Update: PA Turnpike security contractor who sought ban on Luna book arrested on prostitution charges Read more >>
Citizens say security concerns ignored for years
Pennsylvania State Police launch investigation into
PA Turnpike security provider
Posted March 14, 2005 -- The Pennsylvania State Police has launched an investigation into a Pennsylvania Turnpike and state Department of Transportation security provider with alleged ties to a well-heeled prostitution ring. The investigation was delayed for years, concerned citizens say, because they were unable to have their complaints heard by appropriate authorities.
Wantz police mugshot (top) following his December 10, 2007 arrest on prostitution charges. Headquarters of Schaad Detective Agency (bottom) in York, PA. A leading state representative has called for a "full and complete" investigation of Schaad's owner, Russell Wantz, citing allegations from leading York citizens that "Wantz was actively involved in a prostitution ring, both in recruitment of women and in financing operations," Rep. Mark Cohen wrote the State Police Commissioner.
A Pennsylvania state legislator has also asked the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police for a "full and complete" investigation of the private security contractor. The security contractor has close ties to embattled York County District Attorney Stanley Rebert.
Rep. Mark Cohen, of Philadelphia, in a December 30, 2004, letter to Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Jeffrey B. Miller, called on the State Police conduct a "full and complete" investigation of Russell Wantz, owner of the Schaad Detective Agency, of York.
"Wantz heads the Schaad Detective Agency which provides security for PennDOT, the Liquor Control Board, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike," Rep. Cohen wrote the State Police Commissioner.
In the letter, Rep. Cohen wrote of ignored allegations from concerned Pennsylvanians that "Wantz was actively involved in a prostitution ring, both in recruitment of women and in financing operations."
Citizens coming forward with their concerns include, Cohen writes, "Jim Sneddon, Controller of the City of York, and Herbert Grofcsik, a former York Police Commissioner." These leading members of the York community, Cohen notes, "complain there is nothing anyone can do about it," due to Wantz’s close ties to York County DA Stanley Rebert.
Wantz's detective agency provides security not only for the state, but also for various government agencies in and around York County. Wantz also is a car dealer who has long provided services for DA Rebert and the DA's office.
City Controller Sneddon is a former publisher and editor of The York Dispatch, a York, PA, daily newspaper. Some of the security allegations involving Wantz were uncovered by a private investigator hired by the Dispatch, following a late-1990s prostitution scandal involving former state Senator Dan Delp, of York, who also was close ally of DA Rebert.
The York Dispatch: Some of the security allegations in question were uncovered by a private investigator hired by the Dispatch, following a late-1990s prostitution scandal involving former state Senator Dan Delp, of York, an ally of District Attorney Stanley Rebert.
More questions involving DA Rebert and his associates recently came to light in a federal wrongful dismissal suit filed on February 18, 2005, by former Chief County Detective M. Rebecca Downing. Downing's suit alleges a "practice... of... unlawful conduct" by DA Rebert. Downing 's charges detail what amounts to a corrupt system of insider justice in the DA's office — favoritism in the county courts for associates, and the misuse of the county courts as retaliation against those who stand up to the inbred system of corruption.
Downing's suit charges that proper background checks aren't conducted on individuals working in York County law enforcement. One county detective, John Daryman, the suit alleges, had been given a job by DA Rebert without the required polygraph test.
The suit reads, "On May 20, 2003, (John) Daryman took the oath of office before Judge (John) Kennedy. Daryman, however, had not yet taken a polygraph examination as required by the established rules and regulation.... It is believed and therefore averred that as of the date of the filing of this Complaint, Daryman has yet to take and pass the required polygraph exam."
Rep. Cohen wrote State Police Commissioner Miller that security concerns demand a thorough investigation of the allegations surrounding Wantz and his security firm. Cohen wrote that the Schaad "personnel undoubtedly have access to important state records far beyond the access of an average person. For instance, it is possible that they are a weak link in the security of the issuance of driver's licenses."
"I believe that there should be a full and complete investigation of these charges," Rep. Cohen wrote State Police Commissioner Miller. "There are three basic questions that should be answered: (1) Has Wantz committed crimes for which he should be prosecuted that fall within the relevant statute of limitations; (2) Has Wantz committed crimes beyond the statute of limitations that should lead to a recommendation that state agencies should drop the Schaad Detective Agency as a security provider; and (3) Does Wantz have associations with organized crime that should lead to the state dropping the Schaad Detective Agency as a security provider?"
Whistleblower Grofcsik: One of the those who heard concerns and tried unsuccessfully to get help was former York, PA, police Commissioner Herbert Grofcsik. "It's about time somebody did something," Grofcsik says.
The allegations concerning the turnpike security concerns came to light, Rep. Cohen notes in his letter, in the book The Midnight Ride of Jonathan Luna, by Pennsylvania writer William Keisling, published by Yardbird Books. The body of Baltimore Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Luna was found near the Pennsylvania Turnpike in December 2003. Residents near the scene of Luna's murder complained to Keisling that police weren't investigating who may have had access to a turnpike access road located a half mile from the scene of Luna's death. The police instead have impounded boxes of turnpike tickets from a public toll plaza several miles from the murder scene. At the time of Luna's death, state and federal investigators intimated they were considering whether Luna may have had contact with a prostitute.
Whistleblower and former York Police Commissioner Grofcsik now works for the federal Department of Homeland Security. When reached for a comment about long-overdue developments in the Wantz and Rebert investigations, Grofcsik said, "It's about time somebody did something."
Wantz did not return phone calls to his detective agency requesting comment on the allegations uncovered by The York Dispatch.
"Citizens should have their concerns heard and properly handled by the appropriate authorities," Keisling said. "People in York say they have been trying for years to get someone to look into these serious allegations. The public rightly expects their concerns will be promptly and thoroughly investigated."