When Confronted With the DCED’s Inconsistent Positions Regarding the Attempt to Seize the CWA, DCED Secretary Dennis Davin Develops Memory Loss; Accuses Mayor Kirkland of Not Telling Truth.
The videos below show Representative John Lawrence recently confronting DCED Secretary Davin with inconsistent statements about the DCED’s position regarding the sale of the Chester Water Authority.
As we have previously noted, the City of Chester’s decades-long financial distress has led the DCED, a state agency charged with helping the City, to instead push a radical and detrimental proposal to sell the Chester Water Authority to a private, for-profit entity.1 While the DCED has publicly denied this agenda, those denials have now been proven false by numerous documents the DCED recently produced in response to public records requests, including a draft report dated March 28, 20182 and a final report dated May 4, 20183 by the City of Chester’s Act 47 Coordinator (which the DCED oversees) concluding that “Chester must explore the monetization of municipal assets including a potential transaction involving Chester Water Authority” and other statements to that effect.
Back on April 22, 2020, State Representative John Lawrence, who represents Pennsylvania’s 13th Legislative District (which includes part of Chester County), co-authored a letter with Representative Bryan Cutler to DCED Secretary Dennis Davin.4 Among other things, the letter expressed concern that the “DCED may attempt, under the guise of [Governor Wolf’s April 13, 2020 declaration of] Fiscal Emergency, to step in and order a sale of” the Water Authority. The letter also asked Secretary Davin whether such a sale had been contemplated by the DCED or its agents, and what conversations had taken place between the DCED and potential buyers.
On February 22nd of this year, Representative Lawrence questioned Secretary Davin about Davin’s reply letter, in which Davin was quoted as stating, “Neither DCED nor the Act 47 Coordinator for the City of Chester has ever promoted a sale of Chester Water Authority.” 5
Lawrence pressed Davin to explain the obvious contradiction between the Act 47 Coordinator’s reports promoting a sale of the Water Authority’s assets and Davin’s denial of any such promotion. All Davin would say, over and over, was that he had no response and would “have to get back to you.”
Representative Lawrence also questioned Davin about a December 23, 2020 Chester City Council meeting,6 in which Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland stated:
You know, I got a call back in May, maybe early June, this is when the pandemic hit…I received a call – factual information – I received a call from the Governor of Pennsylvania…Governor Wolf, and on that call was Secretary Davin, Secretary of DCED. Also on that call was Director Kim Bracey…They called and they said, ‘We want to help. We want to partner. We want to come in and roll up our sleeves and help Chester get back on its financial feet’… That’s what they told me…And I was excited. And so I welcomed them, we welcomed them, with open arms. They said, ‘Not only are we coming with experience, not only are we coming with technical assistance,’ but they mentioned…$15 million of financial help. These are not things you make up or a number that you pull out of the sky. This was a conversation with the Governor of Pennsylvania and the Secretary of DCED and Director Bracey.”7
When Representative Lawrence confronted Secretary Davin about Mayor Kirkland’s specific recollection and details, and asked whether the promised $15 million payment had been made to the City of Chester, Davin denied that any such payment had been made or promised.
1 See February 16, 2021 post to this site entitled, “New Documents Detail DCED’s Involvement in Attempted Hostile Takeover of the Chester Water Authority” and documents cited therein.
2 See https://chesterwaterfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/2020-117-Redacted-000001I-001600I.pdf at 001545I – 001558I (especially 001557I therein).
3 See https://chesterwaterfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/2020-117-Redacted-000001I-001600I.pdf at 000841I – 000854I (especially 000852I therein).
4 Representative Lawrence’s letter is posted on his website at: http://www.replawrence.com/Display/SiteFiles/420/OtherDocuments/IssueCorrespondence/Lawrence%20Cutler%20CWA%20DCED%20Letter.pdf.
5 http://www.replawrence.com/video/latestvideo (first video dated February 22, 2021).
6 http://www.replawrence.com/video/latestvideo (second video dated February 22, 2021).
7 See https://www.facebook.com/cityofchester/videos/2775265249414502/ beginning at approximately 59:28. See also the December 30, 2020 post to this website entitled, “Another Harrisburg Broken Promise to Chester.”