Was John M. Perzel, the once mighty state representative from Lexington Park, really representative of the 62,000 or so residents of his 172nd Legislative District? You’d better hope not. After all, most of those people are not crooks.
Mr. Perzel, who in exactly two weeks will head to prison following sentencing for public corruption, was not representative of the good folks in his district or the Northeast as a whole.
By using taxpayer money to advance his political career, Mr. Perzel disgraced himself, his friends, his family, his once-good name and worst of all, the cause of public service. In the end, he proved to friends and foes alike that he was just another self-serving, power-hungry egomaniac who got by with a lot of help from his charm, personality and just plain dumb luck.
Yes, Rep. Perzel did some good things for the people of his district during his 32 years in office, but that was his job — to help them. But boy, did he let the people down. He should have resigned before losing an audacious bid for re-election in 2010, but again, his ego got the best of him. His soiled name remained on the walls of a community center in Mayfair far longer than it should have.
John Perzel pleaded guilty to just eight of the 82 counts that prosecutors lodged against him in 2009. What happened to the other 74 counts? Why did they magically disappear in his plea bargain? Why didn’t the prosecution decline a plea bargain and try him on all counts? Was the evidence in those 74 dropped counts so flimsy?
Perhaps the public will never find out, but at least Northeast Philadelphia’s infamous crook will have some plenty of down time in which to ponder his behavior. ••
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