Pa. Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty received free home repairs paid for by brother’s union, witnesses says at trial

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Kevin Dougherty received $7,500 of free home repairs paid for by the union his brother, John Dougherty, led for nearly 30 years, a witness in the former labor leader’s trial testified Tuesday.

That witness — general contractor Anthony Massa, the only one of John Dougherty’s codefendants to agree to testify against him — told a federal jury he oversaw drywall and painting work completed over seven days in 2011 at Kevin Dougherty’s Northeast Philadelphia home.

But when it came time to settle up accounts, he said, he billed Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for the job.

» READ MORE: As it happened: Union contractor testifies about free work done on personal properties, including John Dougherty’s Supreme Court justice brother’s

The justice did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But through an attorney, he has insisted Massa’s story isn’t true. Prosecutors have not charged him with a crime and did not initially name him in their indictment of his brother, referring to him instead as “Family Member No. 4.″

“Anyone who knows Justice Dougherty understands his integrity,” his attorney, Courtney Saleski, said in a statement. “Tony Massa’s testimony is inconsistent and not worthy of belief.”

The justice is by far the most prominent figure alleged to have benefitted from what prosecutors describe John Dougherty’s free spending of his union’s money.

» READ MORE: Johnny Doc is accused of spending thousands on his friends and family with Local 98 money. Here’s what prosecutors say he bought.

Local 98′s support and financial backing helped propel Kevin Dougherty, 61, onto the state high court in 2015. His victory was seen as the crowning achievement of the electoral machine that John Dougherty, widely known as “Johnny Doc,” built during his time at the helm of the union.

John Dougherty, 63, is currently on trial in federal court in Philadelphia, accused of embezzling, along with other union leaders and allies, more than $600,000 from Local 98 between 2010 and 2016 — much of it in the form of home repairs they received that were unwittingly paid for by the union.

Massa testified this week that he was instructed by Local 98′s then-president Brian Burrows to hide the cost of that work in invoices he sent for other jobs he was simultaneously performing on union-owned buildings.

» READ MORE: Local 98′s ex-president secretly billed the union for $65,000 in repairs on his home, other properties, witness says

In addition to work he did at Kevin and John Dougherty’s homes, Massa said, he billed the union for jobs at houses owned by the Dougherty brothers’ father, John Sr.; sister, Maureen Fiocca; and John Dougherty’s daughter, Erin.

At the time Massa was performing much of that work, Kevin Dougherty had yet to be elected to the Supreme Court. He was serving as a judge on the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia when Massa was hired for the repair job at his home in November 2011. He did not report receiving free construction work on his annual financial disclosure forms at the time.

Despite Massa’s testimony Tuesday, Saleski, the justice’s attorney, said Kevin Dougherty “always paid [Massa’s company] for its services at his home” — an assertion his brother’s attorney seized upon in court.

Cross-examining the contractor Tuesday, defense lawyer Greg Pagano insisted that Kevin Dougherty’s wife had paid Massa at the time in cash. But the contractor insisted she had not.

Either way, Massa agreed, he’d never told Kevin Dougherty he was billing Local 98.

In testimony the next day, the contractor acknowledged he did eventually receive a check from Kevin Dougherty ostensibly as payment for the repairs. But, he said, it didn’t arrive until 2016 — five years after the job had been completed and following a series of FBI raids that year that revealed agents were investigating John Dougherty for misusing union funds.

Saleski, the justice’s lawyer balked at that assertion in a statement she sent to The Inquirer hours after Massa had left the witness stand Wednesday.

“One day Judge Dougherty allegedly failed to pay for … minor repairs,” she said. “Then, the next day he states Justice Dougherty paid for the work five years later. The only consistency in his testimony is spewing falsehoods attempting to tarnish others.”

In addition to the home repairs, prosecutors say, Kevin Dougherty accepted free snow removal services paid for by Local 98 in 2016, after he’d been elected to the Supreme Court.

Saleski has also disputed that account, saying he had “no reason to know” who shoveled the snow outside of his house on the day mentioned in his brother’s indictment.

“The justice and his neighbors,” she said, “shovel their own snow.”

Editor’s Note: This story, first published on Nov. 14, has been updated to reflect additional testimony from Massa on Nov. 15 and a new statement from Saleski also sent that day.