Monday, January 26, 2009

"Sensible ideas" vs. The Big Lie

The Jan. 26 editorial "Sensible ideas" continues to perpetuate the myth that "..the former Lancaster County Board of Commissioners.. members met privately to decide the sale of Conestoga View Nursing Home."

It probably never happened! Rather, Commissioners Dick Shellenberger, Molly Henderson and Pete Shaub were unjustly investigated for over 20 trumped up charges with the then District Attorney and now Judge Donald Totaro bringing one accusation after another, simply to have the Grand Jury reject them in the sequence he brought them.

A grand jury failing to indict is itself a rarity, let alone one sitting for almost a year. The charges were for most part reported in the text of the its report; the rejections due to lack of evidence were mentioned in the foot notes. The D. A. (the establishment's cat's paw) wrote the self serving report!

After almost a year and repeated testimony before the Grand Jury and with two of the commissioners facing an election campaign, they agreed to a minor indiscretion for what they had not done and paid a couple of hundred dollars in fines to put the matter behind them.

How does NewsLanc know this? Robert Field, later to become it's founder, was consulted by two of the commissioners at the time. Not only were they up for re-election, they were terrified that Totaro would get the Grand Jury to indict for a cause unknown which would have forced them to resign.

They separately asked Field's advice about whether to accept Totaro's offer of a plea bargain for something that their attorneys and the county solicitor said they had not done. He reluctantly advised them individually that it was the pragmatic thing to do. And it was!

Little did they know that they were walking into a trap, as the Lancaster Newspapers ran headline after headline comparable in size to the announcements of the election of Barrack Obama implying that the commissioners had done something terrible!

The NewsLanc investigation of several years of improper management (or worse) of Convention Center Authority funds and the Molly Henderson suit against the Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. for libel are slowly prying open the truth of how the public has been mislead and its money squandered.

If there is going to be any indictments, it won't be of the former commissioners. And who knows how far they would spread.