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Pittsburgh to spend $10,700 to repair 4 chandeliers in mayor's office

| Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 5:45 p.m.

A Regent Square lighting company is charging Pittsburgh $10,700 to repair four historic chandeliers that were damaged in the mayor's office, city officials said on Wednesday.

Typhoon Lighting offered the lowest of three bids to repair the fixtures that Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said were among $200,000 in missing and damaged items he found upon taking office in January. The mayor asked the FBI to investigate.

“We sent them out, and they're in the process of being fixed,” Peduto said.

Peduto said the city had estimates of more than $30,000 for total restoration of the chandeliers designed by architect Henry Hornbostel, who designed the 1917 City-County Building, Downtown, and other well-known Pittsburgh landmarks including Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland and Rodef Shalom Temple in Shadyside. Peduto said he chose the repair option because it was less expensive than restoration.

Ann Davis, owner of Typhoon, said the lights are made of plaster and have stress damage. They have to be reinforced and patched, she said.

“They've got 100 years of soot and tobacco smoke and dirt on them,” Davis said. “We need to go over them, clean them, reinforce them and patch them.”

In addition to the chandeliers, Peduto asked the FBI to investigate a torn painting of William Pitt the Younger found behind filing cabinets in a mayor's office storage vault and a damaged city truck. Missing property included a $30,000 Waterford crystal Super Bowl XL trophy, gifted to the city after the Steelers' win in 2006; an Art Deco clock that sat on the fireplace mantel in the mayor's conference room; a valuable Chinese vase; and former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's computer hard drive.

Ravenstahl has since returned the hard drive and trophy. His attorney, Charles Porter Jr., has said Ravenstahl packed up his office contents and placed it in storage on the advice of another attorney, but he declined to elaborate.

City officials found the clock, valued at $50 to $150, in an empty city hall office and returned it to the mantel.

The mayor's office asked the Carnegie Museum of Art to evaluate the painting. Spokesman Jonathan Gaugler said conservation department experts have advised the city about damages, but will not repair the painting because it is not museum property. He declined further comment.

Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty said the administration has not decided whether to have the painting repaired.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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