- Education and Science
The Case Of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Ronald C. Bachner And The Questions Not Answered.
Questions To Ponder. Docket Number 2012-09837.
This hub is written to express my views on the above titled matter. If you have not followed my other hub entitled "Straight Talk With God - In the Frying Pan - My Test of Faith." I urge you to read it to get background information on why this hub is being written. In brief I was charged and convicted of bribery and official oppression that I did not commit. It is about the sum of $200.00 which I know was given to the East McKeesport Borough Secretary at the time of the incident in 2009. I was a building inspector, code official, performed zoning officer functions, and was the code enforcement officer. While my primary responsibility was as a building inspector I was also responsible for the enforcement of borough ordinances as it relates to each function. The community is an older community with many structures needing repairs.
I am writing this hub because I ask many questions how this matter could have progressed to the level of a conviction. This hub will also allow me to vent a little and heal as I try to move on and forgive where I can. This hub will comment on matters related to the facts, both directly and indirectly, in a question format. I believe it does provide some insight in many matters.
In brief this matter involves a property owner (JD) who was in violation of the borough ordinance for failing to obtain an occupancy permit. JD also failed to get building permits and make required repairs to rear deck and steps. In short JD bought a four unit apartment building and rented it for three plus years without obtaining permits for tenants if they changed. He eventually applied for permit and an inspection was done which he failed. He was given 3-4 months to comply on repairs to exterior deck and steps. JD’s tenant left and he put in another tenant without a permit. The police were called to his place for a disruptive conduct matter. I eventually learned of it (police issue report to CEO based on ordinance) and cited JD for failing to obtain an occupancy permit. JD also did not repair the steps and deck. At this point in the matter of JD I was dealing with no occupancy permits, no building permit and repair of steps, and the outstanding non-traffic citation issued. While I do not remember clearly how the conversation developed JD was given the opportunity to pay the agreed upon fine to the borough which he did and a receipt was given. What I did not know until the year 2012 was that JD had become a confidential informant for the Pennsylvania State Police. He postponed the payment of the fine until JD and the Police had wired him. At the time of payment JD was wired and the police were recording. The meeting in the borough building lasted a few minutes and shows that JD was given an option of paying in cash or check to the borough for the fine. JD choose pay fine with cash and his occupancy permit fee with a check. I thought this was strange even then. A receipt was given for the fine. The money was eventually given to the Borough Secretary Office. The matter was logged in the monthly report to the Borough Officials. The non-traffic citation was withdrawn and forgotten about until I was charged and then it took another three to four weeks to determine who the confidential informant was after review of the monthly reports to the borough. I had totally forgotten about the matter. The state police conducted a three year investigation before charging me (May 2012). In the matter of JD we had numerous contacts (JD had a fire in his structure in a different unit and repairs were made according to borough code requirements) since this event when he got his occupancy and building permits knowing he would be one day a witness for the State. The approximate less than fifteen minute conversation was the basis for the criminal charges. I will have more comments below.
This hub is written to propose questions I have thought about since this matter began in my life in November/December 2011 when I first became aware of the investigation. I learned about the investigation from a property owner in the borough during a scheduled occupancy inspection. The property owner informed me the State Police visited him to interview him approximately a few months earlier. This contact with the property owner was reported that day to the East McKeesport Chief of Police and shortly thereafter (two days) to the Code Committee of the Borough. When reported to the Chief we or I thought it might be connected to another property owner we were dealing with on a civil level.
The questions will pertain to the various individuals involved in this matter and include the State of Pennsylvania, the confidential informant, Trooper M., Borough Officials, defense attorney’s, Assistant District Attorney, and others.
1. The Training of Code Enforcement Officer’s in Pennsylvania. The State of Pennsylvania does not require any training for code enforcement officers that I am aware of before or after being appointed and sworn in to enforce and police the laws and ordinances of a governing body. The State of Pennsylvania requires licensure and or training from the minor to the major of many jobs in the state including police officers, hair stylists, dental assistants, building inspectors, real estate agents, funeral directors, pest control operators, nursery's, day care operators, nurses, and many others. The requirements of continuing education for license renewal is a requirement of most. There is a code enforcement officer in each community typically. How many communities in the State of Pennsylvania are there? There are probably 3-4 times as many code enforcement officers in the state as there are licensed building inspectors.
Q. Why doesn't the State of Pennsylvania provide minimal training for Code Enforcement Officers in basic operation of the law, non traffic citations, the courts, and other matters relating to this position as it is a law enforcement function? What is the responsibility of governing bodies who appoint these individuals?
