Media: The Attack Dog

Fox 29 reporter Jeff Cole isn’t a racist (despite what a City Council staffer says). He’s just obsessed with busting liars, cheats and bad guys.

THE WHITE PICKUP truck with CITY OF PHILADELPHIA stenciled on the back zoomed along on West River Drive, its driver heading from where he was supposed to be this April afternoon (at work) to where he wasn’t supposed to be (his house). When Fox 29 reporter Jeff Cole, producer Gary Scurka and cameraman John Campbell saw it go by, they pulled their unmarked news SUV out from a riverside parking area and, camera ready, began their pursuit. They were about to tape the climactic scene in any TV investigative report — the on-camera ambush.
 
Cole and his team had done secret video surveillance for two weeks, following a tip that Fairmount Park supervisor Thomas Nace wasn’t putting in all the hours he’d been getting paid for. They’d obtained Nace’s handwritten time sheets, and yep, for the period in which they’d spied on his comings and goings, it looked like Nace was off the job about half the time.
 
In the van, Cole tested on Scurka and Campbell his opening line for the final act, which is called “the confront.” (“Mr. Nace, what are your work hours?”) The footage they’d gather here wouldn’t be critical to the story. Weeks earlier, they’d nailed their money shot — Nace lofting a case of Coors from a beer distributor into the back of the city vehicle on his way home, early.
 
Now was just time for some good TV.
 
Nace pulled up the long driveway next to his house in Roxborough. Scurka parked out front, and Cole and Campbell jumped out, joined by photographer Mark LaValla, who arrived in a second vehicle. For the scene to work, they needed to make sure Nace didn’t have time to get inside the house.
 
“Mr. Nace! I’m Jeff Cole from Fox TV.”
 
“Yeah … ”
 
“Wanna talk to you a minute if I could … ” And Cole rushes up and hands the guy a business card as the camera pushes in on Cole’s catch of the day, a burly blond guy with a goatee and a black tank top. He’s not happy and doesn’t look chatty.
 
“Could you get off my property with the camera?” Nace says.
 
“Can I ask you one question as I get off the property … what are your work hours?”
 
“Uh … none of your business?”
 
“But we see ya home here a lot during the week,” Cole persists, enunciating in that way he does, which a sensitive person might consider provocative or annoying. “Twenty hours out of the workweek as we’ve been lookin’ at you.”
 
“Will you please get off my property? Get off my property.”
 
“Okay. Can you come down to the street? We’ll talk to you down here? Can you tell me anything about your work hours as a supervisor for the Fairmount Park Commission?”
 
“No, sir.”
 
“Can I ask you one other question before you run in, and we’ll get off your property?”
 
“GET OFF MY PROPERTY!”
 
“Sir, we will get off.”
 
“This is private property! Get off of here!”

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  • maureen

    Cole makes people believe he does what he does to help city tax payers…truth is he does it for money. Anything for a good story! He never mentioned mentioned that Tom Nace the City supervisor was taking that case of beer to reward one of his men for working overtime. And Cole had to be following him…but just left that part out..why? it did not make for a good stoy! Cole neglected the other 25 years of very good employment….he capitalized on a good man's midlife mistake. Cole also did not care that he confronted Nace while his 7 year old daughter was at the window scared and crying! Hopefully Cole is a better husband and father, because he is a cold hearted money hungry piece of trash.

  • greg

    Jeff Cole is one of the best investigative reporters in the country. HE IS NO RACIST. His targets are crooks and people who rip off the taxpayer. Television journalism needs more reporters who will keep public officials honest, not whinners who complain when they get busted.

  • Shannon

    Jeff Cole is over paid for the same story over and over. He's been talking about this story since June. Just to think he's paid for destroying people. I would think by now he could find somebody elses family or city worker to talk about. Oh the best is the income that he stated about Thomas Nace. After 27 years that's all he got paid. I don't see where that is hurting taxpayers dollars. Move ON there is PLENTY OF OTHER GOOD NEWS OUT THERE! GO FIND IT!!!!

  • Tucker

    I don't think you guys get it. When you work for the government, you are expected to work every hour you're paid for. There is a trust in you as a civil servant–you must honor that contract even more than your private sector counterparts do. If Jeff Cole finds out you're skipping even 10 hours of work a week, he has every right to tell the taxpayer what you're doing. Have a sense of duty, or get a different job.

  • Anonymous

    2 weeks of a man’s life does not tell an accurate story of a man’s work ethic. This tip was given by someone who was previously fired and wanted revenge. How else would Cole have know exactly what weeks, times, etc.?? What is it too much work for Cole to follow the bigger fish…the real tax payor waste!

  • Anonymous

    Rigorous research. That’s a joke. Buut that’s the claim in this article.that he did rigorous research on Tom Nace. Maybe he should have done a little more research on his snitch.The man in the shadow John Skrocki had 24 yes 24 written warnings, all for acts or threats of violence, and on the segment where he insulted all of Fair mount Park’s Building Maintenance Division it claimed he was fired for a trumped up charge of violence. Just another lie from 2 liars looking for revenge. They both need to get a real job.