Former Stadium Authority Chair Testifies Before Grand Jury
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new witness was called before a federal grand jury delving into Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s administration.
The grand jury has already heard from the mayor’s former bodyguards and his secretary. On Tuesday, the former chair of the Pittsburgh Stadium Authority testified.
Five years ago, the Pittsburgh Stadium Authority sold the parking lot in the shadow of Heinz Field to the Steelers and the Continental Development Co. for $1 million.
The board did so over the objections of former chairwoman Deb Lestitian who argued that the sale’s price for such a prime piece of property was far too low.
Stage AE stands on that lot and few remember the controversy now, but at the time, Lestitian and other opponents – including City Councilman Bill Peduto – said the Steelers and Continental’s option on the land had expired and the city could demand a far higher price.
“There were strict rules in place over when parcels had to be developed, and those agreements have been broken,” said Peduto in June of 2008.
But Ravenstahl, who had replaced Peduto on the authority board the year before, quickly removed Lestitian from the board a few months after the vote.
This morning, Lestitian was called to testify at the Federal Courthouse before the grand jury delving into Ravenstahl’s administration.
Lestitian spent more than an hour in the grand jury room. It’s not known what she was asked and how she testified. She and her attorney merely handed out this statement:
“I was subpoenaed to testify as a witness before the grand jury as the former chair of the city of Pittsburgh Stadium Authority. I am cooperating with the grand jury’s investigation and testified truthfully. Out of respect for the grand jury process, I will not be making any further comment at this time.”
Peduto, the Democratic nominee for mayor, also declined comment, but said he has not been called to testify. The Steelers say they have not been contact nor are aware of any federal investigation.
Sources: Grand Jury Looking At 2 Federal Laws In Ravenstahl Probe (6/21/13)
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