News Article - October 11 2006

Architect sentenced in airport scheme
  Terry F. Crockett, a Center City architect who pleaded guilty in an influence-peddling scheme at Philadelphia International Airport, was sentenced to two years' probation yesterday. Federal prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge James T. Giles for leniency because Crockett had cooperated with their investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joan Markman said Crockett would have been a key government witness against two other businessmen charged in the case - Joseph Moderski and Joseph Evans - had they gone to trial. Evans and Moderski pleaded guilty to fraud charges last month on the day jury selection was to begin for their trial.

   Crockett, 61, apologized yesterday for his role in a scheme to bilk a company he worked for so he and two others could make illegal campaign contributions to the late lawyer and powerbroker Ronald A. White. "There's no excuse for allowing friendships and the need to sustain your business to think you're above the law," Crockett told Giles. Crockett was also ordered to pay restitution of $7,500 to JC Decaux Airport Inc., was fined $2,500, and was ordered not to travel outside the continental United States.

   Giles likened Crockett to a man who tried to skate on thin ice and later found himself submerged. "The water is always deeper than is thought to be the case," Giles said. Crockett pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy and wire fraud in connection with bilking Sky Sites, a subsidiary of Paris-based JC Decaux SA, which displays advertising in airports. Crockett had provided architectural and design services for Sky Sites at the airport. In 2001, Moderski, a consultant to Sky Sites; Eric Selby, a former Sky Sites regional executive; and Crockett agreed that Crockett would submit a bogus invoice for $30,000 to Sky Sites so they could each make $10,000 contributions to White's political action committee. White's committee gave $25,000 to Mayor Street's re-election effort a short time later.

   The idea behind the scheme was to encourage city officials to extend Sky Sites' advertising contract for terminals A through E. The contract was later awarded to Clear Channel. Neither Street nor Decaux was charged with any wrongdoing. White, who had been a central focus of the ongoing City Hall corruption probe, was indicted on corruption charges in 2004 but died before his case went to trial.

Source - Philadelphia Inquirer