It's a swanky scene, the Governor's Reception that occurs right after the annual Pennsylvania Society dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Even the bouncers are classy. That we learned after Frank Keel, the communications consultant for Local 98 of the electricians union, apparently decided to rush up to Brian Abernathy, an aide to City Councilman Frank DiCicco. Heated words were exchanged at the Dec. 13 soiree and, depending on who you get the story from, the donnybrook may have briefly turned physical.
Enter Holly Kinser, executive vice president of S.R. Wojdak & Associates. Kinser's lobbying firm sponsors the reception, along with the law firm Ballard Spahr. PhillyClout hears Kinser promptly ejected Keel from the party.
Abernathy this week confirmed the dust-up's details but declined further comment. A message to Keel prompted a call from George Bochetto, an attorney for Local 98. Bochetto's response: "Blah, blah, blah. Who cares? Boys will be boys. It's no big deal." Tell that to Kinser. If you dare.
Abernathy took a brief leave from his City Hall job this year to help Larry Farnese win the Democratic primary to fill the state Senate seat being vacated by Vince Fumo. Farnese beat Local 98 leader John Dougherty in that race. Keel worked on Dougherty's failed run for Senate. The bad blood between the Fumo and Dougherty camps goes back years. And this is not the first time Abernathy has mixed it up. The last match pitted him against Ed Kirlin, Local 98's colorful pamphleteer. Is Abernathy working his way up the ranks? Seems like a shot at the title could be next.