Friday, September 12, 2008

Shields Calls For Inquiry, Mayor Fires Back

Council President Doug Shields

This post is based on my Channel 4 Action News report
(See VIDEO link here)

Pittsburgh City Council President Doug Shields says the allegations of corruption in city government made by former URA Executive Director Pat Ford deserve the attention of both federal and state authorities.

Shields questions why Mayor Ravenstahl approved payments to Ford through next June, under a deal that silences Ford from disparaging the city any more.

Shields: "Since April to the time when this payoff -- this hush money -- is paid is going to be $150,000 to one individual for doing nothing, except not talking. And that's what they're buying there."

The Council President says "where there's smoke, there's fire". He's fired off letters to the U.S. Attorney and State Attorney General, calling for inquiries under oath into Ford's charges in his resignation letter.
Ford claimed he's the scapegoat for "inappropriate activities" of others and that there's a "culture of deception and corruption" in the Ravenstahl administration.

Shields: "What deceptions? what corruptions? And I don't think we have to look very far to find out what those are."

Ford's attorney, Lawrence Fisher, accuses Shields of political grandstanding, but also suggests there may already be an inquiry under way.

Fisher: "He's asking for something that likely is already ongoing."

State Attorney General Tom Corbett's office says it will determine if it has jurisdiction. If it does not, it says it will refer Shields' request to the appropriate law enforcement office.

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan also acknowledges receiving Shields' request, but is declining all comment.

Mayor Ravenstahl responded in a news release, saying:

"Shields' actions are cheap, ill-motivated and just plain wrong".

The mayor accuses Shields of :

"a political agenda focused on hurting me and aggrandizing himself."

Mayor Ravenstahl's office said he will not appear on camera to answer questions about Shields' request to authorities.


1 comment:

Smitty said...

Shields is beyond aggrandizing.He is perceived by friend and foe as a buffoon.It would seem to me that any investigation would require testimony from Ford.Being the first to "lawyer up"is always a dominant position.Look out Luke!!