Pittsburgh man files suit in 'kids for cash' scam
A Pittsburgh businessman and several companies filed suit in federal court on Friday claiming his former business partner and others cost them millions of dollars in a kickback scheme that eventually led the state Supreme Court to vacate the convictions of thousands of juveniles.
Gregory R. Zappala and several companies he has been associated with — Western PA Child Care LLC, PA Child Care LLC, Mid-Atlantic Youth Services Corp., Consulting Innovations and Services Inc. and Gladstone Partners LP — filed the suit against, among others, Robert J. Powell, the former co-owner of two for-profit juvenile facilities who was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in the so-called “kids for cash” scandal.
Powell and Zappala co-owned youth detention facilities in Butler and Luzerne counties where youths were sent by then-Luzerne County judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella Jr. Both former jurists are serving lengthy prison sentences.
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 in the wake of the scandal.
The suit claims that Powell, his co-conspirators and others named as defendants in the lawsuit “thoroughly corrupted” the Luzerne County justice system; “ruined” the reputations of Zappala and the other plaintiffs; “stole millions of dollars” from them; and burdened them with “crushing debt and litigation costs.”
Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 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.