PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — She stole $170,000 from the struggling borough of Braddock — and she was ordered to make restitution.
But in two years’ time, former Borough Manager Ella Jones paid back only $50 and Tuesday the judge threw the book at her.
Judge Jill Rangos showed Jones mercy, by giving her probation and ordering her to make a good faith effort at paying it back.
But when KDKA learned she had paid only pittance, reporter Andy Sheehan paid her a visit in fall.
When Sheehan knocked on the former borough manager’s door and asked for an explanation about how much restitution she had paid, Jones replied by saying, “I’m not working, so thank you very kindly,” before slamming her door.
After our report, Rangos summoned Jones back to court and today rejected her claims that she was unable to find a job, calling her $50 in payments “insulting.”
“You are a day late and a dollar short,” Rangos told Jones, “this is not a good faith effort — not even close. You could have gotten two or three jobs at McDonald’s or Burger King, but I don’t see any of these things.”
Then Rangos revoked Jones bond and ordered her to six to 12 months of incarceration.
Jones — who was led from the courtroom in handcuffs — will need to make a significant dent in the debt she owes to Braddock and perform 200 hours of community service in the borough, over the objections of her defense attorney Phil Dilucente
“If you a convicted felon and anyone’s who’s been arrested will tell you it’s very difficult to get a job right now,” Dilucente said. “She does have a part-time job right now, but it’s a little too little too late.”
“This was a grossly inadequate attempt on the part of Ms. Jones to make restitution,” Rangos said.
But Mayor John Fetterman called the sentencing a victory for the people of Braddock.
“The residents who can’t afford clothes as nice as Ella’s, who can’t afford to keep their lights on, will be afforded some measure of justice that was meted out today,” Fetterman said.
After a few days in jail, Jones will be transferred to a work release center where she’ll be expected to get a job and begin paying the town back in earnest.