2. The investigation by Pennsylvania State Trooper Edward M. Malloy. The State Trooper investigated this matter for over three years. He conducted 30 plus interviews and reviewed all citations filed by myself over the years. At the end of all of this time he filed charges on the one matter which initiated the investigation.
Q. Why did Trooper Malloy not review the records (property file, monthly reports, cash deposit records, etc) of the municipality and investigate any findings?
Q. If Trooper Malloy did investigate the records of the municipality why did he not see the cash deposit made by the borough secretary and write a report on his investigative findings. This report would be furnished to the defense and likely would have prevented the charges from ever being filed?
Q. Why did Trooper Malloy not obtain the cash deposit records of the borough prior to filing charges? The only knowledge that he had at the time of charges was that I received a fine from the confidential informant and provided a receipt to Joe D. They were only acquired by the DA on 2012 over six months after arrest.
Q Why did Trooper Malloy not find the deposit for $200.00 during his criminal investigation prior to filing the charges? What did he review exactly or rely on? The Secretary Only?
Q. Why did Trooper Malloy not conduct interviews of borough officials who I reported to immediately specifically the Code Committee and Council?
Q. If the State Police thought I committed a crime in 2009 why did they not arrest me at that time instead of 2012? If after three and a half year investigation Trooper Malloy thought I had taken the money why did he not charge me with theft of government money?
Q. If the DA acquired records of deposit by borough, did DA and Trooper have a discussion about them and would the Trooper further investigate and report on findings? The defense received no report of said investigation on deposit records.
Q. How can the confidential informant be oppressed when he was under the direction or influence of a retired state trooper and the current investigator Trooper Malloy. Why was there no testimony of how the confidential informant was oppressed?
Q. Did Trooper Malloy go back and look for the money after he interviewed 30 plus individuals I interacted with in my position where none concluded with any additional charges?
Q. If Trooper Malloy question the Borough on whether the Borough received the cash why did Trooper Malloy not obtain the records of the Borough and use them as evidence at trial. There were no records provided initially in the discovery materials as of the date of the charges.
Q How does an experienced 25 year investigator accept a property owners story without questioning his motives and the facts surrounding the event. I personally have had numerous property owner stand before the judge and outright lie about the facts and they always make false statement regarding the inspector or code officer. They never admit they complied with the order or ordinance. Why a property owner will lie about a simple ordinance violation makes me wonder about their self respect. I do not view them as criminals over such matters. I am sure it is the same with a police officer having defendants lie. I know of no investigation in to the background of the confidential informant prior to the incident.
Q. What went through the mind of Trooper Malloy that distinguished this case as a bribery and oppression case and not a theft of government funds case? There has to be more.
Q. Why did Trooper Malloy not question the Borough Council person who the confidential informant said told him he should apologize to the inspector and do what he wants? Why did he not try to verify the statements of the confidential informant?
Q. Did Trooper Malloy feel an obligation to his friend the retired state trooper? Was there a representation by the trooper they thought they had discovered something big but could not turn back after they realized there was just this matter. The PA state police had a news conference on TV with their spokesperson Trooper Robin Mungo indicating there may be more incidents. You have to wonder. I do.
3. The Prosecuting District Attorney LM. The Assistant DA Lisa M. requested financial records from the Borough in December 2012 specifically records of cash deposits. The information was furnished by the borough. The information contained a record for a $200.00 deposit assigned to a refuse account at approximately the same time the confidential informant Joe D. provided payment for his fine to the Borough.
Q. Did Lisa M review the cash deposit information that she requested from the Borough?
Q. If Lisa M. reviewed it why did she not report her findings to the defense counsel?
Q. Did Lisa M. notice and investigate the $200 cash deposit? She should have noticed it on the report as she requested the report from the borough. Does she not have a duty to both society and the accused as a prosecutor?
Q. If Lisa M. reviewed the cash deposit report why did she not use it at trial? If it was able to assist in proving the States case why is she not using a key piece of information and evidence on a $200 bribery charge?
Q. If Lisa M's. key witness Connie R. testified she did not receive $200 cash, why did the cash deposit report furnished by the witness prior to trial reflect a $200 cash deposit. Why did Lisa M. not follow up on this issue as she knew Connie R was in error, didn't know her own records, or testified falsely? Why did Lisa M. not clarify the $200.00 deposit with the states key witness when she was on the stand? Did Lisa Mantella not review the cash deposit record and at least counter or anticipate any defense cross on this key point. Why did Lisa M. not use the deposit records in her prosecution?
Q. What did LM and or Connie R know about the $200.00 cash deposit on her records and when did they know it?
Q. The DA Office had multiple recordings of conversations of my contact with the CI during the renovation of his building. Why did they choose one recording and only a couple of minutes of it where JD is offered to pay fine by check?
