Gateway school board investigation finds 'no improprieties'
By Kyle Lawson
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
A private investigator was hired by the Gateway school board in November after some parents said football equipment was being used outside of district events.
“They just wanted to look at a few things, and everything was in order,” said Joseph Bellissimo, who did the investigation. “There were no improprieties.”
Bellissimo is listed as the director of investigations for the local branch of Corporate Security and Investigations, based in Monaca.
The district paid about $4,300 through Bruce Dice and Associates — which represents the district — to the private investigation firm for about four weeks of work in November and December, according to an invoice submitted by the law firm to the district.
Then-school board President Dave Magill and then-Vice President Steve O'Donnell decided to hire a private investigator, while conferring with the rest of the school board, O'Donnell said.
It's not the first time Gateway, or other neighboring school districts, have hired private investigators, Dice said.
A previous Gateway school board hired a private investigator to investigate Gateway students suspected of living outside the district, Dice said. A number of students were removed from the district as a result of the investigation, as reported by school officials at a board meeting in 2011.
It's not “unheard of” for a school board to hire a private detective, said Steve Robinson, spokesman for the Pennsylvania School Board Association. In 2008, a private investigator was hired by a school district in Montgomery County, to investigate students who were accused of living outside of the district.
Dice said it's common for local school districts to hire private investigators. His law firm represents several local districts.
“I've seen (private investigators) in almost every district we've been involved in, especially involved with students and where they live,” Dice said.
Meanwhile, a committee formed on the Gateway School Board has conducted its own investigation in recent months of the athletic department.
An audit of the athletic department was completed and planned for discussion at a school board meeting last night, school director Skip Drumheller said. The meeting occurred after the print deadline for this edition of The Times Express.
School directors Bob Elms, Skip Drumheller and O'Donnell make up the committee.
There were not any “groundbreaking” findings in the report, Drumheller said.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or email@example.com.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.