19 Jan City Confidential: Week of 1/13/19
Political insiders were abuzz this week as calculations were made and some bets taken on the future viability of Mayor William L. Courtright. There were frantic phone calls last weekend that the Old Man was going to throw in the towel. “He’ll do the honorable thing,” said one Lackawanna County Democrat. Courtright was going to resign.
By Sunday night, the Mayor made clear through the press and his intermediaries: he is innocent and he is not going anywhere.
Here is what we know:
- FBI agents executed search warrants and conducted a raid of City Hall and the Mayor’s West Mountain home on Wednesday, January 9th
- The agents removed documents and computer devices
- The Mayor has engaged attorney Paul Walker to represent him both legally and, apparently, to the public
- Walker’s fees will be paid by the Mayor and not city taxpayers
- Walker issued a press release denying any wrongdoing on the part of the Mayor
- In the same statement, Walker stated that the searches were related to campaign finance issues
- The FBI has not confirmed, and will not confirm, the purpose of the searches
- City Council convened its first public meeting since the raids. No one is happy. Council President and Courtright ally Pat Rogan appeared visibly bothered by the situation
- Both Rogan and city administrator David Bulzoni have met with Courtright. Rogan said they did not discuss the raids and Bulzoni told the Scranton Times-Tribune that the Mayor said he could not discuss the specifics of the matter
What is interesting, from a purely political point of view, is that the political class appears to be taking a wait and see approach regarding how to proceed. No one has publicly called for the Mayor’s resignation. The first crack in the façade can initiate an avalanche, making Courtright’s position untenable.
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