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Pittsburgh City Councilman Facing Charges

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Investigators say Pittsburgh City Councilman Robert Daniel Lavelle is facing charges of perjury and forgery following an investigation into possible election fraud.

According to the criminal complaint, the elections division of the Allegheny County Department of Administrative Services referred the case to authorities regarding the nominating petition for State Rep. Jake Wheatley.

A summons was issued for Lavelle today.

Investigators say according to a complaint filed by Tonya Payne, who is a former Pittsburgh councilwoman, “there were numerous fraudulent signatures evident on page 18 of the Wheatley petition.”

According to the criminal complaint, investigators tried to contact the individuals identified by Payne as well as a number of other individuals chosen randomly from the petition.

Officials report that some of those people included a man who had passed away more than a month before his signature was supposedly signed and a woman who investigators say told them that she had not signed the petition and that no one had ever asked her to so.

“Justice delayed is justice denied and the district has been denied justice because it has been delayed for so long,” Tonya Payne, a former city councilwoman, said. “So, finally, we’re going to get our justice.”

Payne was running against State Rep. Jake Wheatley in May of 2010. She knew at the time something was wrong with the signatures on Wheatley’s petition gathered by Lavelle.

“Dead people which is wrong and that’s why I think the reputation and the integrity of the district is in question as long as Mr. Lavelle sits in the seat,” Payne told KDKA-TV.

She believes Wheatley and Lavelle should resign. Calls to both Wheatley and Lavelle’s offices were not returned.

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