Justice being sought in Harrisburg grand jury investigation
I was not surprised with the raid last week of former Mayor Steve Reed's home in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, who was many times named one of the top mayors in America.
He served 28 years.
Investigators, who conducted the raid, were from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and they took out property and many artifacts from his home.
The entire street was blocked off and there were reporters from all over the Pennsylvania camped out all day.
Ongoing rumors, innuendos, and public comments on social media and in print, for many years, have identified him and other well-known local names, law firms and financial operations, as having done illegal acts that threw Harrisburg into a financial disaster.
This raid was only a part of the work of the now statewide Grand Jury meeting in Pittsburgh and it is apparent that the purchases of the artifacts by Reed himself, which cost multi-millions, is a part of their interest.
Please remember, this raid does not indicate Mayor Reed or anyone else that has been named did anything illegal, even if indicted.
Will this raid itself be the beginning of the total destruction of the lengthy and, in my opinion, extraordinary legacy of tremendous accomplishments of Mayor Steve Reed? I hope not.
I must say Mayor Reed, when he became mayor, was only 32-years-old. He had already distinguished himself as an effective political leader, and he inherited a city that was on the verge of bankruptcy at the time.
Most of the critical problems he faced were brewing for years.
Steve took the challenge, and over the years, the city truly prospered.
Just to name a very few of his significant accomplishments for Harrisburg and can be seen today: The Hilton Hotel, the magnificent City Island, the Harrisburg Senators Baseball team, the Harrisburg University, the Civil War Museum. He left a great police and fire department, a new City Hall, Restaurant Row, great additions and improvements to many well-known parks and playgrounds that had become disasters, a very responsive and highly trained River Rescue, the beautiful boat on The Susquehanna River, the Pride of The Susquehanna, the improvements and maintaining of one of Harrisburg's "jewels" the Italian Lake, and many other significant lasting projects were built in the city, and many much needed social programs were established throughout the entire city and beyond.
He was awarded so many state and national awards for his work, that there are too many to mention right now. His well-known governance stretched far beyond the city, and he was written about all over the country.
His personal passion and night and day work ethic set an ongoing highly positive tone for the people, and not just residents of the city, but all over Pennsylvania, that Harrisburg, the Capitol City, was definitely in good hands,
So, what happened? Did he stay much too long as Mayor? I definitely think so.
I don't think anyone should be mayor of any city for more than two four-year terms. Things started to look troubling about the last 10 years of his reign.
Remember, that does not mean there was illegality. But, the multi-million debt at the incinerator, the purchase of the millions of dollars of artifacts, and how the entire debt developed, has caused great anger and honorable questions, and is finally being investigated, along with other financial transactions, by a statewide Grand Jury from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office, and possibly the federal government.
Why this investigation has taken so long to occur is not a question I can answer.
The first receiver appointed by the governor for Harrisburg failing, David Unkovic, called for a criminal investigation several years ago when he resigned under "unusual" circumstances.
A well-respected independent audit was prepared years ago, and that was at least a beginning "road map" for investigative authorities to follow and see where it led.
There has even been a state Senate investigation of a small part of this entire debt that was accumulated.
These have all raised red flags and finger-pointing for many. However, we must all remember that because there is an Attorney General "investigation," and possibly even indictments, that we must not assume there was any illegal activity.
Could it have been just bad judgments were made? People are entitled to "due process" under law from the time of any indictments through the entire case, if there are any indictments.
The fact even that there is a Grand Jury investigating does not mean there was illegality as only the prosecutors present the case.
We have to recognize individuals are innocent until proven guilty.
Whatever happens, I certainly hope this will result in finally putting these years of controversy to rest.
Rumors and innuendos can and do destroy reputations and careers, and we all have to give everyone the fair opportunity, that we all would want if we were named, when the time comes, if it comes, to defend themselves.
Frankly, I would think that those already publicly named, indicted or not, would finally want the opportunity in court to clear their names.
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