|A daily newsletter by |
|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.”
|NOTABLE / QUOTABLE|
“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.
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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.
|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.|
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Unscramble and send your answer to email@example.com. 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
C M A S L R H E K A
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.