Top former officials of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and a prominent ex-legislator were among eight people indicted Wednesday on political corruption and “pay to play” charges, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. Joseph Brimmeier, who retired in 2011 as chief executive of the turnpike commission, and former state Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Mellow (D., Lackawanna) are accused of illegally soliciting political contributions and misusing turnpike funds, state officials said.
Others indicted by a state grand jury included former turnpike chairman Mitch Rubin, former chief operating officer George Hatalowich, turnpike employees Raymond Zajicek and Melvin Shelton, and vendor employees Dennis Miller and Jeffrey Suzenski. A “pay-to-play culture permeated” the turnpike, officials said. Engineering firms and other companies seeking work with the turnpike lavished its officials with entertainment, dinners, trips and sporting events. Political contributors were rewarded with contracts, and politicians were rewarded with gifts and perks, according to a Pittsburgh grand jury that heard evidence in the case for years.