CENTRE COUNTY: Beta Theta Pi – OAG Josh Shapiro Appeals Twice-Dismissed Charges. He BADLY WANTS Tom Kline’s Donations for 2020 Governor’s Campaign!!!!

The appeal of the Beta Theta Pi case against the hazing death of Tim Piazza contains a complicated web of behind-the-scenes, self-seeking political jockeying.

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Defendants on CBS This Morning

Penn State has remained (quite suspiciously) behind the scenes and has barely entered the picture. Regardless, the university will take center stage by February 4, 2019. The importance of that date? There is a two year statute of limitations in Pennsylvania to pursue a civil suit for damages in the wrongful death claim surrounding the hazing death of Tim Piazza. In other words, Tom Kline (barring any attempts to “toll” the statute of limitations) will likely sue Penn State on that date.

Among the most-likely-to-be-sued Defendants are: the Beta brothers, each charged in their individual capacities (many with deep pockets and promising careers for later monetary judgements); the fraternal organization of Beta Theta Pi; AND THE DEEPEST POCKETS OF ALL -Pennsylvania State University for their negligence to regulate the out-of-control drinking behavior on its campus.

I find it ironic that the state and country as a whole has condemned the Greek culture at PSU for being responsible for the drinking problem at Penn State. The truth is Penn State has had an unabridged drinking problem for many years – not just the Greek organizations. See my former blog: PIAZZA CASE – Eric Barron is BOTTOM FEEDING – No surprise here. See my other former blog: Piazza Case was OVERCHARGED, Just Like I told you

The lawsuit that Tom Kline is about to file against Penn State will match, or possibly even trump, some of the civil damages we saw in the Sandusky civil lawsuit. Tom Kline’s interest in the criminal case surrounding the conviction of the former brothers only involves money. He is about maximizing damages.

Tom Kline is a Plaintiff’s lawyer. Plaintiff’s lawyers represent clients, normally on a contingency fee basis, who get injured as the result of someone else’s negligence. For example, if you are driving your car and get struck by another driver who illegally ran a red light, then you are liable to sue that driver for bodily injury damages as well as property damages, loss of consortium, lost wages, and whatever else a Plaintiff’s lawyer can tack on in injuries sustained in order to maximize your monetary damages. The defense may argue that the light wasn’t quite red yet, that you are exaggerating your injuries. The defense may argue that you were looking at your cell phone and consequently vicariously negligent. MOST IMPORTANTLY: The defense may argue that there was no criminal citation issued against the Defendant driver, therefore no law was broken and there was no negligence.

The last argument is the most important. If criminal negligence is proven, then civil negligence naturally follows. Therefore, if Tom Kline lobbies, appears at press conferences, gets laws passed and gets these brothers convicted of criminal negligence, then his case against Penn State and the fraternity brothers is all but won through a civil jury. Criminal negligence IS civil negligence. Criminal courts supercede civil courts; if a lawyer can prove that criminal negligence exists, then civil negligence is a no-brainer.

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Attorney Tom Kline

This is why we are seeing Tom Kline all over the place: at Penn State, and sticking his claws into the criminal case of the fraternity brother Defendants.

Meanwhile, Penn State is remaining quiet. They have found themselves between a rock and a hard place. If, in an effort to mitigate their own liability, they support the students who then get maximum penalties, they will look bad. Penn State will also look unremorseful and unsympathetic to the Piazza family. If they join in the condemnation of the fraternity then they admit liability.

So the best thing for Penn State to do is keep quiet, which they’ve done. Their only exception in this matter is to publicize the changes they are making regarding  regulation of the Greek organizations and publicizing supportive statements for laws that actually do get passed in favor of Timothy Piazza. (This is called mitigating damages, factors possibly taken into consideration when a jury deliberates on how many millions of dollars Penn State should pay out when Tom Kline gets around to suing Penn State).

It’s all about the money for Tom Kline. He would not otherwise bother to show up at a disciplinary board hearing for Stacy Parks Miller, or charter his private jet eight times to appear at hearings. I can’t even begin to imagine the seven figure amount that Tom Kline has promised Josh Shapiro for his 2020 gubernatorial campaign.

Understand that when Tom Kline donates money, we are talking serious money. $3 million here, $7.5 million here, $5 million here… CITATION

But Tom Kline donates his money like he does everything – with strategy.

