Jeannette turns to detectives to probe loss of $65,000
The City of Jeannette Friday asked Westmoreland County detectives to investigate a Washington County contractor who accepted $65,000 in public money to build a recreation center and will not repay the money, said the city's attorney.
Scott Avolio met with a detective after Tim Bongiorni of Avella contacted him Friday to discuss returning the money, which was awarded to the city through a state grant in 2005.
“His response caused enough concern with me that I recommended to the mayor that we permit the DA to evaluate the circumstances,” Avolio said. “At this point, it seems prudent to ask the district attorney's office to look into the circumstances.”
Avolio declined to discuss what Bongiorni told him during their conversation that triggered the request for an investigation.
Bongiorni did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
Avolio said he has been trying to contact Bongiorni for weeks to learn what was done with the money and how Bongiorni planned to repay the city.
The total cost of the project was $1.5 million. Because no additional funds could be secured, the grant money had languished with the Recreation Commission until it was turned over to city council in 2007.
The city hired Bongiorni to provide a 15,000-square-foot pole building that he would erect on Chambers Avenue to serve as a recreation center. Bongiorni was then president of Quality Sheet Metal Erection, which is no longer in business. The $65,000 was to be a down payment toward the structure with another $20,000 due to Bongiorni.
The city issued a check, dated June 29, 2007, to Bongiorni's company and a Bedford County firm. The check was drawn from National City Bank, now part of First Niagara, and endorsed for payment.
City officials did not pay the rest of the money and never followed up with Bongiorni on the status of the building for four years.
Avolio has questioned why the check was made out to both firms, who cashed it, and where the money went.
Bongiorni previously told the Tribune-Review he cashed the check and paid the money to a Somerset County company to provide the pole building. He said he couldn't remember the name of the firm or the salesman he dealt with.
Richard Gazarik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at email@example.com.
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.
- French and Indian War re-enactor Wilson commits to pioneer lifestyle in Murrysville cabin
- Family collecting donations for Salem man seriously injured in deer stand fall
- Drones hover at top of holiday wish lists
- Greensburg streetlights to be updated, save city $90K
- Contractor eyes early finish to work on New Stanton interchange of Interstate 70
- Jeannette trudges through blight
- $2,000 donated for abused puppies recovering at South Huntingdon shelter
- Indiana County school employee allegedly showed 2 students an inappropriate photo
- School lunch group hopes to revise rules it calls impractical, too restrictive
- Western Pa. students bristle at changing menu choices
- Excela, Pitt-Greensburg team on legacy videos for those in twilight of lives