John Estey, Rendell’s Former Chief-of-Staff, Charged With Wire Fraud

Pennsylvania's first lady, Midge Rendell, left; Gov. Ed Rendell's chief of staff John Estey, center; and budget secretary Mike Masch applaud as Gov. Ed Rendell enters to deliver his yearly state budget address to a joint session of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate at the Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2007. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

On Feb 6., 2007, Gov. Ed Rendell’s then-chief-of-staff John Estey (center) applauded as Rendell entered to deliver his yearly state budget address. | Photo by Carolyn Kaster/AP

(Editor’s Note: This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.)

John Estey, a Philadelphia lawyer and onetime chief-of-staff to former Gov. Ed Rendell, was charged with illegal wire fraud in federal court Friday. He has agreed to plead guilty. Read more »

57 Painted Donkeys Are Going to Be Displayed Throughout Philly for the DNC

Donkeys DNC

L to R: Gov. Ed Rendell, the Pennsylvania donkey statute and Mural Arts Program founder Jane Golden.

Ed Rendell came up with the idea. Obviously.

A collection of 57 painted donkey statues will decorate Philadelphia during the months of July and August, the former governor and current chairman of the Democratic National Convention host committee announced today at a press conference. The point of the donkeys, he says, is to get Philadelphians excited about this summer’s Democratic Convention and encourage delegates to visit different parts of the city. We’re guessing it doesn’t hurt that the donkeys will inevitably inspire tons of photo-ops and selfies, too.

“You all remember the bulls or the cows in Chicago,” Rendell said. “I thought, what a great idea to have donkeys around town. … The host committee wants this to be a great convention for the Democratic Party, but we also want it to be a great convention for the people of Philadelphia.”

The donkeys are made of fiberglass and weigh about 250 pounds apiece. They are being painted by artists to evoke each of the 50 states, five U.S. territories, Washington, D.C. and the group Democrats Abroad. The Pennsylvania donkey was on display at Tuesday’s news conference. It features the state’s coat of arms, the state bird, the state flower and other accoutrements. Read more »

Did Ed Rendell “Mess Up” Taxes for DNC Donors?

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The New York Post is reporting that Ed Rendell started collecting donations before the city’s Democratic National Convention Host Committee received its official 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status — an alleged “mistake” that is causing those donors trouble at tax time.

A spokesperson for the committee acknowledged to Philly Mag today that 501(c)(3) status has not yet been finalized, but otherwise disputed the Post report, saying that the tax status should be settled “well in advance of the convention.”

“The delay in receiving the (c)(3) status has not interrupted the flow in donations,” Anna Adams-Sarthou said. “We continue to feel good about where we are on that front.” Read more »

Rendell: Trump Has “Crossover Appeal” in Pa.

 

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There is surely part of Ed Rendell that sees Donald Trump as a kindred spirit. How could the author of A Nation of Wusses not see a little bit of himself in the shtick of a man whose candidacy seems to grow with every “politically incorrect” statement he makes?

Certainly, Rendell isn’t dismissing the possibility that Trump could win Pennsylvania in a general election.

“He has crossover appeal with some blue-collar working-class Democrats,” Rendell told the New York Times, in a story gauging Trump’s chances in a general election race against Hillary Clinton. Read more »

Ed Rendell: AG Kathleen Kane Doesn’t Need Law License

Ed Rendell - Senate testimony - PCN

Ed Rendell testifies before the Pennsylvania Special Committee on Senate Address. (Screengrab via PCN)

In his experience, Ed Rendell says Kathleen Kane doesn’t need a law license to be Pennsylvania attorney general.

Rendell — Philadelphia’s district attorney for eight years before later becoming mayor of the city and governor of the state — testified before a state senate committee today in defense of Kane, the embattled AG who had her law license suspended last year. Today’s Pennsylvania Special Committee on Senate Address hearing was on the topic of whether that suspension disqualifies Kane from the office of attorney general. The committee will issue a report in 15 days; the full senate could vote then on a possible dismissal.

