Concord resident seeks supervisors’ ouster

Dan Levin, a member of Concord First and a 2013 Democratic Party candidate for supervisor, is calling for the resignation of two supervisors and the township solicitor, alleging conflict of interest and misappropriation of funds.

Levin said he would be calling for Dominic Pileggi, Kevin O’Donoghue and solicitor Hugh Donaghue to step down during the Aug. 4 Board of Supervisors’ meeting.

“They used township funds to pay a lawyer to falsely file a brief in the name of the [Government Study Commission,] without their knowledge or approval, and solely to support the positions they took as private citizens in the appeal before the Supreme Court,” Levin said in an email.

Supervisors voted last July to have a referendum asking if voters wanted a study commission to explore changing Concord’s form of government, but that came after the supervisors learned that Concord First had run a successful petition drive to have its own question on the ballot. That question would have asked voters whether they wanted Concord to change from township of the second class to township of the first class.

(Voters approved the government study commission and earlier this month the commission voted to write a home rule charter for Concord Township.)

Supervisors also challenged Concord First’s petition in court and were successful in preventing it from being on the ballot. However, on July 20, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the Court of Common Pleas decision and the concurring decision of Commonwealth Court that denied Concord First’s ballot question.

When Concord First appealed those lower court decisions to the Supreme Court, attorney Michael Sheridan, at the request of township solicitor Hugh Donaghue, filed several briefs in opposition to Concord First. One of those briefs was an amicus brief that told the court the Government Study Commission was in place.

As previously reported, that brief was filed on behalf of the members of the Government Study Commission, however, none of the commission members had knowledge of the brief before it was filed and had not authorized a filing in their names.

Also, the commission did not technically exist at the time of the filing because the election had not yet been certified and the commission members had not yet been sworn in.

“The GSC’s role in this affair was, from the start, a supervisor-initiated smoke screen to disrupt the Concord First initiative – which was signed by nearly 1,000 Concord registered voters in a week. If not for Concord First circulating our petitions, the supervisors would have had no interest in launching a GSC…” Levin said.

According to Levin, funds used to file the brief were taxpayer money that was never authorized in an official meeting. He said it should have come from Pileggi and O’Donoghue as private citizens and from Donaghue as their private practice counsel.

Levin continued by saying, “I can, and will, look into filing conflict-of-interest and misappropriation of funds complaints against Donaghue, Pileggi, O’Donoghue and any other township official with knowledge of this malfeasance.”

Pileggi declined to comment.

O’Donoghue responded via e-mail saying: “The Citizens of Concord Township approved a Government Study Commission to review our current form of government and make recommendations on how Concord Township should govern in the future. The Commission has included First Class and other forms of government in their review. It is in the best interest of Concord to let the commission complete its work and allow all the citizens of the township to then vote on how Concord is governed moving forward.”

O’Donoghue, who is running for re-election this year added, “I believe in my heart that Concord Township residents know that I have Concord's best interest at heart and they will hopefully choose to elect me for another term on election day.”

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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One Response to “Concord resident seeks supervisors’ ouster”

  1. Anne M says:

    Not the editor’s error, but a correction to the information given by Mr. O’Donoghue in his email statement.

    I have attended both Supervisor’s and Government Study Commission Meetings and was told, on the record by Mr Donaghue for the Supervisors, as well as the legal counsel to the GSC, that the Government Study Commission was “NOT ALLOWED/Restricted” from considering “First Class” form of government for their recommendation.

    Mr. O’Donoghue’s email statement provided in this story is inconsistent with the information given to the public in open township meetings.

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