PITTSBURGH — Authorities say state and county prosecutors won’t be bringing criminal charges against a state-created authority appointed more than a decade ago to oversee Pittsburgh’s finances or against the organization’s former director.
The Allegheny County district attorney’s office said county prosecutors and the state attorney general’s office had decided that criminal charges weren’t warranted against the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority or former executive director Henry Sciortino.
“During this investigation, multiple search warrants were executed, primarily to reconstruct the financial operation of the authority,” the office of District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said in a statement Thursday, adding that the effort examined authority operations and expenditures.
Zappala said he remains concerned about “the significant amount of money that has been expended to operate” the agency as well as inadequate record-keeping involving operating budgets. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported last year that the agency lacked financial records for most expenditures since 2010 and that Sciortino couldn’t find a record of checks written between 2004 and 2009.
Mayor Bill Peduto called for a forensic audit to recreate financial records and spending by the authority, saying “You cannot operate a business by destroying your financial records.” He called the authority a “complete waste of money” created by state lawmakers to stop the city rom levying a commuter tax.
Sciortino had no immediate comment. Board chairwoman B.J. Leber said the authority was glad to see the inquiry end and added that the authority has become more open, adopting changes that have “led to a focused, well-run organization” that now issues monthly financial statements, televises board meetings, posts documents on a public website and has set an open records policy.
The authority was created in 2004 to help Pittsburgh avoid bankruptcy when the city was nearly $1 billion in debt. The city has continued to answer to the ICA and a separate board under Act 47, which governs financially distressed municipalities. Peduto has said the city is on pace to emerge from fiscal oversight in 2019.