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Ex-Allentown administrator spared jail time

February 9, 2019

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The former top administrator of Pennsylvania’s third-largest city has been spared jail time in a federal pay-to-play corruption case that resulted in conviction and imprisonment of the city’s former mayor.

Former Allentown managing director Francis Dougherty, who pleaded guilty to a corruption charge almost two years ago, was sentenced Friday to three years’ probation and ordered to pay more than $18,700 in restitution and a $10,000 fine.

Prosecutors said Dougherty helped rig a $3 million contract to replace the city’s streetlights so it would go to a company whose executives and consultants gave thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to former mayor Ed Pawlowski.

Chief Judge Juan Sanchez cited Dougherty’s role in the prosecution of Pawlowski, who was sentenced in October to 15 years following conviction last year on dozens federal counts including conspiracy, bribery, fraud, attempted extortion and lying to the FBI.

“It is clear from his cooperation and all of the evidence that I have before me that Mr. Dougherty opened himself like a book, came clean and cooperated with the government in every respect,” Sanchez said.

Dougherty was one of a dozen people who were convicted or pleaded guilty in the case. Pawlowski has appealed to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which on Thursday denied his request for bail while the appeal is pending.

Prosecutors argued for a six-month prison term for Dougherty, citing the seriousness of the crime, but the defense cited his cooperation and the judge questioned whether prosecutors would have succeeded in their case against the former mayor without his cooperation.

Defense attorney Lisa Mathewson also argued that Pawlowski’s sentence would serve the purpose of deterring others who might engage in pay-to-play schemes. She said her client “is looking forward to finding another way to serve and put this behind him now.”

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