Wolf orders investigation of Stacks after complaints of abusive behavior toward staff

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A sitting governor ordering an investigation of his lieutenant governor is unheard of in Pennsylvania.

Until now.

ABC27 has learned that Gov. Tom Wolf ordered the state inspector general to investigate Lt. Gov. Mike Stack and his wife Tonya after he received numerous complaints about the Stack’s abusive treatment toward staff.

Sources tell ABC27 that both the Pennsylvania State Police security detail and staffers at the taxpayer-funded lieutenant governor’s residence at Fort Indiantown Gap alleged mistreatment by the Stacks.

An investigation by the Office of Inspector General, which looks for waste, fraud, abuse and corruption within the executive branch, is nearing completion, sources say.

Neither the governor’s office nor the inspector general would comment for this story.

But staffers are commenting to investigators, sources confirmed. There were numerous complaints lodged toward the Stacks. When Wolf got wind of them, he ordered the investigation out of concern for public employees, according to sources.

One complaint involves the Stacks ordering troopers to use lights and sirens while traveling in non-emergency situations, which is against Pennsylvania State Police policy and a violation of the vehicle code. When troopers refused to obey the Stack’s commands, they were verbally berated with expletive-filled language, especially by Tonya Stack, ABC27 has learned.

Staffers at the lieutenant governor’s residence made similar allegations, sources say.

Wolf and Stack, a former state senator from Philadelphia, are a politically arranged marriage. Governors do not pick running mates in Pennsylvania; primary voters do.

From the moment Wolf was elected in November 2014, he’s kept his distance from Stack. The two did not appear on stage together to celebrate their victory on election night. I asked Stack if Wolf was keeping him under wraps for a story in December 2014, when Stack was still lieutenant governor-elect.

“How would anyone keep Stack under wraps?” he said with a hearty laugh. “No, I tell you what, we’ve had a great relationship.”

Pennsylvania is one of just a few states that gives its second-in-command and their spouse round-the-clock security. That coverage is not mandated by law and can be revoked, ABC27 has learned.

The inspector general does not have to make his findings public, but the governor will certainly get the report. It’s unclear if the staff complaints will impact next year’s gubernatorial election. Wolf is running for re-election.

Late Monday afternoon, Stack chief of staff Matt Franchak released this statement: “We are in receipt of a letter from the Inspector General in regards to staffing issues. We have no further details on the investigation and have no further comment at this time.”

During the December 2014 interview with Stack, we asked about where he would live. Wolf had already announced he would not live in the Governor’s Residence, preferring his hometown of Mount Wolf. State police were still figuring out the logistics of that and Stack said the security detail encouraged him to stay at the Fort Indiantown Gap house.

“They said, ‘Would you please, please, live in the residence where we can watch you and don’t make it more difficult’,” Stack said with a laugh.

But difficult is the exact word several staffers and troopers would use in describing life with the Stacks.

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