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.
- Clues to Chief Justice John Roberts’ thinking on new ObamaCare case
- 5 arrested on firearm, drug charges in Spring Hill
- Boy with fake gun dies after being shot by Cleveland cop
- 153-year-old Venango well pumps out oil, history
- Pirates enter Plan B with Martin off market
- Allegheny County adoption event joins 40 children with families
- Knoch’s new wrestling coach working hard to build foundation for program
- Mears savors success, credits legendary Lange for guidance, inspiration
- For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth
- Islanders outwork Penguins to sweep back-to-back meetings
- The moral case for fossil fuels