URA: U.S. Attorney's Office subpoenaed documents
By Bobby Kerlik
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 11:00 a.m.
A day after Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's chief of staff testified before a federal grand jury, the Urban Redevelopment Authority he heads revealed it will comply with a subpoena from federal investigators to produce documents.
“On Sept. 4, 2013, the URA was served with a subpoena to produce documents requested by the U.S. Attorney's Office. We will comply with the subpoena but will not disclose the subject matter. The URA will have no further comment on this matter,” a statement released on Wednesday said.
Ravenstahl's chief of staff, Yarone Zober, 38, chairs the URA's board of directors.
Zober declined comment Tuesday as he left the grand jury room where he testified for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The panel also heard also from Ashlee Olivo, who sources said dated the mayor. They are among a number of Ravenstahl associates to appear before the grand jury in recent months.
The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to release a copy of the subpoena.
Robert Rubinstein, the URA's acting executive director, said he has no concern that the URA did anything wrong.
“There's nothing under my watch that worries me,” he said.
Two of the four other URA board members — James Kunz, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66, and Bill Rudolph, a principal in McKnight Realty Partners — did not return calls seeking comment.
City Councilman Daniel Lavelle and state Sen. Jim Ferlo, D-Highland Park, the other board members, said they don't know what records the government wants and had not seen the subpoena.
“It doesn't raise any concerns with me,” Lavelle said. “I know we've done everything above board as long as I've been here.”
Zober's lawyer, Doug Sughrue, declined to say what investigators asked Zober, or whether Zober received immunity in exchange for his testimony.
“I'm sure the URA complied fully with the records request,” Sughrue said.
Ravenstahl did not respond to a request for comment.
It's unclear why investigators subpoenaed URA records. Investigators previously obtained copies of valet parking permits police issued to Robert Gigliotti, who supported Ravenstahl's re-election campaigns.
Gigliotti owns William Penn Parking Inc., which holds city permits to operate six parking lots with more than 1,100 spots. The URA owns two of those lots — one on Third Avenue near Ross Street, Downtown, and another on Smallman Street in the Strip District.
Gigliotti is a friend of ousted city police Chief Nate Harper and his wife, Linda, is a city police officer.
Since May, the grand jury has interviewed people with personal and professional ties to Ravenstahl, including his top secretary, his current and former police bodyguards, other police officials and the former chair of the Pittsburgh Stadium Authority.
Staff writers Bob Bauder and Brian Bowling contributed. Bobby Kerlik is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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