to step down as gaming board appointeeAssociated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Frank Friel
, the governor's embattled choice to lead the new state gambling board, planned to step down Wednesday, a newspaper reported.The Philadelphia Inquirer
, citing a top official in the Rendell
administration, reported in Wednesday editions that Friel
intended to resign from the seven-member Gaming Control Board.Friel
did not immediately return a telephone message requesting comment Wednesday.
Gov. Ed Rendell, appearing at an event in Philadelphia on Wednesday morning, declined to comment on the report.Senior officials in his
administration also said they could not comment on it.Friel was under fire for misrepresenting his educational background by incorrectly stating during sworn testimony three years ago that he had earned master's and bachelor's degrees.The Philadelphia Daily News
also reported last month that Friel
, a former police and security officer, testified in 2001 and 2002 on behalf of a boxing promoter with alleged mob ties.He
also was accused in a 1974 state Crime Commission report of being among dozens of police officers who took money from a club owner.Friel
denied any wrongdoing.Rendell, who appointed Friel to chair the gambling board, had steadfastly defended Friel and accused the media of smearing him.
House Speaker John M. Perzel, R-Philadelphia, said he
had not discussed the matter with administration officials and was not previously aware that Friel
planned to step down.
Senate Democratic leader, Robert J. Mellow of Lackawanna County, said senior Senate staff members had relayed reports that Friel
may step down but that he
had not discussed the matter with the administration.The mayor of Bensalem, where Friel worked as director of public safety in the 1990s, said he was surprised by the development and hadn't discussed the matter with Friel, a close friend."In my eyes, Frank does no wrong," said Mayor Joe DiGirolamo.
...Friel, a former Philadelphia police captain, co-chaired the FBI-Philadelphia Police Organized Crime Homicide Task Force in the 1980s.
The task force helped prosecute dozens of mobsters in the 1980s.The Daily News, citing an anonymous source, reported in Wednesday editions that Superior Court Judge Stephen J. McEwen Jr. and Gregory Fajt, Rendell's secretary of revenue, are being considered to replace Friel.