Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Matthews arrested! (Updated)

UPDATE:  New information in extracted from the 69-page indictment of former MontCo Commission Chairman Jim Matthews.  Apparently the problems at County go much further than Matthews’ alleged perjury. 

County Solicitor – and former Matthews campaign chairman – Barry Miller was fired on the basis of the grand jury findings.  According to the report, Miller directed award for health insurance services be awarded to CBIZ, an Ohio firm that donated thousands of dollars to Matthews’ 2007 campaign.

In addition, human resources director, Eleanor Schneider and Tom Snyder, a department head for outside services were cited as being “not qualified” or willfully blind and incompetent.  Schneider was Matthews’ personal secretary with no human resources experience before being appointed HR director.  Snyder could not answer grand jury questions about conflicts of interests on contracts his department managed.

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UPDATE:  Most recent coverage from yesterday’s arrest: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/suburban_pa/20111207_PERJURY_CHARGES_FOR_MONTCO_POL.html

Although perjury is the only charged leveled at Matthews, there was evidence of significant malfeasance, including the use of $100,000 for personal expenses.

UPDATE:  Charges involve perjury during a grand jury investigation into campaign contributions and contracts related in some way to a Matthews family business, Certified Abstract, which was reportedly directed for use by county employees for all farmland preservation open space sales.

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I don’t usually post “breaking news” events, but I’ll gladly make an exception in this case!

Jim Matthews, brother of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and outgoing Montgomery County (PA) Commissioner was arrested on charges emanating from a grand jury indictment.

No additional information available as of this minute.  MontCo DA Risa Ventri-Fermin to hold 10:30 am news conference.

Some controversy was raised earlier this year about allegations that Matthews and Commission member Joe Hoeffel were violating Sunshine Law restrictions by holding private breakfast meetings outside of public scrutiny.  It’s difficult to imagine that Sunshine Law violations are the extent here, but that’s just speculation based on the fact that there is no indication that Hoeffel is included.

Matthews was persona non grata to many MontCo Republicans for ignoring the wishes of voters who elected him and fellow Republican Bruce Matthews to the Commission in 2007.  Matthews cut a deal to align himself with Hoeffel, a Democrat, due to personal animosity he held against Bruce Castor.  

More details here when known.

RUMOR:  Charges are perjury

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