Former Allentown mayor sentenced to federal prison 

"He sold the mayor's office to the highest bidder."

Mark Abrams
October 23, 2018 - 9:13 pm
Ed Pawlowski is shown in 2014

Brad Segall/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) —  The former mayor of Allentown, Pa. was sentenced to a lengthy prison term Tuesday for his conviction in a pay-to-play scheme designed to raise cash for his campaigns for higher office.

Federal Judge Juan Sanchez slapped a 15-year sentence on Ed Pawlowski, a former three-term mayor. It is the the maximum under federal guidelines. 

"He sold the mayor's office to the highest bidder. If you wanted to do business with the City of Allentown you needed to line the pockets of this mayor," said Deputy U.S. Attorney Louis Lappen.

A jury had convicted Pawlowski, a Democrat, on 47 of 54 charges in March – including conspiracy to commit bribery, fraud, and extortion. Federal prosecutors said Pawlowski came up with a scheme in which he solicited city vendors to fund his unsuccessful campaigns for governor and the U.S. Senate. The contracts included engineering, technology, construction and legal work.

Jack McMahon, Pawlowski's attorney, brought 60 character witnesses to the sentencing hearing. It was a stratgey McMahon thought might help.

"The court didn't seem to be moved by that at all. They seemed to dismiss the historical character of this individual and kind of have a knee-jerk reaction to the crime," he said.

Pawlowski was immediatly taken into custody by federal marshalls to begin serving his sentence.