ALLENTOWN, Pa. - The former Allentown finance director’s love of food was so well known that the city’s finance operations manager testified she gave him her extra plasticware, so he could take home leftovers.
“He was very well known in city hall for liking food,” Barbara Wagenhurst said of former Finance Director Garett Strathearn. “If you had any food on your desk, beware because it might not be there the next day.”
Wagenhurst injected a bit of levity into Monday’s testimony as the federal bribery trial of Mayor Ed Pawlowski resumed. Authorities allege Pawlowski traded city contracts in exchange for campaign donations.
Last week, Pawlowski defense attorney Jack McMahon and Strathearn got into a heated exchange over the repeated use of the word “meatballs” heard in secretly recorded conversations. McMahon alleged meatballs was code for bribes to Strathearn from Mike Fleck, the mayor’s former campaign manager.
Strathearn insisted meatballs were meatballs were meatballs.
During questioning from Asst. U.S. Attorney Anthony Wzorek, Wagenhurst said Strathearn was known as the “garbage disposal.” Along with extra plasticware, she said she’d bring leftovers into the office that he’d happily take.
Strathearn has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing for his role in allegedly rigging a delinquent tax collection contract to a firm reportedly seen as beneficial to the mayor’s U.S. Senate run.
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