The mayor of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Ed Pawlowski, helped out a generous campaign contributor named Ramzi Haddad.

Haddad had purchased an industrial building that was vacant. He wanted to convert it to a charter school.

He asked the mayor to expedite zoning hearings. The mayor did. The mayor got a campaign contribution.

Haddad gave $15,000 to Pawlowski over the course of three years, according to campaign finance records. The indictment against Pawlowski alleges that Haddad also caused several associates, two of whom were identified in court documents only by initials, to give an additional $25,000 to the mayor.

After Pawlowski expedited the zoning hearing, emails show, Haddad asked for three other favors to get the proposed Executive Education Academy Charter School off the ground. Haddad asked Pawlowski for a letter of support to the Zoning Hearing Board for his proposed tenant, an appearance by a city employee at the zoning meeting and to hurry up the city permitting process for the school. Emails show Pawlowski complied with at least two of those requests.

At the meeting, Haddad secured the variance needed to move a charter school to the industrial property, giving him the go-ahead to rent most of the Union Boulevard building to the charter school.

In August, an investment group led by Haddad netted a handsome payout after selling the property to a foundation formed by the Executive Education Academy Charter for $32.5 million, according to bond documents. Haddad and his business partner bought the land for $850,000, property records show.

None of this was criminal, it seems.

Pawlowski’s efforts to help Haddad with the building were not part of a 54-count criminal indictment filed in federal court against the mayor in July, nor a guilty plea entered by Haddad in 2015. The interactions were the first of many between Haddad and the mayor detailed in the city emails that show an established relationship between the pair.

It was just part of the ordinary pay-to-play that we have come to expect in politics.

As for the property, think of it: Haddad and his partner paid $850,000 and sold it for $32.5 million.

The question is, why did he give so little to the mayor? Why did the mayor sell out the public trust for only a few bucks when the developer was getting ready to pocket millions?