HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – “We haven’t been perfect,” Lt. Governor Mike Stack said of himself and his wife Tonya. “We’ve certainly made mistakes.”
In an unusual 40-minute, mea culpa-filled news conference last week, Stack made several blanket apologies without saying exactly what he and his wife did to prompt an apology. The news conference was in response to accusations by numerous state employees of alleged verbal abuse and mistreatment by the second couple and reports that the Office of Inspector General was investigating.
“Here and there I’ll have a Stack moment,” the lieutenant governor said.
ABC27 has learned the report will flesh out specific instances of behavior that are at the least embarrassing, and at the worst career threatening to Stack, a former state senator from Philadelphia. ABC27 believes Gov. Tom Wolf has received the report, though neither Wolf’s office nor the OIG will confirm that. The allegations are not criminal, sources say, but could nonetheless be damaging.
“The political implications of that may turn out to be more serious than the allegations of what occurred,” said longtime political reporter Brad Bumsted of The Caucus Newspaper.
ABC27 has confirmed that over the past six months, and since complaints against the Stacks intensified, the staff at the state-provided residence at Fort Indiantown Gap has been reduced from five to one full-time maintenance man and a part-time cook who handles official functions.
The second lady has never run for office or won an election but she is ensnared in the story.
“I have to be better and so does Tonya,” Stack said at his news conference last week, all but acknowledging that there have been complaints against his wife.
In fact, there have been many, according to sources. One instance followed a Philadelphia Eagles game that Mrs. Stack attended in Philadelphia. She allegedly wanted to avoid postgame traffic by using lights and sirens. Her assigned trooper refused. Tonya, according to sources, got angry and left the car. She called headquarters in the Midstate and asked that a different trooper come from Harrisburg to Philadelphia to pick her up and bring her home.
Stack attempted to clear the air with his news conference last week but may have only succeeded in further muddying the waters.
Stack said repeatedly he is sorry. That may be true but other statements he made are in question. For instance, Stack said he never spoke with Wolf about the complaint allegations. The governor contradicted that saying this week that on numerous occasions he warned Stack about the behavior. What exactly did Wolf tell his number two?
“You need to stop doing it,” Wolf said.
Stack also said the OIG didn’t ask to speak with him for his report. Sources tell ABC27 that’s unlikely.
We reached out to Stack’s office for comment. His chief of staff, Matt Franchak, provided this statement late Thursday afternoon:
“We are surprised that a draft of a report was prepared at all, much less provided to the media, as the LG hasn’t had an opportunity to provide input and clear up some misconceptions. The LG has already apologized for being at times intemperate, pledged to do better, and looks forward to the opportunity to providing additional facts before a final report is done.”
We should note that no draft report was provided to ABC27 by either the governor or the Office of Inspector General.