The headline reads:
Orie-Zappala political associate has central role in probes
Alright, what means "probes"? Mr. Kramm here stands reported on of having...
... passed along gossip the senator's lawyers initially hoped to use in her defense, and now finds himself in a legal morass... (P-G, Dennis B. Roddey)
... as a potential defense witness, it looks like:
According to the documents, Mr. Kramm appears to be the source of early claims by the senator's defense team that Mr. Zappala and his family were determined to derail both Sen. Orie's career as well as that of Justice Melvin.
He also told Sen. Orie's attorneys that both Mr. Zappala and his father, former state Supreme Court Justice Stephen A. Zappala Sr., were strongly supporting Jack Panella, Mrs. Melvin's Democratic opponent in the race for Supreme Court.
"Kramm also believes that a major reason the Zappalas supported Panella is because of Zappala Sr. involvement in casinos in Pennsylvania," the memorandum states, referring to the elder Zappala's position heading a group representing the state's casino industry. "Kramm said that, if Panella was elected to the Supreme Court, Zappala Sr. would be able to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the large casinos against smaller casinos. Thus, Zappala Sr. had a monetary incentive to ensure that Panella won the election. (ibid)
Orie stands accused of having used her Senate office, staff and resources for political work on behalf of her sister.
Anybody else get the feeling that eventually, all these pesky alleged political politics cases will be combined together into one master trial of the political status quo? It's what Tom Corbett would do.
Anyway, how did Kramm begin to get caught up in all this?
While declining public comment, those who have encountered Mr. Kramm describe him as a go-getter who insinuated himself with Mr. Zappala's office in the past five years by facilitating meetings between the DA and city police and local businesses in the Strip District as well as Market Square. (ibid)
While he had heard of Mr. Kramm bragging of a close, insider connection to the DA's office, Mr. Zappala said he was not initially concerned "understanding the political processes, that perception is reality" and that it might have made it easier for Mr. Kramm to organize meetings between local businesses and the police and DA. (ibid)
The optics on all this is getting deafening. What business communities in Pittsburgh would not leap at the prospect of organized meetings with the police and the district attorney? Does that scenario really want for a "political operative" to achieve buy-in? Or is it more like community organizing, as in: if only the Carson Street area and other neighborhoods had more Robert Kramms with which to liaise with the DA's office.