Harrisburg, PA – A former PennDOT official is facing felony charges for reportedly soliciting and accepting bribes from at least one contractor in exchange for continued contracts with the state transportation agency.
Nicholas Martino, 53, of Penn View Lane, Norristown, was charged today with conflict of interest – restricted activities, a felony, for accepting payments from an unidentified PennDOT contractor.
In exchange for the payments over a period of many years, Martino continued the contractor’s existing contracts with PennDOT, even when the contractor did not perform the work they were obligated to do.
Marino was employed by PennDOT as Assistant District Executive between 2006 and 2014 in the King of Prussia area.
“This is the definition of public corruption, where the taxpayers get cheated and the public loses confidence in its government,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “This individual accepted bribes and allowed a contractor to not perform their work under the contract. No one is above the law – and we will hold this former state official accountable for his crime.”
The investigation began in 2013 when Office of Attorney General agents received a tip about corruption in the Southeast Pennsylvania office of PennDOT. A cooperating witness gave evidence against Martino, who oversaw general maintenance and roadside management programs in his role as Assistant District Executive for PennDOT’s District Six.
After a contractor who paid bribes to Martino did not perform the work for which they were paid to do, Martino looked the other way. He even had one Bucks County inspector fired for refusing to approve the work the contractor had not performed.
In 2014, following the conclusion of a statewide investigating Grand Jury, 10 PennDOT managers and employees were charged with overbilling the state transportation agency by millions over a three-year period in exchange for kickbacks from contractors. Many of those defendants were accepted into an accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program for first-time offenders.
Attorney General Shapiro noted the cooperation of PennDOT officials during the course of the investigation leading to the charge being filed against Martino.
“We take these allegations very seriously and we commend the Attorney General’s office for their diligence in reviewing this situation,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “These alleged actions do not reflect the intense dedication and commitment of the men and women of PennDOT.”
Martino turned himself in this morning and was preliminarily arraigned. Bail was set at $10,000 unsecured. Martino waived his preliminary hearing and arraignment in Common Pleas Court. The case will be prosecuted by Chief Deputy Attorney General Erik Olsen.
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