LEWISTOWN - Although Dave Molek is not affiliated with a group of people dedicated to convincing him to run for district attorney in the November election, he is still encouraging people to write him in on the May primary ballot.
The Concerned Friends of Mifflin County is the local political action committee that launched the write-in campaign to get Molek on the ballot for the November election.
Concerned Friends Chairperson Kathy Knepp said Molek is an honest person who does what he can for people.
Sentinel photo by BUFFIE?BOYER
The Concerned Citizens of Mifflin County have set out on a mission to get Dave Molek elected as district attorney, but Molek isn’t even sure he wants the job.
Knepp said the idea behind forming the committee came from conversations with friends of hers and they have come to the conclusion there needs to be a change in the district attorney's office.
Molek said he does not know the founding members of the committee and he was initially surprised to find out so many people wanted to see him serve as district attorney.
"Write-in campaigns are difficult," Molek said in reflecting on his chances.
Mifflin County District Attorney Steve Snook said if Molek wanted to run for district attorney he should have filed a nomination petition and debated the issues while campaigning.
Snook feels it is disingenuous of Molek to be on the ballot for a school board position, while at the same time encouraging people to write him in for district attorney.
Snook said Molek has had plenty of opportunity to come out and publicly ask voters to write him in.
For Molek to achieve either the Democratic or Republican nomination for district attorney, he would have to receive at least 100 votes on the Democratic side, as well as beat out any other write-in candidates. For Molek to gain the Republican nomination would be a monumental upset against Snook who has served in the position since 1993. Both Molek and Snook are members of the Republican Party.
Molek said that if he were to win the nomination of either political party for district attorney, he is not sure if he would accept it. It's something he has been "wrestling" with in his mind for a while now.
One thing Molek is certain of is that he could not possibly serve as both district attorney and a school board member.
Either way, Molek said he has decided that whichever position he ends up with, it will be his last term in public office.
On some level, Molek feels this particular write-in campaign might be more about "discontent for the incumbent" than support for him, but he still feels flattered by the groups efforts.
Molek said he believes there are three reasons, as he puts it, that he was "drafted" into this scenario; one, he previously ran against Snook, and lost; two, the people involved in this campaign are dissatisfied with Snook. Lastly, Molek speculates this campaign may have something to do with a client he represents, however when asked who the client is, he declined to elaborate.
Knepp said the campaign to write-in Molek doesn't have to do with any particular case, however, Concerned Friends Treasurer Deena Craig is listed on the Concerned Friends Facebook page as Deena Frankhouser Craig.
Craig was asked if she was related to Brian Frankhouser, a state constable recently charged with retaliating against Snook during an incident at the Hammermill Bar and Grill In Yeagertown, where Snook regularly plays guitar in his free time.
"As far as me being a relative, I don't have a comment on that," Craig said.
Craig was again asked if she was related to Frankhouser and again she said "I don't have a comment on that ... that doesn't have anything to do with our committee."
Snook said Craig is related to Frankhouser, saying "She is his sister."
Snook said he finds it more than just "coincidental" that the Concerned Friends launched their campaign right after Frankhouser was charged.
Frankhouser's charges make up a tangled web of a case that also involves Magisterial District Judge Tammy Hunter.
Hunter was charged with obstructing administration of law and aiding in the consummation of a crime after an incident that occurred on Jan. 28, when police said her paramour, Frankhouser, removed inmate Justin Davis from the Mifflin County Correctional Facility under the guise of transporting him to Hunter's office to address the matter of a bad check, court documents indicate.
Davis told police he was never transported to Hunter's office and instead was taken to a supermarket parking lot where he was allegedly allowed to make a personal phone call, documents indicate.
Documents indicate a second call was later placed by Davis to Frankhouser where Frankhouser was trying to convince Davis to lie to the Mifflin County Probation and Parole Department and state he was taken to Hunter's office. Frankhouser also allegedly says during the call that Hunter will corroborate this story.
Hunter then allegedly told Parole Officer Trey McCloskey - allegedly after repeated attempts to contact her - that Davis had in fact come to his office but did not take care of the alleged bad check and that when he had arrived, she was in the middle of a hearing and was aware of Davis being allowed to use Frankhouser's cellphone.
Further investigation into this incident revealed that Hunter was not in a hearing during the time when Davis was removed from the correctional facility, police said.
At one point during the investigation, Hunter called Snook to inquire about Davis, police said.
Snook allegedly advised Hunter he would not speak with her about the case over the phone, and throughout the conversation Snook reiterated this. Despite being told this Hunter told Snook that it's "not a big deal," to which Snook responded "it is a big deal," court documents indicate.
Hunter was represented by Molek during her arraignment on April 6.
Frankhouser now faces charges of escape and interference with the custody of a committed person. After Frankhouser was charged with escape and interference, he was later charged with retaliating against a prosecutor and terroristic threats when he threatened Snook at the Hammermill Bar on March 30, police said.
Shortly after Hunter's arraignment on April 6, President Judge Timothy S. Searer issued an order reassigning Hunter's case load to Magisterial District Judges Aaron Gingrich and Jack Miller.
Barring any action from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Hunter remains a judge, but is currently relegated to administrative duties.
As a result of the conflicts of interest with this case, Frankhouser and Hunter will be prosecuted by Michael A. Sprow of the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office and Centre County Magisterial District Judge Thomas Jordan will preside over the preliminary hearing on May 16, at Gingrich's office in Lewistown.