Monday, June 09, 2008

Harrison skewers Pantele

At Save Richmond Don Harrison has turned his attention and considerable ability stir the pot to the 2008 mayoral race in Richmond by posting a scathing look at the past of candidate Bill Pantele.
And the man who stands before us now — pontificating on the city’s “poor ethics” and touting the money he’s been given from “his friends” — was right in the center of all of the sleaze. While he was never formally charged with anything in the affair (something that has confused and befuddled city reporters for years), it was clear from this caught-in-the-act money-drop that Bill Pantele was being illegally placed into office for some specific reason — and it probably wasn’t his ability to “bring all Richmonders together.”
Click here to read Harrison’s entire post.

The deadline for candidates to submit their petitions to get on the ballot is tomorrow (Tuesday). Then those petitions will be scrutinized by the City Registrar. A few of the announced candidates may disappear in that process. But even with that prospect, the field of choices for this year’s election to replace Mayor Doug Wilder is probably going to range from soup to nuts. And, I expect that blogs are going to play a key role this time around.

So, please do stay tuned....


Paul H said...

The problem with Don's post is there is no substance to it. It is all guilt by association. Bill Pantele is on the City Council, so is Gwen Hedgepeth. No one has accused Bill Pantele of anything, because of a little thing called evidence.

He is essentially accused of being in favor of the VA PAC. So are a lot of other people. That is a political difference, not an ethical problem. You don't like it, then vote for somebody else, but don't accuse them of being on somebody's payroll or or taking bribes unless you have evidence.

That is not the way Don works though.

Rob said...

Try reading the court transcripts and see if it is still guilt by association. I think your tune will change if you do.

It is bad enough to be influenced by PACs and such, it is worse to be influenced by the dollar in greasy form. It is the worst to be a friend to both.

Not what Richmond needs.

Paul H said...

Court transcripts that you can provide and post?

F.T. Rea said...

Paul H,

Let me get this straight. Are you saying Don Harrison is wrong, in that the bribe he wrote about in his post -- documented on video -- had nothing to do with Pantele?

Are you saying Don made that up? Or, are you just saying Pantele wasn't charged with any crime stemming from this incident?

There is a difference.

Anonymous said...

I think the facts behind Don's post speak volumes. There are too many Richmonders who either don't know them or don't want to know them- they would rather be in denial.

But all this back and forth does not really change things- the Center Stage project and other downtown white elephants are going to cost Richmond citizens for a long, long time. Neighborhoods and schools are going to have to go without, while this corporate welfare siphons off public money and attention. It's shameful.

Let's argue the real issues and not fall in the traps of who slandered who and who is 'more Richmond'. We need better leadership, not the same ol'.

Paul H said...

Which facts would those be? I agree we should talk about real issues and we should start with real facts, not innuendo and character assasination.

I am also well aware who anonymous is, but you might want to share with the rest of the class.

F.T. Rea said...

Paul H,

Rather than fretting over the identity of an anonymous commenter -- for the benefit of the rest of the class -- I would like to see your answers to the rather simple questions I asked of you (see above).

Paul H said...

I'm not fretting a bit. I haven't seen any evidence on wrongdoing by Bill Pantele. I am sure if DH had any he would share it. I've been very direct. If you don't like someone's politics, don't vote for them. It is not necessary to slander people.

Let me see what other questions you might be talking about. Don didn't make anything up, he just didn't make a case. He did imply quite a bit though.

Is that clear?

F.T. Rea said...


Failure to make a case isn't necessarily slander, or perhaps you mean libel, since we're talking about what Don has written/published.

OK, you admit he didn't make anything up. The specific question you didn't answer was whether the bribe Hedgepeth took in 2002 that Don wrote about at Save Richmond had anything to do with Pantele.

How, if at all, was Pantele's name connected to that episode?

Paul H said...

The subject is Bill Pantele. I know about the Gwen Hedgepeth incident. I am still waiting for the first bit of evidence he was personally involved in it.

Also Don brought up two subjects.

1. Gwen Hedgepeth (which we have discussed)

2. VAPAF (which I have also covered)


Slander - A type of defamation. An untruthful oral (spoken) statement about a person that harms the person's reputation or standing in the community.

Libel - An untruthful statement about a person, published in writing or through broadcast media, that injures the person's reputation or standing in the community

So I guess I am talking about libel, but it is a distinction with barely a difference.

Rather than asking questions you already know the answer to or parsing through my comments, add something substantive or original.

Parker said...

"If you don't like someone's politics, don't vote for them. It is not necessary to slander people."

This isn't about liking or disliking Pantele's "politics". This is about holding people accountable for their actions. It's common knowledge that Richmond's city government has had corruption, back room deals, and special interests become the normal way of "doing business". It's left a stain on our great city and slows the true progression we need. We are sick of leaders who don't lead with integrity, transparency and the interests of all citizens at the forefront.

Paul, seems like you'd make the perfect "Press Secretary" for Pantele. If the nightmare of him being elected comes to be (and I'm confident that Richmond has enough sense to get him and others like him out of our city government) he'd need someone to spin all of his bullshit and to further cover up his shenanigans.

I commend Don for having the cajones to investigate and highlight this information to people that may not know about it. We all need to take a closer look at who's running our city and the people that want to run the city. They aren't above the law. Sadly, they often times have the attitude that they can "get away with it" because of the people they know (who often are also in positions of power).

