PPD chief might return to work Monday, won't talk investigation
By Bobby Kerlik
Published: Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, 3:22 p.m.
Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper said he might return to work on Monday, but he refused to answer questions about a federal investigation into whether he was involved in awarding a contract to a shell company set up by his one-time friend Art Bedway.
Reached on Friday, Harper declined to say whether he had received a target letter from a federal grand jury or testified.
Bedway, 63, of Robinson owns Carnegie-based Victory Security. In November, federal prosecutors accused Bedway of conspiring with a former city employee and unidentified others to set up Alpha Outfitters to win a contract to install computers in police vehicles.
Harper has not been charged and has said the police bureau “had no involvement in securing this contract or making any payments.”
The city paid more than $327,000 to Alpha Outfitters between 2007 and 2009 for work on police vehicles, according to federal prosecutors. A grand jury charged Bedway with bribery, conspiracy and mail fraud, saying he and former city employee Christine Kebr, 56, of Castle Shannon conspired in 2006 with others to form Alpha Outfitters as if it were a female-owned business so he could bid on a contract.
This week, the grand jury heard testimony from Bedway and Kebr, who spent about 30 minutes in the grand jury room. She pleaded guilty in December to helping Bedway.
Harper has described Bedway as a former friend. The chief said his wife, Cynthia Harper, 58, once worked as a consultant with Kathleen Bowman, co-owner of Victory Security.
Nate Harper, 59, of Stanton Heights has been out of the office because of the death of his mother.
“It's possible,” he said when asked whether he'll return to work on Monday.
On Thursday, Deputy Police Chief Paul Donaldson issued a memo to the police bureau saying, “In addition to my normal duties I will continue to serve as the acting chief of police until the return of Chief Harper.”
“I don't know anything about what's going on other than I know he took some time off for his mother,” said City Council President Darlene Harris.
Councilmen Corey O'Connor and Daniel Lavelle said they had no information regarding Harper's status.
Joanna Doven, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's spokeswoman, said Harper hasn't informed the mayor when he'll return to work. “But we understand he's mourning the loss of his mother and taking care of his mother's affairs,” Doven said. “In his absence, Chief Donaldson is the acting chief.”
Doven said the mayor has not asked the chief to step down.
Harper joined the department in 1977 and is set to make $105,000 this year. He was appointed chief in 2006 by Ravenstahl.
Bobby Kerlik 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.
- Western Pennsylvania engineer aboard missing Malaysian Airlines flight, employer says
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Pirates notebook: Volquez, Morton struggle
- Original tea partyers returning to GOP fold
- 2 dozen injured as California school stage falls
- ‘Un-American’? That’s Harry Reid, the Senate’s lowly smear artist
- College basketball notebook: WVU’s Staten, Iowa State’s Kane named 1st-team all-Big 12
- 273 cited in Ohio in year for texting, driving
- Penn State falls at Minnesota, rematch set for Thursday
- Pirates’ big risk with pitch-heavy draft focus might soon pay off
- Starkey: Steelers know when to say goodbye