A pastor running for judge told potential donors they should give him $20 because "you're all going to need me in Traffic Court." Willie Singletary, who made headlines earlier this year for having his license suspended and owing more than $11,000 in unpaid traffic tickets, made the comment to a crowd of fellow motorcycle enthusiasts in April.
A video of it was posted on the video-sharing Web site YouTube.
"I'm telling you all just like it is. I need some money," the Democratic nominee tells the crowd. "I got some stuff that I got to do, but if you all can give me $20. You're all going to need me in Traffic Court, am I right about that?"
Singletary, 26, is a pastor from Southwest Philadelphia. He said he was only assuring his supporters that he would "give them a fair trial in the courtroom."
Singletary's attorney, Richard W. Hoy, said: "He hasn't done anything wrong. Everyone needs a friend in Traffic Court. You need a friend in Traffic Court. He was just promising people they would get a fair trial."
The Traffic Court oversees moving violations issued in Philadelphia and its judges earn nearly $80,000 per year. The judges need not be lawyers, but each must complete a course and pass an exam.
Singletary is seeking the job at a time when he is not allowed to drive.
His license is suspended through at least 2011 and, at the time he won the Democratic primary, he owed the court $11,427.50 for not paying 55 violations including reckless driving, driving without a license, careless driving without registration, and driving without insurance.
Singletary's father paid the fines soon after the May primary, canceling a bench warrant that had been issued for his son.
Singletary's campaign reports show that he had raised $5,239 for the primary election.