Former Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Brimmeier is arraigned in Harrisburg

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HARRISBURG -- Former Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Joseph Brimmeier was arraigned today on charges stemming from allegations of a "pay-to-play" scheme involving political contributions and rigged bids.

A grand jury recommended charges against eight men, including former state Sen. Bob Mellow, who is serving time in an unrelated federal corruption case, in a presentment made public Wednesday by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

After an arraignment in magisterial district court, William Winning, an attorney for Mr. Brimmeier, said his client is innocent of the allegations.

"The presentment in this case represents a very one-sided and very, very slanted view of the operation of the Turnpike, and when the facts come out, which will represent a whole different side of the story, in particular as to my client, Mr. Brimmeier, I am confident he will be completely exonerated from the charges and the allegations that are in the complaint."

He said that his client's side of the case will be presented at an upcoming preliminary hearing.

"At the end of the day here, when all the facts are known, Joe Brimmeier will be exonerated of the allegations and the accusations set forth in the presentment," Mr. Winning said.

Mr. Brimmeier told reporters he had no comment.

He was released on $100,000 bail.

Also arraigned today was former Turnpike employee Melvin Shelton. Four men -- former Turnpike chief operating officer George Hatalowich, former Turnpike commissioner Mitchell Rubin, Turnpike vendor Dennis Miller and Jeffrey Suzenski, consultant to a vendor -- were arraigned Wednesday.

The 85-page presentment paints a portrait of bid-rigging and

favoritism linked to campaign contributions, personal gifts, and vendor-paid junkets to locales including Las Vegas, Cozumel, Vienna and Budapest.

Ms. Kane emphasized that the grand jury had found enough

evidence to charge only the men named -- not the politicians, other than Mellow, who benefited from the schemes.

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Karen Langley: klangley@post-gazette.com or 717-787-2141.


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