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Wrightstown Mayor Thomas Harper, left, with former Assemblyman Joe Howarth. (Photo: Facebook)

Wrightstown mayor charged with lying to investigators

Attorney General says Thomas Harper entered into an illegal waste disposal agreement

By David Wildstein, September 04 2020 3:37 pm

Wrightstown Mayor Thomas Harper was charged with lying to state investigators looking at the unauthorized use of the Wrightstown Municipal Utilities Authority to dump waste from a private septic disposal firm.

Wright is also chairman of the authority.

The longtime Republican mayor is unopposed for re-election to a fifth four-year term in November.  He had no primary opponent.

Harper was first elected to the Wrightstown Borough Council in 1993 and served there for eleven years before winning election as mayor in 2004.

An investigation by the Office of the State Comptroller found that Harper and Rodman Lucas, operations manager of the Wrightstown Municipal Utilities Authority, entered into an improper waste disposal arrangement that benefited Lucas’s private waste disposal company.

The OSC found Aqua Clean Toilet Systems, Lucas’s firm, dumped more than 565,000 gallons of sewage at the WMUA for free over a period in excess of three years.

Harper, 69, allegedly approved the dumping without the consent or knowledge of the WMUA board.

No other firms were given the opportunity to do so, and the OSC estimates Aqua Clean would otherwise have had to pay $21,000 in disposal fees.

Lucas pleaded guilty to a third-degree charge of conspiracy to tamper with public record on August 12.

According to Grewal, Harper claimed to have entered into a verbal barter agreement with Lucas.

Grewal alleges that Harper made repeated statements he knew were false.

The mayor is being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA).

“We formed OPIA to root out the type of misconduct and abuse of trust that undermines faith in government,” said Grewal.  “This case was referred to OPIA after an initial investigation by the Office of the State Comptroller, which began when local residents complained about what they saw happening at the Wrightstown Municipal Utilities Authority.  We urge members of the public to contact our corruption tipline – 844-OPIA-TIPS – if they have reason to suspect that a public official is abusing his or her position and authority.”

The deadline to replace Harper on the ballot has passed.

Wrightstown has 340 voters; 129 Democrats and 93 Republicans.

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