". She claimed that she saw "The Slip" Powell hand this official that will remain nameless two envelopes which were not sealed and filled with cash. She also stated that "The Slip" was having an affair and planned to leave his wife. No surprise there! I wonder who that "high ranking state official" was? Could it be someone with the initials of R.M.? Who knows?
Day #6 should see the defense quickly wrap up their case with "Ciavy" himself taking the stand. This should be good!
On Friday, Former Luzerne County Prothonotary Jill "Moron" Moran testified in the trial of former Judge Mark "Ciavy" Ciavarella. If you remember back when Jill ran for office, she was one of the highest vote getter's during that election in 2001. It must have been those eyes. They scream "Do Me, Do Me"! Moran testified that she was given Fed Ex boxes by Robert "The Slip" Powell to deliver but knew not what was in them. She recalled however that "The Slip" had called her into his office and then into a small bathroom where she witnessed him stuffing banded money into a Fed Ex box while mumbling and cursing under his breath. He then told her, "this is the last one. If anyone asks you, this is the last one". She also claimed that she had no idea that someone in the law firm was writing checks out to her, forging her name and then cashing the checks. In other words, Jill was a patsy. She was being used and abused. Doesn't the old saying go, "Beat me, abuse me, make me write bad checks"? I think this may fit here!
Next on the stand was long time Luzerne County Courthouse employee Paul "Hairy" McGarry. Long time county employee, this should be good! He was Director Of Probation Services and Administrative Services from 2000 to 2004. Sounds like a job Frank Crossin may have put together. "Hairy" McGarry testified that his department arranged contacts with licensed facilities for the placement of juveniles that were found delinquent. He actually used the word "adjudicated" but it short circuited my cerebral cortex! He claimed that he never saw the 2002 agreement signed by Conahan guaranteeing that the county would pay $1.3 million every year to the privately owned for profit PA Child Care Juvinile Detention Center. Are you Freakin Kidding Me! Our tax payer dollars were going to these crooks without an official contract! Right here is one of the many reasons our County is in the shitter! "Hairy" McGarry also testified that he was the one who informed the Commissioners that the courts would no longer be sending kids to the county facility. Under cross examination he described the county kid lock up as rodent and roach infested, with a leaky roof, bad plumbing, poor heat and no medical facility. WHAT! How could the county let it get like this? Who was responsible for this facility? Whoever it was should be pistol whipped!
Finally on Day #4, "Ciavy's lawyer, Al Flora lost his bid for a mistrial which now plants the seed for an appeal. I knew it! I knew it! I made the prediction right here on the R2G that Ciavarella will see no actual jail time because he will string this thing out until he "Deep Sixes".
One other quick observation. Have you noticed in most of the pictures in the newspapers, on line and on TV, all of these people that are either on trial or testifying are smiling. Shouldn't they be shitting themselves here! Most of them have pleaded guilty to a charge and are now criminals. I just don't get it?
Tomorrow I will recap the week with a few bullets. We haven't heard about firearms yet!
Day three of the Mark "Chiavy" Ciavarella trial started with Robert "The Slip" Powell taking the stand where he testified for about 90 minutes about the mob like doings of Mark "Ciavy" Ciavarella. During his testimony yesterday, Powell detailed how Ciavarella and former Judge Michael Conahan allegedly extorted more than $700,000 from him relating to his operation of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care juvenile detention centers. Sounds like they put the squeeze on him for some green backs. Powell also testified that he wrote checks or wired $590,000 in 2004 to the Pinnacle Group of Florida, a dummy corporation set up by the judges. These payments, which were stuffed into FedEx boxes, were delivered by former county Prothonotary Jill Moran and Nick Callen, a former tip staff for Conahan. Moran and Callen will also be testifying. Have you noticed the word former is being used quite often. Moran and Callen were the "money mules" for the crooked judges.
This morning, "The Slip" painted the ex judge and his partner Michael Conahan as "the two most powerful men in Luzerne County." Powell said once the pair got more than $2 million from he and our R2G friend Rob Mericle, "The lion was out of the cage, and I was the bait." By looking at the size of Powell, the pair of crooks would have had a super sized meal. Powell said the Judges would call him into their office and demand money, and he couldn't deny them because they controlled two businesses he ran and could ruin his practice as an attorney. Powell also testified that Ciavy knew how much money he was sifting through the Detention Centers and that he wanted a piece of the action. When Powell debated how much money he was making with his ex judgeship, Ciavarella said "I know how much money you have going in there. You can't bullshit me. I know you have a lease, I don't have to send kids there anymore." Ciavarella was referring to a lease Luzerne County signed for the center after Todd Vonderheid and Greg Skrepenak became commissioners in January 2004.
