“During the meeting, Fitzgerald said, Legree tried to negotiate a position for himself in the police department as well as convince Fitzgerald to fire one of the department’s two lieutenants.
Fitzgerald was the search committee’s top choice, but Walker took back a job offer after Fitzgerald said he wanted complete control over hiring and firing in the department, according to Fitzgerald.”
By R. JONATHAN TULEYA and JENNIFER MILLER
I began to advise people in September of 2005 that Richard Legree wanted control of the Coatesville PD as Chief or a new position that I thought might be called “Director of Public Safety”. The actual position that was allegedly to be created for Richard Legree by Richard Legree turned out to be “Deputy Supervisor of Operations”.
The “Deputy Supervisor of Operations” would have control over the Coatesville Fire Department, Coatesville Codes Department and the Coatesville Police Department.
Only one other civilian person that I talked to believed it could happen. Others knew his plans but thought he couldn't possibly achieve them.
They said that Chief Bellizzie would never allow Legree into the Coatesville PD. I said that Chief Bellizzie would be fired.
I think that Mr. Legree didn't quite achieve his goal but he was five yards to a touchdown.
And even then the result was a 4 year long nightmare of shootings ending in fiery conflagration.
I walked up to Coatesville City Hall the evening of October 22, 2007. The Coatesville City Council Meeting was to begin shortly.
Coatesville City Manager Harry Walker and City Solicitor Andrew Lehr were having a smoke outside the entrance. Mr. Walker said to me, “It’s a very important meeting tonight.”
I said, “Yes it is.”
I knew much, much more about just how important a meeting it would be.
I got an email from District Attorney Joe Carroll a few hours before. Unkown to Mr. Walker, Mr. Lehr and nearly everyone else at City Hall there were about 200 police officers from all around Eastern Pennsylvania assembled and waiting for their moment to march into City Hall 2 by 2.
Listen to District Attorney Joe Carroll speak at that meeting here:
You might think why is he still writing about Richard Legree?
It’s because his death left a huge vacuum in the dark Machiavellian corridors of Chester County where organized crime and politics mix. And what is being sucked into that vacuum to replace Richard.
Let's put it this way Richard played in that darkness much better than the new guys.
Matthews denied that he planned to lay off Coatesville officers but there was this letter: