Here’s a very strange story from AP, with thanks to Kaosktrl:
PHILADELPHIA (AP) “” City officials conspired to give a politically influential Muslim cleric “money for nothing,” a federal prosecutor argued Thursday, wrapping up his case in the latest of four City Hall corruption trials.
Prosecutors allege that a city tax lawyer and a council aide paved the way for Shamsud-din Ali to earn a $60,000 commission in a tax collection case, although he did no actual work.
“That is a loss of $60,000 to the city of Philadelphia, given to a man … who didn’t do a lick of work,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony J. Wzorek said in his closing arguments, describing one of several alleged schemes.
The FBI’s probe of alleged “pay-to-play” culture at City Hall has led to the indictments of more than a dozen people and the convictions so far of the city’s former treasurer, two bankers seeking city contracts, and others.
Ali, who bragged of close ties to Mayor John F. Street, is also charged with extorting money from city vendors and with racketeering. Defense lawyers, who declined comment Thursday, are scheduled to make their closing arguments Friday.