Vince Fumo

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Vince Fumo
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 1st district
In office
April 3, 1978[1] – November 30, 2008
Preceded by Buddy Cianfrani
Succeeded by Larry Farnese
Personal details
Born (1943-05-08) May 8, 1943 (age 71)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) divorced
Residence Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Alma mater Villanova University
Temple University School of Law
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Religion Roman Catholic[2]

Vincent Joseph "Vince" Fumo (born May 8, 1943) is a former politician, lawyer and businessman from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A Democrat, he represented a south Philadelphia district in the Pennsylvania Senate from 1978 to 2008. On March 16, 2009, he was convicted of 137 federal corruption charges. On July 14, 2009, he was sentenced to 55 months in federal prison.

Life[edit]

Fumo holds a B.S. from Villanova University ('64), a law degree from Temple University School of Law ('72) and an MBA ('84) from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He served on the Board of Trustees of the National Constitution Center[3] in Philadelphia, a museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution. Fumo has pursued an array of interests over his life as he is also a licensed electrician, pilot, and boat captain. He has also been a longtime member of Mensa.

Political career[edit]

Fumo represented South Philadelphia's 1st Senatorial District beginning in 1978 when he succeeded Buddy Cianfrani, who had been convicted of racketeering, bribery and obstruction of justice.

A powerful State Senator, the Pennsylvania Report said that "[i]t is difficult to catalog and characterize all of his tie-ins and tentacles at all levels of government, but having him on your side in a pitched battle rattles opponents."[4] In 2002, the political website PoliticsPA named him to the list of "Smartest Legislators," calling him "[a]rguably the smartest legislator in Harrisburg."[5]

Fumo was the ranking Democratic Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee until his federal indictment in February 2007. He also served on the Communications & Technology, Consumer Protection, Game & Fisheries, Rules, & Urban Affairs & Housing Committees.[6]

Business career[edit]

In addition to his State Senate work, Fumo is associated with the Philadelphia Law firm of Dilworth Paxson LLP. He was the Chairman of First Penn Bank. The bank was originally founded as Pennsylvania Savings Bank, by his grandfather. Fumo took over control after his father was convicted of bank fraud in 1976. The bank grew rapidly under Fumo's control from $1.5 million in assets to about $550 million, and was eventually sold in 2007 for $94 million, potentially netting $19 million for Fumo.[7]

Recent events[edit]

Fumo was hospitalized on March 2, 2008, after suffering a heart attack at his home. He underwent a successful emergency angioplasty at Hahnemann University Hospital and was released on March 9, 2008.[8][9]

On March 12, 2008, Fumo announced he was dropping his bid for reelection and retiring from public service, citing his federal indictment.[10]

On March 16, 2009, a Philadelphia Federal jury convicted Fumo on 137 counts of corruption, conspiracy, fraud and more.[11]

Earlier legal troubles[edit]

In 1974, Fumo, along with three associates, was the target of a 44 count indictment for mail fraud. The four men, who included the Majority Leader of the State Senate, the head of the Democratic City Executive Committee, and the Chief Clerk of the State House were accused of helping convicted Senator Cianfrani, add 33 ghost employees to the state payroll. At the time, Fumo was an assistant to Camiel in charge of patronage.[12]

In 1978, Fumo was convicted by a jury of 15 counts. However, a federal judge overturned the conviction in 1981 after motions by the defense to acquit.[2][13]

2009 conviction[edit]

Fumo has been the subject of a federal investigation which resulted in his indictment in 2007. The investigation related to a charity run by the Senator called the Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods which was run by a former member of the Senator's staff. In 2004, PECO, a subsidiary of Exelon, donated $17 million to the organization. Federal prosecutors began an investigation as to whether Fumo had forced the utility to make the donation by initially opposing, then supporting, utility deregulation in the state. There were also allegations that Fumo had used the charity's funds for personal benefit. Fumo also suggested that Verizon hire a law firm called Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel for a 3-year, $3 million retainer to handle legal work. The chair of Obermayer's litigation committee Thomas Leonard (and a prominent Democrat who served as the city's controller in the 1990s) attended law school with Fumo at Temple University in the 1970s and both have remained friends since then including working on fundraising for Democratic candidates.

In late May 2006, two of Senator Fumo’s staffers were arrested and indicted on charges of destroying electronic evidence, including e-mail related to the investigation. The charges were based on e-mails sent by the aides, in which they suggested that Fumo ordered destruction of the documentation.[14][15]

On February 6, 2007, a Federal grand jury named Fumo in a 137 count indictment, alleging mail fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and filing a false tax return. Charges include using state workers to oversee construction of his mansion, spying on his ex-wife, and work on his farm. Additionally, the indictment accused him of misusing $1 million of state funds and $1 million from his charity for personal and campaign use and commandeering yachts from the Philadelphia Seaport Museum for personal travel.[16]

Immediately before the indictment was handed down, Fumo resigned his position as the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee and vowed to fight the charges.

