Man charged in Easton area raids is a long-time drug dealer, records show

Posted by Real-Time News.

The 39-year-old had been out of federal prison for a little more than a year, records show.

The man arrested on drug charges by Easton police on Wednesday in a Palmer Township hotel was freed in February 2014 after being sentenced in 2010 to 10 years in federal prison, court papers show.

Shyheem Smith, now 39, pleaded guilty Nov. 15, 2010, to December 2008 charges of distribution of crack cocaine (three counts), distribution of 5 grams or more of crack (two counts) and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack, according to paperwork from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Easton police monitored Smith and a co-defendant for about four months in 2008 before charging them Dec. 23 of that year, according to an Express-Times account of the arrests.

Three sales were made to cooperating witnesses in city parking lots on the South Side and Downtown, police said at the time.

When Smith was arrested Dec. 23, 2008, he was in possession of 70 grams of crack, police said.

Smith was charged in county court, but cases there were ended by the prosecution, court papers show, likely in deference to the federal charges.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Smith received credit for time served after his arrest but before his guilty plea. If the clock was ticking from the time of his arrest and he never made bail, he would have been behind bars for five years and less than two months out of the 10-year sentence.

Court papers from his 2010 guilty plea show he was prohibited from owning a firearm.

After Smith was arrested Wednesday, police say they severed narcotics search warrants at 1010 Belmont St. in Williams Township and 227 S. 17th St. in Wilson Borough. They recovered $30,000 in cocaine, a loaded 25-caliber handgun, nearly $19,000 in cash, a police scanner and packaging/manufacturing equipment, police said.

Four vehicles were also taken and will be searched at a later time, Lt. Matthew Gerould said. Smith was selling drugs across the West Ward and controlled buys were made as part of the investigation, Gerould said.

While Henry Rouhand and Grace Sarkis, who Northampton County property records show own 1010 Belmont St., didn’t immediately return a phone message, the owner of 227 S. 17 St., David Colver, said Smith wasn’t on the lease for Apartment 2 and he’d never heard his name before.

Colver said a woman and a boy live in the upstairs apartment.

“He’s not my tenant,” Colver, the head of the Palmer Township supervisors, said, adding he spends a lot of time around his properties and there was no “guy or boyfriend” living in the apartment.

Gerould said Smith was “bouncing around” various homes and hotels, likely in an effort to avoid police.

Colver said he hadn’t heard a narcotics search warrant was served Wednesday at his property, which fronts at 1701 Washington Blvd., but his next stop on Thursday would be his Wilson Borough property to find out what was going on, he said.

Smith in September 2001 was charged in Easton with possession with intent to deliver crack, records show. On July 7 of that year he sold a gram of crack to a confidential informant and more crack and a small amount of marijuana were found in the patrol car after his arrest, police said at the time.

He pleaded guilty in May 2002 to possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance — two related charges were dropped — and was sentenced to 15 to 54 months in state prison, court records say. He was released June 23, 2004, court papers say.

Smith was arraigned Wednesday night on the most recent charges and sent to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail, a Northampton County Department of Corrections employee confirmed.

N.J. Attorney General: Abortion doctor unlawfully owns clinics

Posted by Real-Time News.

The allegations accuse 79-year-old gynecologist Vikram H. Kaji of fraud for claiming he had assumed ownership of clinics after Steven Brigham's license was yanked for gross negligence.

TRENTON — An abortion doctor who lost his license over late-term abortions is operating a string of clinics despite assuring the state that he had signed away the practice to his medical director, according to a complaint filed by the Attorney General’s Office.

The allegations are contained in a June 16 complaint accusing Vikram H. Kaji, a 79-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist of fraud for claiming he had assumed ownership of American Women’s Services’ clinics after the Board of Medical Examiners yanked Steven Brigham’s license in October for gross negligence. Brigham has appealed the decision.

Brigham.pngDr. Steven Chase Brigham speaks with one of his attorneys as he waits to appear before the Board of Medical Examiners in this 2010 file photo. An administrative law judge recommended his license be revoked. 

The board found that Brigham skirted state law by starting late-term abortions with five women by administering a drug that killed the fetus in his South Jersey office, and ordering them to drive to his Maryland clinic, where the surgical procedure was completed.