So when Bernie Cantorna recused himself from the Beta case due to a conflict of interest, Josh Shapiro seemed reluctant to take the case. In addition to being tied up with the scandal of Parks Miller, it is a highly contentious, controversial case. While Shapiro has never seen a camera he didn’t like, this case stank of controversy, and he seemed publicly reluctant to take that on. After all, he cannot sully his reputation and deter his future plans to run for governor in 2020, and eventually president in 2024.

Enter Tom Kline and his giant checkbook.

Suddenly, there is a complete reversal. Josh Shapiro became less interested in pissing off his rich cronies in the upper echelons of PSU executives and well connected PSU Board of Trustees (BOT) and more interested in Tom Kline’s massive bank account and pension for donating to causes that serve to make him more money.

Shapiro’s reluctance to take on the case faded; however, like the calculating little midget he is, he wasn’t going to take the case on personally. He still wanted to walk the line – pleasing Kline for a future 2020 seven figure gubernatorial donation, yet not losing the millions in donations from democratic Penn State BOT, executives and rich alumnus.

As I said, Josh Shapiro never met a camera he didn’t like. However, this is a precarious line for him to walk. His solution? He decided to keep his name out of any press releases related to the Piazza case, and have one of his minions in the Office of the Attorney General prosecute it. His hopes? He is playing it neutral, hoping Penn State’s rich donors won’t associate his name with this case and he’ll still score an epically large donation from Tom Kline.

But Shapiro is finding himself more and more lured by the influence of Tom Kline, who has the persuasive powers of the devil himself. And Kline is as personally well-connected as the entire Penn State BOT (that horribly huge gaggle of them) combined. President Barron makes $16,000 a week and could easily donate a couple hundred thousand to Shapiro’s future campaign for governor. However, Tom Kline’s salary makes President Barron look like he’s on welfare.

So the case that Shapiro wanted nothing to do with is all of a sudden back in the news. Senator Corman just worked the senate into passing anti-hazing legislation.

I find it ironic that Representative Mark Rozzi and a number of senators worked to pass a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse charges (both criminally and civilly) for a couple years now and could not manage to get it passed. Yet when Tom Kline opens his checkbook and wants some anti-hazing bill passed, it happens almost overnight. It kind of makes me wish that Tom Kline had been the Plaintiff’s lawyer for Sandusky. Maybe then we’d see some bills being passed on child sex abuse cases. And perhaps the catholic priest abuse scandal would have seen some results.

  • AG Josh Shapiro’s spokesman Joe Grace said the office will “review Mr. Cantorna’s claim of conflicts and will make a determination of his request after a careful analysis of the facts.”   CITATION

READ and re-read Josh Shapiro’s statement above in red. That statement does not say “AG Josh Shapiro is eager to take jurisdiction of this case and will proceed to pursue justice to the fullest extent of the law.” That statement, if you read between the lines, says “Is Cantorna really referring me this pile of sh*t. I’m trying not to step in any sh*t given I’m trying to run for governor and am therefore avoiding any and all controversy.” That statement does not read “YAY!!! I got the case, more press for Josh Shapiro!” That statement reads: “Do I really have to?”

How the sentiments have changed now that Tom Kline has opened up the lines with Shapiro. Now, instead of harboring any reluctance to involve himself in Penn State controversy, (remember: Shapiro hates any kind of controversy that might jeopardize his run for PA governor) the mantra has changed.

Shapiro has made a 180° turn after learning what Kline can do for him, including his donations in 2020.

So after two very long preliminary arraignments in front of Judge Sinclaire, the case goes on. The first arraignment was appealed by a vitriolic Parks Miller and her appeal was denied by Judge Ruest.

Josh Shapiro tried the same preliminary arraignment and achieved the exact same results. Judge Sinclair shot him down. The case was overcharged.

On Tuesday, Josh Shapiro continued to follow in Stacy Parks Miller footsteps. His office appealed Judge Sinclair’s denial, insisting that the case was not overcharged:

  • Pennsylvania’s Office of Attorney General on Thursday appealed the dismissal of some charges, including involuntary manslaughter, against eight former Beta Theta Pi members charged in connection with the February 2017 death of Penn State sophomore Timothy Piazza. CITATION

The political landscape has changed a tad. Now there is the Timothy Piazza bill, which flew through the senate at warp speed (thank you Tom Kline’s checkbook), and Stacy Parks Miller is no longer in office.

