Editor’s Note: On May 14, we published a letter from local business owner Tony Matula in which he argued that the risks of opening prematurely were too great to ignore, and that the local go-yellow movement would put the public at risk. Following publication, LebTown received messages alleging that Matula had been operating in a private manner outside of the state’s guidelines. Ultimately we received a letter to the editor on this subject. Typically this is not the type of letter we would publish, but given that all parties involved were engaged in a public debate on the topic, and that the underlying facts of the letter were verified, we ultimately feel that in accordance with our submission policy the debate is of public relevance. After verifying the letter, discussing as a newsroom team, and seeking Matula’s response, we have chosen to run both the letter as well as Matula’s followup in full.
“Deeply disturbed” by outspoken actions
Submitted by Eric Sevco of Lebanon
I was deeply disturbed when I read Anthony Matula’s recent op-eds published on LebTown and the Lebanon Daily News as well as when I viewed his interview on CBS21:
- [Letter] Local business owner looking forward to putting up “open” sign but will wait for state’s go-ahead
- Lebanon barber: I will not open until the governor’s office give the go-ahead
- Lebanon County forges into the yellow, but local salon fears reopening
I have been a loyal customer of Anthony’s Hair Styling and Mr. Matula for many years now.
While I support Lebanon County’s elected officials moving the county to “yellow phase”, Mr. Matula is certainly welcome to express his opinion as a Lebanon City business owner.
However, given his outspoken actions on this topic, I believe the public has a right to know of Mr. Matula’s hypocrisy of which I have firsthand knowledge.
Three weeks ago, while Lebanon was in “Red Phase” and hair salons were prohibited from operating throughout the state, I paid for and received a haircut from Mr. Matula at his place of business.
A friend of mine also paid for and received a haircut from Mr. Matula in his salon a few days afterwards.
Mr. Matula’s public grandstanding in opposition to the elected officials who are attempting to help him and every other business in the county are bizarre, counterproductive and totally hypocritical.
Therefore, I felt it important that everyone know the whole truth.
Eric Sevco is a member of the Lebanon County Republican Committee and a Lebanon resident.
Letter not about bending rules, but underlying danger of official actions
Submitted by Tony Matula of Lebanon
First and foremost, from the beginning, I have always been up-front in regarding the fact that I have given a haircut in the last eight weeks. Including after I received a phone call from State Representative Russ Diamond. He proceeded to yell and scream at me, not letting me get a word in edgewise. He threatened to post on Facebook that he knows someone who received a haircut from me. What a laugh. But, because he was implying I had something to hide, which I didn’t, I once again acknowledged on Facebook, “I have given a haircut since the lockdown.” Mr. Diamond immediately took the post down. And yes, Eric Sevco received a service here the week of April 13. I’ve known him since he was born. I can’t give you a specific day because I haven’t opened my appointment book for nearly two months. In Eric Sevco’s case, it was color and cut. His roots were bad. Now, to the point. My letter was not about the tens of thousands of small businesses that may have bent some of the rules as most likely we all have. My letter addressed one thing and one thing only. That is, under the County of Lebanon resolution to defy the State of Pennsylvania Emergency Order, there was an underlying danger to all small businesses who may join in the defiance. The State of Pennsylvania has warned it may prosecute any small business that defies the emergency order, they will face the possibility of having their professional licenses, occupancy licenses, liquor licenses revoked, and have their liability insurance void. And, the fact that after our county leaders learned they’re sending Lebanon County small businesses into the ocean with “Do not swim, sharks, strong rip tide and strong undertow” signs everywhere, District Attorney Pier Hess Graf, along with a slew of county officials passed it. So, if Mr. Diamond, Eric Sevco, or any of the other good old boys want me at the town square so people can point at me, so be it. They’ll be pointing at me because I brought to the attention of Lebanon County small businesses the horrifying dangers that lie in front of them, in the event they decide to act on the county’s resolution.
Tony Matula is a former Lebanon City Councilman and owner of Anthony’s Hair Styling in Lebanon.