Corruption Rampant In Pennsylvania Coal Country

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — Former NFL linebacker Greg Skrepenak came home to Pennsylvania and parlayed his name recognition and hometown popularity into a seat on the Luzerne County Board of Commissioners.

Skrepenak campaigned as a reformer but succumbed to the prevailing pay-for-play politics of the hardscrabble coal region of northeastern Pennsylvania. He’s scheduled to plead guilty on Tuesday to federal charges of taking $5,000 in gifts from a developer seeking public financing of a condominium project.

He’s among 23 people in Luzerne County who have been charged so far by federal authorities investigating a variety of unrelated government corruption schemes over the past year.

They include two judges charged with taking $2.8 million in kickbacks to place youth offenders in for-profit detention facilities — a scandal known as “kids for cash.”

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