Pressure Mounts for Convicted PA Mayor to Resign

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski walks to the federal courthouse in Philadelphia during a break in a Nov. 28, 2017, pretrial hearing. Though a jury convicted him on March 1 of corruption charges, Pawlowski has denied accusations that he accepted more than $150,000 in campaign contributions in exchange for city contracts. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (CN) — A day after a jury convicted the four-term Democrat on dozens of corruption charges, the mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania, appears to be heading into the weekend with his title intact.

City officials did not return a request for comment Friday after U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen called on Mayor Ed Pawlowski to resign.

The Associated Press reported that 52-year-old Pawlowski cried in court Thursday, and his wife collapsed in a hallway, as the verdict against him came down.

A federal jury in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania convicted Pawlowski on 47 of the 54 charges of corruption, fraud and bribery. Pawlowski was indicted in July 2017 — four months before his last re-election.

Prosecutor Lappen noted Thursday in a statement Pawlowski sold “his office to the highest bidder” and “then tried to cover up his crimes by destroying evidence, lying to the FBI agents who were investigating him, and lying to the federal jurors who heard his case.”

During his third term, Pawlowski made unsuccessful bids in the 2014 gubernatorial election and the 2014 U.S. Senate election. He suspended the latter campaign days after the FBI raided City Hall, according to a report by the Philadelphia Tribune.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Wzorek reportedly told jurors at trial last month that Pawlowski bestowed city contracts the to law firms and businesses that had supported his political campaigns. Those that did not meanwhile were frozen out.

“If you wanted a contract in the city of Allentown under Mayor Pawlowski, you had to pay,” Wzorek reportedly said. “The fix was in.”

Allentown’s Home Rule Charter requires a mayor to forfeit his office if he is convicted of any crime graver than a misdemeanor.

As of Friday afternoon, the phone in the Allentown Mayor’s Chambers was still being answered with the greeting, “Mayor Pawlowski’s office.”

The city’s website also still lists its mayor as Pawlowski.

The Associated Press quoted Pawlowski’s attorney, Jack McMahon, as calling the guilty verdict a “devastating blow” to his client’s political career.

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