Tom Corbett Gives $2.5 Million Grant To Company That Has $300k in Outstanding Debt and Owner with Lengthy Arrest Record

October 29, 2014 | By Campaign for a Fresh Start

Governor's Office Says Corbett Has "Final Say" on Grant Recipients

Philadelphia, PA – Yesterday, it was revealed that Tom Corbett gave a $2.5 million grant, funded by Pennsylvania taxpayers, to a donor's company that owes about $295,000 in taxes and liens. Island Studios, a company personally chosen by Tom Corbett to receive the taxpayer-funded $2.5 million, has 244 tax liens and judgments against them, including $100,000 in real estate taxes owed to the Pittsburgh and Sto-Rox Public School Districts.

Though the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County and Allegheny County both have asserted that they did not advocate for the Corbett administration to give this grant, Governor Corbett's office has tried to duck responsibility for this severe mismanagement and lack of oversight. In the past, however, the governor's spokesperson has said that the governor's office "selects projects," "how much to fund them," and that "the governor has the final say on the grants."

"Tom Corbett has consistently failed to take responsibility for his actions," Campaign for a Fresh Start Spokesman Mike Mikus said. "Tom Corbett claims he is not to blame for his $1 billion cuts from public education, yet the facts show that he is. Tom Corbett claims he never supported an invasive forced ultrasound bill, but the facts show he repeatedly advocated for the bill in 2012. Tom Corbett claims that the unemployed can't get jobs because they're on drugs, but the facts show it is Corbett's failed policies that have sunk Pennsylvania to 50th in the nation in job creation. Now, Tom Corbett claims that it was not his responsibility to ensure that state money was being properly distributed, but the facts show that it is clearly his responsibility. Tom Corbett needs to take responsibility for his failed administration and the gross oversight that has led to the misappropriation of state funds."

Since Tom Corbett took office, the Sto-Rox and Pittsburgh School Districts have lost over $26,146,273 in funding. Yet Tom Corbett felt that it was appropriate to reward one of his donors despite the fact that this donor's company has failed to pay what is due to Pennsylvania's public school system.

Corbett's decision to approve the grant is even more curious when you factor in that Island Studios owner Michael Dolan's lengthy arrest record came to light during his 2006 run for the Pennsylvania state House.

"Tom Corbett's misplaced priorities are once again on display," Mikus said. "Instead of helping our school districts get back on their feet by rehiring laid-off educators, Tom Corbett has decided to give millions in taxpayer dollars to a donor with a lengthy arrest record and failed business record."

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