Mark W. Tanner, Esq. and Thomas Martin, Esq., attorneys for Walter Logan, announced today that the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office has issued a formal apology to the Radnor businessman who was falsely accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Salem Baptist Church in Jenkintown, Pa. Tanner, personal injury counsel and co-managing partner of Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP in Philadelphia, and Martin held a press conference today to clear Logan’s name.
According to Tanner, Walter J. Logan, Jr., 65, was intentionally paraded before television news cameras on Jan. 14, 2009, while Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman claimed to the assembled press that he was a “particularly despicable” criminal who had “ripped off his subcontractors” and “stolen from a church.”
Tanner said D.A. Ferman’s statement of apology was an important step on the path to obtaining justice for his client. “No one is above the law. Not lawyers, not companies, not judges, not district attorneys, not even churches. Our society has rules designed to promote fairness and justice, and those rules should remain free from political influence. Fortunately, we all have a court system that protects our fundamental freedoms from those who would exert political power in an effort to gain unfair advantage,” said Tanner.
Today, Walter Logan stood in his attorney’s office in Center City, not merely cleared of the bogus charges — which were dropped more than four years ago — but vindicated by the statement issued by Ferman’s office.
“The District Attorney’s Office concluded that there was absolutely no credible evidence that Walter Logan committed any crime, and the charges were dropped in January of 2010,” the statement reads.
“The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office apologizes to Mr. Logan for the arrest and any statements made to the press regarding the arrest. There is no credible evidence that Mr. Logan ever stole anything from Salem Baptist Church, and we retract any statements to that effect previously made to the media. We will work with Mr. Logan to facilitate the expungement of all records of his arrest.”
As comprehensive as the District Attorney’s statement was, it came much too late to save Walter Logan’s previously healthy construction business, which had completed millions of dollars worth of successful projects in the years before his arrest but saw its prospects dry up quickly once word spread of his alleged misdeeds, Tanner said. In the months following his very public arrest, Logan watched his finances, his business, and his reputation disintegrate. Projects were cancelled. Prospective customers backed out of negotiations. Property he owned was foreclosed upon. Friends and business associates stopped returning his calls. His sources of income and credit withered away.
“Ironically, an arbitrator ruled a few months after the arrest that the Salem Baptist Church, whose accusations of theft were the sole basis of the criminal investigation, actually owed Logan more than $300,000, and that Salem’s claims that Mr. Logan engaged in any wrongdoing were ‘completely without merit,’” said Tanner. “By that time, the damage to Logan’s business had been done.”
Tanner represents Logan as the plaintiff in an upcoming jury trial in which Logan will seek to hold Salem Baptist Church accountable on claims of malicious prosecution and civil conspiracy. Logan took the church to arbitration in 2007 after it failed to honor more than $200,000 in invoices for a construction project at its Jenkintown campus. Facing defeat in arbitration, the church used the professional and political connections of its members — which included Garrett Page, then Montgomery County Treasurer, and Oscar Vance, then its chief detective — to secure a private meeting with Ferman in the summer of 2008. That meeting began the criminal investigation that culminated in Logan’s unlawful arrest.
About Feldman Shepherd — Feldman Shepherd Wohlgelernter Tanner Weinstock Dodig LLP has handled cases producing some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Pennsylvania. The firm represents plaintiffs in significant personal injury, class action, and other complex civil litigation. Clients include victims of medical malpractice, defective products, unsafe workplaces, motor vehicle accidents, legal malpractice and insurer misconduct.