Ballard Spahr and Governor Rendell: An Intimate Relationship

Member Group : Freindly Fire

Ballad Spahr is Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell’s former firm. Numerous partners at the firm maintain intimate relationships with the Governor. Brothers-in-law John Estey and Adrian King, Jr., both partners at Ballard, served as Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff to Mr. Rendell, respectively, and have contributed $35,000 to his campaigns.

Ken Jarin, another Ballard partner, is listed as the "relationship partner" on the $773,000 Turnpike project. He is a longtime confidante and fundraiser to Mr. Rendell, having contributed $90,000 to the Governor’s coffers. He also serves as Treasurer to the Democratic Governor’s Association, an entity which has contributed nearly $1.5 million to Rendell. Jarin is married to Robin Wiessmann, the outgoing state Treasurer. Her office approved and issued payment for the Ballard invoices.

And Ballard Chairman Arthur Makadon, a close friend to the Governor, has contributed $87,500 to his campaigns.

The Ballard firm, a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), contributed $481,000 to Gov. Rendell’s campaigns. The Philadelphia Future Political Action Committee (PAC), registered at the Ballard offices in Philadelphia and whose Treasurer is David Cohen, former Ballard Chairman and former Chief of Staff to then-Mayor Rendell, contributed $470,000. Cohen donated $80,000, and his wife, Rhonda, has contributed $156,000 to the Rendell campaign efforts. Ballard associates contributed nearly a half million more dollars to Rendell. There is no limit to how much an individual or an LLP can contribute to state candidates. The majority of law firms are LLPs.

In 1999, after serving eight years as Mayor of Philadelphia, Ed Rendell joined Ballard. Two years later, during his campaign for Governor, Rendell stated, "I have, for the last two years, done practically nothing for [Ballard]," according to numerous press reports.
Upon assuming office, he appointed himself Chairman of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), the entity overseeing the four major bridges in Philadelphia. In the three years preceding Rendell’s election, Ballard received $25,000 in legal fees from the Port Authority, including only $480 in 2001. From 2002 until the present, Ballard has received over $2.7 million.

Both Estey and King hold influential positions related to DRPA. Mr. Estey chairs the board meetings and maintains full voting rights on behalf of the governor, and Mr. King serves as the Authority’s Outside Counsel.

Additionally, Treasurer Wiessmann, a Rendell appointee, sits on the DRPA Board. Her husband, Ken Jarin, serves as Outside Counsel to the DRPA and has occasionally chaired Port Authority board meetings.

Pennsylvania Department of State campaign filings list the address of Gov. Rendell’s campaign treasurer as the 51st Floor of 1735 Market Street in Philadelphia. Ballard Spahr occupies the entire floor.

Chris Freind can be reached at [email protected]