Defense objections will likely delay Pasonick sentencing

Author: Dave Janoski
Date Published: 08/31/2011
Michael J. Pasonick Jr., leaves federal court in May with his attorney, Joseph Sklarosky Sr. Mark Moran / The Citizens' Voice
Michael J. Pasonick Jr., leaves federal court in May with his attorney, Joseph Sklarosky Sr. Mark Moran / The Citizens' Voice

The bribery sentencing of prominent Wilkes-Barre engineer Michael J. Pasonick Jr., scheduled for next week, will likely be postponed because of defense objections to a report that will be used to help determine his sentence.

The objections arose Tuesday during a meeting between defense and prosecution attorneys in the chambers of U.S. District Judge Richard P. Conaboy, according to an order issued by Conaboy. The nature of the objections to the pre-sentence report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office could not be determined Tuesday.

Pasonick, 69, pleaded guilty in May to paying a school board member in Luzerne County between $1,000 and $5,000 to win the board member’s support for his efforts to secure school district contracts. Prosecutors have not identified the board member or the district.

Pasonick faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but is more likely to receive 18 to 24 months or less under federal sentencing guidelines. He is free pending sentencing.

Pasonick was to be sentenced Sept. 8, but Conaboy’s order says attorneys in the case are expected to seek a postponement. A hearing on the objections to the pre-sentence report is scheduled for Sept. 14.

Pasonick has been involved in two other public corruption cases. A $1,400 payment he made to a former board member at the Luzerne County Housing Authority led to criminal convictions of two members of that board.

In June, Pasonick testified he paid $2,000 to former Lackawanna County commissioner Robert Cordaro in an effort to keep engineering contracts with a sewer authority in the county. Cordaro is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of 18 counts, including bribery and extortion, related to payments he received from county vendors.

djanoski@citizensvoice.com, 570-301-2178