FBI Wiretapped Johnny Doc, Councilman Henon for More Than a Year

johnny doc

John Dougherty, leader of Philadelphia’s building trades. | Photo by Jeff Fusco

Remember when the FBI raided IBEW Local 98 leader John Dougherty’s (a.k.a. Johnny Doc’s) house this past August?

According to a recent Inquirer report, that raid occurred more than a year after federal agents began wiretapping Dougherty’s cellphone – as well as Councilman Bobby Henon‘s – as part of an ongoing investigation into Dougherty and his union.  Read more »

The Biggest Winners and Losers in Philadelphia’s 2017 Primary Election

Clockwise: Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif, Democratic district attorney nominee Larry Krasner, Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police chief John McNesby, labor leader John Dougherty, City Controller Alan Butkovitz, ward leader Marian Tasco, and protesters at Philadelphia’s Women March.

Philadelphia’s election on Tuesday was a game-changer. The winner of the Democratic primary for district attorney is a criminal defense lawyer who has never prosecuted a case in his life and made a name for himself by suing law enforcement over alleged abuses and representing progressive activists like Black Lives Matter. A young ex-budget director crushed incumbent City Controller Alan Butkovitz, the ultimate political insider, in an upset victory.

Those two Democratic nominees, Larry Krasner and Rebecca Rhynhart, are the race’s biggest winners. But who are the other winners and losers — the issues, interest groups, and kingmakers — in the election? Here’s our list: Read more »

Johnny Doc Forgets He’s a Democratic Elite, Says Democratic Elites Need to “Wake Up”

John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty is leader of Philadelphia's building trades. | Photo by Jeff Fusco

John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty is leader of Philadelphia’s building trades. | Photo by Jeff Fusco

It’s hard to overstate how profoundly the Democratic Party screwed up in the 2016 election. Republicans will soon control the White House and both branches of Congress. Things are just as bleak when you look at state legislatures and governorships: Across the country, Democrats hold fewer elected offices today than at any other point since the 1920s—a jaw-dropping 100-year low.

If an average American performed this badly at their job, they’d probably be fired on the spot. If they were very, very lucky, they’d be given the opportunity to make a heartfelt apology and work on probation until they improved. But Democratic elites aren’t like you and me. They can apparently lose an election to a reality TV star, fail to take responsibility for the fact that their party may be in its death throes, and then continue to rule the party with an iron fist. Look at Nancy Pelosi—who recently said, “We cannot be taking the full responsibility for what happened in the election”—and then got reelected as House Minority Leader. Or consider the fact that Clinton loyalists are being put in charge of the DNC’s “Trump war room.”

The latest example of Democratic leaders acting with impunity takes place in our own backyard. As talk show host Dom Giordano first reported, Philly electricians union boss John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty wrote a letter to his local’s members about the election of soon-to-be President Donald Trump. IBEW Local 98 endorsed Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Doc was apparently so proud of the letter that his spokesman, Frank Keel, told Giordano he “had” to read it. He was right, but probably not for the reasons he thinks.  Read more »

Henon: “To My Knowledge,” the FBI Hasn’t Contacted My Office

Photo via City Council's Flickr

Photo via City Council’s Flickr

Thursday was City Council’s first meeting of its fall session, which also marked the first day that Councilman Bobby Henon, whose office was raided by the FBI a month ago, had to face a scrum of reporters.

In case you haven’t been following HenonWatch 2016 over here at Philly Mag, we’ve been trying to get him to answer questions about the FBI raid on August 5th. That was the same day that the feds searched the home of John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, the leader of IBEW Local 98, the union that also pays Henon as a consultant. We’re all still sort of in the dark about the nature of the investigation, and Henon hasn’t been turning the lights on. Read more »

Johnny Doc’s Union Paid Frank Keel $87,000 Last Year

L: Frank Keel (Photo via Keel's Facebook) R: John Dougherty (Photo by HughE Dillon)

L: Frank Keel (Photo via Keel’s Facebook) R: John Dougherty (Photo by HughE Dillon)

It has been a while since we went through the finances of Philadelphia’s electrical union, IBEW Local 98. But in light of the federal investigation swirling around union leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, whose home and union hall were searched last week, we thought it would be fun to take another look. Read more »

Now Johnny Doc’s Union Is Being Investigated by the Attorney General, Too

JohnnyDoc

IBEW Local 98 business manager John Dougherty. | Photo by Jeff Fusco

After federal and state authorities raided several properties connected to longtime power broker and IBEW Local 98 business manager John Dougherty Friday, the Inquirer reported on Sunday that Dougherty and the union are also facing a separate investigation by the state Attorney General’s office. Read more »

The Soda Tax Battle’s Biggest Winners and Losers

Clockwise: Union leader John Dougherty, Mayor Jim Kenney, Council President Darrell Clarke and soda mogul Harold Honickman. | Photos by Jeff Fusco, iStock.com and HughE Dillon

Clockwise: Union leader John Dougherty, Mayor Jim Kenney, Council President Darrell Clarke and soda mogul Harold Honickman. | Photos by Jeff Fusco, iStock.com and HughE Dillon

One of the longest and most expensive political wars in recent Philadelphia history has come to an end. On Thursday, City Council voted 13-4 to enact a tax on sugary drinks and diet sodas. The American Beverage Association has spent nearly $5 million since March to flood the airwaves with anti-soda tax ads. But even that doesn’t capture the full scope of the soda industry group’s spending: It worked diligently to fight off a soda tax since 2010 — when former Mayor Michael Nutter first floated the idea — by lobbying Council members and donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns.

