Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien has a huge problem, a concern so damaging that it could end O’Brien’s political career.
Joe Fabricatore, who identifies himself as O’Brien’s re-election campaign manager, is spraying damaging rumors about O’Brien’s main rival in the county commissioners’ race. Fabricatore has publicly accused former state Rep. Jim Wansacz of publicly “peeing and fighting” at a Pittsburgh Steelers football game.
Wansacz accepted my invitation Wednesday, to appear on “Corbett” Wednesday and address the matter.
Yes, Wansacz said, he was in Pittsburgh for a 2007 Steelers’ game. Yes, he said, an argument between some of the people he was with and another group resulted in his being cited with disorderly conduct.
No, he did not punch anybody.
No, he did not pee in public.
Others peed in public, he said, but he did not pee in public.
The Allegheny County court eventually dismissed the summary offense against him.
What exactly did the Pittsburgh police officer who wrote the citation claim Wansacz did that was illegal? Why exactly was the charge dismissed? That’s where the story gets murky.
Wansacz said his Carbondale lawyer took care of all the details. I’m trying to contact the lawyer to see if he can explain the nuances of the case and will invite him on the show to talk about the details of the case.
Wansacz even admitted on the air that he had been cited as a younger man for previous undisclosed offenses.
As I said on the show, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, Wansacz gets the benefit of the doubt.
Fabricatore called the show after Wansacz hung up. Nope, said O’Brien’s campaign manager, he’s not buying Wansacz’ version of the story. Fabricatore said he knows cops and cops don’t just write citations for their health. They write them when a crime has been committed.
What about innocent people who get charged and eventually exonerated?
Not in this case, said O’Brien’s political consultant.
I asked Fabricatore if he had evidence to corroborate his claims, evidence to support his accusation, evidence to prove that Wansacz did what O’Brien’s campaign manager said he did.
All Fabricatore said he had was the court docket that dismissed the charge, the document he sent to me and who knows who else. And all that proves is that Wansacz was cited and the case was dismissed.
That creates a problem for O’Brien, who continues to hide somewhere and refuse to step forward and address this matter that could make the difference between a win and a loss for him as well as for Wansacz. Despite my many invitations to O’Brien to come on the show and talk about this damaging allegation against his opponent, he refuses to step forward.
But we’re not going to let him off that easy.
I’m going to ask O’Brien to come forward ever single day leading up to the May 17 primary election. Either he shows up with evidence to substantiate the claim Fabricatore is making on his behalf or he apologizes to Wansacz. He could also fire Fabricatore for starting this spraying contest in the first place.
How can you be a sitting elected official, on the public payroll after swearing to uphold the public trust, and allow a rogue campaign worker to run amok on your behalf? How could you allow such reckless behavior and say nothing? How could you expect people to respect you and vote for you if you do?
Amazingly, Fabricatore said he did not O’Brien’s permission to float the story about Wansacz. With political help like that it’s no wonder O’Brien blew his bid for the Democratic nomination when he challenged former U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski in the last congressional primary.
Now O’Brien wants to be re-elected.
This shallow and subversive attack on Wansacz is tawdry even by Northeastern Pennsylvania standards.