A powerful Philadelphia union leader pleaded not guilty on Friday in an embezzlement and influence-peddling case that reached City Hall.
Johnny “Doc” Dougherty, 58, has been a major political player in Pennsylvania, steering $30 million raised by the local electricians union to mostly Democratic candidates in the last decade alone.
An indictment this week suggested the breadth of his influence . The FBI said that Dougherty pushed the passage of the city’s soda tax solely to exact revenge on the rival Teamsters union, which feared the loss of bottling and delivery jobs; had city inspectors hold up the non-union installation of an MRI machine at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and had his ally on city council investigate a towing company that seized his car.
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