Howard Dean coming to Bethlehem for Clinton campaign

The former 2004 presidential contender will help open a Broad Street campaign office.

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Howard Dean will be voicing support for Hillary Clinton during a…

Howard Dean coming to Bethlehem for Clinton campaign

The former 2004 presidential contender will help open a Broad Street campaign office.

Watch video

Howard Dean will be voicing support for Hillary Clinton during a…

Bully judge dropped F-bombs, slept on floor in robes, panel finds

Former District Judge David Tidd is the subject of a 96-page complaint filed Friday by the Pa. Judicial Conduct Board.

The Hellertown area’s former district judge was charged Friday with sleeping in his robes on his office floor, using excessive profanity, bullying his staff when they complained and running a “fast food” court by settling cases at his counter rather than from the bench.

David Tidd HeadshotFormer District Judge David Tidd lehighvalleylive.com file photo

The scathing 96-page complaint also says former District Judge David Tidd handled cases as a bankruptcy attorney after presiding over cases involving the same litigants in his district court.

Tidd resigned effective July 25, less than seven months into his second six-year term. He had resigned in March but reversed his decision, only to resign again in July.

The complaint filed Friday by the Judicial Conduct Board says Tidd yelled at his staff for scheduling hearings on Election Day when he wanted to campaign. Frequent examples are cited of him losing his temper, insulting his staff and litigants, and using profanity and the F-word when speaking to or in the presence of staff members.

When he was summoned from his law office to sign a search warrant for a policeman, for instance, he told his clerk, “What an (expletive). Call me when he gets there and I’ll be there in two minutes.”

The pen he used to sign the warrant didn’t work so he threw it and screamed “(expletive) son of a bitch.” A second pen didn’t work, so he used two expletives and threw that pen.

One employee was transferred from his office due to the friction, the complaint says.

After an anonymous complaint was filed about Tidd, he confronted staff members and police and demanded to know whether they cooperated with the investigation.

“You know, for you to say you got mistreated by me takes balls,” he allegedly told a staffer. “Takes a lot of balls. Look me in the face and tell me I did that. Look me in the face and tell me I did that. Look me in the face and tell me I mistreated you.”

If he’s convicted, Tidd could be fined, as was former Supreme Court Judge J. Michael Eakin. Or, he could be barred from ever serving as a judge again, according Robert A. Graci, chief counsel for the state Judicial Conduct Board.

Tidd didn’t return a message left at his Hellertown law office Friday.

Tidd was admonished by President Judge F.P. Kimberly McFadden more than once for his behavior, but the warnings apparently had little effect, the report says.

He allegedly fell asleep on the floor of his office in his judicial robes on Jan. 23, 2012. On May 27, 2015, he was sleeping on the floor again, using his robes as a pillow.

The complaint says he handled matters he deemed insignificant from the counter of his courtroom in plain clothes rather than in his robes on the bench, giving him a reputation for holding a “fast food” court.

“They don’t pay me enough to hold hearings,” he’s alleged to have said, along with, “This is nothing but traffic court.”

14 of the strangest things we found in court papers, testimony

His method of conducting abbreviated and informal trials and hearings in the reception area earned him a nickname, officials said: “the drive-through judge.”

The complaint says he’d negotiate settlements for one party of a case before the litigant from the other side arrived in court. Police officers would arrive prepared for a hearing and Tidd would inform them he’d already handled the case, the complaint says.

The complaint also cites numerous examples where Tidd, an attorney, represented parties in bankruptcy court after having presided over them in district court. When he was called out on this practice, he asked for an advisory letter from the Special Court Judges Association’s ethics committee.

After receiving the letter in 2011, he continued to represent people with whom he had a conflict of interest, the complaint says.

He allegedly gave his attorney friend, James Burke, numerous reminders to dispose of parking tickets before they resulted in judgments or fines.

Burke said he never asked for any special treatment from Tidd.

“They’re not alleging that I ever called him and asked him to do anything,” Burke said. “I have a lot of friends who are judges, prosecutors and police officers and I don’t ask them to do anything for me.”

When a defendant arrived at Tidd’s court in April 2012 to set up a payment plan, Tidd was eating lunch at the counter in the reception area and ordered the man to pull up his pants, according to the complaint.

