Former Monessen city treasurer accused of stealing parking revenue
Former Monessen city Treasurer Frank “Bucky” Rizzuto Sr. was charged with nine criminal counts Thursday morning, including three felony counts of tampering with public information, for allegedly pocketing $478.20 in parking revenue.
Rizzuto, 72, was arraigned before District Judge Joseph A. Dalfonso and released on his own recognizance.
The other charges, filed through the Westmoreland County District Attorney's office, are theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds, and three counts of tampering with records or ID writing.
When asked Thursday afternoon if he still maintains his innocence, Rizzuto replied: “I have no comment at this time.”
Rizzuto's attorney, Jack Bergstein of Monessen, said he had suspected charges would be filed but wasn't aware of the specifics until Thursday. He declined further comment.
Rizzuto was in his 26th year as treasurer of the third-class city when he resigned in August after allegations that his parking revenue bank deposits did not match the initial counts by office clerks.
District Attorney John Peck said “there was an admission” by Rizzuto after detectives found a third discrepancy between the city's original count of parking meter money and the treasurer's bank deposits.
Led by Detective Tom Horan, investigators had found two previous discrepancies before performing the third count themselves.
Monessen Mayor Mary Jo Smith initially became alarmed when Rizzuto's final count was rounded off to an even dollar amount while office clerks always had change remaining on theirs.
“I'm thankful that our employees did what was right for the citizens of Monessen and were willing to step up to the plate,” Smith said after the arraignment. “It's not good for the community; it's a black eye. The rumors circulating around that he was ‘set up' are not true. The facts are there.
“I don't like doing this,” she said. “I wish I didn't have to. But I took an oath of office, and that included a fiduciary responsibility that the funds collected are used for the city and not anyone's personal account.”
On Sept. 20, Monessen city council approved then-councilman Gerald Saksun to fill out Rizzuto's term, which expires Dec. 31, 2013.
Rizzuto's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Oct. 19 in front of Dalfonso.
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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.
- Pirates’ Burnett endures another poor start in blowout loss to Reds
- Steelers stress improved conditioning in attempt to play past injuries
- Memories of Steelers fan from Beaver Falls go beyond simple recall
- Pirates bolster bullpen by trading for former closer Soria
- Steelers’ reserve quarterbacks vie to secure spot behind Roethlisberger, Gradkowski
- Pirates notebook: Blanton introduced; Worley designated for assignment
- Girl, 10, forced to strip in Sewickley Township home invasion
- Police: Escaped Armstrong County inmate armed, dangerous homicide suspect
- Music on way to Westmoreland’s Twin Lakes Park
- Traded after Stanley Cup, Saad not alone in being dealt after title
- Derry man gets 19-year prison sentence for recording sex assaults of girl