The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware on December 18, 1993 · Page 1
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The News Journal from Wilmington, Delaware · Page 1

Wilmington, Delaware
Issue Date:
Saturday, December 18, 1993
Page 1
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BOYS 5gL GIRLS Wilmington 83 fi'- A.I. du Pont 38 Sanford 72 1 J )) Dickinson 22 xy Sports, B5 Choker-mania Young and old, necks falling victim to jewelry Pace, CI Fox spikes CBS for NFL TV deal Sports, B1 ourna 1993, The News Journal Co. A Gannett newspaper Wilmington, Del. 115th year, No. 251 35cents SATURDAY Dec. 18, 1993 FINAL EDITION n no iff wywf 1 "'. . 'V 4 ' fw ' ' : V Former New Castle County official faces prison in FBI sting I By JERRY HAGER and CELIA COHEN . Staff reporters 1 WILMINGTON - Melvin A. Slawik Sr. was convicted Friday by a federal jury of bribery and conspiracy in Operation New Clean but acquitted of a second bribery charge. Slawik, a former Democratic New Castle County executive already had exonerated Christopher Roberts. Slawik was cleared of a second bribery charge. He was accused of setting up a $10,000 payment to Harry Roberts. It was delivered by retired Superior Court Judge Robert C, O'Hara, the Roberts' family attorney, who wasn't charged. Acting U.S. Attorney Richard G. Andrews was low-key in his reaction. He shook hands with two FBI agents. Later he said, See STING - All When the verdict was announced by the foreman, Hurley swatted at the defense table with his scarf. "I feel very bad for Mel," he said. Hurley plans to appeal the verdict after sentencing, claiming the judge erred in her instructions to the jury. The verdict validated the premise of the FBI sting code-named Operation New Clean that the New Castle County zoning process was corrupted by dirty dealing and influence peddling. Slawik was convicted of pass U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson allowed Slawik to remain free until sentencing. It took six hours over two days for the jury of four women and eight men to reach its decision in the trial, which lasted two weeks. Editorial: Story of a felon A12 Slawik, his shoulders slumped and his face slack, wouldn't comment on the verdict as he left the courtroom with family and friends. His defense attorney, Joseph A. Hurley, said Slawik had tears in his eyes. ing a $5,000 cash bribe to the late Harry B. Roberts Jr. to influence his son, County Councilman J. Christopher Roberts, in a vote on a bogus FBI rezoning project. Slawik also was convicted of conspiring with Harry Roberta. Whether Christopher Roberts was influenced or not was not part of the case. "The government does not have to prove that Christopher Roberts was even aware of the . . . conduct," Robinson told the jury before they began their deliberations. In any event, the U.S. Attorney's Office The News JournalFREO COMEGVS MELVIN A. SLAWIK SR. Off 231 Df JQkEll It's now her home sweet home again N.J. contractor forgives widow's debt r , i . , . ... ..... . "i fin' I . f i I J. from the 1970s, faces a minimum of two years and nine months in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 22. EPA seeks delay of CFC phaseout DuPont Go. asked to continue production By NEIL CORNISH Staff reporter WILMINGTON Long the target of environmentalists, the DuPont Co. is in the position of defending its pledge to stop producing chlorofluorocarbons. DuPont planned to phase out CFC production in developed countries by year-end 1994, a year earlier than U.S. regulations required. But the Environmental Protection Agency Monday asked DuPont to continue production , through 1995. ' In a letter to DuPont chairman Edgar S. Woolard Jr., EPA uty administrator Robert M. Suss-man said demand for CFCs will continue beyond the production phaseout date. He mainly blamed pre-1994 model vehicles that use CFC-12 air conditioners. CFCs are coolants that damage the ozone layer, which protects Earth from ultraviolet radiation. Sussman said the auto industry has yet to develop an air-conditioner substitute that can replace CFC-based units without extensive modification. Instead, the EPA wants manufacturers to establish CFC "banks" before the production phaseout. DuPont officials responded Friday by discounting the government's assessment. . "We just don't believe that the demand is going to be that high," said Tony Vogelsberg, environmental manager for DuPont Fluo-roproducts. "We will not produce unless we have orders in hand." DuPont said it has invested more than $500 million in CFC alternatives. But "transition to alternatives has not proceeded as rapidly as we expected," said Joseph P. Glas, vice president and general manager for DuPont Fluoroprod-ucts. Friday's announcement brought attacks from environmentalists. "This type of business-as-usual is not going to speed up the transition to alternative, ozone-safe technologies," said Greenpeace's ozone expert, Jacques Rosas. i - -'n " friiJ Kf A y - ''g Iff f , . By CRISBARRISH Staff reporter WILMINGTON - Frances Scott cried tears of joy Friday. The 68-year-old widow faced a homeless Christmas just nine days ago because her house was up for sheriffs sale. But Friday, the New Jersey contractor accused of overcharging her for renovations agreed to forgive debts totaling about $28,000. "The world has jut lifted off my shoulders," Scott said after learning the surprise outcome of negotiations between United Home Energy Inc. of Cinnamin-son, N.J., and the state Division of Consumer Affairs. "I'm just so pleased and I'm really just speechless. All I've been doing is crying because I'm so grateful for everything and everyone who's helped me. When I found out I hugged my dog Spud-ders so hard he looked at me like something was wrong with me." After the session in the Carvel State Office Building, United Home Energy