“I really don’t need to see his f—ing ass crack while I’m eating lunch,” he allegedly told court clerks after the defendant left.

Rudy Miller may be reached at rmiller@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.

Bully judge dropped F-bombs, slept on floor in robes, panel finds

Former District Judge David Tidd is the subject of a 96-page complaint filed Friday by the Pa. Judicial Conduct Board.

The Hellertown area’s former district judge was charged Friday with sleeping in his robes on his office floor, using excessive profanity, bullying his staff when they complained and running a “fast food” court by settling cases at his counter rather than from the bench.

David Tidd HeadshotFormer District Judge David Tidd lehighvalleylive.com file photo

The scathing 96-page complaint also says former District Judge David Tidd handled cases as a bankruptcy attorney after presiding over cases involving the same litigants in his district court.

Tidd resigned effective July 25, less than seven months into his second six-year term. He had resigned in March but reversed his decision, only to resign again in July.

The complaint filed Friday by the Judicial Conduct Board says Tidd yelled at his staff for scheduling hearings on Election Day when he wanted to campaign. Frequent examples are cited of him losing his temper, insulting his staff and litigants, and using profanity and the F-word when speaking to or in the presence of staff members.

When he was summoned from his law office to sign a search warrant for a policeman, for instance, he told his clerk, “What an (expletive). Call me when he gets there and I’ll be there in two minutes.”

The pen he used to sign the warrant didn’t work so he threw it and screamed “(expletive) son of a bitch.” A second pen didn’t work, so he used two expletives and threw that pen.

One employee was transferred from his office due to the friction, the complaint says.

After an anonymous complaint was filed about Tidd, he confronted staff members and police and demanded to know whether they cooperated with the investigation.

“You know, for you to say you got mistreated by me takes balls,” he allegedly told a staffer. “Takes a lot of balls. Look me in the face and tell me I did that. Look me in the face and tell me I did that. Look me in the face and tell me I mistreated you.”

If he’s convicted, Tidd could be fined, as was former Supreme Court Judge J. Michael Eakin. Or, he could be barred from ever serving as a judge again, according Robert A. Graci, chief counsel for the state Judicial Conduct Board.

Tidd didn’t return a message left at his Hellertown law office Friday.

Tidd was admonished by President Judge F.P. Kimberly McFadden more than once for his behavior, but the warnings apparently had little effect, the report says.

He allegedly fell asleep on the floor of his office in his judicial robes on Jan. 23, 2012. On May 27, 2015, he was sleeping on the floor again, using his robes as a pillow.

The complaint says he handled matters he deemed insignificant from the counter of his courtroom in plain clothes rather than in his robes on the bench, giving him a reputation for holding a “fast food” court.

“They don’t pay me enough to hold hearings,” he’s alleged to have said, along with, “This is nothing but traffic court.”

14 of the strangest things we found in court papers, testimony

His method of conducting abbreviated and informal trials and hearings in the reception area earned him a nickname, officials said: “the drive-through judge.”

The complaint says he’d negotiate settlements for one party of a case before the litigant from the other side arrived in court. Police officers would arrive prepared for a hearing and Tidd would inform them he’d already handled the case, the complaint says.

The complaint also cites numerous examples where Tidd, an attorney, represented parties in bankruptcy court after having presided over them in district court. When he was called out on this practice, he asked for an advisory letter from the Special Court Judges Association’s ethics committee.

After receiving the letter in 2011, he continued to represent people with whom he had a conflict of interest, the complaint says.

He allegedly gave his attorney friend, James Burke, numerous reminders to dispose of parking tickets before they resulted in judgments or fines.

Burke said he never asked for any special treatment from Tidd.

“They’re not alleging that I ever called him and asked him to do anything,” Burke said. “I have a lot of friends who are judges, prosecutors and police officers and I don’t ask them to do anything for me.”

When a defendant arrived at Tidd’s court in April 2012 to set up a payment plan, Tidd was eating lunch at the counter in the reception area and ordered the man to pull up his pants, according to the complaint.

“I really don’t need to see his f—ing ass crack while I’m eating lunch,” he allegedly told court clerks after the defendant left.

Rudy Miller may be reached at rmiller@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @RudyMillerLV. Find Easton area news on Facebook.

