Detectives serve search warrant on head of Plum youth sports group

| Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011

Detectives late this morning served a search warrant on Plum Borough Athletic Association President Richard Claypoole's Plum home, seeking records relating to Claypoole's Richmar sporting-goods business.

Plum police Chief Frank Monaco said he accompanied detectives from Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.'s office to Claypoole's Glengarry Court home around 11 a.m.

Monaco said Kevin P. Flanigan who has been conducting the investigation of Claypoole's handling of the association's finances, was one of the detectives conducting the search.

The application for a search warrant was signed this morning by Plum District Judge Linda Zucco.

Monaco said the detectives spent an hour retrieving "documents" from Claypoole's home.

"My purpose there was to tell them (the Claypooles) it was an official visit," Monaco said. "He (Claypoole) cooperated."

Flanigan writes in the application that Claypoole used money from the association, also known as the PBAA, to pay on his Capital One credit card for PBAA-related purchases, but also for personal expenses including "airfare, restaurants ... payments in Florida, gas stations, grocery stores, etc."

Flanigan writes that "without the deposit of the money from the Plum Borough Athletic Association," (Claypoole) could not have made numerous payments on the credit card.

In the application, Flanigan also writes that Claypoole "unlawfully increased the prices" of items purchased from A.D. Starr, one of the sporting-goods companies that sells merchandise to the PBAA through Richmar.

Flanigan writes that he compared the prices of Richmar's purchases from A.D. Starr in 2010 to the prices Richmar charged the association.

Richmar charged the PBAA $3,792.31 more than what the company paid "for items that could be considered similar based on description or quantity," Flanigan writes.

Claypoole declined comment when reached by phone.

"Obviously, it is an ongoing investigation," said Rolf Patberg, a Pittsburgh lawyer who said he represents Claypoole in Claypoole's capacity as president of the PBAA. "It is what it is. He (Claypoole) denies any wrongdoing."

Mike Manko, spokesman for the district attorney's office, said the office "cannot comment beyond what is in the search warrant."

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