Did you know Spotlight PA is a nonprofit? Learn more about our nonpartisan journalism »
Skip to main content
Main content

Public pension funds at center of SEC claims

Plus, Philly-based Rite Aid files for bankruptcy.

The logo of PA Post, a free daily newsletter delivering the top news from across Pennsylvania every day.

A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmasters: Tanisha Thomas

Tuesday, October 17, 2023
In today's edition: transparency issue, budget stalemate, workplace discrimination, PAC funding, bankruptcy, and UPenn donors. It's Tuesday.

Leaders of several public pension systems in Pennsylvania continued to work with an investment adviser, his company, or a company for which he consults after he settled allegations of violating federal anti-fraud laws, a Spotlight PA investigation has found.

That includes three counties and at least two municipal systems that received payments from the adviser as result of the settlement.

The SEC case and the lack of transparency from local government agencies afterward highlights how these systems make crucial decisions about people’s finances and retirement funds, but often face little public scrutiny. 

Read Spotlight PA’s full report: Several Pa. pension systems kept working with financial adviser after SEC settlement.

THE CONTEXT: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged William Vescio caused clients to invest in a class of mutual fund shares with higher fees, most of which he received, instead of a lower-cost option. 

For some clients, federal authorities alleged William Vescio negligently failed to disclose information and those “inaccurate disclosures gave the misleading impression that the overall fees were lower than they actually were.”


“Indigenous nations receive almost no representation in Pennsylvania culture, and that’s a mistake because Pennsylvania is steeped in Indigenous history, a rich history of food, travel, folklore and so much more.”

—Andrea Lowery, executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, on raising awareness of the state’s Indigenous culture and history.
At Spotlight PA, we put voters front and center in our nonpartisan election coverage. Get all the information you need to make an informed vote this November by visiting our Election Center website

» See how judges affect you and the issues you care about most

» Pa. Supreme Court 101: What it is, why it matters, and more

» Complete guide to the candidates for Pennsylvania Supreme Court

» Una guía de los candidatos a la Corte Suprema del estado

» Pa. Superior Court 101: What it is, why it matters, and more

» Pa. Commonwealth Court 101: What it is, why it matters, and more

» Complete guide to the candidates for Commonwealth, Superior Courts

» Una guía de los candidatos a la Commonwealth y las Cortes Superiores

» What to know about the judicial retention questions on Pa. ballots

» Complete guide to who is on the ballot, when to vote & more 

» Everything you need to know about using a mail ballot 

» Support Spotlight PA's vital, nonpartisan election reporting by making a gift now!
Support Spotlight PA's investigative journalism for Pennsylvania and for a limited time, your gift will be DOUBLED.

A view of Philadelphia from Tinicum Marsh at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, via Don N. Have a Pennsylvania photo to share? Send it to us by email, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.

a stream of blue water with green trees and a skyline faintly in the background
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.CODE BILLS: The divided Pennsylvania legislature is still seeking a compromise that would allow it to end the budget stalemate and authorize up to $1.1 billion in additional spending for home repairs, public defense, and more. On the table are vastly different proposals from the Democrats who control the state House and the Republicans who control the state Senate, Spotlight PA reports.

Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.DISPARATE SETTLEMENTS: The Bucks County Courier Times examines two workplace discrimination cases that ended with very different monetary settlements. In one, a Black employee in Western Pennsylvania who alleged “severe” and “persistent” racial harassment was awarded $80,000; in the other; an employee from the Philadelphia area who said they were fired for being white won $28 million. 
Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania. MAJOR DONATION: A political action committee controlled by U.S. Senate candidate David McCormick donated $50,000 to the Pennsylvania Republican Party just weeks before it endorsed him. The PAC’s leader told PennLive the donation was “absolutely not” connected to the endorsement, which McCormick’s campaign said was unanimous and “unprecedented.”
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.CHAPTER 11: Philadelphia-based Rite Aid has filed for bankruptcy as it faces more than 1,000 federal and state lawsuits that allege it oversupplied opioids. The Inquirer reports that it’s unclear how many stores may close or how many workers will lose their jobs.

Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.DONOR DROP: University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill said the school “should have moved faster” to publicly condemn some of the people who spoke at the recent Palestine Writes Literature Festival and have been accused in the past of making antisemitic statements, the Daily Pennsylvanian reports. Her statement comes as major donors halt giving. Festival organizers called Magill’s latest remarks "cowardly, immoral, and dishonest."
🏆 SEVEN FOR THE WEEK: Did you stay on top of Pennsylvania news last week? Prove it by answering seven questions in the latest edition of the Great PA News Quiz: Shapiro's climate quandary, election FAQs, and Stoneman Willie's name.
NOT SO SWEET: Hershey Co. may be violating federal and state laws with its new $25,000 sweepstakes, Consumer World reports via the AP. Small print informs people who buy a two-pack of Reese’s that no purchase is necessary to enter. The catch? The language is inside the pack. 

‘LEGACY RECLAIMED’: Running through February, an interactive public art tribute provides a glimpse into the Black history of Philadelphia’s historic 7th Ward, Billy Penn reports. The initiative includes walking tours and discussion salons.

SPOOKY SEASON: Police believe a large cat recently spotted in the Lehigh Valley could be a mountain lion. That’s sparked a conversation about so-called “ghost cats,” since officials believe the last wild mountain lion in Pennsylvania was killed in 1871.

READER SURVEY: Axios Philadelphia asked its readers last month where they would live if not Pennsylvania. A majority of the 180 people who responded said North Carolina. Where would you choose?

FOOTBALL FEAT: The first Black quarterback in the modern era of the NFL made his debut 70 years ago. He also hailed from Pennsylvania. TribLIVE does a deep dive into Willie Thrower’s story and impact.
Spotlight PA's vital work depends on you. Make a donation now.
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag. Answers submitted by 5:30 p.m. on issue date will be counted.

Friday's answer: Immaturity

Congrats to our daily winners:  Vicki U., Don H., Daniel M., Eric F., Ted W., Jon W., Richard A., Stacy S., Bob C., Lynne E., Marty M., Jane R., Barbara F., Susan N., Judith A., David T., John P., Susan D., Kimberly D., Stanley J., Daniel S., Marie B., Patty R., Jack G., Tom M., William Z., Tyler K., Joel S., Dan A., Wendy A., David W. and Craig E.
Like PA Post? Share it with a friend.

Love PA Post? Support it with a tax-deductible gift.

Forwarded this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Spotlight PA is an independent, nonpartisan & nonprofit newsroom producing investigative and public-service journalism that holds the powerful to account and drives positive change in Pennsylvania.

For sponsorship inquiries, email membership@spotlightpa.org.

Copyright © Spotlight PA, All rights reserved.

Spotlight PA
PO Box 11728
Harrisburg, PA 17108-1728


You're receiving this email because you subscribed to PA Post, a daily newsletter by Spotlight PA.

This email was sent to: <<Email Address>>

Receiving too many emails from Spotlight PA?

To change your newsletter subscriptions and frequency, you can update your preferences.

To stop receiving fundraising messages, you can update your preferences and select "Opt out of Fundraising."

To stop receiving ALL EMAILS from Spotlight PA, including all of our investigations and newsletters, you can completely unsubscribe here.