Pictured Above: Councilwoman Tonya Payne who is often mistaken for Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle
Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle has been missing from City Council meetings as of late. Her absence has been made all the more intriguing by council’s silence on the matter. No comment or excuse has been put forth to explain the empty chair.
But it appears Ms Carlisle truly had a valid excuse for her nonattendance. She is being arraigned this morning in a Brookline courtroom on charges of theft and criminal conspiracy. These charges stem in part from a $30,000 “health study” that Carlisle commissioned for her district. The study was conducted by Lee O. Johnson, Carlisle’s mother’s boyfriend and a “doctor” in the sense he successfully paid for and received his Ph.D. from a now-shut-down diploma mill. Johnson’s study, “A Report on the Mental, Physical, Spiritual, Social Status of the Ninth Councilmatic [sic] District," was rife with misspellings, poor grammar and whole sections that had been plagiarized from various other sources.
In Ms. Carlisle’s defense, her actions are unfortunately not isolated nor unusual in Pittsburgh’s political scene. They were, however, egregiously blatant if not shockingly stupid. Think of the trouble that could have been averted had she and Dr. Johnson taken a moment or two to just use their spell-checkers.