As of Tuesday, Election Day of all days, Bob Mellow is on the loose.
Even living in the federally- supervised Scranton half-way house he checked into this week, the admitted federal gangster and degenerate convict poses enough of a public threat to assign a squad of undercover marshals to watch the facility’s doors and windows day and night.
The decision to release the Democratic warlord and former powerful state senator to a facility in the heart of his one-time political kingdom is reckless, foolish and loaded with potential for abuse and, yes, corruption. Mellow once ruled these same streets, reaching his toxic tentacles from the political sewers and gutters of our lives and through the windows and doors and air vents of every city, county and state office building in Scranton.
Now Bob Mellow’s back in town, flashing his feeble pearly whites. Sick as his lawyers claim he is, Mellow’s ready to sink his teeth into everybody and anybody who helped put him in prison or failed to write an letter to the judge when he was ready for departure.
Mellow is still dangerous.
So are his politically-connected lawyers.
Make no mistake about it, even if you see Mellow sweeping floors at St. Peter’s Cathedral up the street from the half-way house, Mellow wants vengeance - no matter what the Lord says.
Only one big obstacle exists. Mellow faces state public corruption charges and is scheduled for trial next year. If convicted, Mellow, 70, could spend the rest of his miserable life behind bars. We’re talking state prison, too, not the soft land of minimum security white collar bottom-feeders with whom Mellow spent his leisure tine in Georgia. We’re talking Philly stick-up men, biker enforcers and psycho rapists – even the occasional demented one-time Harrisburg silk tie wearer.
Mellow actually knows a couple of current cons inside because at least two one-time big-time Democrats from Mellow’s gang of fools are serving time carving ballots out of bars of soap for their own vicious assaults against the public trust.
But who cares about them?
Our Bobby’s home and that’s all that matters.
I wonder what Scranton-native and state Attorney General Kathleen Kane thinks about Mellow’s new mailing address? If you remember, Kane once challenged Mellow for his seat in the Senate. But she quickly crawled on bended knee with a tear in her eye to beg forgiveness for ever thinking about humiliating him with such a threat to his power. I wrote a column about Kane’s secret meeting with Mellow last June. Then I sent the column to the Capitol press corps after sounding the alarm that Kane’s behind-closed-doors meeting with the man whose prosecuting she now leads could derail the case long as Mellow knows what she and he discussed and her own prosecutors don’t. One reporter responded to my emails but nobody wrote about the story.
Kane’s husband’s family still holds the multi-million dollar state liquor contract that they worried Mellow might torpedo if Kane continued with her race to unseat Mellow in the Senate. But Kane got scared and quit. And the champagne bubbles exploded from Scranton to Harrisburg and back again for the politically-connected Kane family.
Even Kane’s PR flack, Joe Peters, a former federal prosecutor and self-proclaimed Mafia buster refused to respond to my concerns. That’s because he’s now part of the problem rather than part of the solution. More people in Scranton are part of the problem than part of the solution that there are made men in the Mafia.
In the absence of attention elsewhere, I’m planning to send my Kane/Mellow column to the judge in the Kane/Mellow case. Rich Lewis knows me from my days raising hell with weekly newspapers in Harrisburg. He was a crack district attorney in Dauphin County so maybe he’ll pay attention.
In the meantime, Mellow is housed in the same building in downtown Scranton that housed former reputed Mafia boss Billy D’Elia, who, after becoming a rat, took a job as an Exeter ice cream scooper when he was released into half-way house custody – or custardy, if you like.
So what kind of job will Mellow take to help pay his debt to society while he lounges at our expense in the Scranton federal frat house? The cathedral sweeper gig sounds lovely. Maybe he can answer phones in the office of his former understudy and now state Sen. John Blake. Maybe Mellow can serve as a political consultant to Scranton mayor-elect Bill Courtright, who says he’s already met with Blake.
In Scranton, where anything can happen and usually does, anything is possible.
By the way, who do I see about getting tickets for the welcome home clambake?