President Carol Ki-nest, Kinest's attorney and two other company officials left without taking a reporter's questions. But Jim Cook and Gary Hickman two local men helping Scott and attorney Carol Cas-ner, who volunteered to take her case, emerged with broad smiles and the news that Scott doesn't owe United Home Energy a penny. Scott was at a job-training class and could not attend. "Frances will not have to make any more payments," Casner declared. "She owns her house free and clear once again. I could just jump up and down!" Scott said she'd put the $3,000 contributed by well-wishers who read of her plight in The News Journal into the bank as a cushion against future emergencies. Casner said contractors have volunteered to redo United Home Energy's work. State consumer affairs director Mary McDonough said the contractor offered to forgive the debt, which included interest, if the state didn't pursue fraud and deceptive trade practice charges. "It was such a dream scenario ' The News JournalJIM GRAHAM Phyllis Hazel (right), whose eight-year tenure as director of the state's Division of Social Services ended Friday, gets a hug from Celena Hill at a reception in her honor at Delaware State Hospital, Mlnquadale. Resignation of Del. soeial services The News JournalBOB HERBERT Frances Scott hugs her dog, Spud-ders, after learning that she can stay home for the holidays. we didn't think it could happen," said Cook, who felt the contractor did shoddy work. "I think United Home Enpi-gy wanted to put this behind them and didn't want to be responsible for putting a little old lady out on the street before Christmas." Scott and her dog live alone in the North Rodney Street row house. She had faced a sheriffs sale Tuesday because she defaulted on a $17,500 loan for the 1992 construction of a half-bath and the removal of a sun room. She was also paying off a $7,250 loan for a roof installed in 1991. United Home Energy was the contractor for both, and Scott used her home as collateral. United Home Energy had sold the $17,500 loan to Green Tree Financial Corp., which foreclosed after Scott became ill this spring and stopped making her $271.72 monthly payments. She gets $650 a month from her late husband's pension. After she become ill, she had to quit a nanny's job that paid $400 a month. director leaves legacy of change vision of how the state's Division of Social Ser By MIKE BILLINQTON Staff reporter MINQUADALE Phyllis Hazel gently lifted the brown and tan plaque off the wall and carefully laid it on her desk. "This is, perhaps, what I am most proud of," she said Friday afternoon, as she packed up on her last day as director of the state's Division of Social Services. "I told them that when I leave, I'm taking it with me." The plaque is filled with words such as commitment and hope. It has statements about optimism, excellence, challenge, respect, dedication and efficiency. They make up a statement of purpose, a vices is supposed to act. The mission statement reflects the changes that Hazel has made during her eight-year tenure. Those changes began when she changed the division's name. "When I took over, this was called the Division of Economic Services. We changed the name to better reflect what it is that we're supposed to do here," she said. Other changes took more time. "When I first came here, the staff was not clear on what to do," she said. See HAZEL All ' .jf , HIGH LOw" rpn) 47 36 1 L 11 Details on A4 Claymont residents swept up in emotion over missing weed fir. "I was so mad, I wanted to tell him he had a heck of a nerve." DelDOT officials said Friday that they were not guilty. "Our people did not pick out the Yule tree," said agency spokesman Mark Brainard, It's all humbug under the bridge to Dor-sey Lebeis of Ardencroft, who termed the Coming Sunday What will it take for Delaware to achieve educational excellence? You can find out in a Report to Delawareans in tomorrow's Perspective section. For years, Delaware business leaders have been critical of the skil Is or rather lack of skills of high school graduates. Earlier this year, they commissioned a top-to-bottom study of the state's education system entitled Delaware Gap Analysis. This report offers sharp criticism of Delaware schools and makes 17 recommendations to Improve schools. Excerpts from the report and commentary on Delaware schools can be found in tomorrow's Perspective section. Business El Dear Abby C6 Classified Editorial A12 ' Automotive D1 Movies C6 Employment E5 Obituaries A13 Real Estate M Public Diary A5 Comics C7 Sports Bi Crossword C6 Television C2 A12 Editorial: Civil service grinch . By JEFF MONTGOMERY Dover Bureau reporter CLAYMONT It was a drive-by Grinching of the worst kind. lor days, residents from several neighborhoods had been draping ornaments on a battered fir perilously rooted in a Philadelphia Pike curbside, brightening up an otherwise spiritless 1-495 overpass. Friday, the same day a photo of the tree appeared in The News Journal, the sprout was gone, leaving residents looking for answers, to say nothing of their decorations. "This morning I saw a DelDOT truck there, and they were sweeping it up when I drove by," said Theresa Silkwood of wood, who planned to put a star atop the 5 1 incident "really discouraging." Lebeis confessed that her husband was one of the first to see through the little tree's tough side. "He kept thinking: This is just in the shape of a Christmas tree. So we made a late-night run one night and put a garland on it," Lebeis said. "And it got added to. That was the neat part of it." 1 ' i The News JournalDONACHEY BROWN Claymont residents wonder where this wild fir is. II lillllilll II Hill .0 M"4UVUr5516"" 5 .1 & SELL WITH CLASSIFA-DS: 324-2424 or (800) 427-2424 HOME DELIVERY: 3-2700 or (800) 235-9100 ! 4

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