Mayor Denies Misusing Funds, City Controller Requests Records
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – An ex-bodyguard for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is saying the mayor knew about the alleged slush fund that is the focus of an investigation revolving around misuse of funds.
Our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette spoke to Ravenstahl’s former body guard, Fred Crawford, who tells the newspaper that the mayor and Public Safety Director Mike Huss knew that security guards used cards linked to non-governmental accounts.
Crawford also told the newspaper that the accounts were set up to avoid the media’s Right-to-Know requests and avoid paper trails to hotel bills and other expenditures, such as alcohol.
Thursday, Ravenstahl told KDKA’s Andy Sheehan that he did not benefit from the alleged slush fund in any way and that the money in the fund was used properly to pay for out-of-town business.
But the fact that those and other expenditures came out of the account, such as the renting of a condo for the mayor in a Downtown Pittsburgh building during the G20 Summit, has left him open to criticism from mayoral opponent and City Controller Michael Lamb.
Friday, Lamb released a public letter to the mayor asking him to detailed information on the accounts and expenditures.
“Please have each of your detail officers provide copies of all periodic statements and receipts related to the debit cards that they have been issued or for any related accounts,” he wrote in the letter. “If those statements are no longer in their possession please have them request copies of the statements from the issuing financial institution. These records should be delivered to the Controller’s Office as soon as possible but certainly within the next ten days.”
Wednesday, former Police Chief Nate Harper resigned amid pressure resulting from the federal investigation into the improper use of funds.
Assistant Chief Regina McDonald has since taken over as acting chief.
McDonald has already reversed one of Harper’s decision, putting control of finance in the hands of the assistant chief, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.