Tom Kline, who, begrudgingly I’m sure, got on his private jet to testify in defense of Parks Miller at the Disciplinary Board in Harrisburg. He was willing to put himself through that harrowing ordeal, because – in part – her reputation drives the outcome of the Piazza case. In other words, Tom Kline doesn’t want her dirtbag-@ss looking like a dirtbag and causing a decrease in his civil damages. It’s not that he likes Parks Miller (if he did, he would have hired her) it’s that he doesn’t want her to ruin his case, or have her bad reputation dip into the millions of dollars he is about to wrangle from Penn State.

But Shapiro is not “special” in Centre County criminal courts. Parks Miller proved that no matter how powerful the lawyer, no lawyer (prosecutor or defense) is “special” in front of Centre County Judges. Centre County Judges learned their lesson.

So Shapiro went through the same motions, and filed the same appeal, and I would bet you he is going to see the same results:

  • Following a three-day preliminary hearing in March, District Judge Allen Sinclair dismissed a host of charges against 11 defendants in the case. In addition to involuntary manslaughter, charges of recklessly endangering another person and some counts of hazing, conspiracy to commit hazing and furnishing alcohol to minors also were dismissed.

After Josh Shapiro learned what Tom Kline could do for him in a 2020 race for governor, all of a sudden the prosecution went from reluctant to zealous:

  • “We laid out the required elements of the charges which were dismissed at a preliminary hearing last month,” said Joe Grace, spokesman for Attorney General Josh Shapiro, said in a statement. “In the interest of justice for the Piazza family, our office today filed a notice of appeal with respect to charges against eight of the defendants in this case.”

Don’t mind the man behind the curtain, who regularly appears and, like the wizard in the Wizard of Oz, now seems to have found a way of buying and orchestrating the entire ordeal. After Josh Shapiro filed his appeal, Tom Kline gave this statement:

  • Tom Kline, attorney for the Piazza family said in a statement that the family “is pleased to see the appeal by the Attorney General and wholeheartedly supports the appeal from the dismissal of involuntary manslaughter charges.” CITATION

It was very clear by Tom Kline’s testimony at Stacy Parks Miller’s Disciplinary Board Hearing on Monday, April 23, 2017, that he had involvement in the construction or at least input on the content of the original grand jury report indicting these fraternity brothers.

It’s very interesting that he was so bold in admitting he “may have had some input into the GJ indictment” considering his pending civil representation of the family is in direct conflict, and also considering the forum in which he was testifying: In front of the Disciplinary Board, an entity which usually holds lawyers accountable for such things.

But who is going to reprimand Tom Kline? Who would attempt to hold “the wizard” accountable?

After Tuesday’s appeal of the charges dropped by Judge Allen Sinclair, the Attorney General’s office issued the following statement:

  • “Attorney General Shapiro will speak further about his office’s comprehensive review of the Piazza case early next week,” Grace said. “Our office is committed to holding responsible individuals accountable for their actions, consistent with the law and the evidence in this case.” CITATION

Translation: “Shapiro needs to have a sit down with Tom Kline and see how Kline thinks we should proceed, because the more Kline makes on this case, the more money goes into my campaign for Governor.”

The appeal to the Centre County Court of Common Pleas is seeking to overturn Sinclair’s decision dismissing charges against the following defendants:

Brendan Young

What was dismissed: One count of involuntary manslaughter, 29 counts of recklessly endangering another person (REAP), one count of conspiracy to commit hazing, 29 counts of hazing

Daniel Casey

What was dismissed: One count of involuntary manslaughter, 29 counts of REAP, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing, 29 counts of hazing

Jonah Neuman

What was dismissed: One count of involuntary manslaughter, 11 counts of REAP, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing

Gary DiBileo

What was dismissed: One count of involuntary manslaughter, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing

Luke Visser

What was dismissed: One count of involuntary manslaughter, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing

Michael Bonatucci

What was dismissed: Nine counts of REAP, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing

Joseph Sala

What was dismissed: 14 counts of REAP, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing, 12 counts of furnishing alcohol to minors, 12 counts of unlawful acts relative to liquor

