Controversy surrounds 2 elected officials

January 7, 2008 6:13:40 PM PST
Controversy surrounds at least two elected officials sworn in on Monday. One of them, Philadelphia's Traffic Court judge Willie Singletary, has such a lengthy list of traffic violations he can't drive until at least 2011. The other, Councilman Curtis Jones, is accused of using taxpayer money to fund his campaign.

Mayor Nutter likes to say it's a new day and a new way in Philadelphia. But some of the old ways are apparently still hanging in there. We have a new traffic court judge who is a notorious scofflaw, and a new council member who's under investigation.

It was an unabashed love fest for new council member Curtis Jones at a City Hall reception. Jones takes office after fighting off allegations of ethics and legal lapses. The city inspector general has found that he left his job at a city development agency with $30,000 worth of taxpayers' money. In addition the inspector general charges Jones with using city resources for his campaign. The allegations say that Jones basically treated his former office as a line of credit. In addition, the feds are after him for $25,000 in unpaid taxes.

None of that seem to phase the long line of well wishers. We tried to question Jones but he sidestepped the allegations.

Also taking the oath Monday, the city's newest traffic court judge Willie Singletary. Over a period of 11 years, Singletary racked up 55 traffic violations with fines of more than 11 thousand dollars. A warrant was out for his arrest until he paid up after the May primary. Now he's the judge.

The president judge of traffic court says past records do nothing to prevent him from taking office once he's elected.

So in Philadelphia we now have a traffic court judge whose own past violations now prevent him from driving legally until the year 2011.