Embattled Pittsburgh police chief returns to work
A federal grand jury indicted ousted Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper for conspiracy to take public money and failure to file tax returns. Prosecutors charged Harper, 60, of Stanton Heights with four counts of failure to pay taxes on his $110,000 salary and one count of conspiracy.
Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper returned to work Monday amid questions about a federal investigation into whether he was involved in awarding a contract to a shell company set up by one-time friend Art Bedway.
Police spokeswoman Diane Richard issued a statement on behalf of Harper, who was off the job because of his mother's death on Jan. 16.
“The Harper family is thankful for those who came to pay their respects and to those who sent prayers of comfort,” she said.
Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said he talked to Harper, 59, of Stanton Heights about the investigation, but only to ask whether he did anything wrong.
“The answer was ‘no,' and I take the chief at his word,” Ravenstahl said.
Harper last week declined to say whether he received a target letter from a federal grand jury or testified.
He has not been charged and has said the police bureau “had no involvement in securing this contract or making any payments.”
Bedway, 63, of Robinson controls 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.
The city paid more than $327,000 to Alpha Outfitters between 2007 and 2009 for work on police vehicles. Prosecutors 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 have a better chance to win a contract bid.
The grand jury last week heard testimony from Bedway and Kebr. She pleaded guilty in December to helping Bedway.
Harper describes 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.
Bob Bauder is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 â 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.