PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The jury heard new wiretap recordings in the bribery and corruption trial of Philadelphia labor leader John Dougherty and City Councilmember Bobby Henon on Monday. In court, the testimony was all about, let’s make a deal.
For Dougherty, Henon, and other Local 98 higher-ups, there was agitation surrounding the renewal of a Comcast franchise agreement with the city in late 2015.READ MORE: Philadelphia Firefighters Rescue 2 People From Fairmount House Fire
The feds had an unknown number of phones bugged.
Expletive-laced conversations played out showing behind-the-scenes power brokering in the ongoing public corruption trial of an organized labor titan and the city councilmember alleged to have done his bidding.
Working up to a deal, Comcast was offering incentives and discounts for low-income customers, but wiretapped calls showed Dougherty wanted more — more as in an alleged secret sidebar agreement that guaranteed union labor would get a crack at all Comcast work in city rights of way.READ MORE: Hundreds Of Gloucester Township School Teachers Protest For New Contract: 'I Feel Taken Advantage Of'
On the line with Henon, Dougherty quoted a conversation he just had at the time in 2015 with then-Mayor Michael Nutter:
“Comcast promised me this problem would be fixed.”
“…They’ve been lyin’ and robbin’ the city for years.”
“This deal is peanuts.”
“I’m asking to put 20 guys to work a year.”
“I don’t want their grant money, their [expletive] scholarship money, I want their work.”
In texts and more calls, Henon and Dougherty continued their frantic behind-the-scenes heavy lift to align hourly wages with something agreeable to Comcast, according to the wiretaps.
The day before a critical City Council vote, Henon and Johnny Doc met with a Comcast negotiator and were able to square away a deal. Dougherty and Henon were both relieved on call that night in 2015.
“Nice job today,” Dougherty said to Henon.
“Thanks,” Henon replied.
“That’s a good deal,” Dougherty said.
Attorneys for Dougherty and Henon argue there’s nothing criminal about any of this dealmaking and both defendants were lobbying for their union but doing so with no criminal intent.MORE NEWS: South Philadelphia Rowhome Catches Fire
The trial is expected to continue through the week.