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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

President Of Engineering Firm Admits To Bribing Elected Officials In Allentown And Reading

PHILADELPHIA – Court documents were unsealed today in relation to the guilty plea entered by Matthew McTish, 57, of Orefield, PA.  McTish pleaded guilty on April 28, 2016 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery offenses, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. McTish faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison, a possible fine, three years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.  U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sanchez scheduled a sentencing hearing for August 2, 2016.

McTish[1] was the president of an engineering firm which heavily relied on contracts with governmental organizations in Pennsylvania, including the cities of Allentown and Reading.  Public Official #1, of Reading, PA, and Public Official # 3, of Allentown, PA, made clear to subordinates and donors that favorable official action would be withheld from certain donors who failed to provide satisfactory campaign contributions.  By the same token, these elected officials directly and indirectly communicated to certain donors that they were expected to provide items of value, including campaign contributions, in return for certain past or prospective official actions in Reading and Allentown. 

Public Official #1 and Public Official #3 identified certain engineering firms, including McTish’s, as promising targets for their pay to play schemes.  Public Official #1 and Public Official #3 believed that these firms were particularly vulnerable to fundraising solicitations by elected city officials because of the firms’ reliance on municipal contracts and their desire to win such contracts in Reading and Allentown.   Public Official #1 and Public Official #3 believed that for these firms, losing thousands of dollars to campaign treasuries was more acceptable than being shut out of consideration for millions of dollars’ worth of contracts.  McTish admitted that under pressure from Public Official #1, Public Official #3 and their subordinates, he agreed to remit thousands of dollars of campaign contributions in order to keep his company viable for consideration for municipal contracts in Reading and Allentown.    McTish agreed to continue raising such contributions for Public Official #1 even after he had lost re-election so that Public Official #1 could help McTish’s firm before leaving office.  McTish also agreed to reward Mary Ellen Koval with a campaign contribution for her efforts in helping Public Official #3 trying to steer a contract to his company. 

After paying campaign contributions to reward Koval and Public Official #3 for their efforts to steer an Allentown city contract to his company, McTish learned that the city had cancelled its plans for the contract.  When McTish met with Public Official #3 to discuss the prospects of future engineering contracts with the City of Allentown, Public Official #3 asked for even more money – this time asking McTish to raise at least $21,600 before a federal campaign reporting deadline of June 30, 2015.  Public Official #3 claimed that winning the federal campaign would allow him to provide greater assistance to McTish’s company.  McTish was unhappy with Public Official #3’s demand but gave a $2,500 contribution in order to maintain his company’s viability for future contracts from the City of Allentown.   

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, and the Pennsylvania State Police.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joe Khan, Michelle Morgan, and Anthony Wzorek.


[1] McTish was identified in pleadings in related cases (and in paragraph 15 of his own Information) as “Donor #2.”

Public Corruption
Updated May 10, 2016