A long rap sheet for a 'friend' helped by Marino
A prominent central Pennsylvania car dealer once described as a "friend" by former U.S. Attorney Tom Marino has racked up an extensive rap sheet since Marino tried to have a cocaine dealing conviction erased from his record more than a decade ago, court documents obtained by The Citizens' Voice show.
Jay W. Kilheeney, an admitted drug addict and alcoholic, has been busted three times since Marino unsuccessfully interceded in the drug case, in June 1998, and has been accused in protection from abuse petitions of leading a violent home life.
Kilheeney, 46, of Williamsport, spent 33 months in federal prison on a 2002 illegal weapons possession charge, paid hundreds of dollars in fines to settle disorderly conduct and harassment charges in 2002 and 2009 and, following the weapons conviction, was barred by a state board from selling cars for five years.
At home, Kilheeney abused drugs, his family and the law - smoking marijuana daily, providing alcohol to his minor son, choking his girlfriend and running into the street naked - according to protection from abuse petitions filed in June and October 2008.
Attempts to reach Kilheeney and the attorney who represented him in his most recent criminal case were not successful. A person who answered the telephone at a business listed for Kilheeney on court records, Money Smart Financial Resources in Williamsport, said he no longer worked there.
The attorney, Michael Groulx, and the prosecutor in the case, A. Melissa Rosenkilde Kalaus, did not return telephone messages.
Marino, whose relationship with Kilheeney triggered concerns among colleagues as he ascended to the U.S. Attorney position in 2002, has remained silent about the status of his relationship with Kilheeney and Kilheeney's continued criminal behavior.
A spokesman for Marino, who is the Republican challenger in the 10th Congressional District, said he could not comment on "anything related" to Marino's time as a prosecutor and would not confirm whether he and Kilheeney were still friends.
The spokesman, Jason Fitzgerald, said he did not see Kilheeney as "relevant to the campaign."
"This race isn't about Jay Kilheeney or Louis DeNaples or anybody else," Fitzgerald said, referring to another felon in Marino's universe of friends. "This race is about Tom Marino and Chris Carney and particularly it's about the issues that are important to the people of the 10th Congressional District."
Marino's involvement in the Kilheeney case, while the district attorney of Lycoming County, appeared to bookend his controversial role, while U.S. Attorney, as a personal reference on DeNaples' December 2005 application for a license to operate the Mount Airy Casino in Monroe County.
Marino's opponent, U.S. Rep. Chris Carney, seized on the DeNaples endorsement as evidence of Marino's poor judgment and questionable character, and news coverage of the race has focused on Marino's shifting answers on whether the Justice Department authorized him to help DeNaples.
In September, after contending for months that he had clearance on the DeNaples matter, Marino told the Sunbury Daily Item he never asked for permission because the department permitted personal references as long as employees did not include their official titles.
The Allentown Morning Call reported last Sunday that Marino may have been mistaken and that his personal reference for DeNaples, convicted in 1978 for cheating the federal government of more than $500,000, may have been a violation of department guidelines.
The newspaper reported Marino's resignation from office, in October 2007, came amid an internal Justice Department probe of "serious misconduct" surrounding the DeNaples reference.
Carney campaign spokesman Josh Drobnyk said Friday that Marino's involvement with DeNaples and Kilheeney were "absolutely" relevant to the campaign and to gauging the "integrity and honesty" of Marino's tenure as a district attorney and U.S. Attorney.
"(Marino) touts being tough on criminals when the truth is he was seeking to help clear the criminal record of a close friend who was a drug trafficker and has since been charged with multiple crimes," Drobnyk said. "Tom Marino has refused to address basic questions about his record and continues to insult all of us by refusing to tell the truth."
Marino's drive to clear Kilheeney's February 1992 conviction for delivering two grams of cocaine led him to shop for a friendly judge, according to court records.
According to court records, Marino hand-delivered an expungement motion to a judge relatively unfamiliar with criminal procedure, Dudley N. Anderson, a month after the judge who presided over the case, Kenneth D. Brown, refused.
Anderson approved the expungement in July 1998, but reversed himself when he learned of Brown's previous decision to deny the request.
Anderson ordered all copies of his expungement order returned, but Kilheeney kept a copy and included it with personal letters of reference from Marino and a Lycoming County detective to obtain authorization from the Ford Motor Co. to open a dealership in Lock Haven, according to a report in the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
Had the expungement stood, Kilheeney would never have faced the felony weapons charge - possession of a firearm by a convicted felon - that landed him in federal prison for 33 months.
Shortly before he reported to prison, in November 2002, Kilheeney pleaded guilty to summary harassment and disorderly conduct charges for forcing his way into the office of a business associate, grabbing him and threatening to kill him.
In August, Kilheeney pleaded guilty to a summary disorderly conduct charge more than a year after a traffic stop in which police said he dropped his pants to his ankles, exposing his genitals and buttocks.
"You can strip search me right here," Kilheeney said, according to police.
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