"What's black and white and read all over?"

Friday, March 31, 2006
Posted 8:19 PM by

Jubelirer just as crooked as the rest

Don't let the smile fool ya, folks. State Sen. Bob Jubelirer is playing both sides of the fence on the slots issue to his advantage.I used to think Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer was one of the few bright bulbs in Harrisburg. Turns out he's just as screwy and dim as the rest of the pack.

Although Jubelirer, R-Blair, voted against the bill that legalized slot machines last July, his Political Action Committee accepted $20,000 last year from companies owned by Scranton-area businessman and slots parlor hopeful Louis A. DeNaples, who owns Mount Airy Lodge in the Poconos.

Jubelirer's PAC then gave nearly $13,000 to a pro-slot machine PAC.

Talk about playing both sides of the fence.

Here's my favorite part, folks. Jubelirer recently praised the formation of a new anti-corruption task force by state Attorney General Tom Corbett, saying, "Gambling has never proved to be a corruption-free enterprise, no matter which state tries it, and no matter how strong the regulatory oversight is designed to be. So there is no question there is trouble ahead for Pennsylvania. The only questions seem to be when, where, and how much trouble hits."

DeNaples' D&L Realty in Dunmore gave $10,000 to the PAC Jubelirer chairs, Citizens for a Better Pennsylvania, on March 14, 2005, campaign finance records show. His PAC in turn gave $12,386 in two payments - $4,886 on March 22, 2005 and $7,500 on March 25 - to Citizens Against Higher Taxes and were the group's largest contributions by far last year.

Chaired by James Broussard, a Lebanon Valley College history professor, Citizens Against Higher Taxes supported the legalization of slot machines because it also promised property tax reform.

The slots vote occurred in the early morning of July 2, before both the House and Senate adjourned for the July 4th holiday. The 146-page bill was slid into an unrelated two-paragraph measure about background checks for harness racing track employees, then brought to the floor for a vote without public debate.

The Friends of Senator Jubelirer, another PAC, gave Broussard's organization $200 on Aug. 18, 2005.

Two months later, another DeNaples-owned business, RAM Consultants of Sturges-Olyphant, gave Jubelirer's Citizens for a Better Pennsylvania another $10,000 on Oct. 14.

Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge was once known for its heart-shaped tubs and as a getaway for lovers. Now it's the subject of political chicanery as its owner, Louis DeNaples, vies for a state slots parlor license.Jubelirer does not have a vote on who gets a license. But he did have an appointment to the state gaming board, which will make the final decision after series of public hearing that start next week.

And he's not the only one to have taken money from slots applicants. Gov. Ed Rendell, House Minority Leader H. William DeWeese and House Speaker John M. Perzel also accepted tens of thousands in campaign contributions before making their appointments to the gambling board.

In trying to explain why lawmakers had trouble passing the slots legislation and property tax reform last May, Broussard told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "A lot of the problem is the same thing we saw in 1989: a high level of generic public suspicion of anything that comes out of Harrisburg."

Is hindsight, is it any wonder why the public was suspicious?

By the way, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the paper which first connected the dots between Jubelirer's PAC and Broussard's, also reported Friday that five of the seven gambling board members are driving around in state-leased cars at taxpayer expense in addition to collecting their $145,000 salaries.

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