Gregory R. Zappala, Western PA Child Care, PA Child Care, Gladstone Partners and several other companies filed a lawsuit today claiming that convicted businessman Robert Powell and several other individuals and firms tricked them into business relationships that ultimately led to huge losses as the “Kids-for-Cash” scandal unfolded.
Powell “induced Mr. Zappala into business relationships for the purpose of plundering the Plaintiffs of millions of dollars that Robert Powell used to assure the success [of his law firm] by bribing Luzerne County” judicial officials, according to the complaint.
Powell “thoroughly corrupted the administration of civil justice in Luzerne County ... ruined the Plaintiffs' reputations; stole millions of dollars from Plaintiffs; and burdened Mr. Zappala” and various businesses “with crushing debt and litigation costs,” the complaint authored by attorney Bernard M. Schneider continued.
Powell recruited Mr. Zappala to help build a regional juvenile detention facility in Northeastern Pennsylvania, according to the complaint. Mr. Zappala was kept in the dark about a series of “finders fees,” inflated contracts and “cash bribes” between the other involved parties.
Powell later paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to two Luzerne County judges in return for their orders sending juveniles to the resulting facilities.
Federal investigators and prosecutors uncovered what became “‘Kids for Cash,’” a conspiracy to place juveniles in the PACC and WPACC facilities in return for the finder’s fees” as Mr. Zappala's complaint put it, “emphasizing that it was the worst judicial scandal in the history of the United States.”
The complaint alleged racketeering, unjust enrichment and other torts, claiming millions of dollars in damages.
Mr. Zappala is the brother of Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.
View the complaint below or click here to download the document.
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.
First Published July 18, 2014 12:00 AM