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WILK News Radio>Audio & Video on Demand>>Former Luzerne County controller Walter Griffith and Corbett

Former Luzerne County controller Walter Griffith and Corbett

Jul 23, 2014|

Former Luzerne County controller Walter Griffith talks to Corbett about asking for a state investigation of a 911 dispatch mistake in which the closest fire department was not immediately dispatched to a fire and also Walter discusses why he plead guilty.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Walter -- thanks for holding and thanks for talking with us. You're welcome Steve -- so what this -- well. It is a situation last night we went to council meeting. It was a personal resident that would help a lot when -- -- ultimate -- bash an -- blocked out the door -- would have been threatening came to me and -- CNN state we would do something to try to make sure that no one gets hurt. Again in -- what between -- 2911. Took it upon myself to come back. This morning. The states. Because they need emergency management association has got what they could do to try and help during counting the ones who spoke to told me to write and email. -- do this mr. from Pennsylvania came up. And it -- they would do a investigation into the 911 she was very troubled with some of the things they colder as well as senator in the newspaper article from the citizens' voice. Telling the leadership that we had with the fire down and cunning and township. So that was the the whole issue behind issuing a letter to this month and technicality. Council. This is an ongoing this -- 11 issue is not know this isn't just something that just happened this is the first time obviously that there's -- -- But the sort of the first time we've had issues with my 11. As was the purpose of the putting information in the latter. To allude to the fact that there was issues in the past I identify myself as a county controller I never told -- to control or. Mr. Lee in my estimation just basically thought that it wouldn't be very important for them to know why I left office. It was germane to the discussion quite frankly I always germane to the discussion was to keep the residents of this county and what was important. But we have to get out -- the focus off what safety of the county residents is to now the -- -- -- back and forth between mr. Morelli and took us. And that's not what's important what's important is we have 300000 residents at the pace -- 911 feet. Perhaps safety and my 11 and we get a recorded message stating sorry we're busy walk you back later. That's an acceptable. And so I thought it was important for me to send a letter as a resident 2911 to ask if they can help. And were more gracious enough to say yes we will help we will do an investigation to find out if there's an issue and we'll find out if there isn't trying to rectify the problem. Mr. Morelli then he immediately wrote that letter just as well as -- -- this -- skeletal. The issue that we're happen in the county with 91 once every member council. I know has taken the initiative. Write a letter I read lots of letters state that you know back in the day when we had extra cash -- And all the things that I've been -- for and you know the history of -- Griffin -- all the way up until today. I don't I had probably write a letter to somebody if I feel there's an open and I need to get help -- passing in front citizens of -- county should do. We should people -- by people would say well listen if you write a letter and we don't agree with that we're gonna bring up your pastor want to make you embarrassed enough that don't have to have that problem. And that's the problem I have -- director of publicity and this county that are important. We were thoroughly and Walter -- that's not important at all. -- I think we're gonna have to take a break 44. Traffic. And if it's okay -- Q can you can't hold again I really can't go join at Walter Griffin thanks for holding have you received a response. To your email already multiple. No I have not Steve and I expect to get anything quite frankly from the that the department part from the -- which is a Pennsylvania emergency. Management association -- our agency. They'll send me a response but I certainly trust that they will do their due diligence under investigation into the 9110. -- the real reason I'm asking is because you mentioned that they agreed to investigate them I didn't know all how you knew that they agreed to investigate. Unless they got back to. It is a woman spoke to me it's my spokeswoman sporting on the phone she says if I send them an email they would invest. All national association promised an investigation without even knowing what they accusations were. Like what the PC network where I spoke to -- -- -- let you know work to a letter or whatever access he told me it does get off I sent a letter to -- -- this year -- they would do eight days yet compliance investigation into what you -- and I believe I'm not to make sure that not one -- I was -- compliance either president. And I believe that that the more information available to the to the people of loser counting the better off everybody is so I'm no problem. Asking for additional investigations. As far as I'm concerned the more investigations we have the better off we are. Because that's how we learn about what's going on. You heard Rick -- rallies say he's not apologizing do you even though you made it pretty clear. That -- you believe he slandered you in saying that day you're convicted felon when in effect you're not. And I certainly agree with -- I don't think he had a right and even send out letters to the director of follow -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And with -- clearly I don't think senate because he wanted to just give information I think he's senate to discredit my ability to -- me do. That's been raised by somebody else became government clearly they elect officials shouldn't -- but. A resident I mean I think he just basically to get to destroy my credibility when a month. -- and then that's fine. Do you believe that you had something to do with destroying your credibility as well. Now now now. I hope I can honestly Steve the credibility that I have for fight for the residents and I'm in my history speaks for itself I mean apple used to -- at some point along the way. Possibly -- and convicted of the misdemeanor crime absolutely I was that's public record. That but this is that the law there's there's. It in my estimation -- gonna try to justify what I did at all I'm trying to say is actually the break but why every day. -- can only talk about it every day by not allowing making him -- harder. Break in the law but there's nothing until those folks when you show up at a beehive. Can they get stopped and I've got a trio OK gonna be I think getting stopped. Okay now let me ask you this because because you're insinuating. That you were singled out because you -- this watchdog -- -- did rock the bulk. You're charged with three felonies. And as part of a plea agreement you pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors you admitted it. You or guilt. Now all of this was some conspiracy. Why did you admit a jolt to try and you'll seem willing to take responsibility for. And -- -- -- you and I had this conversation prior and it -- and quite frankly that the cost of going to court. And I do not think it was a astronomical for me as a resident at somebody who doesn't have -- kind of funding that was just beyond my comprehension the -- -- even entertained. I can say you know what if if -- -- Palestinians shot and it took me in the court what I when the case or not. It was a welcome the -- I was not going to take probably better for me just take might want to and walk away because basically what they wanted me to do is -- resigning my position -- That's all of this was about as far as I'm concerned. About what they wanted to and I resign my position. We'll tell you that I think the residents of the county recognized what happened and why it happened to us. So are you saying that you pleaded guilty even though you were not guilty. -- got it all I'm saying that deep into the circumstances that happened in my office regarding those charges have adverse circumstances has. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- jackpot to somebody else said. -- that it was being recorded when in fact maybe it wasn't. What I think my concern is that there was a lot of ignorance on as far as leaders -- -- long what three apartment pork. And you know -- we have these discussions. Went with my attorney and I just -- in my best interest that would be better for me just take I want to walk quite clearly know if that this was there. I'm any evidence was very could possibly -- -- need to be if convicted of -- a misdemeanor crime and my old estate business demeanor not to and the money. Basically or or collateral but Daisuke and the money and then up with the same results. I -- that Clement and I was faced with decided not to spend the money but just. The issue resigning given what they want to walk away because you can't stop -- -- fighting the government. Which is having issues everyday as you know I was close fight and they can't stop -- -- -- in the government even though they may believe the -- to control our. And I demonstrated when under the control that I was truly in there for the people. I've talked a lot of issues and the comptroller's office as what was before I got there. I just borrowing of money in one of fourteen million I stopped him from doing that as a citizen I did a lot of things as a watchdog. Was elected. That's not something new that I was still on because I became a control work. Just why am I felt I -- My credibility is smudged up considerably because of life and being forced to leave office I understand that. The fact of what I did it -- -- Everybody why I did what I was doing I mean I was frightened city that's for a lot of good reasons. I. -- in and because I didn't follow protocol or somebody's protocol or whatever -- copying. Kind of short. See the protocol is the criminal law the protocol is the law they charge you with three felonies you're facing significant -- time. Given that pleading guilty to misdemeanors. Could've carried a jail sentence with that. Do you break the law. In my estimation I did not break a lot that's why I was willing to fight them could talk to prove that I. Not please you did you plead not guilty as well you did. And I liked it that's just. Basically what what I it was pled guilty to. I know I didn't know I don't know I mean -- yourself -- made. Yeah I'm pleading guilty but not all I didn't break the -- you sent a pleaded guilty but I'm not guilty. Well and and it's it's it's it's one of those situations that they were you really can't act on this big fight to get the information out that I wanted to get out of that trial. Possibly I would I've got to put it so that I don't know that. I could do go to trial. You could have been acquitted I couldn't connect just what's strange. Is that you. In in in a court of law went with an attorney with the judge went with prosecutors. You officially signed off on admitting your guilt. Admitting that you broke the law but now you say -- you didn't break the law did that for our. Well -- I like -- I might my issue is it to do what I have gotten. Treatment in the trial I don't know that I yeah. Can you and you plead guilty. And then publicly said I was just can't won't. I'm -- I'm just kidding it's really just get nice and I I pled guilty of the crime and then you're not guilty. In my in my estimation from what I said no I'm not somebody -- and I'll be -- -- plea deals -- So you pleaded guilty. Even know you believed to this day you were not guilty. And that's where the mystery -- Yeah and I certainly understand that but because doesn't the popped proving that I wasn't guilty. People do that. On a daily basis of an independent judicial system and is because the opposite Oprah did the President Obama haven't attorneys who represent UN -- -- process and sometimes people. When in fact it's cheaper for them that way than it is to go to court I feel. We can't because it's 60000 dollars to go to court to prove that I would consent. Basically my premise congress and that's a lot of it's. Don't spend that will roll the dice estate located judge won't let me get certain evidence or they'll let let me admit other evidence and and in concert and consequently. Look. The other way and expense 60000 dollars and still go to jail. Even you can even argued that you are guilty play was an act of Civil Disobedience. -- and plead guilty because he gets me out from underneath all this and then I can go on with my community activism. There hi I -- I clearly understood what I've what I would do what I didn't to a Civil Disobedience I did what was best for me under the advice to the attorney. I know I guess they don't. Joseph Lauria I know you are pleading guilty even though you you say you weren't guilty. My -- invited -- to -- the way pled not quite a double digits and he wants about. That. In the end the question why is. Wanna spend as much money to prove your case in court with the opportunity to make -- the other right. And I did well no I don't think all of us and really build on that I'm sure that happens daily -- I'm I'm I don't know how. I don't know I don't I don't know we will isn't a major incident though the response you get from these state officials uninterested in the questions still need. Asked and answered and the weather -- Jewelers mayor whether it's anybody else. We all need to ask more questions to hold government accountable whether -- sure whether it's anybody -- And I think the safety of the residents who was our money or not quite sure what he does or anybody else and and we appreciate the opportunity to be able explain myself yeah. Okay thank you Walter Griffith.