Lawyer: Binsack suit will be filed Monday
SHAMOKIN - Scott Binsack's attorney said Friday he plans to file a lawsuit in federal court in Williamsport Monday morning involving his client's allegations of corruption in the city.
Frank Kepner, of Berwick, who said he has served as Binsack's lawyer for a couple weeks, would not say who would be named as defendants, but Binsack has been especially critical of city Police Chief Ed Griffiths and city clerk Steve Bartos. He has also leveled repeated criticisms at The News-Item and its sister newspaper, the (Scranton) Times-Tribune and its reporter David Falchek. Falchek has written dozens of stories about Binsack since 2007, detailing Binsack's criminal trouble in Monroe and Lackawanna counties that dates to 1999.
Binsack, co-creator of the "Something's Smokin in Shamokin" website and Facebook page that have generated much curiosity, failed to appear for a parole meeting in late October and remains on the run
from federal marshals and state probation and parole agents.
Binsack alleges Griffiths has conspired with the parole board to have him taken into custody without cause.
Kepner said he does not know Binsack's whereabouts, and said he believed even if he did, that information would be protected under attorney/client privilege.
Kepner is known locally for his representation of Northumberland County Commissioner Vinny Clausi in a defamation lawsuit filed by two former county deputy sheriffs. Also, Kepner was legal counsel for a Northumberland County Prison employee charged with stealing copper pipes and selling them to a recycling center, charges for which the man was acquitted at a trial in July. Kepner was also the lawyer for a former deputy county prothonotary charged with stealing public money in 2010.
Chief may sue
While Binsack is poised to sue, his recent YouTube video spots claiming corruption in Shamokin have prompted Griffiths to consider possible legal action, too, the chief said last week. Griffiths said he isn't concerned with what Binsack has said about him personally, but that Binsack went too far when he suggested wrongdoing among the "dedicated committee members" involved with the annual Little Eddie Griffiths Pig Roast, held in memory of the chief's son, who died in 1994 from a brain tumor at age 12.
Griffiths is on vacation and was unavailable for comment Friday.
Since he went into hiding, Binsack has recorded videos from what he says is an undisclosed location he refers to as "Narnia." U.S. marshals, state parole agents and city police visited his Market Street home Tuesday, Griffiths said.
In a Facebook post Friday afternoon, Binsack claimed he has new evidence that shows Bartos, Griffiths and his parole agent "sinking fast."
"Monday the real fireworks begin as our legal actions get filed and media starts pushing buttons!" the post says.
In August, Binsack began circulating an 80-page prospectus seeking investors in a $13.4 million plan to revitalize the Shamokin area through entities known as the Hometown Revitalization Group LLC and S&S Capital LLC. Binsack would later say he was merely a consultant for the project hired by Steven Crone, but Binsack's photo and a brief biography appear directly below the heading for part VII of the prospectus titled "Why Us?" and "How have we done this?" A photo and similar information about Crone are on the next page.
The prospectus, which Binsack also said was incomplete and hadn't been widely distributed, came to the attention of the Pennsylvania Securities Commission and an investigator began contacting people aware of the project.
Binsack, formerly of Clarks Summit, pleaded no contest in July 2010 to seven bad check charges stemming from his work in Lackawanna County as head of Mansions & Estates LLC, and was sentenced to time served. He was granted parole in April 2011, after which he apparently moved to Shamokin.
Frustrated by negative publicity after they presented the prospectus at a city council meeting in August, Binsack and Crone started their Facebook page and eventually produced two episodes of what they billed as a reality television show called "Something's Smokin' in Shamokin." The second episode set the table for Binsack's absconding from parole when he described parole officials' interest in the revitalization plan and spoke about how he might be going back to jail.
The project may represent a violation of the terms of Binsack's parole, which prohibits him from being part of a business or participating in even basic financial transactions, such as having or using a bank account or a credit card.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the U.S. marshals at their toll-free anonymous tip line, 866-437-9847.