Q. At some point LM requested a copy of the property file of JD (after defense reviewed prior to preliminary). Why did the DA's office not supply a copy to the defense?
4. The Council and Solicitor of the Borough.
Q. Why did Council not review Monthly Reports furnished to the borough every months since I came to the borough. This is information that logged my contacts with Joe D. If they did review the Reports why did they not provide this information to the District Attorney as it would only help my case?
Q. Why did Borough not investigate the facts of this case and report to the investigator and or my defense attorney? Do the borough investigate those who have access to the borough building or may have visited at that time such as visitors, cleaning woman, public works department, on duty police officers, and maybe others.
Q. Why did Borough not secure the property file of JD as it had documents that support the record of events in the matter I was charged (see question on Defense Attorney JM)? The file was open to use by anyone in the borough and this is verified by contents issued by inspectors after my departure.
Q. Did the solicitor DB conduct his own investigation and review of monthly reports and cash deposits at least after obtaining copy of complaint when charges were filed? Did the Chief of Police of the Borough investigate the situation and file a report with the borough regarding the $200.00? If not, why not?
Q. The state trooper reported he talked to DB and DB told him I did not file any reports to the Borough. How does DB says such things when every month DB sits in at the monthly council meetings and council approves my monthly reports? The transcript say that was changed thereafter but the state trooper testifies that I was making no reports to the borough. (This is incorrect since monthly reports were filed including statements and reports on building permits issued, citations issued, quarterly reports to PA for act 45 requirements, and zoning permits issued)
Q. How do you work for a municipality for seven years and receive no signs of support either at an official level or on a personal level from the borough, employees, or residents?
Q. Why is it that no Borough Official came forward on their own initiative to provide any kind of assistance (if they could), support, or knowledge as to what they may or may not know?
5. The Borough Secretary CR. The borough secretary Connie R and I as well as the chief of police, works department foreman, and a regular patrol officer were responsible for our individual job functions on a daily basis. I personally worked three days a week. I worked with these individuals for seven years.
Q. If you work with someone for seven years and you learn there is a criminal charge filed would you not look to determine where the money claimed given to the borough secretary may have been placed? I know I would. I do not know if CR looked but I do know I have not heard of any such search if it did occur.
Q. If Connie R. did look for it why did she not find it? If she did why did she not inform the borough solicitor at a minimum or the police chief?
Q. Connie R. testified that she never received the $200.00 but admitted cash shows separately on a deposit slip. Why did she not find the cash deposit when questioned by Trooper Malloy.
Q. Connie R. stated there was no miscellaneous accounts at trial but the documents she gave the district attorney had a miscellaneous account. Why does Connie R not know what accounts she has and where she posts certain payments?
Q. The Secretary to me appeared hostile during her trial testimony. She certainly wasn't defense friendly in my view. Why did she appear this way especially since we worked together for seven years?
6. Defense Attorney JM. JM was retained first in this matter. He provided representation at the arraignment and preliminary hearing. In preparation of the preliminary hearing JM obtained the borough property file for the subject property owned by JD. In this file were two documents relating to the payment of the fine and non traffic citation issued. There was also other typical documents found in the file. In preparation for preliminary hearing and before termination of services (other reasons) JM was to copy the property file before returning it to the Borough. The two documents were in the file when reviewed by JM and myself prior to the preliminary hearing.
Q. If the two documents (District Court Hearing notice with notation by myself that JD paid fine to borough and the property log logging the contact with JD including fine payment and withdrawl of citation) were copied by JM, why did he not turn them over to MW the eventual new trial attorney retained?
Q. If JM did not copy the two documents, why did he not?
Q. If JM did and gave the documents to MW why were they not in the file when I requested a copy of the file or when I tried to find them prior to trial?
7. Defense Trial Attorney MW. MW was retained to replace JM as counsel. There are other questions regarding MW but the main question focus's on the cash deposit report from the Borough. The date of the fax and reports from the DA's office indicate fax transmission in December 2012. MW claims he did not receive the reports but they were in the file when his services were terminated.
Q. Why did MW not received the cash deposit information and review it since it was three months prior to trial?
Q. Why did MW not know about the monthly reports which document the contact with JD when they were in the file from JM and another set provided a couple of weeks prior to trial?
Q. Why did MW not attack the credibility of the confidential informant JD when it was clear JD was not in compliance with borough ordinances which is documented?
Q. Why did MW not attack the claims of the state regarding official oppression when no such statements were made by me but only statements CI had with friends regarding their characterization of building code officials?
Q. Why were there no direct questions by either MW or LM to the Borough Secretary at trial regarding the $200.00 considering a jury may be looking for it in my view.
