Ex-Pennsylvania official pleads guilty in corruption probe

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The former top administrator in Allentown, Pennsylvania, has pleaded guilty in an ongoing FBI pay-to-play corruption probe.

Former Allentown Managing Director Francis Dougherty appeared in a Philadelphia courtroom Wednesday to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge. Court documents say he has agreed to testify about “corruption in Allentown.”

Prosecutors say Dougherty helped rig a $3 million contract to replace the city’s streetlights so that it would go to a company whose executives and consultants gave thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to his boss, Mayor Ed Pawlowski. The Democrat mounted unsuccessful runs for governor in 2014 and the U.S. Senate in 2015.

Pawlowski hasn’t been charged, but he matches the description of the unnamed public official in court papers.

Through his attorney, Pawlowski has denied misusing his office.

Several other Allentown officials have pleaded guilty in the probe.


This story has been corrected to show Dougherty agreed to testify about “corruption in Allentown,” not “political corruption in Allentown.”