Since 1942, Pennsylvania State Police has protected governors, lieutenant governors and their wives. It's a policy that quietly ended last month when Suzanne Cawley cut them loose.
Suzanne, you'll find on the state's website, is wife of Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, but the site also notes she's executive vice president of IT Properties in New York City, a high-end real estate firm in Manhattan.
Its website boasts a $3.8 million condo for sale in Trump World Tower, a $34,000 a month condo for rent in Park Millennium, and dozens of other ritzy and glitzy listings.
In May, Suzanne returned to work full-time and a state police detail went with her to the heart of the Big Apple. Hotels, meals, gas, salaries and overtime for the troopers were all funded by taxpayers.
Until last month.
"In September, the Cawley's decided it was becoming cost prohibitive," Cawley spokesman Chad Saylor said. "They discussed it as a family and decided when she was traveling to New York on business she was not going to have the state police protection."
How cost prohibitive? Records provided by the Pennsylvania State Police show that in fiscal year 2012, which ended June 30, the price of protection for Governor Tom Corbett, Susan Corbett, Lt. Gov. Cawley and Suzanne Cawley was $4.5 million. That number is salary, overtime and costs incurred by troopers.
But the $4.5 million is not broken out with per person expenses.
In July, August and September of 2013, numbers provided by state police have trooper expenses like hotels and meals - not salary and overtime - and show Suzanne Cawley was second only to Corbett in costs.
Corbett's detail's expenses for July through September was $120,617.98.
Suzanne Cawley's was $81,716.76.
Lt. Gov. Cawley's was $60,902.68.
Susan Corbett's was $38,368.97.
Again, the above numbers, which were provided by state police, do not reflect trooper labor and overtime costs, which will drive the actual expense to taxpayers much higher.
We also do not know exactly how much Suzanne Cawley was costing the state prior to last year, prior to returning to work full-time. Sources tell abc27 News she's been making frequent trips to New York City, with state police in tow, since the Corbett-Cawley administration began.
Saylor says Suzanne worked mostly from home prior to May, but would make occasional trips to NYC in the initial years of the administration.
"The issue isn't about the state police," government watchdog Eric Epstein of Rock the Capital said. "The issue is bad decisions made by the governor and the lieutenant governor. These are people asking Pennsylvanians to make shared sacrifice, and they demonstrate shared sacrifice by charging taxpayers $4.5 million to be chauffeured, and be catered, and in one instance to actually underwrite the lieutenant governor's wife working in New York City. This is outrageous."
Again, the Cawley's recognized the cost of dragging state police to New York was steep and discontinued the practice.
"I will also say that her costs, her overnight lodging, all that, was not borne by the taxpayers at any point," Saylor said.
Epstein called on the Cawley's to pay the money back.
Tuesday, August 19 2014 1:03 PM EDT2014-08-19 17:03:38 GMT
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