Former senate leader, seven others, charged in PA Turnpike probe

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March 14, 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A sweeping "pay to play" investigation involving the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has ensnared a former state Senate leader and three former top commission officials.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said Wednesday the officials are accused of using their extraordinary power over multimillion-dollar turnpike commission contracts to enrich themselves, rig bids for favored businessmen and help sway political campaigns.

The largely-secret investigation dates back to 2009 and involved hundreds of witnesses to crack what Kane calls a political and corrupt culture.

The defendants include former state Senate Democratic Leader Bob Mellow, former turnpike chairman Mitchell Rubin, former turnpike chief executive Joe Brimmeier and former turnpike chief operating officer George Hatalowich.

Two other defendants once represented turnpike vendors. The allegations include conspiracy, commercial bribery, bid rigging, theft and conflict of interest.

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