Without his license, Brigham was required by state law to divest himself from the American Women’s Services clinics he owned in Elizabeth, Mount Laurel, Paramus, Phillipsburg, Toms River, Woodbridge and Voorhees.

But when an investigator from the Division of Consumer Affairs performed an unannounced inspection at a clinic in Hamilton April 22, Kaji denied he was the owner. During a closed-door hearing of a committee of the board on May 5, Kaji “repeatedly testified under oath that he was not the owner,” according to the complaint filed June 16 by Deputy Attorney General Bindi Merchant.

“He expressly testified that ‘there is no other person around, (Brigham’s) the only one who runs the show,” according to the complaint obtained by NJ Advance Media.

Kaji’s “ownership of American Healthcare Services is a sham transfer and thus constitutes the use or employment of dishonesty, deception, misrepresentation, false promise or false pretense,” according to the complaint, which asked the board to suspend or revoke his medical license.

He “aided and abetted the unlicensed practice of medicine,” according to the complaint.

Consumer Affairs spokesman Neal Buccino said he could not confirm or deny whether the investigation into Kaji has opened a new case against Brigham.

Brigham’s attorney Joseph Gorrell could not be reached for comment. Kaji did not return a call to the Princeton Women’s Services clinic in Hamilton.

Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life, thanked the Attorney General’s Office for “looking into this matter further, and is now taking action to stop these two disgraced doctors’ and their schemes, which have harmed women in the state of New Jersey.”

Tasy said she hopes the actions revealed in the attorney general’s complaint “puts an end to Brigham’s attempts to practice ever again.”

“It’s pretty frightening this man could get his license back. This is another piece of evidence that shows he continues to flout the law and engage in deceptive practices.”

This is not the first time Kaji has been the target of an investigation.

In 1993, the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine revoked his license for a year after he admitted having sex with a patient in his office in Yardley, Pa. and inappropriately prescribing her steroids and tranquilizers. The patient had been a victim of childhood sexual abuse and was suffering from depression, according to the Pennsylvania order. Two other patients also accused him of sexual abuse but he denied the allegations.

New Jersey also suspended his license for a year over the offenses in Pennsylvania. The record of his New Jersey suspension is not on the state website that lists doctor disciplinary actions, however, because the law only requires online records to go back 10 years, according to the division of Consumer Affairs.

In 1996, Brigham hired Kaji, and in 2010 promoted him to medical director, according to the complaint.

In 2013, New Jersey’s physician disciplinary board required Kaji undergo a neuropsychological examination because of “memory loss/impairment” issues. The evaluation found “mild cognitive impairment” but he was deemed fit to practice.

Susan K. Livio may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio. Find Politics on Facebook.

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Bethlehem man breaks into couple’s home, attacks them, police say

Posted by 69News:.

A Bethlehem man was arrested Tuesday after he broke into a couple’s Allentown apartment and attacked them, police say.

Daniel King Warren, of the 1900 block of West Broad Street, is charged with felony counts of criminal trespass and burglary, misdemeanor counts of simple assault and cocaine possession and summary counts of criminal mischief and harassment. The 48-year-old was arraigned before District Judge Karen Devin and sent to Lehigh County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Allentown police were called at 7:05 p.m. to a 1612 Hamilton St. apartment where they met with Warren and victims Sherri Velazquez and Miller Deloatch, court records say. Warren was bleeding from a cut on the left side of his face.

When officers asked Warren what happened to his face, he  said, “Nothing,” and was otherwise uncooperative, records say. Deloatch told officers he and Velazquez were in bed when they heard a knock on the front door.

Both victims got up and were in the process of getting dressed to answer the door when Warren broke in through a living room window, records say. Once inside, he allegedly began punching Deloatch.

Velazquez went into the bathroom and locked the door. Warren broke into the bathroom, hitting and kicking Velazquez as she lay in fetal position to protect herself, records say.

Officers observed the broken living room window, the broken bathroom door and “a fair amount of blood throughout the apartment,” records say. Police took photos of the victim’s injuries, but they both declined medical treatment.

Police arrested Warren, who cut his face when he broke the living room window, records say. He received treatment at St. Luke’s Hospital in Allentown.

