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Attorney accuses Pittsburgh councilwoman of having a conflict of interest in billboard debate

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Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, 5:46 p.m.

An attorney representing Pittsburgh's largest outdoor advertiser accused a city councilwoman on Monday of having a financial interest in supporting legislation that would tax billboards in the city.

Downtown attorney Jonathan Kamin said Natalia Rudiak, co-sponsor of an excise tax bill due for a final vote in council on Tuesday, should abstain from voting to avoid a potential conflict of interest review by the state Ethics Commission.

Kamin provided a transcript of a council meeting on Dec. 30, 2011, in which Rudiak, of Carrick, said studies indicate that her property would be worth about 30 percent more than its current value if not for a billboard located across the street. Rudiak could not be reached for comment.

Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday morning on a 10 percent levy on revenue generated by billboards in Pittsburgh.

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