Democrat lawmaker Movita Johnson-Harrell has pleaded guilty to effectively stealing from a charity to fund her own lavish lifestyle including vacations, shopping sprees and a Porsche.
WHYY reports ahead of a February special election, residents in Pennsylvania’s 190th House District in West Philadelphia have started to weigh in on the changes they want their next representative to bring to the district.
Their previous representative, Movita Johnson-Harrell, resigned Friday after she was charged with siphoning funds from Motivations Education & Consultation Associates, a nonprofit she started.
The Working Families Organization gave residents the chance to sound off Wednesday evening in a town hall at a senior apartment complex where voters spoke of the need to elect someone trustworthy.
A candidate, they said, who could serve their full term without being charged with a crime.
“I’m really pissed off because I voted for [Johnson-Harrell] and I trusted her,” said Margaret Hunter, who came with her 9-year-old granddaughter and neighbor. “When you lose that trust, it’s hard to trust the next person coming along.”
Residents like Phyllis Harley were equally as frustrated with the latest scandal and called for better vetting of future candidates.
“Because this is the second time around,” said Phyllis Harley, referring to Johnson-Harrell’s predecessor, Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, who was also charged with corruption while serving the 190th district.
Per American Thinker, Movita Johnson-Harrell seemed to take pride in her position as the first Muslim woman elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature.
WeNow that record will forever have an asterisk next to it as Johnson-Harrell has turned herself in to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s Office, pleading guilty on charges of perjury, record tampering, and embezzling over $500,000 in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security disability funds, as well as donations to Motivations Education and Consultation Associates (MECA), a charity she established to allegedly serve the mentally ill and drug addicted poor in her predominately African-American neighborhood.
In a press conference, Attorney General Shapiro described Johnson-Harrell’s actions as “brazen corruption… her theft knew no bounds.” Johnson-Harrell stole funds that personally belonged to the residents of her facilities and used it to purchase fox furs, trips to Mexico, to make payments on a Porsche, pay delinquent utility bills, cover her granddaughter’s private school tuition and even fund her political campaign. After the facility, where residents were living in squalor, was closed, Johnson-Harrell continued collecting their rent from MECA even though the facilities were no longer operating.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Johnson-Harrell’s dereliction of duty extended to her short time as a Pennsylvania state representative.