Disturbing testimony in Dougherty-Henon trial from former L&I Commissioner

Imagine you’re the commissioner of a city department called Licenses and Inspections. Your department is in charge of issuing building permits and inspecting construction jobs, among other things. And you make a good living as L&I Commissioner, so you can’t afford to let anyone mess that up.

Now, imagine you get called into a meeting with a City Council member who votes on your department’s budget. Well, that’s what happened to Carlton Williams in 2015, according to testimony in the bribery trial of Electricians union boss John Dougherty and Councilman Bobby Henon.

Henon asked to meet with Williams, the former commissioner testified, but when he walked in, Dougherty, the union boss, was sitting behind the desk, and it was Dougherty who did most of the talking.

Dougherty wanted the non-union construction site at the Goldtex Building shut down. Williams testified that while they were talking, Dougherty mentioned a previous building collapse in which several people died, claiming that the city was partly at fault for the deaths that occurred.

“He said it was a ‘real tragedy,’ and that the city bore some of the responsibility,” Williams said. “He said to me he could have me replaced. I took it as a … threat.”

And you know what? He should’ve taken it as a threat, because if Williams’ testimony is true, that’s just what it was.

Dougherty and Henon are on trial because the feds allege that Henon’s $70,000 salary from the electricians union was a bribe to make sure Councilman Henon acted in the union’s best interests But that wasn’t the only money Dougherty and the union spread around. They gave money to virtually every public official’s campaign.
That’s what made Dougherty powerful enough to call in a highly paid city official and tell him he could replace him. And if that’s where we are in Philadelphia, there’s a whole lot that needs to be replaced.
Photo: Leslie Alcock joins Bobby Henon By. Jeff Meade 

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