Pair arrested after Palmer police spy alleged drug deal

A K-9 search turned up 2 ounces of marijuana in their car, police say.

A Palmer Township police officer thought he had seen a drug deal go down.
(lehighvalleylive.com file p…

Pair arrested after Palmer police spy alleged drug deal

A K-9 search turned up 2 ounces of marijuana in their car, police say.

A Palmer Township police officer thought he had seen a drug deal go down.
(lehighvalleylive.com file p…

Subject of Amber Alert found safe, Pa. state police say

The 3-year-old had been reportedly abducted in Luzerne County.

A 3-year-old reportedly abducted in central Pennsylvania has been found safe, Pennsylvania State Police r…

Subject of Amber Alert found safe, Pa. state police say

The 3-year-old had been reportedly abducted in Luzerne County.

A 3-year-old reportedly abducted in central Pennsylvania has been found safe, Pennsylvania State Police r…

Charter school loan documents give another link to Atiyeh

The company that agreed to lend Innovative Arts Academy up to $100K has the same address as Abe Atiyeh’s nursing home.

The company that loaned a new charter school up to $100,000 for startup costs has the same address as a nursing home owned by developer Abe Atiyeh.

Innovative Arts Academy Charter SchoolThe Innovative Arts Academy Charter School is scheduled to open Sept. 6 at 330 Howertown Rd. in Catasauqua. (Sara K. Satullo | For lehighvalleylive.com)

Innovative Arts Academy Charter School in Catasauqua released loan documents Friday that identify the lender as Charter Solutions LLC, a limited liability corporation at 1177 Sixth St. in Whitehall Township — the same address as Atiyeh’s Whitehall Manor.

Atiyeh also is the fledgling school’s landlord at 330 Howertown Road in Catasauqua.

The loan documents provide the latest link yet between Atiyeh and the charter school amid a swirling controversy about who’s responsible for a mystery mailer that promoted the charter school and denigrated Liberty High School.

Charter school gets interim CEO

The mailer sparked outrage in the Bethlehem Area School District last weekend and a promised investigation by the Pennsylvania Auditor General’s Office. The mailed postcard was neither authorized nor sent with the knowledge of charter school leaders, they have said.

They also disavowed any connection with two full-page newspaper advertisements that promoted the charter school for grades six through 12.

The mailer depicts a photo of a troubled teen and references the 2015 drug arrest of a 17-year-old Liberty High student found with more than $3,000 in drugs in his backpack. It reprints a Morning Call headline after the arrest and asks “Why worry about this type of student at school? Come visit Arts Academy Charter School. Now enrolling grades 6-12.”

Charter school CEO Loraine Petrillo resigned this week and raised concerns about “unethical” practices and Atiyeh’s involvement with the school and its board. Atiyeh, who earlier in the week hung up on a reporter, has refused to discuss the matter.

On Thursday, Bethlehem Area School District Superintendent Joseph Roy said Petrillo had told him Atiyeh had loaned $75,000 so far to the school.

That was bolstered on Friday when charter school attorney Daniel Fennick said $75,000 of a $100,000 loan had been advanced by Charter Solutions.

“You will see that Mr. Atiyeh is not the creditor, but, in my opinion, that really doesn’t matter,” Fennick said in an email releasing the loan documents, which don’t name Atiyeh.

Fennick suggested in his email that a lender’s shareholders weren’t as important to the borrower as other aspects of the loan, such as the terms.

“Would you inquire as to the names of the shareholders of GMAC?” he said. “I bet the last time you took out a loan, you didn’t make that inquiry. Why not? Because it doesn’t matter. What matters are the terms.”

Earlier Friday, Fennick announced the school was set to open as planned on Sept. 6 and had hired an interim CEO, Steve Gabryluk.

The charter school has more than 300 students enrolled and will specialize in preparing students for careers in graphic design, journalism, culinary arts and fashion design, officials said.

Jim Deegan may be reached at jdeegan@lehighvalleylive.com. Follow him on Twitter @jim_deegan. Find lehighvalleylive on Facebook.

Meth-induced stupor leads to ‘state of insanity’ for golf course groundskeeper

Kyle Aicher pleaded guilty to burglarizing the golf course where he served as groundskeeper.

Kyle Aicher’s bizarre behavior on a golf course earlier this summer is difficult…