Two Turnpike defendants admitted to probation program

Two Turnpike defendants admitted to probation program

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probationDauphin County Judge Richard Lewis will allow two defendants charged in the Pennsylvania Turnpike “pay-to-play” corruption case to enter into a probation program.

Jeffrey Suzenski, a vendor consultant, and Dennis Miller, a Turnpike vendor, were admitted into Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD). The two men will stay in the probation program for two years, perform 100 hours of community service and pay standard ARD fees at the cost of about $1,200.

If they successfully complete the program, the charges against them will be dropped and their records will be expunged.

Judge Lewis said he had “no hesitation” to admit Miller and Suzenski into the ARD program after “thoroughly” reviewing evidence and testimony presented at the preliminary hearing as well as “a plethora” of pre-trial motions. He said their admission into the program is “more than appropriate.”
J.J. Abbott, a spokesman for Attorney General Kathleen Kane, said the ARD deal was an “appropriate resolution and proper disposition of these two cases.” He could not elaborate or comment more broadly on the case.

Lawyers for Miller and Suzenski said there is no agreement for the two men to cooperate with the prosecution of the remaining defendants.

“My client has maintained his innocence since day one. He continues to do so. There is no admission of any guilt here,” said Mark Sheppard, Miller’s lawyer. “This is a disposition that allows him to finally get on with his life.”

“Obviously the fact that the single charge against my client will be dismissed at the end of this process and the fact that his record will be expunged certainly is an indication that Mr. Suzenski is an individual who should not be characterized as someone who violated the law here,” said Suzenski’s lawyer, Michael Engle. “Mr. Suzenski is not entering this program because of an admission of any wrongdoing.”

Miller was brought up originally on charges including unlawful bid-rigging, theft, restricted activities and conspiracy charges. Suzenski was charged with one count of restricted activities.
Both men were lesser known defendants in the Office of Attorney General’s broader investigation into bid-rigging at the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which has ensnared former Sen. Bob Mellow, and former Turnpike officials Mitchell Rubin, a former commissioner; Joseph Brimmeier, a former CEO; and George Hatalowich, a former COO.

Those four men were charged with participating in a corrupt conspiracy where thousands of dollars in political contributions translated into lucrative, multimillion dollar Turnpike contracts. Judge Lewis is still reviewing motions that asked for the charges to be dismissed or at least separate trials for the four remaining defendants.
-Kevin Zwick, Capitolwire