Commissioner Joe Spanik will return a campaign donation he received from a man associated with an engineering firm contracted to do work at Friendship Ridge. The move follows a report by the Beaver Countian published last week.
In December of last year, County Commissioners unanimously approved a contract with the engineering firm of Remington Vernick & Beach to perform work at Friendship Ridge. A search of campaign finance records by the Beaver Countian revealed Commissioner Joe Spanik received a $1,200 donation from New Jersey resident Craig Remington (a principal of the company) back in June, around the same time period Commissioner Tony Amadio said the firm first made their presentation.
The firm is a Philadelphia subsidiary of the New Jersey based Remington Vernick Engineers, a company that first started raising eyebrows in political circles way back in 1997, when they were convicted in New Jersey of evading campaign finance laws. A judge ruled the firm established shell corporations for the sole purpose of bypassing campaign finance limits, and that the group had occasionally forged signatures on checks. Since then, the firm has regularly been the subject of media reports and editorials accusing them of doing “favors” for politicians, or being involved in various “pay for play” controversies.
Commissioner Spanik said this was not the first time the firm had been approved to do work for the county, and a donation was given to him because they were already an existing vendor. “We had them do work back when Charlie Camp was here, as part of a lawsuit we had against another engineering firm,” said Spanik. “They were experts that advised us along the way. That is why I brought them forward this time around when we needed someone new up at Friendship Ridge.”
“There was no intent to do anything wrong here,” said Commissioner Spanik. “If I made a mistake along the way, I want to correct that.” To that end, Commissioner Spanik told the Beaver Countian he now intends to return part of the campaign contribution he received from Craig Remington. “The donation was part of my golf outing, so I did have expenses with that. I’m going to give $600 back to the company, because it’s what they gave me less the expenses that I had to deal with.”