Former state Sen. J. William Lincoln resigned Friday as a member of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
While he was not charged, Mr. Lincoln's name and testimony were cited in the recent grand jury presentment depicting widespread bid-rigging and pressure imposed on the turnpike's vendors and contractors for quid pro quo contributions to political campaigns.
The grand jury noted that Mr. Lincoln, 72, testified under a grant of immunity. At one point in its extensive report, the grand jury, after describes how one vendor's gave $6,100 in gift certificates to Mr. Lincoln and George Hatalowich, a turnpike official who was charged in the case.
It states that, "Commissioner J. William Lincoln testified before the Grand jury pursuant to a grant of immunity. Commissioner Lincoln admitted that he received the gift certificates and failed to report them on his annual Statement of Financial Interests.'' At another point, a witness describes how cards with Mr. Lincoln's name were included in campaign solicitations to turnpike contractors.
In his resignation letter to Gov. Tom Corbett, the former state senate majority leader said, "Given the additional personal stress over the events of the past two weeks, and my already difficult battle with maintaining my health, I am no longer able to perform the duties required of a member of the commission. It is on this note that I end my 40-year career in public service to the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.''
In a statement, the commission chairman, William K. Lieberman, said, "We respect Sen. Lincoln's decision to resign; given the circumstances, he made the right choice.''