Ex-Pa. Speaker Perzel plans future after prison
HARRISBURG – Former Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel is looking forward to his future now that he’s out of prison – but it won’t be in Harrisburg.
The Philadelphia Republican, who served nearly two years for a corruption conviction, told PennLive.com in a story published Saturday that he’s landed a marketing job with the construction company of a longtime acquaintance.
Perzel was released Feb. 27 and now lives in a modest northeast Philadelphia home with his wife, Sheryl, and at least one of his four sons.
“I’ll be fine,” said Perzel, who was maitre d’ at a Philadelphia restaurant before he was elected to the House. Being a state lawmaker “wasn’t the first career I had. I expected to have another one when I was done. Now I do, and I’ll be successful,” he said.
As for the Legislature, where he rose to the pinnacle of political power in a career that spanned more than three decades, he said, “I could care less what they do in Harrisburg. It has some effect on me but not a lot.”
The 64-year-old Perzel, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, conflict of interest and theft, will remain on parole until 2017.
Prosecutors said he orchestrated an illegal scheme to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on developing massive voter databases and customized software designed to give Republican legislative candidates an electoral advantage.
Perzel’s 7-year-old grandson, Jack, was initially afraid when he returned home but not for long. The boy did what he could to make sure Perzel didn’t go away again.
“He slept on my back the first night,” Perzel said.