This year, though, the soda lobby’s deep pockets weren’t enough to kill Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed tax. In the end, only Democrat Maria Quiñones-Sánchez and Republicans David Oh, Brian O’Neill and Al Taubenberger voted against the 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on Thursday.

Philadelphia is the biggest city in the United States to approve a soda tax. The only other city in the country with a sugary drinks tax is Berkeley, California. Here, the levy will fund expanded pre-K, community schools, and an overhaul of the parks system, among other things. These are the biggest winners and losers in the city’s years-long battle over the soda tax:

The Winners

1. Jim Kenney

This is a career-defining victory for Kenney. The mayor took on one of the most powerful lobbies in the United States and won, which has boosted his national profile and proven that he has a critical number of allies on City Council. The fact that the soda tax will help pay for the renovation of the city’s parks, libraries and recreation centers — and that the administration will determine how to divvy up that spending with district Council members — means that Kenney could potentially have favors to give out for years to come. But how much political capital has the mayor spent in the fight over the soda tax? We may soon find out: District Council 33’s labor contract expires on June 30th. The city’s blue-collar union was one of the many groups that supported the mayor’s soda tax, which could make it more difficult for him to negotiate with it.
Read more »

Deputy D.A. Recommends Arresting Johnny Doc, Gets Demoted

Seth Williams (left); John Dougherty (right)

Seth Williams (left); John Dougherty (right)

Was a high-ranking member of the District Attorney’s Office demoted over a controversial investigation into Local 98 leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty?

Multiple law enforcement sources have told Philadelphia magazine that Laurie Malone, a deputy district attorney who oversaw the office’s Pre-Trial Division, was abruptly reassigned to a lower ranking post last month, not long after she recommended filing criminal charges against Dougherty for allegedly punching a non-union electrician at a South Philly worksite in January. The D.A.’s office denies that there was internal disagreement on the matter.

The case has been a political hot potato. District Attorney Seth Williams referred it to embattled state Attorney General Kathleen Kane because of a “long-standing professional relationship” with Dougherty, the D.A.’s spokesman, Cameron Kline, has said. Local 98 has made political donations to Williams in the past.

It was a notable decision for a district attorney who had previously boasted about his willingness to pursue criminal investigations no matter where they lead. “There are no free passes when it comes to political corruption. You don’t get a pass just because you are a friend, or a member of my political party, or race,” Williams said last March, when he filed charges against three longtime Philadelphia politicians who were ensnared in the infamous Tyron Ali bribery case that Kane had refused to prosecute. Read more »

Deputy D.A. Recommends Arresting Johnny Doc, Gets Demoted

Seth Williams (left); John Dougherty (right)

Seth Williams (left); John Dougherty (right)


Was a high-ranking member of the District Attorney’s Office demoted over a controversial investigation into Local 98 leader John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty?

Multiple law enforcement sources have told Philadelphia magazine that Laurie Malone, a deputy district attorney who oversaw the office’s Pre-Trial Division, was abruptly reassigned to a lower ranking post last month, not long after she recommended filing criminal charges against Dougherty for allegedly punching a non-union electrician at a South Philly worksite in January. The D.A.’s office denies that there was internal disagreement on the matter.

The case has been a political hot potato. District Attorney Seth Williams referred it to embattled state Attorney General Kathleen Kane because of a “long-standing professional relationship” with Dougherty, the D.A.’s spokesman, Cameron Kline, has said. Local 98 has made political donations to Williams in the past. Read more »

Report: Feds Have Joined the Johnny Doc Investigation

Clockwise from left: John Dougherty, Kathleen Kane, Seth Williams, and Reid's Auto Service.

Clockwise from left: John Dougherty, Kathleen Kane, Seth Williams and Reid’s Auto Service.

Federal investigators have joined the inquiry into a fight involving powerful union leader John Dougherty, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The paper said James Reid, owner of Reid’s Auto Service, said he had been visited by FBI agents seeking a copy of his surveillance video showing some of the events surrounding the Jan. 21 confrontation involving Dougherty, the head of Philadelphia’s electricians union. Another resident of the block, James Daly, said he had also recently been visited by FBI agents.

FBI officials declined to comment, the paper said. Read more »

« Older Posts