Powell also testified that he was served with subpoenas at home two days before Thanksgiving in 2007 and that the judges demanded a meeting. They told him to park behind Crestwood High School at night, and when he did, a nondescript, large, older car came up with the two judges. They told him to show them his cell phone and leave it in his vehicle.Robert Powell testified that they (Ciavy and Conahan) "took me for a ride" where they spent 90 minutes driving around Mountain Top. I wonder why they picked Mountain Top? Powell was not tied up in the trunk! They had informed Powell that Mericle had testified before the Grand Jury and "lied through his teeth". No surprise here! They told "The Slip" that they could easily paint Mericle as a liar, and that Prothonotary Jill Moran (not to be confused with Moron), an attorney in Powell's firm who had delivered cash to the judges in FedEx boxes, didn't know what was going on. Powell said the judges told him the plan was to discredit Mericle and Moran.
"They told me, 'We'll take care of Mericle, you take care of Jill'," Powell testified. To me, this sounds like somebody was getting "whacked"! They made "The Slip" an offer he couldn't refuse. I can see Ciavy acting like Marlon Brando in the Godfather right now. This is high powered Cosa Nostra stuff made for movies. Day 4 of testimony is tomorrow. I can't wait to hear what comes up.
Testimony in the Mark Ciavarella trial began at about 9:20 am this morning with our old pal Rob Mericle taking the stand. The trial began a little late due to a juror getting stuck in traffic on the corridor of doom, Interstate 81. Not surprising! I hate that road! Once the testimony started Mericle told a story right out of a mob movie. I thought I was reading a script from the movie Good Fellas. I was waiting for the courtroom doors to fly open and machine gun fire to rain down on the packed courtroom. Big Rob told of money laundering, fraud and judicial greed during his first several hours of testimony. He also said that he lied to IRS Agents as well as the Feds because he "did not want to be the one to lay Mark out". If that's not out of The Godfather I don't know what is?
Mericle described how payments, sometimes up to one million dollars were funneled through Attorney Robert "The Slip" Powell and then he (Powell) "Took Care Of It". He also testified of meetings he had with Ciavy regarding the laundering of money. One meeting in particular had Mericle arriving at Ciavy's office only to find the lights turned off and the former judge sitting at his desk only with a small lamp lit. At this meeting "Rocket Rob" entered the office only to see Judge Ciavy place his finger to his mouth to signal for him to be quiet. The judge then wrote on a piece of paper, "wired: Yes, no, circle one." Mericle circled no and the meeting went on. Ciavy told Mericle that he may be in trouble. "He said if that money just went from you to me I'd get a slap on the wrist for a reporting violation," Mericle recalled, "But if it went from you to Bob Powell to me I could go to jail." Mericle said he told Ciavarella there were numerous documents on his desk that said the money went to Powell and that Ciavarella then told him to go back and make sure. Mericle said Ciavarella told him "Rob, I'm not going to ask you to lie or perjure yourself, but go back to your office and recognize that I could go to jail." In other words, lie but don't lie, you know what you have to do. Mericle also implicated former Judge Michael Conahan as the real mastermind behind The Kids For Cash scheme. He threw him under the bus right from the Jump Street! After this testimony, Judge Kosik broke for lunch.
Let me say this, UN-Freakin-Believable! This trial has started off with a real bang and it's not a car bomb. This is made for TV movie stuff. Lying, money laundering, secret meetings and judicial misconduct and we are only in Day 2. What's next? Keep it here for daily updates. Da-Da-Dada. That's a Nightline reference!