At the time of his arrest, Warren was carrying a “rock-like substance” that tested positive for cocaine, records say. It’s not clear how or if Warren knew Velazquez and Deloatch prior to Tuesday’s attack.

LVHN building targeted by thief with drug habit, police say

Posted by 69News:.

A homeless man accused of stealing cash from a Lehigh Valley Health Network building last month told officers he took the money to feed his drug habit, police said.

Kenneth Grevell Conrad, no known address, is charged with misdemeanor counts of theft, receiving stolen property and possession of a controlled or counterfeit substance. The 24-year-old was arraigned before District Judge Karen Devine and released on $10,000 unsecured bail.

Salisbury Township police were contacted by health network security who told them a series of thefts had occurred between June 9 and Tuesday in medical suites at 1250 S. Cedar Crest Blvd., court records say. A total of $688 was stolen from locked cabinets and security suspected Conrad, who worked for a company hired to clean the building.

Security put a hidden camera in the room where thefts were occurring and it recorded video of Conrad opening the cabinets and removing cash from deposit bags inside them, records say. He typically used a key to open the cabinets, but picked the lock on one occasion when he couldn’t find the key.

Security spoke with Conrad on Wednesday and he admitted stealing the cash and said he had a drug addiction, records say. Conrad later told police he is homeless.

At the time of his arrest, the suspect was carrying packets of synthetic marijuana and heroin, records say.

South Side Bethlehem project construction brings road closures

Posted by Real-Time News.

Greenway Commons is the second project to start construction in Bethlehem's City Revitalization and Improvement Zone.

The start of construction of a three-building complex of luxury apartments, offices and retail space next week means road closures for South Side Bethlehem.

Greenway Commons is being built atop three parking lots across from Northampton Community College along Third Street.

It’s the second project to start construction in Bethlehem’s City Revitalization and Improvement Zone.

Starting early next week until mid-2016, Pierce Street will be closed between Third and Fourth streets as construction spans both sides of the street, according to the city.

Pierce Street will remain partially open between Fourth and Evans streets to allow access to Evans and the parking lot just north. Detour signs will direct drivers to utilize Fillmore Street and yield to oncoming traffic at the Bethlehem Greenway crossing.

Greenway Commons will flank BethWorks Renovations’ first CRIZ project, Social Still distillery. The state economic development incentive allows new businesses within the zone to use new state and local non-property taxes toward project financing.

BethWorks had said they were seeking a restaurant to anchor the building directly next-door to Social Still.

The developer has said they plan to first begin building the two retail-and-apartment buildings. Construction on the retail-and-office building will begin once work on a nearby garage the complex plans to use for parking is underway.

Sara K. Satullo may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @sarasatullo. Find on Facebook.

Student uniforms considered at Warren Tech

Posted by Real-Time News.

The principal said there has been "mixed feedback" since the idea came up in the spring, part of a more general review of school policies.

The dress code at Warren County Technical School could become more, well, uniform.

Warren TechWarren County Technical School for years has stringently enforced its dress code, its chief school administrator said after a crackdown in the spring. (Express-Times file photo) 

While nothing has been decided, a committee of students, teachers and administrators met Wednesday to discuss a student uniform requirement, according to district officials.

Principal Geta Vogel said there has been “mixed feedback” since the idea came up in the spring, part of a more general review of school policies including enforcement of or changes to the current dress code.

“You always have to start somewhere,” Vogel said.

She emphasized the talks are preliminary — no action has been taken.

Superintendent Robert Glowacky suggested in the spring that uniforms could be a long-term solution to dress code violations. A letter was sent to parents asking them to weigh in, he said at the time.

RELATED: Warren Tech dress code crackdown targets pajamas, leggings

The Franklin Township school had a controversial crackdown on student dress in May. Some complained that a practice where female students were separated into three groups — dressed appropriately, questionably or inappropriately — and allegedly chastised was uncalled for and offensive.

Glowacky said then that enforcing good dressing habits is part of the school’s mission: “We’re a career academy. We’re preparing people for careers. … If you want us to train your child for a career, this is part of it.”

Vogel said on Wednesday that some parents are on board with the idea of uniforms, but a major concern is affordability.

“Generally the students at (Wednesday’s) meeting said they would support whatever the school goes with,” she said.

