Corruption figure Robert J. Powell is unhappy his estimated net worth of negative $5.6 million has leaked out.
Powell is seeking sanctions against attorneys who sued him in the ongoing kids-for-cash case, claiming they purposely — and unjustifiably — disclosed his financial situation in a court filing so the media could report the figure.
The Citizens’ Voice, a Times-Shamrock newspaper, first reported Powell’s claim of being $5.6 million in debt on May 5 after discovering the number in documents filed by plaintiff attorneys that apparently were not redacted properly.
“There is no way to sugarcoat it. Plaintiff’s motion was field, at least in part, in bad faith to publish to the media Mr. Powell’s net worth estimate,” lawyers for Powell wrote in a recent court filing.
Powell, a former Drums-based attorney, admitted he paid $770,000 in bribes to former Luzerne County judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan — who in turn funneled juvenile defendants to two private, for-profit detention centers Powell partly owned. He served 18 months in federal prison.
In March 2015, Powell reached a settlement with the 1,100 victims who sued, agreeing to an initial $4.75 million payment and another payment of up to $2.75 million. The amount of the second payment, if any, was to be based on Powell’s net worth.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs have disputed Powell’s net worth claim and are seeking a review by an independent accountant.