PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Allegheny County has embarked on another property reassessment, determining how much tax individual residents and business will have to pay going forward.
The people who determine those values are in a position of public trust.
But the KD investigators have learned that one county assessor is accused of stealing thousands of dollars in public funds — something Allegheny County wasn’t even aware of.
Joan Marie Morgano works as an assessor in the county’s assessment office — the team about to put new tax values on hundreds of thousands of homes and commercial business sites.
It’s a position of public trust — but Morgano is facing criminal charges.
Sheehan: “I’m Andy Sheehan, KDKA. Can I talk to you about charges filed against you in Fayette County?”
Morgano: “Can we go out here?”
Until recently, Morgano was a regional president of the Assessors’ Association of Pennsylvania, a continuing education group funded by taxpayer money.
It was a non-paying position, but according to an affidavit, she is now accused of cashing 25 questionable checks against the organization’s account. Most made out to Morgano herself, her husband and to cash.
Others were made out to Giant Eagle and a local car dealership. The amount of the misappropriated funds alleged – $14, 030.75
Sheehan: “You’re charged with writing 25 bad checks in the amount of $14,000. Do you have any comment on that?”
Morgano: “No comment. I’m going to give you contact to contact my attorney.”
Several weeks ago, the new president of the association said he discovered the funds were missing after the association bounced a check.
He contacted the state police who have charged Morgano with theft by unlawful taking.
She faces a hearing later this month, but Allegheny County officials said they were not notified of the charges until KDKA’s Andy Sheehan made them aware late last week.
Tim Johnson, the head of administrative services, then issued this statement:
“Joan Marie Morgano is currently employed in the Office of Property Assessment. On the advice of the County Law Department, we have not taken any job action at this time.”
Sheehan: “And is there any explanation of why this money has disappeared?”
Morgano: “No, I’m going to have you contact my attorney.”
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan tried to contact her attorney, Charles Porter, who did not return several phone calls to his office.
Morgan remains an employee of the Office of Property Assessment, working on the reassessment of all county properties.