Jim Kenney Was Once a Client of Missing Political Consultant

For a short time, then-Councilman Kenney retained a firm that is now caught up in a federal probe.

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

A political consultant with close ties to Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is apparently missing after the FBI searched Allentown’s City Hall earlier this month. Michael Fleck was the campaign manager for Pawlowski, who suspended his bid for the U.S. Senate after federal investigators began questioning city officials.

What does that have to do with Philadelphia? Well, it turns out that Jim Kenney, Philadelphia’s Democratic mayoral nominee, has a connection to Fleck, too, though it looks like a tenuous one.

According to a report from the right-leaning Watchdog.org, “Democratic consultant Michael Fleck received three payments of $4,000 between June 4 and Aug. 1, 2013, and a fourth payment of $2,000 on Aug. 9, 2013, for fundraising expenses from [Kenney’s campaign], according to documents filed with the city Department of Records. All four line items were paid to Allentown-based ‘Fleck Consultanting, Inc.'” (Note: It was the Kenney campaign that massacred the spelling of the word “consulting” on finance reports, not Watchdog.org.)

Kenney was a City Councilman at the time his political committee made the payments. He didn’t announce his last-minute mayoral bid for another year and a half.

Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for Kenney, told Watchdog.org, “The campaign did not work directly with Michael Fleck. In 2013, the campaign approached Lindsey Perry, who worked at Fleck’s firm at the time, to ask if she would assist with fundraising as a consultant. Perry left Fleck’s firm shortly thereafter to start her own firm, and the campaign chose to continue working with her directly. As a result, the campaign had to pay Fleck’s firm a total of $14,000 to break the existing contract and to compensate for services Perry rendered while she worked as part of the Fleck group.”

When reached by Citified, Hitt told us the same thing. Citified could find no other payments to Fleck or his firm in the months since.

Fleck disconnected his cell phone, closed down his political consulting company and moved out of his house after the FBI searched City Hall, according to media reports.

Pawlowski said he was putting his Senate campaign on hold in order to help “assisting in the federal investigation of Allentown contracting practices both prior to his being elected and since,” according to the Morning Call.