www.timesleader.com News Sports Weather Obituaries Features Business People Opinion Video Contact Us Classifieds

Embattled Conahan’s status on bank’s board of directors unknown

Judge Michael Conahan agreed to resign from the Luzerne County bench, but what’s unknown is whether he will do the same or be forced to step down at First National Community Bank, where he earned $57,583 in compensation last year as a director.

Regulators have the authority to suspend employees and others affiliated with a bank if they are indicted for crimes involving dishonesty or breach of trust. The suspension can become a permanent prohibition upon a conviction.

Last year the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency along with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia suspended Louis DeNaples after he took a leave of absence from his position as chairman of the bank’s board of directors.

A grand jury indicted DeNaples, owner of the Mount Airy Casino Resort, on charges he lied to state gambling officials about his ties to organized crime figures. His case is pending.

Conahan and fellow judge Mark Ciavarella bypassed an indictment and signed plea agreements to charges they were involved in a scheme in which they received $2.6 million in kickbacks from the owner and builder of PA Child Care LLC for placing juveniles in the Pittston Township facility.

Dean DeBuck, a spokesman for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in Washington, D.C., said Tuesday that the agency does not comment on investigations that are under way.

Calls to the First National Community Bank were not returned. The bank paid Conahan $55,000 in fees and an additional $2,583 in interest, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year. Conahan has been on the board since 2003.

Federal authorities charged the judges with honest services fraud, saying they failed to disclose their connections to the child care facility on financial statements and violated the public trust by using their offices for personal gain.

Authorities said the two men tried to conceal some of the kickbacks as fees and rents to a company that owned a condominium in Jupiter, Fla. The company, Pinnacle Group of Jupiter LLC, was managed by Barbara Conahan, the judge’s wife. In 2004 the bank loaned the company $848,000 to buy the property. The loan was $63,000 more than the reported purchase price of $785,000.

The Weekender Go Lackawanna Timesleader The Dallas Post Tunkhannock Times Impressions Media The Abington Journal Hazelton Times Five Mountain Times El Mensajero Pittston Sunday Dispatch Creative Circle Media Image Map