Paul H said...

So Parker,

It sounds like you have met Bill Pantele, given him a fair shake, decided he is FOS.

What new information has Don turned up? Which backroom deal are you referring to? How did BP benefit?

I don't know you and visa versa. This is not personal. I am just asking for a fair discussion of the facts. So far I haven't heard any.

F.T. Rea said...

Paul H,

Let’s put this conversation back on track -- the original subject was Don Harrison’s post, which my post linked to.

Then, when you bring your raw propaganda in support of a candidate to SLANTblog, I’m going to feel free to challenge it.

My guess is that blogs are going to play a major role in the mayoral race. So, please feel free to comment here anytime. And, during the campaign, I hope there will be credible voices raised from the blogosphere that will have a positive impact on the process.

In my book, whether he likes Bill Pantele, or not, Don Harrison has already demonstrated his credibility in this realm.

Please note: None of this means I’m against Pantele, or for any other particular candidate.

Paul H said...

I have no objections to being challenged. Should you find an objective error, please point it out.

Rob said...

Paul, you ask how Pantele benefited? At the time this went down he was a candidate for MAYOR only a month after he was elected to Council b/c he had been appointed to Council in 2001.

Fix that fact with the one on Carver's People's News (search "Pantele for Mayor" and see comment #50) from the man who ran against him in 2002 and said he was offered $5000 to get OUT of the race from a construction group - that needs frequent zoning changes - and can you see those dots connecting or are your blinders on?

That is just the start of it.

Paul H said...

So BP was elected to a $25,000 a year job that consumed most of his waking hours and put his legal career on hold. That is big payoff?

Your big evidence is a comment on a blog? At no point has anyone provided an iota of evidence against BP. I'm not saying to vote for him. I'm just saying don't accuse someone of corruption and attack their character unless you have the goods. Everyone, you, Don, the host deserves the same consideration.

I have known BP for 5 years. He has been direct, responsive and helpful. He is well informed and dedicated. I'm not embarrassed to call him a friend.

Don said...

Please remember this: It was Bill Pantele who made "the poor ethics of Richmond" a campaign issue in his very first campaign speech. In that light, it is absolutely fair game to remind people of what happened in the past. The fact remains that Gwen Hedgepeth was being bribed to install Bill Pantele into office. End of story. It is a matter of public record. I realize that there are some out there who want to talk about everything else under the sun — including what boards and commissions Pantele sits on (are you serious, Paul?) — but it was the councilman himself who brought this issue up. No one made him criticize the ethics of others while he lived in a very brittle glass house of his own.

Paul H said...

OK, I will speak very slowly.

Don, I have no problem discussing the ethics issue.

Please provide some evidence of wrongdoing of Bill Pantele's part, especially regarding the Gwen Hedgepeth issue.

What specific action did he take that you object to?

Gwen Hedgepeth went to jail. I think Salomonsky did too.

What were the charges against Bill Pantele? I think if you have information the rest of us don't you should share it.

It's put up or shut up, but I doubt either of those is likely.

Don said...

It's a long campaign season, Paul. I wouldn't go daring people like that.

The idea that the Hedgepeth bribe did nothing to politically benefit Pantele is absolutely false. Here are a couple more nuggets of info about "The Pantele Thing," courtesy of a July 3, 2003 RTD article. We'll call this one, "HOW TO GET A CHOICE COMMITTEE CHAIRMANSHIP"


Hedgepeth also is charged with lying to FBI agents about $500 that [Bob Davis] allegedly gave her in January as a reward for keeping a promise to support and vote for a certain member of council for mayor. That member is referred to in the affidavit as "S2," for unnamed "Subject No. 2."

[Davis], the affidavit says, was an acquaintance of Hedgepeth and contributed to her campaign for re-election last fall. In a recorded December conversation about her support for S2 for mayor, Hedgepeth said to [Davis]: "I can help with that, all right. . . . Now when can you help me with my [campaign] debt?"

Nothing in the affidavit says S2 was involved in wrongdoing. Last evening, 2nd District Councilman William J. Pantele said he has been interviewed by the FBI and that he assumes he is S2. "I had no knowledge of any payments to Ms. Hedgepeth," Pantele said.

Pantele sought the support of Hedgepeth and other council members for the mayor's job. But Mayor Rudolph C. McCollum Jr. was re-elected at the Jan. 2 organizational council meeting.

The affidavit says S2 was not nominated for mayor - Pantele was not - so Hedgepeth could not vote as she had promised [Davis] in December. CW gave her $500 anyway on Jan. 22, according to the affidavit. That meeting in [Davis]' vehicle was videotaped as well.

"Well, I appreciate this," Hedgepeth told [Davis] after receiving the money, according to the affidavit. "We worked something out so [S2] could at least have a chairmanship." By Jan. 22, Pantele had been appointed chairman of the new Transportation Committee.

Did Pantele ever resign his chairman position, Paul? The one that the bribe helped him to get?

Paul H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul H said...


I reread your evidence and thought this was worth highlighting.

in the affidavit says S2 was involved in wrongdoing. Last evening, 2nd District Councilman William J. Pantele said he has been interviewed by the FBI and that he assumes he is S2.