As for what style of uniforms are being discussed, Vogel said “there’s no point in discussing that because we’re not there yet.”

The school board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Aug. 26.

Steve Novak may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @type2supernovak. Find on Facebook.


She Did Say Molon Labe

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

She said “Molon Labe” and that’s what NorCo Deputy Sheriffs did. I have a judgment against Tricia Mezzacappa for $72,000, but she has thumbed her nose at it. She hid her car after levy and refused to produce it at the Sheriff’s Sale, where I bought it. She even refused to produce it after being charged criminally with defrauding secured creditors, saying she’d rather go to jail.

Her wish may come true.

NorCo Deputy Sheriffs never stopped looking. They found the car Tuesday night, after spotting her sneak it out of a garage near her house. They claim they just got lucky, but the truth is they take their jobs seriously, and deserve a great deal of credit for this, as well as District Attorney John Morganelli, Assistant DA Travis Weber and Detective Frank Jordan.  The car has been turned over to me, and I am storing it in a safe location pending the transfer of title and instructions from Attorney Rick Orloski.  She still has a set of keys. Amazingly, she called the DA this morning and asked if she could borrow the car to get to work.

And that brings up another question. How is someone who works full time as a registered nurse entitled to a public defender? Papers I found in her car tell me she is working full time, yet taxpayers are paying for her lawyer. This seems like fraud, too.

The young man you see in one of these pictures is Maximilian Vladimir Angle, one of Ron’s sons. He is a natural body builder, and bench-pressed the car, which has 75,000 miles and a few dings. But he was unable to get me up in the air.

We found all kinds of ratty old clothing, which I put in a bag for the sheriff to give back to her. She had called the Sheriffs to complain about jumper cables. I found them, too and turned them over although I have no idea what she’s going to do with them.

Ron Angle found a clipboard showing that she still offers massages for $1 per minute. We found no guns.

Brown Wants to Reneg on 4.5% Raise For 17 Magisterial Workers

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

On April 16, Northampton County Council voted unanimously to approve across-the-board payhikes, averaging 4.5%, for 228 County workers in 14 different clerical job titles. Deputy Administrator Cathy Allen told Council it would cost about $307,000, and would be above and beyond whatever was being negotiated in union contracts. A human resources memo complained that “the county has struggled in recruiting and maintaining staff in many of the clerical positions throughout the county.” A “more fair and equitable pay rate” was proposed for some of the “lower level clerical positions,” which affect both union and non-union workers. When I read that, I assumed that all clerical positions were considered “lower level,” as compared to other job classifications, which offer higher rates of pay. I assumed all of them were getting raises, including 17 clerks who work for magisterial district judges and are topped out at $19.20 per hour. After all, the living wage for a single mother with one child is $22.33 per hour in Northampton County. This increase would change the top salary to $20.64 per hour, which is still below the living wage, but would be “more fair and equitable” and would help to maintain more experienced people.These positions were all specifically listed in the memo voted on by Council. Now, the John Brown administration is calling it a “scrivener’s error” and wants to roll back those raises. Solicitor Ryan Durkin called it a “payraise that was never intended to be made.”

What surprised me is that some people actually agreed with this argument, which is nonsense, as a matter of law.

A scrivener’s error is a typo, the kind of mistake that usually occurs in copying legal descriptions in deeds although it can occur in other matters like settlement offers. According to what is known as the doctrine of scrivener’s error, it can only be corrected by evidence that is clear, convincing, and precise. There is nothing convincing, clear or precise about the evidence surrounding this payhike.

The proof of that is Hayden Phillips, Council’s most conservative member. After listening to the dioscussion for about thirty minutes he admitted that “I’m totally confused.” Had this really been a scrivener’s error, the mistake would be obvious.

In fairness, some Council members like Scott Parsons did believe that the raise was intended only to apply to entry level clerks. But others like Lamont McClure believed that “lower level clerical positions” applied to all clerical positions, which are lower on the totem pole than other job classifications. He pointed out that there had been a record number of retirements the previous year, and thought this payraise was an attempt to keep more experienced workers in the fold.

