April 1, 2010 | By | Posted in Investigations

What is a Whistleblower?

One who can prove his claims, it appears

Third in a series

Thomas D. Kimmet’s attorneys contend he is a whistleblower. State Attorney General Tom Corbett and his senior staff, defendants in a federal law suit brought by Mr. Kimmet, contend he is not.

A whistleblower, under Pennsylvania law, is “an employee (who) has made, or is about to make, a good faith report to the employer or to an “appropriate authority” about an instance of “wrongdoing or waste.” It is unlawful to discharge or threaten an employee embarking on a whistleblower mission.

Mr. Kimmet, a former deputy attorney general, filed his original federal suit against Mr. Corbett and his deputies in August of 2008. He was fired three months later, labeled a poor manager and a disruptive influence.

Among Kimmet’s multitude of charges in his complaints are:

  • A $324,000 payment being made to a private collection agency for payments that were actually collected by a state court.
  • A $110,000 payment made to a private collection agency that was actually paid through a court action.
  • Improper payments of payments of between $10,000 and $110,000 for delinquent debts to the state that were actually collected through the Office of Attorney General’s (OAG) Financial Enforcement Section (FES), where Mr. Kimmet was employed.
  • A taxpayer with a $913,000 delinquency was allowed to settle for $20,000 by the OAG.
  • Two hundred-fifty completed settlements and compromises dating back to 1990 were found in an FES supervisor’s office and had never been sent to the referring state agencies for processing.
  • Private collections agencies were allowed to hold as much as $700,000 a month in collections without paying the state interest, per their contracts.

These are only a portion of the complaints by Mr. Kimmet who claims he was stonewalled by senior officials in the OAG when he attempted to bring the problems to light. The OAG says it knew there were problems in FES, the state’s last resort in debt collection, and that Mr. Kimmet was hired to correct those problems. He did not do his job, the OAG contends, and filed the lawsuit to protect his position.

Mr. Corbett’s office has declined to respond to questions about the Kimmet suit, saying it does not comment on ongoing litigation. Mr. Kimmet, and a co-plaintiff, Sherry E. Bellaman, Mr. Kimmet’s former administrative assistant, have also not spoken on the matter. The facts in dispute are spelled out in both Mr. Kimmet’s complaints and answered by Chief Deputy Attorney General Susan Forney, acting as counsel for the OAG.

The nearly 21-month old case remains in the discovery phase, as depositions continue to be taken. The case is before Middle District Court Judge John Jones and Mr. Kimmet has requested a jury trial.

Full deposition of state Attorney General Tom Corbett, given on March 11, 2010 to attorneys Charles Kimmet and Donald Bailey

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Jim Panyard is a reporter for PA Independent. He can be reached at

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