Kennett Township residents invited to submit victim statements in Moore case09/21/2021 03:44PM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Chock full of investigations and statements, the alleged $3.2 million embezzlement case of former Kennett Township manager Lisa Moore is scheduled to end with her anticipated guilty plea on Oct. 4 before Chester County Common Pleas Court Judge David F. Bortner.
As a means of layering the upcoming proceedings – and perhaps influencing them -- the township is asking its residents and area businesses to provide statements of their own about how they have been negatively affected by Moore’s alleged wrongdoing.
Introduced at the township’s Sept. 16 Board of Supervisors Meeting, it was announced that the Chester Country District Attorney’s Office and the township’s supervisors are inviting all township residents and area businesses to write a victim’s impact statement explaining the direct and/or indirect ways an individual, family or business was impacted by the embezzlement and related crimes.
The statements will be sent to Bortner, who will receive the statements prior to the Oct. 4 proceedings. They must be received no later than the close of business on Sept. 24.
The email address will be monitored by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office and any communications deemed inappropriate will not be submitted to Bortner.
The first seeds of the victim’s impact statement were planted by then board chairman Scudder Stevens and supervisors Richard Leff and Whitney Hoffman in the spring of 2019, soon after Moore was arraigned and a nine-month investigation by the District Attorney’s Office into her alleged wrongdoing began.
“The Board of Supervisors communicated to the DAs office how important it was for them to keep the community informed about the case without unduly influencing the process, but also if and when the time came, to allow the residents to convey their thoughts, reaction and feelings [about the embezzlement],” said township manager Eden Ratliff. “Because that’s who the real victims are – the 8,200 people who live in Kennett Township, and they have a right to be heard in this process.
“The DAs office received that information warmly and is ensuring that the township residents have a voice in this process.”
Ratliff said that the reasons behind permitting all township residents to submit their individual impact statement is because each pays into – and has a stake in – their local government.
“They are the ones who fund the government and this is their government, and $3.2 million of their money was embezzled,” Ratliff said. “If the money had not been stolen, where could that $3.2 million have gone for programs and initiatives in the township? At our budget hearing processes, we tell the residents that this budget is a statement of the priorities of the township, so what are your priorities?
“Were there fewer priorities accomplished in the township because of the embezzlement? The answer is ‘Yes,’ so [allowing our residents to submit a victim’s statement] has given the community the opportunity to convey that [to Judge Bortner] directly.”
Historic Kennett Square: New programs/initiatives
In other township business, Historic Kennett Square (HKS) Director Bo Wright gave the board an update of the organization’s top initiatives, beginning with its new branding for 2021 that will be unveiled this November.
Wright said that HKS’ new mission statement will be:
“HKS makes Kennett thrive. We intentionally create programs and events that help Kennett become a more beautiful and welcoming community where all can belong and prosper.”
“The organization was founded as the Kennett Square Revitalization Task Force, which was responsible for revitalizing State Street in Kennett Square,” Wright said. “As State Street began to be renovated and revitalized, the second iteration of that initiative is now focused on attracting outside visitors to Kennett Square.”
Wright said that another task for HKS has been creating a living and lovable place for its residents, which have been linked to the following key initiatives:
· Kennett Blooms, a planting program throughout the town that aspires to make Kennett Square an attractive destination for Longwood Gardens visitors and support local businesses through placemaking and installation activities that enhance the town’s aesthetic atmosphere.
· The weekly Around the Square newsletter that shares news about the Kennett Square community with its 6,500 subscribers, as well as stories and features about local newsmakers, organizations, events and activities and the diversity of its people and businesses.
· Continue to operate the KSQ Farmers Market at The Creamery, that features 20-25 weekly vendors, draws more than 350 shoppers every week, supports local farmers and vendors, educates the community through free workshops, and provides healthy food to low-income families and individuals.
· HKS’ Economic Development Advocacy will help to envision the future land use for the NVF site in the borough; as well as advocating for land use decisions; and managing a regional micro-transit grant for the borough in cooperation with the township.
Wright said that HKS will also introduce the Kennett Square Speaker Series’ “How We Build Matters,” that will invite some of the nation’s leading experts on building sustainable communities, beginning on Sept. 28.
“This series will address the idea of sustainability in its broadest sense, and helping the community imagine how we built great communities,” he said. “This will certainly include efforts that are taking place in the township and efforts taking place in the borough.
“The borough is undergoing a lot of changes and new leadership, so we see this as a real opportunity to initiate new thinking and best practices.”
In addition, HKS will bring back the Kennett Brewfest on Oct. 2, Third Thursdays outdoor dining experiences throughout the fall, “Christmas in Kennett” in partnership with Longwood Gardens, and the “Holiday Village Market” in partnership with The Creamery.
To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected]