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More information sought from Carlisle

| Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007, 12:00 p.m.

Investigators for Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. have requested more information from City Councilwoman Twanda Carlisle's attorney in their investigation into her questionable spending practices and possible ethics violations.

"There was a request for information, and we're cooperating with the DA's office," said Carlisle's attorney, T. Brent McCune, of the law firm Ecker Ecker & Ecker.

McCune declined to say what type of information was provided.

Zappala said in December that the investigation has broadened, with questions about ethics and elections code issues. He said he instructed investigators to conclude their work as soon as possible because Carlisle, 47, of Homewood, faces re-election this year. The primary is May 15.

Zappala also said in December that new witnesses -- including former staff members -- had emerged.

In May, then-city Solicitor Susan Malie asked Zappala and the state Ethics Commission to investigate more than $177,000 in payments that Carlisle made to friends, relatives, political supporters and neighborhood groups.

Malie began investigating Carlisle after the councilwoman refused to release a "health study" done by a man who shares a Penn Hills home with her mother. Carlisle said Lee O. Johnson was a medical doctor who has expertise in community-related health issues, when, in fact, he received a degree from a diploma mill closed down by federal authorities.

Carlisle later released the report, which was riddled with grammatical errors and contained information from previous research.

Zappala spokesman Mike Manko said Carlisle and McCune have been cooperative.

"We have requested information, and it's being provided," Manko said.

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