Johnny Doc’s People Told Us to Reach Out to His “Friends” for “Fairness.” So We Did.

The results are probably not what the recently indicted union leader was hoping for.

johnny doc arrest

John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, Local 98 leader, departs the federal courthouse, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Last week was quite a week for John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty. The leader of Philadelphia’s electrical union found himself the subject of dozens of headlines about the federal indictment against him, and Johnny Doc’s people were none too thrilled with all of the bad press, as was made clear in an email sent out (without blind copy!) to 50-plus local journalists and news organizations.


That was the all-capped subject line of the message from a longtime Johnny Doc operative, who, understandably, asked not to be named.

“The press would be remiss to profile IBEW Local 98 and its Business Manager John J. Dougherty without seeking comment from prominent Philadelphia Business and civic leaders (and organizations) who have worked with and know the union and John well,” he wrote.

He then provided the following list of people and organizations that we should contact to get their take on Johnny Doc:

John McNichol, President, PA Convention Center
Sister Mary Scullion, Project HOME
Jane Golden, Mural Arts Program
Dan Hilferty, Blue Cross
Alex’s Lemonade Stand
John DeBella, WMGK FM host
Veteran’s Multi-Service Center

So we dutifully reached out to everyone on the list or their spokespeople (in most cases both) to ask what their position was on Johnny Doc, in light of his indictment. Alas, less than half even responded, and the handful who did go on the record didn’t exactly hold him up as a civic hero.

Here’s what those who did respond told us:

John DeBella, DJ
“I can tell you that for 17 years IBEW Local 98 has made some of the most generous donations to the WMGK Turkey drop. Each year the union members have donated anywhere between 200 to 400 turkeys to help us feed the hungry in Philadelphia, and for that I will be forever grateful.”

Stefanie Arck-Baynes, Philabundance spokesperson
“Hunger is a crisis in our area, impacting more than 700,000 people, including children, seniors and working parents. Philabundance is grateful to IBEW electricians Local 98 and the Dougherty family for their support to fight hunger in our communities.”

Donna Farrell, Independence Blue Cross spokesperson
“Local 98 has been a valued customer for many years. We appreciate their contributions to a wide variety of civic causes that have been very beneficial to the region.”

That’s three responses out of eight requests. Did Johnny Doc’s Christmas card list just shrink by five?