By Tyree Johnson
Back when this corruption sting was first revealed, our good State Representative, the Rev. Louise Williams Bishop, when asked by an Inquirer reporter if she knew the undercover operative Tyrone B. Ali, she reportedly responded: “Never met him. Never had any dealings with him at all. I really don’t know who he is.
Now, would this lady of the cloth ever tell a fib?
Well, late last week, an investigative grand jury said 14 of some 113 recordings of meeting with Ali in a sting operation revealed that the good Rev. Williams Bishop talked with Ali... plotted with Ali... dined with Ali.
In three of those 14 meetings with Ali, the grand jury said the good reverend accepted a total of $1,500.
And, remember all the speeches Rep. Williams Bishop gave decrying that privatization of the state liquor system would be unsafe, wasteful and detrimental to the welfare of her constituents.
Now, that’s a politician who goes to Harrisburg to promote the interest of the people elected her to office - some 13 times since 1989.
But most of those 14 secretly recorded meetings detailed how Rev. Williams Bishop plotted to stack the house liquor control committee with colleagues who would favor privatization in what would be a close vote.
Of the two lawmakers who were indicted by the grand jury with Rep. Williams Bishop, only the good reverend remained silent about her alleged misdeeds.
Reps. Michelle Brownlee and former Rep. Harold James admitted they were wrong to accept a bride from the undercover lobbyist Ali - Brownlee $2,000 and James $750.
Even Reps. Ronald G. Waters ($8,750) and Vanessa Brown ($4,000) admitted before the grand jury that they knew it was wrong to accept money from Ali.
Instead, Rep. Williams Bishop ‘lawyered up’ with one of the city’s best, A. Charles Peruto, who according to the Philadelphia Tribune hinted that his defense would be that District Attorney Seth Williams violated grand jury secrecy by revealing that his client took the Fifth to remain silent.
In the Brownlee case, the grand jury noted: “Thus, in their first face-to-face meeting after (Ali) gave her $2,000, Rep. Brownlee offered him the kind of special treatment he had paid for: to take any suggestions (Ali) gave her and to put them into the bill or propose an amendment.”
During early reports of the sting investigation, Harold James, a former city police officer who served in the state legislature from 1989 until 2008 when he lost in the primary, his name never came up in the investigation.
James won a special election when the man who bested him in the primary, Kenyatta Johnson, was elected to city council.
James would only serve out the last six months of Johnson’s term, but accepted $750 from Ali in money orders with the stipulation: “Well, you know, brother, we might be needing your help.”
James: “That’s right.
Ali: You know? Can we count on you?
James was the only one to report the money on his annual financial statement.
But the DA says the money was accepted as a bride.