News from A Town Gone Bad
A former car dealership employee alleges a long-running bid-rigging scheme between York County PA District Attorney Stan Rebert and state security contractor Russell Wantz
DA Rebert, wife, and court officials allegedly also received free bank-financed cars
from the car dealership in long-running 'perpetual loan program'
by Bill Keisling
Posted March 29, 2009 -- A former employee of Best Chevrolet, of Spring Grove, PA, alleges in a court affidavit and video (click here to watch) that the dealership's owner, Russell Wantz, was given access to confidential bid information by York County District Attorney Stanley Rebert. Wantz would then win supposedly "sealed" county bid contracts.
Those bids were all along rigged in Wantz's favor, the employee alleges. In return, the car dealership gave DA Rebert, and others, free use of bank-financed dealership cars in a so-called "Perpetual Loan Program."
The alleged long-running bid-rigging scheme involved cars that were both sold, and loaned, between DA Rebert's office and Wantz's car dealership.
Wantz directed his Best Chevrolet employee to accept the secret bid information directly from DA Rebert, the employee alleges.
The illegally obtained bid information provided by DA Rebert was then allegedly used by Wantz's car dealership to submit the "lowest" bids for cars sold to the county, per DA Rebert's directions.
The employee, Greg Turchetta, former sales manager of Best Chevrolet, says that before the bidding period was over for one car transaction with York County government he was instructed by Wantz "not only to type up the bid, but to get the paper work together because it was sold and we needed to deliver it."
Using this procedure, DA Rebert's office purchased "many" cars from Best Chevrolet, says the former sales manager.
"I never 'bid' anything," Turchetta explains about his time at Wantz's car dealership. "I was just told to produce the paperwork. There was no bid. There was a formality of a document. There was a document that looked like a bid but I was instructed along the way as to what those numbers needed to be."
"We had a direct line to (these) transaction(s)," Turchetta explains. "My perception was that the bids were brought in, opened, reviewed, and then we were given the amount that would win the business. We would sell quite a few cars that way."
In addition, the employee reports, Wantz for years provided "complementary" cars, actually the restricted collateral of a bank, to DA Rebert, Rebert's wife, and dozens of law enforcement personnel, in what has been described as a free "Perpetual Loan Program."
There is however no record of the bank, or Wantz's dealership, reporting the complementary cars on Rebert's election returns as in-kind contributions, as would be required by election law. It is yet unknown if Rebert reported the use of "complementary" dealership cars on his, and his wife's, tax returns.
Former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle recently withdrew his nomination for Health and Human Services secretary because he failed to report on his tax returns the use of a car and driver on loan to him from a friend.
Security contractor Wantz, in addition to having owned the now-defunct Best Chevrolet, owns the Schaad Detective Agency of York, PA.
Schaad and Wantz hold multi-million-dollar security contracts with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, the Department of General Services, and other state agencies.
In December 2007, Wantz was arrested for soliciting a prostitute in Harrisburg, PA. Wantz stands to lose his state contracts if convicted, state officials have said.
Yet Wantz has not been brought to trial by Dauphin County Republican DA Ed Marcico. The women involved in Wantz's prostitution arrest have not-so-curiously long ago served jail time.
DA Marsico in late February once again delayed Wantz's human trafficking trial -- this time until June 2009 -- until after DA Rebert's primary reelection day in May.
DA Marsico has attended fellow Republican DA Rebert's campaign events, and is a political supporter of Rebert.
Gov. Ed Rendell meanwhile has refused to terminate Russell Wantz's highly sensitive state security contracts, and has ignored Wantz's arrest for lewd acts, until Marsico figures out how to hold a trial.
Gov. Rendell, on the other hand, recently removed the chairman of the turnpike commission, saying an ongoing probe made it "inappropriate" for the chairman to remain on the job.
Revealing sensitive inside information seems to be contagious in the York County district attorney's office.
On March 19, York County DA Rebert's first assistant DA, Bill Graff, resigned from office amid allegations made by local and state police that Graff revealed the identities of confidential police informants to at least one drug dealer. It's unknown how many cases, or government plea deals, may be involved, or whether any compromised confidential drug informants may have been harmed, or may yet come to harm.
Below: Jerry Lundegaard looks for missing tan Sierra in Fargo
'It's unknown how many cases, or government plea deals, may be involved, or whether any compromised confidential drug informants may have been harmed, or may yet come to harm'
Republican State Attorney General Tom Corbett, also a political supporter of DA Rebert's, refused to prosecute ADA Graff. Infuriated police this month referred the matter to the US Justice Department.
York County, Pennsylvania, is awash in suppressed allegations of courthouse corruption. Protected courthouse staff are alleged to participate in crimes ranging from murder, prostitution, influence peddling, extortion, case fixing, bid rigging, and endangerment of children.
Like the children and families in Luzerne County, PA, victimized York Countians can expect no help from Republican prosecutor Tom Corbett any time soon.
Corbett, a former attorney for Waste Management, Inc., has, like Gov. Rendell, instead busied himself by accepting tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions from known members of organized crime in return for lucrative casino licenses.
Video testimony of some of the latest allegations against DA Rebert and state security contractor Wantz can be viewed by following the links above on this page.