Friend of former Mayor Courtright facing federal charges in pay-to-play scheme

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A second person has pleaded guilty to corruption charges in an ongoing federal corruption probe in the city of Scranton. On Tuesday, a confidant of former mayor Bill Courtright admitted he was a go-between in the alleged pay to play scheme involving the mayor.

Edward Weidow Sr. admits he delivered pay-off cash to then-mayor Bill Courtright. During the investigation, Courtright was tape-recorded by the FBI as saying that the go-between we now know is Edward Weidow Sr., was a rock that would never give Courtright up. On Tuesday, that rock crumbled.

Edward Weidow Sr. left federal court in Scranton shortly after he stood before a judge and pleaded guilty to giving false statements to the FBI. Investigators say he delivered cash to then-Mayor Bill Courtright from individuals who were being strong-armed by Courtright.

Courtright resigned earlier this month. A day later he pleaded guilty to corruption charges. The Justice Department says Courtright admits he took cash payments from business owners to gain or maintain contracts with the city of Scranton.

His total take? Some $50,000. Federal authorities say Weidow was a major player in the scheme. According to the Federal indictment: Courtright instructed people he was strong-arming to give cash to Weidow and then Weidow would deliver the cash to Courtright. Investigators say he delivered $9,000 in cash on the pay to play scheme. The expanding probe and scandal have people in the Electric City talking.

“I hope he gets a long jail term because we’re shocked. Not shocked, but totally disappointed as to what’s going on here,” Janice Dench of Scranton said.

“It’s just sad that’s the way of the world is like even in this day and age. People think “A” they think they can get away with it and not tell anyone and B they think it’s okay,” Pat Hart of Scranton said.

“It’s a pretty big black eye for the city,” Johanna Jones of Scranton said. When asked if the city could recover from this, Jones replied “I don’t know. I’m hoping.”

Weidow faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will be sentenced later this year.

Federal investigators say this corruption probe in Scranton is ongoing and they are not ruling out more arrests.

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