On March 12, 2008, at a press conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Fumo announced he was dropping his bid for reelection under stress, saying that the charges against him left "a cloud hanging over [his] head." He did, however, complete his final term in the Senate, which ended at the end of the year. This was reportedly at the insistence of Governor Ed Rendell who was present at the press conference. Fumo also added that the decision had nothing to do with his health issues.[10]

On March 16, 2009, he was found guilty of all 137 counts of corruption and was facing a minimum of ten years in prison. His former aide, Ruth Arnao, was also found guilty of all 45 counts against her.[17]

On July 14, 2009, Fumo was sentenced to 55 months in prison, substantially below the sentencing guidelines of 11 to 14 years.[18] On November 11, 2011, upon a judicial review of his sentence, his prison term was increased by six months and the amount of his court-ordered restitution payment was increased by $1.1 million.[19]

Incarceration[edit]

Fumo requested that he be sent to United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg, located 120 miles northwest of Center City, Philadelphia.[21] The Federal Bureau of Prisons assigned Fumo inmate number 62033-066 and ordered him to report to Federal Correctional Institution, Ashland, near Ashland, Kentucky, by August 31. According to one prison consultant who served time there, Ashland is "one of the nicer federal prisons", but as a newcomer Fumo will hold a very low position in the inmate pecking order.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cox, Harold (2004). "Pennsylvania Senate - 1977-1978". Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University. 
  2. ^ a b Gazarik, Richard (2005-07-31). "A passion for politics". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  3. ^ http://www.constitutioncenter.org
  4. ^ "The PA Report "Power 75" List" (PDF). Pennsylvania Report. Capital Growth, Inc. January 31, 2003. Archived from the original on 2006-09-02. 
  5. ^ "Smartest Legislators". PoliticsPA. The Publius Group. 2002. Archived from the original on 2002-01-15. 
  6. ^ "BIOGRAPHY OF STATE SENATOR VINCENT J. FUMO". Fumo.com. Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-11-15. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  7. ^ http://www.philly.com/inquirer/special/fumo/Vincent_J_Fumo_A_High-Impact_Controversial_Career.html
  8. ^ Action News (television). Philadelphia: WPVI. March 2, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Fumo Released From Hospital After Heart Attack". Fox Interactive Media. March 9, 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  10. ^ a b Robrish, Dan (2008-03-12). "Pa. Sen. Vincent Fumo dropping out of race, will retire". The Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-03-12. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Ex-Pa. Sen. Fumo convicted on more than 60 counts". The Associated Press. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2009-03-16. [dead link]
  12. ^ https://www.fastcase.com/Yahoo/Start.aspx?C=3dcaff25782258e4c92f2ab51c1326c606779c06c08f9326&D=6ef6c317680eefcfa5dee6a92c3776b8865effef68ae673e&AffiliateConst=Yahoo
  13. ^ "3 Mail Fraud Convictions Upset in Pennsylvania". AP/NY Times. 1981-08-05. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  14. ^ Hinkelman, Michael (2007-01-12). "Fumo receives "target letter"". Philadelphia Daily News. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  15. ^ Mauriello, Tracie (2006-06-01). "Two Fumo aides accused of destroying evidence in FBI probe of senator". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  16. ^ "Feds: Fumo Used State Workers As Personal Servants". CBS 3 (Philadelphia). 2007-02-06. Archived from the original on February 17, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-04. 
  17. ^ Ex-Pa. senator convicted of 137 corruption counts
  18. ^ Lounsberry, Emilie; McCoy, Craig R. (July 15, 2009). "Disgraced Fumo gets 55 months in jail". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  19. ^ Gorenstein, Nathan; McCoy, Craig R. (November 11, 2011). "Fumo sentence lengthened by six months". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on November 11, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Vincent J Fumo." Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved on February 1, 2011.
  21. ^ Gammage, Jeff. "Fumo's future in agency's hands." The Philadelphia Inquirer. Tuesday August 4, 2009. Retrieved on January 5, 2010.
  22. ^ "No place for titans. Behind bars, Fumo to go from king to serf". The Philadelphia Inquirer. August 30, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-09-21. Retrieved August 31, 2009. 
  • Philadelphia Inquirer Online, "Vincent J. Fumo: A High-Impact, Controversial Career."

Philadelphia Inquirer 13 Mar 2008 [1]

External links[edit]

Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by
Buddy Cianfrani
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
for the 1st District

1978–2008
Succeeded by
Larry Farnese