By Tyree Johnson
If you believe the news reports, Congressman Chaka Fattah, a lawmaker who pursues college scholarships for kids, funds to eradicate deadly diseases and programs to uplift the poor, is in trouble.
Real bad trouble.
Following a guilty plea by a longtime adviser and friend, Gregory Naylor, 66, has implicated Fattah -- without naming him directly -- in a scheme that misused a $1 million in campaign funds.
As Wednesday’s Daily News reported, Naylor “admitted that he conspired with his boss - identified in court filings only as “Elected Official A” - to pay off a series of debts, including an unreported $1 million campaign donation, with grant funds and political contributions funneled through a series of nonprofits and consulting firms.”
Say it ain’t so, Chaka.
If true, then this West Philly-based lawman will be joining four other West Philly elected leaders under investigations that could lead to some serious consequences.
Naylor is a local political operative who has helped in the elections of Mayors Wilson Goode, John Street and Gov. Ed Rendell. He even served on the staff that got Obama elected to a second term in 2004.
He pleaded guilty to hiding $622,000 in campaign contributions and federal grants with at least $22,000 he used to pay off college debts of the Fattah’s son, Chaka Jr., 31.
The money, according to the news report, was generated by contributions to an unnamed candidate’s failed quest in the 2007 mayoral race. Fattah briefly had his hat in the ring for the city’s highest political seat.
Last month, Chaka Jr., a federal grand jury hand down an indictment charging him with several counts of bank and loan fraud.
Junior has alleged the charges are political with the feds out to get his father by first getting him.
The feds have been eyeing the 10-term congressman for some seven years, according to the Daily News.
Fattah has always been an ambitious politician - seeking higher office.
In 1983, was elected to the State Legislature. In ‘88, he became a State Senator. In ‘94, he ran for the second time and won against the popular Congressman Lucien Blackwell in an upset that surprised many.
Then in 2004, he had an early lead in the polls for the mayor’s race, but ended up fourth in a five-man Democratic primary race with Michael Nutter going on to win the election.
It was the last election that seems to have gotten him in trouble with the campaign funds.
Now, all of his accomplishments as a congressman - and there are many from getting grants and scholarships to getting minority students into higher education to acquiring millions in funds for local colleges and medical centers to pursue brain injury research.
Our hopes and prayers go out to the congressman. We hope he can get through this unscathed, but there is a lot of doubt.
There was a lot of money involved with Naylor, a long-time member of Fattah’s inner circle, now in trouble and with the threat of a long prison term if he doesn’t cooperate in the fed’s investigation with Chaka Fattah in their sights.
With all the whispers and rumors out there, it doesn’t look good.