US Mayor Convicted on 47 Corruption Charges

The Mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was convicted of multiple corruption charges on Thursday after he sold public works contracts to fund future political campaigns.

Allentown PAAllentown, Pennsylvania (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)Edwin Pawlowski, who has been mayor since 2006, was portrayed as an “ambitious manipulator” by prosecutors in a long-anticipated six-week trial following his re-election last year while under indictment, the Lehigh Valley Live reported.

He was found guilty of 47 charges in the so-called “pay-to-play” scheme where city contracts were awarded to vendors who paid the Mayor kickbacks that he intended to use to fund a 2016 Senate run. Pawlowski, who is yet to resign as Mayor, retaliated against businesses that refused to give sufficiently, according to prosecutors.

“The jury has held Mayor Pawlowski accountable for selling his office to the highest bidder to fund his personal ambitions,” U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen said in a statement. “Thinking only of himself, he deprived Allentown residents of their right to receive honest and faithful services from their municipal government.”

"The mayor then tried to cover up his crimes by destroying evidence, lying to the FBI agents who were investigating him, and lying to the federal jurors who heard his case. We hope that those in public office receive the clear message that justice system will not tolerate these abuses of the public trust.”

Mayor Pawlowski denied the allegations when he stood as a witness in his own defence last month. He claimed he did not know that his campaign staffers and city employees were harvesting campaign contributions and kickbacks for his benefit.

Prosecutors successfully argued that Pawlowski and others conspired to garner contributions and benefits through the provision of municipal contacts for street lights, cyber security, collecting delinquent taxes and city pools. He now faces a significant period of time behind bars. His convictions for conspiracy and lying to the FBI, as well as one of the bribery convictions, each carry a five-year maximum prison sentence.

The other bribery convictions carry 10-year maximum sentences while the mail and wire fraud convictions carry a maximum 20-year prison sentence. The mayor reportedly slouched in his chair as the foreman repeated "guilty" several dozen times. Meanwhile, his wife, Lisa Pawlowski sunk into her seat as her head lolled by her knees. She then fainted after she left the courtroom.