Dispute delays settlement of former Pittsburgh woman's lawsuit against turnpike commission
By Brad Bumsted
Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission agreed to a $190,000 settlement with a former Pittsburgh woman who contended she was fired for testifying before a grand jury investigating turnpike corruption, court documents say.
But a disagreement over how the money would be paid to former city council staffer Eileen Conroy has, at least for now, derailed a final settlement.
Conroy's attorney, Ron Barber of the Downtown firm of Strassburger McKenna Gutnick and Gefsky, filed a motion on Tuesday asking a federal court to enforce the settlement agreement.
In the document, Barber said the Turnpike Commission on several occasions agreed to pay $190,000 in “one aggregate settlement amount.” It subsequently said Conroy would get $42,000 and Barber's firm would get $148,000.
“My fees are not anywhere near that large,” said Barber, declining further comment until an agreement is final.
Carl DeFebo, a turnpike spokesman, said the agency would not comment on pending litigation.
It was unclear why the Turnpike Commission tried to make the settlement for Conroy appear smaller.
Conroy, a former administrative secretary at the agency, was scheduled for trial April 2. On March 13, Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced grand jury presentments against the turnpike, alleging a “pay to play” scheme and a conspiracy to rig contracts among top agency officials, consultants and a former legislative leader. Kane charged eight people with crimes.
By late March, settlement talks were under way in Conroy's case.
Conroy filed a wrongful termination suit in 2010. Part of her lawsuit contended she was denied a promotion and that turnpike officials conspired to violate her rights. In September 2012, the court dismissed those claims but left intact the illegal firing complaint.
The turnpike insisted on an “extensive confidentiality provision,” which was “inconsistent with Pennsylvania law” on public agency settlement agreements, Barber argued.
Conroy now lives in the Harrisburg area. Barber has declined to allow her to be interviewed.
Brad Bumsted is Trib Total Media's state Capitol reporter. Reach him at 717-787-1405 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.
- Congressional races set for Pennsylvania
- 2 Democrats challenge for congressman’s seat in 12th District
- Pa. turnpike crash lesson for planners
- Filings leave Corbett facing new challenge
- Gas tax could factor into Pennsylvania gubernatorial race
- Contract arranged Pennsylvania Game Commission director’s early exit
- CSX makes deal with state on shipments of hazardous materials
- Pennsylvania man pleads guilty to threat against Obama
- Military veteran ID cards granted on honor system
- Supreme Court ruling to affect few bicycle trails in Pennsylvania
- RMU poll: Dem women not behind Obamacare backers