This week, the appointment of longtime crimefighter Frank Friel to be the first chairman of Pennsylvania's Gaming Control Board died in much the same way.
withdrawal on Wednesday, Friel
had done nothing wrong, but that the criticism of him was taking a toll on his
family and would distract the fledgling commission.
With tears welling in his
eyes, an angry Gov.Ed Rendell, Friel's
sponsor, blamed "search-and-destroy journalism" and said Friel's treatment had been unjust.
As such, criticism of Friel
would have trailed him throughout his
tenure and damaged public confidence in the board, they said.
...Friel, 62, is a former Philadelphia police officer who supervised the task force that took down "Little Nicky" Scarfo's mob organization and helped prosecute more than 60 organized crime figures.He is currently the director of security at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia.
Rendell pitched Friel
as the perfect candidate to keep organized crime out of the state's new gambling industry and assuage the fears of some gambling opponents.
But newspapers published stories about Friel's
past after Rendell announced the appointment on Aug. 11, and Republican lawmakers called for Rendell to rethink the appointment or for Friel
to step down.
In a 1974 state Crime Commission report, Friel
was accused of being among dozens of police officers who took money from a club owner.Friel
denied any wrongdoing and was never indicted.More recently, while working for a private security firm, Friel was paid to help a Philadelphia boxing promoter challenge a ban that prevented him from holding fights in a Connecticut casino.Friel
testified in 2001 and 2002 that the promoter was not involved in organized crime, testimony which put him at odds with some other law-enforcement figures.Friel also misrepresented his educational background during sworn testimony three years ago by incorrectly stating that he had earned master's and bachelor's degrees.
Rendell has contended that Friel
simply misspoke and did not intend to mislead anyone.