PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Former Allegheny County Councilman Charles McCullough and his lawyer finally went to trial Monday on charges brought back in 2009 that he took $200,000 from an elderly woman’s estate.
Shirley Jordan died in 2010 at age 93. McCullough’s sister, Kathleen, is on trial, too.
Prosecutors say he arranged for her to get $60 an hour to be Jordan’s companion.
Prosecutors also contend checks made out to Republican candidates adding up to $50,000 came from the estate; and a check for $10,000 to Catholic Charities set off alarms among bank overseers once they noticed the reply from the charity came from McCullough’s wife.
“It seemed like a conflict,” testified Lana Boehm, a former PNC Bank trust officer. “Neither he or his family should have any personal benefit.”
Then, regarding a proposed real estate transaction Boehm testified: “A real estate purchase for the trust of a 90-year-old isn’t a good idea, especially if the property was owned by his other client.”
That transaction was rejected. But many others were approved, and the judge had questions for the role of PNC Bank officials and their oversight of the trust.
When Judge Lester Nauhaus questioned PNC official Tom Gray he asked, “Somebody at PNC Bank had to look at these requests?”
“Yes,” replied Gray.
Judge: “Can I assume every dime had the approval of PNC Bank?”
“Yes,” he said.
The defense says whatever McCullough did was approved by an Orphan’s Court judge. The trial is expected to last two weeks.