PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There was high profile testimony Tuesday in front of the grand jury that is investigating Pittsburgh city government.
The highest-ranking official in the Ravenstahl administration, the mayor’s chief-of-staff, testified.
Yarone Zober came and left the Federal Courthouse evading cameras, but he testified before the grand jury for more than an hour. Still, it’s unclear to what in this wide-ranging investigation he testified to.
As chief-of-staff and chairman of the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority, he’s intimately involved in running the city and its major development projects.
And while the grand jury has subpoenaed records from a number of city departments, it’s also taken testimony on everything from the use of debit cards to a slush fund to a land deal on the North Shore.
Zober’s testimony followed the appearance of a woman whom KDKA could not identify, and Ashlee Olivo, an account executive in the KDKA sales department who dated the mayor.
All this coincides with notice that former Pittsburgh Police chief Nate Harper will plead guilty to charges of tax evasion and conspiracy.
KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “So, does that give the judge any leeway for leniency?”
Harper’s Attorney Bob Del Greco: “Well, that’s going to be the $64 million question. As I stand here before you, there’s no plea bargain in the case.”
Del Greco says Harper is cooperating with the continuing investigation.
“And when they ask him a question, he gives them an answer, whether or not it’s directed at the mayor, whether or not the mayor is going to be indicted, whether or not they’re investigating they mayor, I’m not privy to that,” said Del Greco. “And I really don’t have a comfort level talking about the mayor’s case.”
KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin caught up with Mayor Luke Ravenstahl Tuesday evening and asked for his reaction to the latest developments.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin: “Are you surprised at all that Yarone Zober testified in front of the grand jury?”
Mayor Raventahl: “I don’t have any comment.”
Mayor Ravenstahl also declined comment on the others called before the grand jury to testify on Tuesday.