Montco: Matthews Arrested!
The 24/7 campaigner will now have to become a 24/7 defendant.
The [perjury] charge and one count of false swearing stem from allegations that Matthews lied to the grand jury about his business relationship with Certified Abstract, a title company with which the Matthews family-owned mortgage firm Keegan Morgan worked.
In 2004, county employees were instructed to only use Certified Abstract for farmland preservation open space sales, the grand jury found.
“Matthews lied with such ease and frequency that he acted as though, as chairman of the Montgomery County Commissioners, he is above the law,” the grand jury report said.
The panel also found he violated a gag order a judge imposed on investigation
The grand jury report quotes Matthews as saying he though the investigation was politically motivated and coming from Bruce Castor, a fellow commissioner and former district attorney.
“They are out to get me,” said Matthews, a former candidate for lieutenant governor and brother of MSBNC host Chris Matthews.
Surprisingly, this is not related “Breakfastgate”… which the grand jury has also been investigating…. and CBIZ, the healthcare consultant no-bid contact firm.
This is really going to make raising taxes on Montco taxpayers a real pain in the ass before his term is over.
More as the story breaks.
Update: Here is the Grand Jury Report.
Update: Breakfastgate wont come up. It’s discussed in the report.
However, while the Grand Jury suspects foul play, there is no actual proof to rebut the claims of Matthews and Hoeffel that no deliberations took place at these meetings. Thus in the absence of further evidence, the Grandy Jury cannot recommend presentment for a violation of the Sunshine Act.
Taurusgate is also discussed, on Page 17:
With no Pennsylvania law and now no federal law that could be applied, the investigation prematurely ceased
The make several recommendations to the county and state. Among them, charges against Jim Matthews for perjury and false swearing, changes to the county RFP process, Open Space Program, and patronage positions. They also recommend changes to the Sunshine Act and Campaign Expenditure laws.
For over a year and a half, we the Investigating Grandy Jury, heard evidence and examined testimony regarding several topics involving county officials. We find that the same general theme of lack of transparency was present in each of the topics we investigated. We also find that while many of the actions taken by County officials were inappropriate, these actions are protected by laws that are narrowly interpreted and tend to protect this behaviour. While we understand that the current County administration will change, we hope that our recommendations will be taken into consideration, that they will discourage any further inappropriate practices and will ensure a more forthcoming County government in the future.
There probably won’t be much more than the perjury trial coming up for Matthews. At least not out of the Grand Jury.