Thursday, December 24

Silverwood: Irony, Fina, & the Final Analysis

By Wendy Silverwood
December 23, 2015

Controversy continues to swirl around the Philadelphia's District Attorney's office.

“D.A. Seth Williams has come under fire because of three of his prosecutors who are allegedly involved in the so-called "#porngate" scandal - the collection of pornographic, misogynistic, racist and homophobic e-mails that went viral through state government.”

“Caught up in the scandal are three of the D.A.'s top prosecutors: Frank Fina, Pat Blessington, and Marc Constanzo who were part of the chain that exchanged filthy e-mails when Fina and Constanzo worked for the State of Pennsylvania.”

The irony in all this? If Frank Fina, under the tutelage of Tom Corbett, had just prosecuted Sandusky and left Penn State alone, #hategate and #porngate never happens & Seth Williams remains unscathed.

Frank Fina engineered a failed “flip” strategy against the 3 PSU administrators (Tim Curley, Gary Schultz & Graham Spanier) when placing a singular lie in Linda Kelly’s grand jury presentment of November 2011. The intent was to have Curley & Schultz “flip” or testify against Corbett’s intended target of the presentment - Dr. Spanier- in order to save their own backsides. A singular lie - passed off as the unassailable truth, accidently fueled by the sports media - using the Paterno name as clickbait - roared into a massive media firestorm that burned millions of acres, the embers of which are still smoldering away today.

Just imagine what would not have happened had these public officials just done their jobs without Tom Corbett trying to destroy then PSU President Graham Spanier in the process.

1.      Sandusky is investigated & prosecuted based on available credible victim testimony. Tom Corbett & his Office of Attorney General wins election points & the “optics” are still positive.
2.     There is no public outrage across the commonwealth over Tom Corbett’s actions in allegedly slowwalking the Sandusky investigation from his AG days.
3.     Louis Freeh never gets involved. (‘nuff said)
4.     The NCAA never gets their foot in the door - “shooting roadkill” in order to improve their crummy “optics” at our commonwealth’s and Penn State’s expense.
5.     Kathleen Kane may or may not attain the AG’s Office. But - #porngate & #hategate emails never get discovered. (see #2)
6.     The Office of Attorney General continues to cruise along (no matter who is at the helm) doing what they do in “Protecting ALL Pennsylvanians”.
7.     There is no political turmoil and public outrage over the Judiciary in our commonwealth.
8.     There is no "blood feud"and acrimony in, around and among state offices, state officials, Montgomery County officials and the Philadelphia DA’s office.
9.     Seth Williams doesn’t have the City Councilwomen, PhilaNOW & the Philadelphia press all up in his grill. He might even have attained that PSU trustee seat he coveted.
10. And the best one? The public would be no wiser to the level of corruption and behavior of those in commonwealth public office.

Everyone in public office WINS!

At one point, Frank Fina figured it out and tried to stand up for Joe Paterno in the Armen Keteyian/ 60 Minutes interview in September 2013, but it was far too late by then - how do you walk back the media firestorm & the carnage you created?

Tom Corbett makes a weak statement in standing up for Joe Paterno & admonishing his fellow Trustees in June 2014, but that ship sailed years before and by this time he is dead man walking politically.

There were several points along the way where, if any of these players would have backed off, the public would have been blissfully unaware of the unethicial and corrupt practices among our jurists, state prosecutors, US attorneys and the media. But, personal vendettas and petty politics pressed on, a politicial game of chicken took over, to the point of even allegedly violating the law.

When this all shakes out, and Frank Fina is being interviewed by the Feds, he will perhaps have a moment in which he recalls telling Tom Corbett not to do this, or even urges him not to do it. If he is lucky he will have an email somewhere memorializing his advice. 

As Frank Fina's assiduously-managed career changes from a smoky smolder to a white hot flame, consuming everything he is, surely when he is passing blame he does not forget his old friend Tom Corbett and their failed “flip” strategy against those Penn State administrators - and by extension, the larger Penn State community. 

This failed strategy cost Frank Fina his career. It cost Tom Corbett his career. 

It elected Kathleen Kane, who has thus far gone off like an IED in the middle of the PA judiciary and prosecutorial/law enforcement function. Anyone who survives this will carry the battle scars. 

Former Penn State Trustees Karen Peetz, Ken Frazier, John Surma, Steve Garban, Ira Lubert, Dave Joyner, Paul Suhey, Cynthia Baldwin, Anne Riley and the others from November 2011; along with interim President Rodney Erickson ..... an entire generation of Penn Staters will never know whatever good they may have achieved, because their legacy is now solely one of shame and betrayal.

Maybe defaming 4 principals of the university - along with staff, students, faculty, alumni & family by enlisting corporate clean up artist & #liar4hire Louis Freeh to promote a narrative about “football culture” run amok & “actively conspiring to conceal for fear of bad publicity” resulting in every uniformed loudmouth in the country calling Penn Staters pedophile lovers and child rape enablers was a bad call?

Maybe deciding to never open and peer into that Pandora’s Box over at the Second Mile and Centre County Children & Youth Services and local/state foster & adoptive services - choosing instead to keep the false narrative anchored up on campus was a failed tactic? 

Maybe dragging locally-influential Penn State alumni from across the commonwealth and other states away from their regular lives and tarring them with this same “child rape enabler” brush, radicalizing them in the process and driving them out of their regular lives and into the streets, was a mistake as well?

So perhaps, in the final analysis, it will be determined to have been a disastrous calculation for those mentioned above to involve over a half million graduates of the flagship institution of the commonwealth. Lots of bad things came out of the decision to demonize Penn State. But our job is to make some good things come from it. 

We cannot change the narrative, maybe, but we can change the ultimate outcome.

A tip of the hat to a few fellow Penn Staters for their oh-so-eloquent prose.


  1. Just simply wow, Wendy. Thus article improved my Holiday. I am so proud to be an alumni with someone like you.

  2. "This article". I cannot type from a cell phone. Fat, slow fingers.

  3. WOW!! That just about says it all. Thanks Wendy for being part of the truth.

    1. I agree, She has that rare ability to touch on it all and say it so well.

      Also, thanks to Ray for giving us an open forum so we may all freely express our opinions and feelings on this miscarriage of justice. Ray is one of the good ones that just wants the truth and corrects us when we are misinformed, or just being biased about all of this.
      I tend to be long-winded in my posts due to pure emotion, and I apologize to anyone I've offended.

  4. Great article.

    Unfortunately, it isn't exactly true yet that "This failed strategy cost Frank Fina his career." It certainly damaged his reputation.

    Fina still has a job with Philadelphia DA Seth Williams, who also follows the law when he feels like it.

    Just wonder if any of the porn emails made it to Freeh and his staff. The alumni trustees may soon find out. Wouldn't it be lovely if both Fina and Freeh got taken down by the secret Freeh documents.