Robert K. Mericle, a wealthy developer who built detention centers in Pittston Township and Butler County connected to the kids-for-cash case, pleaded guilty in September 2009 to failing to report a felony in the case. He is set to be sentenced Feb. 26. In 2011, his construction company performed $35,000 worth of free services for former state Sen. Raphael Musto. Under the Mericle settlement, 1,066 former defendants who appeared before Ciavarella will receive base settlements of $500 to $5,000, with some eligible for additional money depending on the circumstances of their cases and sentences.
When the kids-for-cash scandal erupted in 2009, evidence mounted that Ciavarella railroaded juveniles through the tersest of court hearings, violated state court rules by failing to inform them of basic rights, and funneled the young defendants to the for-profit detention centers.
Fonzo, the Wilkes-Barre mother who confronted Ciavarella after his conviction in 2011, claimed Ciavarella’s decision to detain her son on drug paraphernalia charges in 2004 led to a downward spiral that ended in her son’s suicide in 2010. Mericle has admitted to paying more than $2 million to former judges Michael T. Conahan and Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., who closed a county-owned juvenile detention center and placed juveniles in two for-profit centers built by Mericle’s construction firm.
Wyoming Seminary’s new athletic field in Kingston has been named Mericle Field, in honor of the Mericle Family and in recognition of and gratitude for years of dedicated and generous support by the Mericle Family for the school’s academic and athletic programs,” The stadium project includes two lighted fields, two new locker room facilities, a permanent grandstand along Hoyt Street, a welcoming entrance from Hoyt Street, and new landscaping and fencing around the facility’s perimeter. The new complex has been designed to accommodate soccer, football, baseball, and softball and serves as a complement to Klassner Field for field hockey and lacrosse tournaments and larger competitions.Mericle, 50, is a graduate of Meyers High School in Wilkes-Barre and lives in Jackson Township with his wife, Kim. Their daughter, Kristen, graduated from Wyoming Seminary in the spring, and she played on the school’s field hockey and lacrosse teams.The total cost for the project was $4 million.
[TED CRUZ ] accepted money from Robert K. Mericle,
In 2009, Mericle was sued in class-action lawsuits involving more than 1,000 former offenders who appeared in the county juvenile court from 2004 to 2008. Last December, a federal judge approved a $17.75 million settlement between Mericle and the plaintiffs.
“It flies in face of the motto they tell you about,” Corbett On his WILK talk radio show said, during an interview. “The brass arrogance, to support this guy no matter what he did. It’s all money. It looks like that, not to honor and strive for the true, the beautiful, and the good.
Robert K. Mericle, a private prison builder and key figure in a judicial corruption scandal needed to fill beds at his newly built cash cow juvenile prison industry in Pennsylvania (as all prisons do). He paid two superior court judges 2.3M for children, black and white, and received them on order. Judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael Conahan took $770,000 from local attorney Robert Powell and $2.1 million paid from Mericle. and failed to for kids to fill beds at detention centers controlled by Powell. Powell, who surrendered his law license as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, served 18 months in federal prison for his role in the scandal.
In 2002, Powell teamed with Allegheny County investment banker Greg Zappala to build their first juvenile detention center, Pennsylvania Child Care, in Pittston Township in 2002. They later built a second center in Butler County called Western PA Child Care. Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corp. provides services to operate the facilities.All juveniles adjudicated or put in placement by Ciavarella between Jan 1, 2003 and May 28, 2008 are eligible to receive damages, the settlement says. Those who were placed in PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care are eligible for more damages.
Zappala, son of a former state Supreme Court chief justice and brother of the Allegheny County district attorney, abruptly ended the partnership in June 2008 after The Citizens’ Voice reported the FBI was investigating financial ties between Ciavarella, Conahan and Powell. Zappala, who assumed sole control over the companies, was never charged and was not named in civil suit because attorneys said they have no evidence he was aware of the scandal. The joint motion filed in federal court regarding the settlement say PA Child Care, Western PA Child Care and Mid-Atlantic Youth Services – collectively known as “the Provider Defendants” – are not admitting to any wrongdoing.by settling their claims, that any claims regarding the juveniles’ care and treatment while detained in or placed at PA Child Care’s facility in Pittston, Luzerne County, or Western PA Child Care’s facility in Emlenton, Butler County are withdrawn.”
Mr. Mericle pioneered the development of speculative industrial space in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He has almost 25 years of experience in commercial real estate services and is a licensed general contractor with an extensive background in commercial real estate development, construction, brokerage, and finance.
In October, PA Child Care, Western PA Child Care and Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corp. agreed to settle claims brought by the juveniles. Mericle reached a $17.75 million settlement in the lawsuit last year.
- Nov. 23, 2010: A federal grand jury indicts Musto on charges he accepted bribes and kickbacks from Mericle Construction Co. and another government official. Musto says he looks forward to his “day in court.”
- Jan. 7: Caputo rules Musto is not competent to stand trial, must enter medical facility for treatment.
Provided Judge Captuo has been a friend of Musto’s for many years. Why was he allowed to rule on the case? The Federal Prosecutors should challenge Captuo’s ruling. Mericle’s firm gave Musto $35,000, free construction services and Christmas gifts as a reward for his support of state grants for a multimillion-dollar development in Musto’s district.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Mericle could face 12 to 18 months in prison.
After he confessed, he testified against the judges, who in turn, received prison time sentences. Mericle hired Texas Senate then candidate Ted Cruz to appeal a federal district court’s refusal to make his insurer pay damages to children bought and sold.
TED Cruz defended Child Abuser to Save Abuser Personal Money Damages; To Create a Flow of Easy Capital for Cruz’ Political Ambitions