| Home

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Witness: Beaver nonprofit had South Side office for state employee

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012

HARRISBURG — The former executive director of a non-profit ex-Rep. Mike Veon founded in Beaver County said today he never objected to the organization opening an office in the South Side despite having no Pittsburgh projects.

Thomas A. Woodske said he didn't think it was necessary for the Beaver Initiative for Growth, based in Beaver Falls, to pay for a second office in Pittsburgh. He found out about BIG renting office space there when his son, Dan, a BIG employee, told him he had been moving furniture into the office above a cigar store.

Dan Woodske, BIG's marketing director, testified he never heard of any BIG staffers using the office. He was told there would be a "caucus employee" assigned there. That means a state-paid staffer.

Veon, 55, is accused of misusing BIG funds, He faces 19 criminal charges, including conflict of interest and theft. The trial is in its third day in Dauphin County Court.

Veon, the former No. 2 leader in the House Democratic Caucus, is serving a six- to 14-year sentence at a state prison near Somerset. A jury convicted him in 2010 of 13 felonies and a misdemeanor for using public resources for campaigns and having a conflict of interest as a legislator.

Veon secured $10 million in state funds for BIG over a decade.

Thomas Woodske testified yesterday he was told to sign contracts but knew nothing about them. He said he signed a contract for the BIG office on the South Side, even though the nonprofit created to stimulate economic development in Beaver County had no real business there, Woodske said.

"His (Veon's) style was not consultive," Thomas Woodske said this morning. "He dominated the agenda and ran it (BIG) as he saw fit."

On cross-examination, Thomas Woodske agreed that economic development is regional in scope so a Pittsburgh office wasn't completely out of bounds.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Steelers notebook: Linebacker Timmons hoping for contract extension
  2. Four helicopters respond to Route 51 crash in Rostraver
  3. Steelers plan to use smart pass rush against Seattle QB Wilson
  4. Penguins 4th line is showing promise
  5. Miami (Fla.) gets prepared to take on ‘physical’ Pitt team
  6. School lunch group hopes to revise rules it calls impractical, too restrictive
  7. Police arrest man in Homestead bank robbery
  8. Century Inn owner hopes to reopen Washington County landmark, gutted by fire, by end of next year
  9. France honors attack victims in city subdued by mourning
  10. Pittsburgh nonprofit 412 Food Rescue takes surplus food to needy
  11. Steelers veteran linebacker Harrison focused on stretch run