PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A memo sent out by a Pittsburgh Police officer is what initially tipped officials off to possible mismanagement of funds at the Police Bureau.
Our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report that Deputy Chief Paul Donaldson found out about a secret bank account and requested it be closed after learning of its existence in January. They report that now acting Chief – then Assistant Chief Regina McDonald – was the one who brought it to his attention.
The Post-Gazette says the memo from Jan. 18 was sent between officer Christie A. Gasiorowski and Sgt. Carol Ehlinger, and suggests that McDonald knew about the account.
In the memo, Gasiorowski describes conversation she had with a Personnel & Finance employee who raised concerns about misappropriate of funds.
The memo says that more than $31,000 was diverted into the account in question at the police credit union — and there are photo copies of the checks.
Gasiorowki notes in the email that she is “seeking protection” under the Federal Whistleblowing Act for herself and two other employees that she says did their part to report any inappropriate conduct.
But Donaldson says he shut down the account in January and has fully cooperated with authorities during the investigation.
On Friday, the Post-Gazette also reported that the police department’s finance manager, Sandra Ganster, said that former police chief Nate Harper had her put money into an unauthorized account.
Ganster’s attorney, William Difenderfer, told the newspaper that the finance manager was told to keep $3,000 in the account and that she knew something didn’t quite feel right about the money. Difenderfer says since 2008 or 2009, he thinks as much as $28,000 to $37,000 was placed in the account in question.
Since the investigation started, several sources have stepped forward saying Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Harper were aware of and actively using a non-governmental slush fund to pay for item such as dining, alcohol and a condo used for the mayor during the G20 Summit.