Q. Why did MW not see relevance of subpoenaing the Police Chief and Code Committee members who I worked for and could testify to certain facts? They had knowledge of my activities and could provide evidence for the jury. The chief could testify I informed him when I learned of the investigation and the code committee could introduce my monthly reports to the borough and testify as to other matters.
Q. Why did MW not subpoena the financial records of the borough as part of his defense preparation since it is key to determine where the money went?
Q. MW did not realize my monthly reports were in the file until 2-3 weeks before trial which shows lack of preparation in my view. Why did MW not cross Trooper Malloy when he testified I did not file reports with the borough? Why did MW not call a borough official to testify I filed monthly reports and reported the $200.00 fine?
8. The Confidential Informant (CI) JD. He was the four unit apartment building property owner in this matter.
Q. Who was the confidential informant that within days the Pennsylvania State Police Organized Crime Unit wired JD on approval of the DA in a small borough town over an occupancy permit violation?
Q. If the confidential informant JD thought I had did something wrong why did he not report it to the Borough Police Department for investigation? What was his opinion of the local Borough Police and what experiences did he have with them? The confidential informant testified his friend was a retired state trooper. Why didn't the state trooper tell his friend to report it to the borough police immediately if he thought I did something wrong?
Q. The confidential informant JD before he met his friend a former state trooper already agreed to pay a $200 fine knowing it was lower than what a district court would impose. Whose interests was he thinking about then? It certainly was not about appearing before the court to argue his certain defense.
Q. If the confidential informant and property owner JD wanted to appear before the District Court regarding his ordinance violation why did he not just ask? The tape recording of our meeting indicate he was not forced (or oppressed) in to paying fine.
Q. If the confidential informant and property owner JD wanted to appear before the District Court regarding his ordinance violation why did he just not show up at the borough building to pay his fine and appear at the district court hearing scheduled? I would surely appear and testify to the facts.
Q. How can confidential informant Joseph D. be oppressed when his own testimony says he was under the guidance of his friend a retired state trooper and the active investigator Trooper Malloy prior to the meeting and when there was no testimony forcing or requiring confidential informant to do anything?
Note: I have reviewed the transcripts (including deposition on a non related matter) regarding the confidential informant Joe D. and there are many inaccuracies, outright exaggerations, poor memory, and or outright ___________ statements in my judgment.
9. The News Media. The only question I have is why the media can't get the facts straight when they write a story.
10. General Observations:
Q. How does Trooper Malloy, Borough Secretary Connie Rosenbayger, Borough Council, the Borough Solicitor, Assistant DA Lisa Mantella, and Defense Attorney M. Worgul not find, look, or investigate a $200.00 cash* deposit on June 11, 2009? The Trooper never found it during his investigation, the Borough Secretary never found it when asked to look for it and later when it was discovered in a report to the district attorney never investigated it. Why did Lisa Mantella not investigate it or use it at trial? Why did Borough Council not look for it as after the trial I wrote a letter to each of them and the Mayor informing them out of respect for them that I did not take any money from the Borough. In addition why did my own defense attorney Michael Worgul not investigate the deposit prior to trial or inform me of the deposit report? I just learned 4/16/2015 that he admitted to having the report at a PCRA hearing held this date.
Q. If MW the trial attorney received the borough deposit records as he testified to last week, why did he not use the report to cross examine the state trooper on why he did not find any $200 deposit? In addition why did he not inform me his client that he had the report?
Q. If MW the trial attorney received the borough deposit records as he testified to last week, why did he not use the report to cross examine the borough secretary when she testified that she did find or receive any $200 cash deposit.
Q. If MW the trial attorney had my monthly reports as he testified to, why did he not use them to questions both the state trooper and the borough secretary on whether they reviewed the monthly reports in this matter as the details of the matter with the confidential informant Joe DeSimone was reported on in the reports?
*The Borough later reported that this $200.00 was actually a check from a property owner not connected with this matter. If this is the case then why does the deposit report show it as cash? When this report was produced should it have been printed in landscape form instead of portrait mode. To me there are many questions but it is hard to determine what is what with the individuals herein and what some facts are.
The above and other's are questions that I ponder. It does not imply that there are not logical or reasonable answers with some of them (not all). I only know one thing and that is that I did not take any $200.00 or engage in the solicitation of any bribe or oppress any property owner. I did not cross over the line. What ever happen with the money happen after I delivered it to the secretary's office. I thank my attorney Mr. Robert Mielnicki of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for his assistance in preparing a motion under the post conviction relief act of Pennsylvania which will be my last opportunity to clear my name by getting the conviction overturned. Thank You for your prayers.