9 of 12 charges dropped in $300K theft case against former SEA controller | TribLIVE.com

9 of 12 charges dropped in $300K theft case against former SEA controller

Tom Davidson
Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
Phil DiLucente talks abouh his client, Sharon Mink’s theft case as Mink looks on outside District Judge Thomas Caulfield’s court in Forest Hills on Wednesday, Sepy. 11, 2019.
Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
Sharon Mink, center, walks in to District Judge Thomas Caulfield’s courtroom in Forest Hills flanked by her attorneys, Phil DiLucente, left and Nicole Nino on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.

Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped nine of 12 theft-related charges against the former Sports and Exhibition Authority controller, who is accused of stealing more than $300,000 from her former employer.

The case against Sharon Mink, 43, of Plum, will now proceed to trial in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. She waived her preliminary hearing and is scheduled to appear for formal arraignment next month.

Mink had been charged with 12 felonies in connection with theft of more than $300,000 from her previous employer, a Forest Hills insurance company. Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, said the charges were duplicative, and the case will be consolidated using the single charges of theft, receiving stolen property and forgery.

Mink’s attorney, Phil DiLucente, said he was pleased with the reduction of charges.

“Any time you have 12 felonies and you leave the court with just three felonies, it’s a good day,” he said. “It’s going to be very interesting to see how all of the facts come to light. We are very welcoming to whatever evidence they claim to have.”

The charges against Mink stem from allegations that she embezzled more than $319,000 from Research Underwriters, an insurance company on Greensburg Pike in Forest Hills. She used the money to pay for cruises, airline tickets, hotels and merchandise from Louis Vuitton, Coach, Gucci and Tiffany, prosecutors said.

Mink worked at Research Underwriters from 2004 until 2017, when she took a job with the Sports and Exhibition Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. It owns and oversees Heinz Field, PNC Park, PPG Paints Arena and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Mink was suspended without pay from the SEA when she was charged in July. She was then fired as controller in late August after an independent audit of the authority’s books flagged a $21,000 wire transfer made in April 2018, but officials have said nothing more about the transaction.

No charges have been filed relating to Mink’s handling of SEA funds.

“We are a little bit dismayed that public, county, city, leaders have made accusations without having all of the evidence,” DiLucente said. “It appears at first blush that not only was my client perplexed, but she was moved by this in a very awkward way. We’re hopeful to put this whole SEA issue into the past.”

Mink will be seeking to have her job restored and should be on paid leave, DiLucente said.

“I think before we start throwing stones at glass houses, I think everyone needs to look inside their own house and determine what actually happened,” DiLucente said.

SEA Executive Director Mary Conturo didn’t respond to messages seeking comment.

Mink was advised by her attorneys not to comment after the court appearance.

Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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