Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Pennsylvania Republican Suspect of the Day: Manny Stamatakis

Over at Drexel University, Manuel Stamatakis and Drexel President Constantine "Taki" Papadakis are referred to, with genuine affection, as a sort of "Greek Mafia." This is not to say that they do anything illegal, though I guarantee a look into the fundraising accounts surrounding the acquisition of the MCP Hahnemann, now the Drexel University College of Medicine, would open some eyes. The deal is that Manny and Taki are connected, and most of those connections are Republican.

Today we hear, via Attytood, that some of Manny's records have been subpoenaed by the FBI. I guess they're going after a cozy relationship Stamatakis has with Commerce Bank, one of the focal points in the current Mayoral scandal here in Philly. Stamatakis, as Attytood notes, is a Bush Pioneer fundraiser, along with David Girard-DiCarlo of the Blank Rome law firm, and William G. Schubert, now comfy as Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator (he sure got his payback for raising money for Bush). Through his insurance business, Stamatakis makes tons of money providing insurance to the employees of the city of Philadelphia, which on the surface looks like a deal that's cozier than I'd countenance. That's referenced here, along with Stamatakis' history with that most notorious historical Republican figure, Frank Rizzo:
Of government in general, Stamatakis says, "You can't change it from the outside. So if you're going to have an impact, you have got to get involved."

But Stamatakis was not always so political - not until he met Frank Rizzo Sr. in 1987. Taking an immediate liking to Rizzo, Stamatakis distinguished himself as one of his biggest fund-raisers, and was even nicknamed by Rizzo as "The Golden Greek."

"He is one of the smartest guys I ever met," Stamatakis said. "He understood relationships. He could size up a situation. He was a leader, not afraid to make decisions."

Is Manuel Stamatakis guilty of something? I'm not ready to jump to that conclusion. But I would not be surprised if a few of Stamatakis' caliber on the Republican side of Philadelphia politics get further sucked into this investigation. After all, Bush Rangers and Pioneers, even those in PA, tend to attract dirt better than an Electrolux.