Council member convicted of bribery, theft in kickback case
MEDIA, Pa. (AP) — A suburban Philadelphia borough council member has been convicted of bribery and theft in what prosecutors called a kickback scheme involving security and surveillance equipment.
Jurors deliberated all day Friday before convicting former Upland Borough council president Edward Mitchell on theft by deception, criminal conspiracy and bribery counts. Jurors acquitted him of two counts of intercepting communications.
Authorities in Delaware County alleged that Mitchell, 75, received as much as $133,000 in 10- to 15-percent kickbacks on nearly $1 million in security and surveillance equipment installed between 2009 and 2015.
“We hold elected officials to a higher standard of conduct, and Edward Mitchell’s criminal behavior and violation of public trust is not only disappointing, but downright deplorable,” District Attorney Katayoun Copeland said. She said he should resign immediately but vowed to move for his removal after his Sept. 14 sentencing.
Mitchell, a Republican and former school board member, has served on council for 17 years, including eight as president. Defense attorney John Flannery Jr. said his client was disappointed but exploring a possible appeal.
Christine Peterson, who replaced Mitchell as borough council president in 2016, said she was pleased with the verdict and also called on Mitchell to resign.
“The borough needs to move forward and put this sordid chapter of the Mitchell era behind us,” she said.