PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A city employee used $10,000 worth of city taxpayer money to buy chainsaws and weed whackers then reported them stolen.
His boss, City Councilman Bruce Kraus, fired him Thursday.
“Matt at this time, based on his actions as an employee of mine and of the city’s, he has been terminated,” he said.
Hogue appropriated the money out of an old city account and bought the chainsaws without proper approvals, something he admitted himself when KDKA’s Andy Sheehan asked him Wednesday whether Kraus approved the purchases.
Sheehan: “… So you were acting on your own then?”
Sheehan: “Is that ok with your boss?”
Hogue: “Probably not.”
Hogue told KDKA’s Andy Sheehan he bought the chainsaws to give out of neighborhood groups for cleanup, but Kraus says there were no requests and no one to give them to.
“It makes absolutely no sense at all whatsoever and that is one of the decisions that brought me to termination of him,” Kraus said. “It makes no sense that we would make that purchase.”
But the matter doesn’t end there.
“Well, we’re going to launch an investigation through OMI,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said.
In addition to the police investigation of the missing equipment, Mayor Ravenshal has ordered the Office of Municipal Investigation to probe the purchase and whether any laws were broken.
“When you have $10,000 worth of equipment – maybe even more than that – missing, it raises a lot of questions and those are questions that need to be answered,” Ravenstahl said.