PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When Pittsburgh school board member Kevin Carter saw his signature on the Pittsburgh Public School District’s Amazon support letter, he says, “I was utterly shocked, utterly shocked.”
In his first sit-down television interview since he asserted his signature was forged, Carter told KDKA political editor Jon Delano that the forgery looks nothing like his real signature.
“The K is not looped. The e-v-i-n is not very clear. They didn’t use my middle initial,” says Carter.
Carter says the whole process is disturbing because school directors were kept in the dark.
Delano: “Were school board members ever consulted about this letter?”
Carter: “No, no, not to my knowledge.”
The letter offered Amazon tax benefits which would have required board approval.
Carter, who chairs the Board’s Business & Finance Committee, says he would not have signed the letter as written.
“I would have edited a good portion of the letter,” he said.
Delano: “So you would have changed the letter?”
Carter: “I would have changed the language, absolutely.”
On Wednesday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said both superintendent, Dr. Anthony Hamlet, and school solicitor, Ira Weiss, were deeply involved in the process.
“We had advised the school throughout the process on what the application was. We worked with them directly on drafting the letter. There was constant communication between Ira Weiss and our team on it,” said the mayor.
KDKA’s Jon Delano Reports:
Peduto said any notion that the school district was uninvolved in the process was untrue.
“The superintendent attended the executive committee meetings, and was actually one of the people that met with Amazon during their site visit. I didn’t even meet with Amazon, so this allegation that they weren’t involved is far from true.”
Delano: “Did Dr. Hamlet owe it to the board to tell you what he was up to?”
Carter: “I think either he or the solicitor should have informed the board of their involvement in this process.”
This is one of the most bizarre who-dunnits in recent years.
Carter says look to the people who had custody of the letter.
That would be the superintendent and his staff and the solicitor and his staff, but there’s no proof or allegation yet that either one of them was involved in forgery.
Delano: “Do you think either the superintendent or the solicitor forged your signature?”
Carter: “I can’t say for sure, but they both say they did not.”
The solicitor has said an investigation is underway, but Carter says because of potential conflicts, “It would be my wish that the investigation be taken over by the executive committee of the board rather than be handled by the solicitor’s office or the superintendent’s office.”
For his part, the mayor says he knows nothing about Carter’s allegation that his name was forged on an Amazon support letter.
“Whether those signatures were signed by the people whose names were on it, Kevin Carter and Anthony Hamlet, is really an internal issue for the school to determine,” said Peduto.
Hamlet has said he signed the letter, but there was no signature under Carter’s name when he did that.
Last week, the solicitor said a Beaver County investigative firm, named CSI, had been retained to determine what happened.
Carter says, to date, no one has interviewed him, and the mayor says he still has the original letter.
“I have the original copy in my office. It contains two signatures. It was delivered by Ira Weiss who personally hand-delivered the letter with two signatures, and he’s publicly stated that,” he said.
KDKA reached out to both Hamlet and Weiss for comments.
Hamlet reiterated again that he signed the letter and turned it over to Weiss without any signature on the letter from Carter.
No call back yet from Weiss.