Pay-to-Play Turnpike Defendant Waives Hearing

A defendant in a state corruption investigation of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is waiving a preliminary hearing.

Former turnpike employee Raymond Zajicek had been scheduled for a preliminary hearing Monday before he told the attorney general's office he would waive it. He was the first of eight defendants set to have a preliminary hearing.

The 68-year-old Zajicek is retired from his $110,000-a-year job as fare collection operations manager and is living in Florida. He faces eight charges, including four theft counts.

Waiving the charges allows them to go to Dauphin County court for a trial. His formal arraignment is scheduled for June 17.

Most of the grand jury allegations against Zajicek in a March grand jury report dealt with allegedly performing personal errands on state time. But it also says he occasionally made political fundraising calls during the work day or he requested turnpike employees to perform political activities.

The report described him as a close associate of commission CEO Joe Brimmeier, who is also facing charges.

While announcing the charges, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane said “the public has lost untold millions of dollars.”

“The greatest improper influence was exerted over the turnpike's procurement process,” Kane said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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