Parties squabble over court schedule in 'kids for cash' civil suit
A Pittsburgh investment banker worries that he may not be able to recover the money he seeks from his former business partner if a federal judge delays a hearing in a civil lawsuit related to the “kids for cash” scandal, according to federal court documents.
Gregory Zappala and several companies he controls claim that Robert Powell and others cost them millions of dollars and ruined their reputations in a kickback scheme that landed Powell and two Luzerne County judges in federal prison.
Zappala wants U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti to prevent Powell from touching an estimated $150 million to $200 million in attorney fees headed Powell's way from a settlement in an unrelated environmental lawsuit.
The settlement money should be set aside to cover any damage award Zappala wins in his lawsuit, his lawyer claims. Conti has scheduled a hearing on the motion to freeze the money for Aug. 22.
Lawyers for Powell and the other respondents argue that Zappala's lawyers have filed more than 1,000 pages in the lawsuit and they need more time to respond. Because the earliest Powell could receive the settlement fees is late October, delaying the hearing to Oct. 8 wouldn't harm Zappala's interests, they say in court documents.
Zappala's response claims that Powell has received millions of dollars from the case and “seeks extra time to dissipate or hide” the fees.
Conti held a status conference Wednesday but has not ruled on the motion to delay the hearing.
Powell and Zappala co-owned the two detention facilities where judges sent juveniles in exchange for kickbacks from Powell. Zappala, the brother of Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., was not charged in the criminal case and was dropped as a defendant in a civil case filed by hundreds of children and their families.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Tomlin: Taylor back, Polamalu probable for return vs. Saints
- IUP student dies from injuries after he was pinned beneath car
- Fire destroys Armstrong County tavern
- Car crashes into Cranberry store, no one injured
- Brentwood police chief to get nearly $200,000 as part of settlement agreement with borough
- Fire at a Robert Morris University dormitory hall will displace 10 students
- Pirates star McCutchen marries in private ceremony
- Attorneys say Leon Ford putting off needed surgery because of prospect of second trial
- Brown family blasts prosecutor’s handling of case
- Fayette County man accused of extorting $13,000 over alleged affair
- Fleury collects career win No. 300 in crucial game against Bruins