Nicholas Kubera

What was dismissed: Eight counts of REAP, one count of conspiracy to commit hazing, three counts of furnishing alcohol to minors, three counts of unlawful acts relative to liquor

CITATION

Here is what I know:

  1. Out of all the potential defendants in this case, Penn State is the entity with the deepest pockets, and the one Kline is most interested in suing. Cha-ching.
  2. Josh Shapiro would not upset the Penn State’s notoriously democratic, elite donors without a financial or political motive.
  3. Josh Shapiro didn’t want this case, and publicly questioned Bernie Cantorna’s conflict of interest, even in the face of affirming opinion from ethics board.
  4. The bill for anti-hazing got passed in record speed by the senate. Tom Kline was standing right next to his senate cronies during the press conference.
  5. Tom Kline was willing to embarrass himself, the reputation of his firm, and jeopardize his appeal for new cases by testifying at the Parks Miller Disciplinary Board hearing.
  6. Penn State is in damage-control mode, hiring out not “of counsel” high-powered firms gearing up for the second biggest, or perhaps the biggest, lawsuit in Penn State history.
  7. Senator Corman was also likely bought by Tom Kline, because he sponsored this bill, and is republican (Kline is a democrat).
  8. Shapiro keeps his name out of the case and does not appear directly in press conferences because he wants to keep his rich PSU donors.
  9. Never in the history of the many alcohol-related deaths at Penn State have we ever charged a furnishing case with “manslaughter.”
  10. Stacy Parks Miller purposely used this case to propel herself into the center of national media in a desperate attempt to win an election that she eventually lost.
  11. Penn State is a sitting duck for million dollar lawsuits, and has a history of “settling quickly at high amounts” for the sake of saving their reputation.
  12. Prosecutorial misconduct occurred somewhere in this case at the hands of Parks Miller, else Tom Kline would never put himself and his sterling reputation anywhere near Harrisburg on the day of her disciplinary hearing.

Penn State is about to be taken for millions of dollars. It’s probably deserved, maybe not in the excess that they will be sued, but they should be fined. Penn State has had a drinking problem that has plagued local residents for years.

This case may exceed, or at least rival, the damages sustained during the Sandusky civil suits, and Tom Kline is orchestrating all of it. And be gone with fair justice, charging or sentencing practices when it stands in the way of Tom Kline’s ability to profit for millions upon millions of dollars against Penn State. And be gone with Josh Shapiro’s allegiance to Penn State’s rich donors, when their checkbooks pallor in comparison to Tom Kline’s assets.

You must wonder who or what is orchestrating this whole scene. No, it’s no vindication of that travesty of justice that was Parks Miller. She is facing a loss of license, minimum suspension. The catalyst of all of this is Tom Kline, who is – hands down – the scariest Plaintiff’s lawyer in the state. And nothing stands between him and his ability to make money – massive amounts of it.

So when it comes to criminal justice for these poor f#cks in the middle of a massive political storm, like I said, don’t mind the man behind the curtain.

Tom Kline’s response?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$ ChaChing! Another Penn State Scandal – Another 100 million to line my pockets.

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DA Stacy Parks Miller talking to the press

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3 Comments

    1. Great blog dude!!! And adding to this layer of nefarious protection is the fact that very mysteriously Tim Bream, who knew about the part, walked by Piazza that night and knew about the excessive drinking was never charged. Even vitriolic parks Miller did not want to upset the democratic elite at Penn State. PSU is in cover their ass mode, after all tom Kline is coming after them. Sure in a way these kids are “privileged” because of the wealthy alumni donor base that penn state loves to collect money from and who tend to donate generously. But when push comes to shove, penn state will throw the entire panahellic counsel under the bus to save a 100 million dollars and their reputation. F#ck it, they will just raise their astronomically high tuition even further. These men should have called for help earlier, let’s face it tim Piazza also has vicarious culpability/liability. Nobody forced him to drink that night, nobody held him down and poured the drinks down his throat. I want you to google something else for me Barry, google the name “Mike Nifong”…. pick the result pertaining to Duke University, and then you will start to get an inkling of what truly went on here involving stacy parks miller. If you only knew the half of the politicking in this town it would make your stomach churn. Why was penn state employee and house dad tim Bream never charged? Start there.

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