Rendell said that, when he was district attorney of Philadelphia, “at least 97 percent” of his job did not require a law license. He gave an example: “If council turned me down, I would go to Mayor Rizzo, and I would say, ‘Mayor, it’s a war out there.’ And he would pound his fists on the desk and I would get whatever I wanted. This did not require me to have a law license.” Read more »

Ed Rendell Wears Plastic Bag on Head After Eagles’ Loss

Ed Rendell - plastic bag

Image via Comcast SportsNet

Former Philadelphia mayor and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has been a post-game Eagles analyst on Comcast SportsNet for 17 years now. (Really!) But he never seemed as embarrassed as he did yesterday, after the Eagles lost 45-17 to the Buccaneers.

Everyone was kind of angry and embarrassed. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis said “the whole thing was awful.” Mark Sanchez and Darren Sproles argued on the field after a fourth-quarter pick-six. A Birds 24/7 headlined summed it up: “The Eagles’ Humiliating Defeat.”

But while everyone was angry, no one went as far as Rendell. He wore a plastic bag on his head when Eagles Post Game Live came on after the game, and kept it on through a segment. Read more »

Is Ed Rendell Trolling Philly’s Democratic Machine?

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Shutterstock.com

Former Gov. Ed Rendell is up to something. He’s one of the most popular Democrats in the city, and yet he keeps throwing his weight behind candidates who are not backed by Philadelphia’s Democratic Party.

One of his hand-picked hopefuls isn’t even registered as a Democrat. This week, Rendell endorsed Andrew Stober, an Independent candidate for City Council. Back during the primary campaign, Rendell supported Council candidates Allan Domb, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Paul Steinke, none of whom were endorsed by the Democratic City Committee. And while he didn’t officially endorse Doug Oliver — a long-shot mayoral candidate in the spring who didn’t get any love from the city’s party leaders — Rendell certainly boosted his profile by saying lots and lots of nice things about him. (Rendell eventually endorsed Jim Kenney, the Democratic mayoral nominee, but not until August.)

Is Rendell trolling the local Democratic Party? Or, to put it in less clickbait-y terms, is he trying to push for change in the party? What’s going on? Read more »

Rendell: Nutter Mishandled Papal Visit

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Shutterstock.com

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here is what you need to know today.

• Ed Rendell says Mayor Nutter mishandled the papal visit.

You knew Ed Rendell wouldn’t keep his opinions to himself for long. Tuesday, he threw Mayor Nutter under the proverbial bus for his administration’s handling of papal visit preparations, criticizing everything from poor restaurant sales to the lockdown security. Nutter had previously blamed the media for depressing turnout for the visit.

They did things very, very well on the one hand. On the other hand, we’re starting to get tremendous blowback, and not just from reporters,” Rendell said of Nutter’s administration, talking to Rich Zeoli on WPHT. “The reporters just basically reported what the Secret Service and the Mayor and the Police Commissioner said. I don’t think they can be blamed in creating fear in people’s minds.” Read more »

Moyer Foundation Champions for Children Luncheon

moyer-foundation-940x540

The Moyer Foundation’s Champions for Children Luncheon was held Tuesday at the Crystal Tea Room in Center City. The room was packed with Phillies fans, friends and supporters of former Phillies player Jamie Moyer and David Montgomery the chairman, minority-owner, and former President of the Philadelphia Phillies.

The well-liked Montgomery looked great after battling cancer in recent years; he and his wife Lyn greeted old friends and family, some who had traveled cross-country to be there with them for the event. Jamie and Karen Moyer founded the Moyer Foundation which funds Camp Erin Philadelphia, a camp serving grieving children and teens, in partnership with UPENN’s Wissahickon Hospice, and Camp Mariposa Pennsylvania, a partnership with the Penn Foundation, for kids of addicted parents.

Champions for Children Honorary Committee co-chairs were Dan Hilferty, Independence Blue Cross, Denis P. O’Brien, Exelon Utilities, Judith M. von Seldeneck, Diversified Search and Edward G. Rendell. Rendell said that he wishes there was a camp like Camp Erin when he was a young boy, as his father died when he was 14 and it was a very difficult period for his family. To have a place to go and be with other kids going through the same grieving process would have made life much easier.

Photos after the jump »

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