PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Trips, fancy meals, even expensive hotel rooms.
The KDKA Investigators have learned it’s all part of the federal investigation into the Pittsburgh Police Department’s Special Events office, which coordinates the assigning of officers to do security details when they are off duty.
Last week FBI agents took boxes of documents from the special events office, and from the Pittsburgh Police federal credit union.
Sources say the FBI is looking into whether money from the so-called special events “details” that should have gone into the city’s general fund may have been diverted into a police credit union account, an account that sources say, was opened and recently closed by Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper.
KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin has learned that the FBI believes several thousand dollars that may have been illegally moved to the credit union account, was spent at a downtown restaurant in January at a party for a police commander who was promoted to sergeant.
FBI agents are also looking into allegations that money was improperly used to pay for condos for high ranking city leaders to use during the G-20 summit, including Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, and Chief Harper.
Credit union documents show hotel room charges of more than $2,500 dollars, air travel to Chicago, and dining charges, some as far away as the Palm restaurant in Denver.
Sources say the money was moved from special events account at the police department into the credit union account.
The Mayor’s office released a statement saying that they are aware of the accounts at the Police Credit Union, some of which were opened in 2004. They are now investigating how the funds in those accounts were used, and by whom.
Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb says if any money was moved from a city account to a credit union account he would consider it theft.
The FBI is also looking at a number of special events checks which should have been deposited into the City of Pittsburgh account, but somehow ended up in the credit union account.
“It deeply concerns me, how the checks were deposited, and why.” Lamb said.
FBI agents removed records, and boxes of evidence from the credit union last week. Sources say Police Chief Nate Harper closed the account several weeks ago.
It was also announced Monday, that an independent review of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s policies will be led by a former Washington County District Attorney.
According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, Steven M. Toprani will be reviewing how the policies apply to officers with other jobs or businesses outside of the bureau.