Witness: Beaver nonprofit had South Side office for state employee
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Consumer, core prices inch up
- Steelers’ defense on pace for fewest sacks in 16-game season
- Starkey: Century mark beckons for Ben
- Flyers continue mastery of Penguins at Consol
- Penn State defense returns to familiar spot atop Big Ten Conference
- Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa
- Pitt offense eyes healthy balance
- Florida fugitive nabbed in Pittsburgh-area homeless shelter
- Highmark seeks double-digit increase for more benefits, heavy use
- Contempt citation sought by state against Highmark for alleged violation of deal with UPMC
- VA promotion for administrator stuns legislator