Fenerty Still a Player in Philly GOP Circles

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REPUBLICAN Ward Leader and power broker Vince Fenerty

BY DAVID LYNN
Vince Fenerty may no longer be at the Philadelphia Parking Authority, but his influence is still felt in Republican Circles in Philadelphia. He has full or partial control over several well-funded PACs, and he quietly started a political consulting company in 2017 that may have allowed him to run campaigns for candidates while undetected.

Last we checked, Fenerty was Republican ward leader in Wards 18 and 31. Fenerty’s 31st Ward Republican Committee opened 2019 with $64,078.08 in the bank. Fenerty artfully managed his money during a City Council election year, raising $34,525.00, and spending $37,906.64. The ending balance for the PAC was $60,696.44.

By way of comparison, Philadelphia Republican City Committee ended 2019 with $908.35 in the bank.

Ward 31 raised $18,695.00 from other political committees, including unions and other candidate committees. PAC donors to this committee included AFSCME District Council 33, Chapter 830 Drive, District Council 21 PAC, Friends of Al Schmidt, Friends of Bill Heeney, Great American Pennsylvania Fund, Local Union 98 IBEW Committee On Political Education, Sprinkler Fitters Local 692, Steamfitters Local 420, Transport Workers Local 234 and Taubenberger for Philadelphia.

It should be noted that PPA chair Joe Ashdale is business manager for District Council 21. Al Taubenberger and Al Schmidt are also on the PPA Board. Individual contributors to this PAC included PPA board member Karen Wrigley Haak. It should be noted that all four were on the PPA board of directors when Fenerty resigned.

Along with regular ward election expenses, Fenerty spent his money in intriguing ways. The ward maintains an office at 2627 E. Lehigh Avenue, for which Fenerty appeared to pay $420 per month, or $5,040 annually. The ward spent $107.99 on WordPerfect word-processing software, and three purchases of flowers for $562.48. The ward committee also reimbursed Vince Fenerty on 11 occasions for unspecified expenses totaling $3,373.56.

During the 2019 primary season, Fenerty formed the PAC GOP 2019 with fellow Republican ward leader Jim Pio. Candidate committees for Irina Goldstein, Bill Heeney, Drew Murray, Al Taubenberger and Dan Tinney each gave $5,000 or more to the PAC. GOP 2019 also received money from City Commissioner Al Schmidt’s committee. The committee distributed funds to multiple ward committees in an effort to knock David Oh and Matt Wolfe out of the race. The effort was unsuccessful.

Fenerty started Republican River Wards PAC with former State Rep. John Taylor in 2018. It raised 40,405.00 in 2019 and spent $32,829.12. PAC contributors to the committee included AFSCME District Council 33, Chapter 830 Drive, District Council 21 PAC, Friends of Al Schmidt, Friends of Bill Heeney, Friends of Drew Murray, Sprinkler Fitters Local 692, Transport Workers Local 234 and Taubenberger for Philadelphia. Individual contributors included Ron Castille, Councilmember Brian O’Neill and State Rep. Martina White.

Republican River Wards PAC appears to have thrown a couple of events. It also gave contributions to candidates that previously gave money to the PAC, or one of Fenerty’s other PACs.

Fenerty resigned as executive director of the Philadelphia Parking Authority in September 2016. In August 2017, Fenerty filed paperwork with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to start a company, Mickbud LLC. The company did some political consulting for candidates in Philadelphia, and candidates who hired him used a P.O. box for the address on their campaign finance reports.

Judge Furlong Election Committee paid Mickbud, LLC $35,000 in December 2017 for consulting services. Committee to Elect John Taylor paid Mickbud $6,000 in mid-November 2018 for campaign consulting fee (Taylor had already announced his retirement and was not on the ballot that year.) Taubenberger for Philadelphia made two payments to Mickbud after the 2019 election – one for $550.00 for campaign research and one for $32,000 for campaign management and consulting. Taubenberger, who infamously referred to Fenerty’s sexual harassment of a PPA employee as “puppy love,” had $60,641.82 on hand in late November after the 2019 election.

David Lynn is a political analyst who lives in Philadelphia. He hopes to skateboard the Guggenheim Museum in New York someday.

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