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ICA director completed conflicting ethics forms, filed neither with state

| Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 10:12 a.m.
Henry Sciortino was the executive director of the Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Henry Sciortino was the executive director of the Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority.

First Pittsburgh Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority executive director Henry Sciortino couldn't produce mandatory statement of financial interest forms he was supposed to file annually with the state Ethics Commission.

Then last week, a batch of the forms was discovered in an envelope marked for law firm Reed Smith at the ICA's Downtown headquarters, apparently left behind by detectives with the Allegheny County District Attorney's office when they seized boxes of records as part of an ongoing criminal investigation. The newly discovered financial statements include a signed one for 2011.

Now, Sciortino, 67, has another problem: He already turned over a signed, widely different statement for 2011 to his criminal defense attorneys that was provided to the ICA board two weeks ago.

The State Ethics Commission in Harrisburg received copies of the newly discovered forms Tuesday morning. Agents there are in the midst of a civil enforcement action on Sciortino for failure to file the forms during the past five years — as far back as the statute of limitation allows the commission to go. The last form the commission says it received from Sciortino was in 2005.

Commission director Robert Caruso said that if one of the two 2011 forms was forged by Sciortino in an attempt to conceal his failure to file, that could implicate the West Chester resident in a criminal matter for creating false unsworn documents, a misdemeanor under state law. Caruso emphasized, however, that is a call for the district attorney's office to make, not the commission.

Sciortino did not respond to attempts to contact him Tuesday.

Investigators have said that they suspect Sciortino might have failed to file his mandatory disclosure forms in an attempt to conceal his financial problems. District attorney spokesman Mike Manko declined to comment Tuesday.

It's the latest twist in a drama that has played out at ICA since the Tribune-Review published a series of investigative stories detailing what appears to be the loss or mass destruction of ICA financial records, and Sciortino's apparent failure to disclose to board members his personal bankruptcy proceedings in 2010-11.

In the wake of the Trib's revelations, the ICA board voted last month to dismiss Sciortino, effective May 31.

ICA's special counsel Matthew Haverstick said the newly discovered financial statements were handed off to the agency's attorneys Monday and forwarded to the Trib later in the afternoon in response to the newspaper's state Right to Know Law request that was filed in March.

The paperwork apparently was overlooked by detectives who raided ICA headquarters April 20, seizing more than 20 boxes and the agency's computer system. According to the district attorney's search warrant affidavits, Sciortino is the target of a probe into a series of white-collar crimes: records tampering; misapplication of entrusted property belonging to a government or financial institution; obstructing the law; and failing to file his financial interest statements with the State Ethics Commission.

The previous batch of financial disclosure forms linked to Sciortino had been marked for calendar years 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

All but the 2015 filing were faxed April 26 to his criminal defense attorneys from a telephone number tied to Sciortino's home and turned over to the ICA board, investigators and the Trib.

The newly discovered batch at ICA appears to show forms for 2003 and 2004 and 2006-11, with 2005 missing — the year Caruso said that the commission last received Sciortino's disclosure paperwork.

Sciortino's attorney, Tom Farrell, declined to speculate on why Sciortino would have filed two different disclosure forms for 2011 or why statements for 2012 through 2015 were not found at ICA's headquarters by investigators.

A Trib analysis of the 2011 statements shows Sciortino lists different home telephone numbers and uses different terms for the ICA's official name and his job title.

On the form found inside ICA, he lists real estate he owned in 2011, information that's missing from the one recently faxed to his attorneys.

The form he recently turned over to his attorneys and the ICA board allegedly was signed Feb. 1, 2012, but the one found inside ICA headquarters is dated four months later.

In the 2011 form Sciortino recently faxed to his attorney, he marked the “none” box for creditors, writing next to it “prior year bankruptcy.”

In the statement found inside ICA, Sciortino doesn't mention his bankruptcy. He lists three bank loans without including the interest rates, which is required by the commission.

Both versions fail to name the major creditors identified in the $1.6 million of debt detailed in Sciortino's bankruptcy filings in 2010 and 2011, including Reed Smith, the firm that represented both Sciortino and the ICA. The law firm has declined to comment.

Each creditor holding more than $6,400 in debt must be listed, according to the commission. According to Sciortino's bankruptcy filings in 2010 and 2011, he owed Reed Smith $62,000 before he became insolvent.

On the form Sciortino recently sent to his attorneys in April, he names his wife's employer as a source of family income, information that's lacking on the form found at ICA.

On the paperwork discovered at ICA, Sciortino lists “SRC Inc.” as a firm he owned in 2011, but fails to mention it in the paperwork he faxed to his attorney and turned over to the ICA board.

There appears to be little continuity in the forms from year to year, with companies tied to Sciortino appearing and disappearing without stated reason. For example, he named H.V. Sciortino Holdings Inc. on the 2009 financial disclosure form discovered at ICA headquarters. The firm is mentioned in court filings as part of an alleged string of sham companies he ran out of his home to deceive creditors, and it is listed in his bankruptcy documents.

However, the name disappears in the 2010 and 2011 filings found at ICA and appears nowhere in the statements from 2011 to 2015 in the second batch of paperwork sent to his attorneys.

Carl Prine is a Tribune-Review investigative reporter. Reach him at 412-320-7826 or cprine@tribweb.com.

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