Speaking on behalf of these 17 workers was Bethlehem Attorney Chris Spadoni. He’s been an Assistant DA, Chief Public Defender, Assistant County Solicitor and served as Bethlehem’s City Council Solicitor for 17 years. he knows a little bit about municipal law, and was unaware that the Brown administration would try to go back on this payraise until 6 am that morning. He pointed out simply that Council voted for a 4.5% payhike for these 17people, and they are entitled to it. He added these workers are the “front line” of our judicial system.

That meant nothing to Mat Benol, who had hung a plaque containing the Ten Commandments on the wall before the meeting and then took a picture of it with his cell phone. He and Seth Vaughn both spoke of being from the private sector. “When you’re at the top of the payscale, you’re at the top of the payscale,” reasoned Vaughn. “No raise.” Benol complained that these workers were engaged in an “opportunistic attempt” to capitalize on someone’s error, and later added that this would just open the floodgates to everyone rushing in to demand more money.

This drew the ire of Ken Kraft, who pointed out that the total amount of money involved is $31,000. “We’re not talking about 3,000 people like in some hypothetical crazy idea,” he observed. “We’re talking about people at $19.00,” echoed McClure. “I have not heard much outrage about people getting $100,000… The fact of the matter is that these are people.”

As the discussion continued, confusion increased. Council voted 5-4 to table the matter and refer it to Ken Kraft’s Personnel Committee. McClure joined Benol, Vaughn and Glenn Geissinger in voting against the motion to table, but that’s because he appeared to be ready to reject any resolution that withdrew the payhike.

After the meeting was over, some of these impacted magisterial district judge employees had a rare informal discussion with Executive John Brown and Council members Scott Parsons and Bob Werner. Brown could be heard telling these workers that they are appreciated, and they seemed to make some headway in resolving their differences. Brown was asked about better security measures for magisterial employees, and said he would look into any proposal he receives. Magisterial District Judge employee Linda Sweeney sounded hopeful.

Spadoni had earlier told Council, quoting former Executive Jerry Seyfried, that nobody wins when there are lawsuits involving different branches of government.

NorCo Council Takes Control Over Table Games Grants

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

By a 8-1 vote, Northampton County Council last night voted to require their approval of any grants that might come from the nearly $3 million in table games revenue that is currently sitting in county coffers. An additional $1.2 million in revenue is anticipated this year. Glenn Geissinger was the sole council member to vote against this proposal, which was sponsored by Lamont McClure and Ken Kraft. Even Executive John Brown stated he didn’t “really have any concern” with giving Council a say in how that money is spent. “We’re just looking to get that money into circulation and put it to good use,” he explained.

Brown has established announced a $1 million grants and loan program designed to focus more on the aging boroughs than on Bethlehem and Easton. On the campaign trail, he had argued that “[w]e have to get away from Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, and focus on the rest of the community.” His plan, called the Community Investment Partnership Program (CIPP), will actually give priority to applications from the smaller communities. At an economic development hearing, DCED Director Diane Donaher indicated that 80% of the grants and funds awarded will go to what she calls the “aging communities” in contrast to the urban core.

Stating he had no intention of throwing a “wet blanket” on the spending plan outlined by brown. McClure’s argument was simply that there’s too much money in table games revenue for it to be discretionary.” Hayden Phillips likened McClure’s ordinance to what goes on in open space, where money is allotted in the budget every year but specific projects are voted up or down. Calling it a “check” on large sums of money, Seth Vaughn also agreed it “sounds good to me.”

NorCo Council Advances Commissar Ordinance

Posted by Lehigh Valley Ramblings.

As I warned you yesterday, Northampton County Council was set to consider an ordinance authorizing a referendum to change their name from Council members to Commissioners, like the big boys. Though President Peg Ferraro nearly burst out laughing when she came to that item on the agenda, she was able to get it out there. This was introduced by Seth Vaughn and Ken Kraft, although even he couldn’t stop smiling.

Yesterday, someone suggested that if Council really wants to be taken seriously, they should become Commissars. You gotta’ admit, that has a nice ring. Maybe they can be provided uniforms and a Beaver hat, too. I think Scott Parsons is going to suggest that as a friendly amendment.

Another amendment they may want to consider is changing the title of Executive to something more dramatic, like Shogun. Especially if they give John Brown one of those battle helmets with horns. That’s totally bad ass.

I’m going to go out a=on a limb here and predict this ordinance has zero chance of passing. If it does, I will commit seppuku at once.