NEWS CLUES: ‘All Politics Is Polygamy’ Edition

GUY NOIR: Feds Reveal Details Of Fumo’s Snooping On Political Friends & Foes

fumovaccleaner_1.jpgProsecutors yesterday filed a 93-page document in federal court identifying more than 2,000 potential exhibits in their prosecution of state Sen. Vince Fumo. Fumo, who announced last month that he would not seek re-election, is set for trial in September. The disclosure of the evidence by prosecutors — ordered by the federal judge presiding over the case — relates to many of the charges against Fumo. Among the more interesting items on the evidence list: A Sept. 22, 2002, fax from Frank Wallace, a private investigator hired by Fumo, to another investigator asking him to do surveillance at Doc’s Union Pub. The Pub was in a building owned by Fumo political foe John Dougherty, who’s now running to succeed Fumo in the state Senate. A spreadsheet showing Fed Ex shipments of merchandise to Fumo in Florida, including “John Doc’s Fundraiser Union Pub Tape” on Feb. 26, 2002. An Aug. 31, 2001, e-mail exchange between Wallace and Fumo titled “ER Home,” referring to Ed Rendell‘s New Jersey shore home. The feds say Fumo assigned Wallace to see whether Rendell was using nonunion labor to build a shore home. Fumo was backing now-U.S. Sen. Bob Casey against Rendell in the 2002 gubernatorial primary. A Sept. 13, 2002, fax from Wallace to another investigator asking him to do surveillance on the fourth floor of City Hall, where numerous City Council offices are situated. An Oct. 31, 2004, e-mail from Fumo to then-CBS 3 anchor Alycia Lane titled “We ARE Going to Win:-)” [via DAILY NEWS]


Texas State Troopers Remove 401 Children From Bizarro Polygamist Cult

fdlsevac_1.jpgTexas officials said Monday that they had taken more than 400 children into temporary state custody while they continued investigating allegations that girls at a remote polygamist compound were being sexually abused by men. “This is the biggest single removal in the history of this agency,” Child Protective Services spokesman Darrell Azar said Monday evening. “No one can remember anything quite like it. We had enough information to show a judge that many of these children had in fact been abused and others were in jeopardy.” Texas’ decision to take temporary custody of the 401 children represented a significant ratcheting up of state intervention — child welfare officials had initially placed 18 children under state control and merely moved others to a more neutral location to interview them. Azar said he could not discuss the details of the abuses that state officials allegedly uncovered, but affidavits detailing the state’s findings could become public as soon as today. State officials said 133 women had chosen to stay by the children for now instead of returning to the YFZ (“Yearning for Zion”) Ranch, a gated compound outside the tiny Texas cattle town of Eldorado. It was built by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a 10,000-member sect that broke away from the Mormon Church in the 1930s after Mormon leaders barred polygamy. The sect’s self-styled prophet, Warren Jeffs, was convicted in Utah last year of being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl who was forced to marry her 19-year-old cousin. Jeffs is being held in Arizona, where he faces similar charges. [via LOS ANGELES TIMES]


Farnese Campaigner Pressured By Sugarhouse — Get Candidate’s Support Or Quit

gamblorbytravislouie_1.jpgA consultant to a proposed casino in Fishtown quit after he was told he would lose his contract unless he resigned from Larry Farnese‘s state Senate campaign or convinced Farnese to support the casino. Ken Snyder, a communications consultant, went to work last month for Farnese, who is seeking to replace retiring state Sen. Vince Fumo. Snyder has worked as a consultant for Fumo since 2000. Snyder told the Daily News that Dick Sprague, an investor in the proposed SugarHouse casino [artist’s rendering, left] , issued the ultimatum 2 1/2 weeks ago: Snyder would lose his SugarHouse contract unless he quit Farnese’s campaign or convinced Farnese to publicly support the casino project. Snyder chose Farnese. “SugarHouse plainly wanted me to stay on board but Dick Sprague also felt I had a conflict because I was working for Larry Farnese, which in my opinion is understandable,” Snyder said. Farnese faces John Dougherty, business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 98, and anti-casino activist Anne Dicker in the April 22 Democratic primary. Dougherty’s longtime communications consultant, Frank Keel, is also on the SugarHouse payroll, but said that he was not ordered by the developers to make a similar choice. Dougherty and Farnese publicly share similar views on the subject of where to build two casinos in the city. Both say they are not anti-casino but insist that if developers cannot satisfy concerns of nearby residents, the projects should be moved. [via DAILY NEWS]

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