With tons of fanfare, the circus entered Scranton yesterday in full color. The TV stations, radio stations and all the newspapers are there. This circus has no elephants, no lions, no tigers, but it does have clowns, acrobats and a ring leader. This circus has no bright colored lights and no cannons but it does have a center stage with performers ready to be on display. This circus is the trial of former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella. The center ring will be the Federal Courtroom in Scranton with its ringleader U.S. District Judge Edwin Kosik. The clowns will be potential witnesses Michael Conahan, William Sharkey, Robert Powell, Jill Moran, Sandra Brulo and Robert Mericle. Atty. Robert Powell is expected to be the star witness in the trial of the Kids For Cash Master Ciavarella. Right in the middle of the clown chaos will be our beloved Rob Mericle who centers around the honest services fraud and money laundering charges being brought up by the Feds. The acrobats on the high legal wire will be Defense Attorneys Al Flora and William Ruzzo while performing on the judicial trapeze will be Prosecutors Peter Smith and Gordon Zubrod. All 4 of these legal acrobats will be performing without a net.
Just yesterday, a jury of 8 women and 4 men were selected but not without the attorneys almost coming to blows. That, I would pay money to see! Swift intervention by Judge Kosik restored order and the process moved on. It appears that Kosik is going to move this thing on as quickly as possible. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I know it makes me a bit nervous. Let's hope mistakes are not made by Judge Kosik which will get Ciavarella off the hook. People will go banana's if this happens especially the parents of the kids Ciavy sent up the river who are attending the circus. These kids were hung out to dry by this bastard and he needs to pay. Hillary Transue, one of Marky Marks and the Fun Bunches victims was sent away for simply posting a fake MySpace page that mocked a school official. WOW, where would I go for The Right To Gripe? Another victim was Trisha Savage who was sent to a wilderness style detention camp for 3 months for having a bowl used to smoke pot. It was her first offense EVER! Judge Ciavy tried and convicted this girl in less than a minute, had her handcuffed and led away much to the terror of her parents. I would have stormed the bench and strangled the bastard. They would have needed the Jaws Of Life to pry my hands from his throat.
Enough of that before I get too worked up! Now that you have a flavor of what went on, you can get a better feel for how important this trial circus really is. This circus will be around for a while, so you can keep your pulse on the clown nation right here on The GRIPE. We will give you a different look at all 3 rings in action!
Yesterday I was sitting in my car on N. Main Street in glorious downtown WB when all of a sudden I hear this huge thump which made my car move slightly toward the curb. As I swung my head around to the street, what do I see? No not a fat man and 8 reindeer but two Wilkes-Barre city plows speeding down the street one in front of the other throwing ice and snow all over everyone's parked car. At first I thought someone had slid in the snow and into the side of my car. It scared the ever living crap out of me. To my dismay it was an avalanche of snow and ice chunks pelting my vehicle. To the two drivers of the city plows on N. Main Street yesterday at about 2:00 pm I say.....FU! You filthy bastards scratched the hell out of my car. Slow the hell down and pay attention to what you are doing. These two neanderthals were covering cars with chunks of ice and snow all the way down the street. When that sludge hit my car I thought for sure the drivers side window and my side view mirror were toast. If these knuckleheads were not moving so fast, the street crap would not have been flying so high onto the cars. This is unacceptable and should not be tolerated by people in this city. Their careless attitude makes me want to explode! Again I say to those two pin heads......FU!
Every week we will post a poll question with a few answers to choose from. We want to know what the hell you think!
Do you think the local schools cancel classes too quickly for snow?
ATTENTION WAL MART SHOPPERS
I didn't know Sponge Bob shopped at WalMart?
Hanging With Mr. Pissed Off
Can you guess what I am right now. Yep, I'm pissed off. The pot holes in the Wyoming Valley are out of control. There are craters on almost every street in every town. Some of these holes are two to three feet deep like the one on W. Market St in Wilkes-Barre. This gargantuan has been carelessly patched numerous times throughout the winter and it keeps coming back. My guess is all of our towns will be out of money soon since they used it all on plowing and salt. We should be saddled with horrendous road conditions for at least 8 to 12 months.
PIC OF THE WEEK
Ain't it the truth.
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Schmuck Of The Week Award
This weeks award goes to Scranton resident Jose Acevedo-Schneider. Scranton Police were called to a residence on Belvedere Drive in the Hilltop Section because of a complaint of a child screaming for his mother. Police found that Schneider forced the child to drink a glass of urine because the two were at war.
WFT. This is the human Barbie doll. Ukranian model Valeria Lukyanova stated recently that she could train herself to exsist on air and light alone. In my opinion she may need to exsist in a straight jacket.
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